Malloy’s school funding plan does not go far enough

For more than two centuries, Connecticut has been colloquially known as “The Land of Steady Habits.” But our state’s tradition of arbitrarily, illogically, and inequitably funding its public schools is a bad habit Connecticut desperately needs to break. Unfortunately, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s recent budget proposal does not go far enough to address the fundamental flaws of Connecticut’s school finance system. Instead, the proposal continues the decades-old bad habit of funding education through a maze of unconnected, arbitrary formulas and does not ensure that all of Connecticut’s schools and districts have the resources they need to ensure equitable access to educational opportunities for all of our state’s more than 500,000 students. Malloy’s proposal rightfully ends the funding of local public school districts via block grants based on little more than historical precedent and the political power of legislators by proposing the state use a formula to distribute the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant to towns.

Charter schools pose financial risk to municipalities

In December of last year, the Connecticut Department of Education issued a request for proposals for new charter schools – the first time in nearly three years. As the state grapples with a budget disaster and Gov. Dannel Malloy continues to propose changes that would dramatically change the way Connecticut pays for education, the state should refrain from opening any new charter schools and freeze the funding of existing ones.

The General Assembly needs facts, not falsehoods

A recent story in the CT Mirror described a presentation to reporters a few weeks ago by the Connecticut Education Association (CEA), the largest teachers’ union, in which union leaders attempted to expose the spending practices of charter schools. The problem is that the report the CEA was referencing was deliberately misleading –seeking to villainize charter schools during a tight budget year in which education funding will be a key issue.

Six design principles for a new, fair CT school funding formula

Connecticut’s K-12 public school funding system is fundamentally broken. That is the simple and unfortunate truth that boards of education, superintendents, principals, teachers, and education reform advocates have known for years. Lacking a fair funding formula we are shortchanging our communities, and most importantly our children who deserve access to a quality public education.

Malloy’s budget cuts add to Connecticut education funding crisis

Connecticut’s education system is facing a crisis, and it seems to be growing every day. Over the holidays, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced his proposal to end education aid to certain towns. Last week, he told some mayors and town managers that they are in “substantially better shape” than the state and advocated for a “fairer” distribution of state education funds. While the governor’s office points out that the cuts he proposes are being made to the wealthiest towns, it matters to everyone.

CEA report mischaracterizes Trailblazers and Stamford academies’ spending

We write in response to the recent Connecticut Education Association report on charter school management fees, and more specifically about two of the schools mentioned in that report, Trailblazers Academy and Stamford Academy. Throughout that report, there seems to be a misunderstanding of what our schools are, who we serve, what we do, and the costs associated with running our schools.

Additional cuts to public education will hurt our students

The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) are very concerned about the mid-year cut of $20 million in education aid to municipalities announced by the Office of Policy and Management yesterday. These cuts are schedule to take effect immediately and will result in diminished educational opportunities for the students who attend Connecticut’s public schools.

Truth or consequences: Failing America’s youth

Connecticut Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher wrote in his September school funding decision of the “alarming” condition of education in the state’s neediest districts, citing that “[A]mong the poorest, most of the students are being let down by patronizing and illusory degrees.” He has a point – one that extends far beyond Connecticut and our poorest students. The latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), referred to as the Nation’s Report Card, found that nearly two-thirds of 12th-graders in the U.S. perform below proficiency in reading, and three-quarters perform below proficiency in both math and science.

A practical solution to funding special ed in Connecticut

Every student who walks through the doors each morning at one of Connecticut’s more than 1,300 public schools has their own unique skills and abilities, as well as their own needs and challenges. But despite their differences, each of these students has something in common: the right to a quality, equitably funded education. For Connecticut’s more than 74,500 students who need some type of special education service, this right is particularly important.

In CCJEF v. Rell, a troubling outlook on funding students with disabilities

Deep in Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s decision in the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Educational Funding v. Rell is troubling language regarding funding for students with severe disabilities. Judge Moukawsher is correct that identifying students with disabilities remains imprecise and subjective. And yes, school funding issues are negatively and disparately impacting students with disabilities. However, the language Judge Moukawsher uses in his ruling regarding determining educational benefits for students with the most severe disabilities is disturbing at best.

The expectations gap dividing Connecticut’s schools

he gap dividing Connecticut’s schools is much more than wealth. I would argue that it is also a gap of expectations. A major problem driving what Judge Thomas Moukawsher so aptly called the Connecticut’s “ irrational” education and financing systems is the lack of expectations for all of its students. A student can still get a high school diploma and not be able to read and write. This is because all that a Connecticut student has to do is to pass the requisite number of courses prescribed by the district and the state. However, as has been made clear over time, passing a course does not require meeting any specific literacy standard.