Our state’s funding formula, which was intended to equalize education funding in each district, is irrational and disservices students in our neediest communities. We’ve used an arbitrary baseline for funding and have employed insufficient calculations for poverty and special education. A true school funding fix must include measures that hold all districts accountable so that educators can purposefully and efficiently use state money to advance student achievement and growth.
Gov. Dannel Malloy has proposed massive changes in education funding and the legislature is beginning to work on his proposals. While it is extremely unlikely that the governor’s radical proposals will be adopted, the legislature needs to correct the irrational funding system that now exists. Sixty witnesses testified at the Education Committee’s recent hearing on the subject.
Just as we expect the standards for doctors to remain high and the requirements for becoming a lawyer to remain rigorous, we should expect that the systems preparing those who teach our students remain focused on quality and readiness, writes Jahana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year.
E4E-Connecticut’s teacher members — who collectively decided to take on the issue of funding reform — are urging state leaders to give serious consideration to the fair and equitable appropriation to our neediest districts while supporting our wealthier districts through this transition, and place our state on the path to repairing this funding system that leaves too many low-income and disadvantaged communities behind.
As a former Hartford public school student, as a father, and as a school leader, I have seen up close the potential of all Hartford kids. We recognize that potential in telling them that if they work hard, they can achieve on par with students from anywhere in our state, country and world. Funding our students equally is a necessary step as we push for the equity our kids deserve.
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.
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.
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.
ByRobert Rader, Joseph Cirasuolo, Karissa Niehoff, Jeffrey A. Villar and Jennifer Alexander |
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.
Education remains the clearest pathway to better jobs and promising futures in the U.S.A. By 2020, 70 percent of jobs will require post-secondary education; as such, Connecticut must recommit to educational opportunity for all by ensuring that all residents have access to an affordable, quality public higher education.
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.
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.