New school funding essential to giving some students a voice

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.

State should heed changes in SBAC testing

As Connecticut students get ready to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment tests, the time is now for parents to let their children’s teachers and principals know that they are sick and tired of test-centric programming. Smarter Balanced test results do not reflect their children’s learning and cannot be trusted as a meaningful measure of student growth, progress, or proficiency.

Connecticut schools must illuminate history’s ‘big story’

Since 2013 the C3 Common Core has changed the way social studies is taught in our public schools. This has done irreparable harm to students understanding history’s “Big Story.” Fortunately, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and authors of the C3 have done a complete reversal of their earlier position regarding national standards. This month in Education World the NCSS surprisingly endorses National Standards in U.S. history, civics and government, geography, and economics.

Reducing illiteracy will help close Connecticut’s achievement gap

One in four children in our country grows up functionally illiterate, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. Did you know we spend $2 billion nationally every year on students repeating a grade because they face challenges reading? The state of Connecticut currently sees the second largest wealth inequality in the United States. While the state ranks as the fourth richest in the United States, children are still in need. On Feb. 25, Pi Beta Phi will donate 20,000 brand new books to Hartford groups serving low-income families at a book distribution through Pi Beta Phi’s partnership with First Book®.

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.

In Fairfield, time to face the glaring racial imbalance in CT schools

When Brown v. Board of Education was passed and public schools across the country slowly trod toward desegregation, many pro-segregation parents enrolled their children in private schools rather than allow them to share a classroom with black students. We can hear echoes of this sentiment in Connecticut School Board Chair Allan Taylor’s opposition to redistricting students in Fairfield.

Betsy DeVos — A clear and present danger

What I learned from watching three hours of the Senate confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education:
1. Betsy DeVos demonstrated a lack of any understanding about student assessment.
2. Betsy DeVos said that permitting guns in schools is a decision that should be left up to individual schools.
3. Betsy DeVos did not commit to preschool for all children.
4….

Two critical education issues for the Connecticut legislature

From my perspective we have two critical points in the current Connecticut education crisis that must be dealt with first during the General Assembly’s 2017 session: One, the Common Core State Standards — developmentally inappropriate for many of our children, especially those in the elementary years. And Two: Measuring our children using the new state mastery test, which lacks psychometric test validation and reliability.

Mastery exam task force report due soon — its findings ‘predetermined’

In a few days the Mastery Examination Task Force will be submitting its Final Report and Recommendations to the Connecticut Legislature’s Education Committee which had asked for a study of student assessment practices in our public schools. Having monitored the progress of this task force during its one-and-a-half years of meetings, I contend that their findings were predetermined at or even before the task force began its deliberations.

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.