The Connecticut State Board of Education will meet on tomorrow morning, Sept. 7, to kick off the new school year. One of the issues held over from the previous board meeting is contract approvals of two charter (school) management organizations [CMOs]. Given two months to review the evidence presented by state Department of Education officials tasked with recommending approval, the CSBE must determine whether there is sufficient evidence to ensure honesty and transparency in this use of public resources. However, with mounting evidence of questionable practices, corruption, and theft involving many charter schools and their charter management organizations across the country, it is the responsibility of state education officials charged with protecting students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers to ensure that similar questionable (and often illegal) practices are not taking place in our state.
A state Superior Court judge heard final arguments last month on the limits of the state’s responsibility in financing the education of all students, including those with low incomes living largely in urban school districts. He is expected to rule this week. How can our state, our taxpayers, spend more to take care of all “our kids” when court decisions are already forcing the state to spend hundreds of millions of dollars desegregating Hartford schools and caring for abused and neglected children? As a mother, and a housing professional, I think I know one clear answer.
Connecticut’s low-income students need and deserve an equitable school finance system that recognizes, and takes into account, the variety of challenges they may face that can impact their educational success. However, in order to distribute education resources fairly, Connecticut must transition to a new method of accurately identifying low-income students.
As Connecticut awaits the decision by Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher on the educational equity funding lawsuit, let’s not forget that many of the children in Connecticut’s low-income school districts are starting school (that is, kindergarten) way behind in terms of the knowledge, skills and behaviors needed for elementary school and later academic success. Many are also behind in third grade reading and eighth grade math. And too many do not graduate. We have known that for years. If the goal is high school graduation and readiness for work and citizenship, trying to remediate students or the schools in our low-income districts at the end of this trajectory is way too late.
CREC is celebrating its 50th birthday, and it has been my honor to spend the past 19 years as part of this wonderful organization. … When I first began at CREC in 1997, we had a staff of about 400, and the agency consisted of a handful of programs, mostly located in Hartford. Today, CREC manages 18 magnet schools, transports children throughout Hartford County, and has educational partners all over the world.
Despite news reports and editorials criticizing Hartford’s spending of $61,000 on a teacher training conference in Miami, The Magnet Schools of America organization and its offerings have played a great role in the success stories of magnet schools serving Greater Hartford since the 1997 Sheff vs. O’Neill court ruling.
After a season of campaigning, we, the Grow Hartford Youth, are proud to announce that three of our 10 slices in our “10 Slices of Justice” campaign to improve Hartford Public High School lunches will be a reality in the fall of 2016.
Education activists have been speaking out and pushing back against the misguided Common Core State Standards and the flawed Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) statewide test protocol for several years now, as they have become more aware of the billionaire-driven, media-complicit, and politically-entrenched “corporate education reform” agenda.
Recently I had the opportunity to testify before the Education Committee of the Connecticut Legislature. I commented that education policy in our state sadly resembles the phenomenon of the “Macarena.” Play along for a moment. Let your mind drift back 20 years or so to any random wedding. …
For nine years, Connecticut was one of the very few states in the country that did not reduce state funding for public education. In 2016, that very praiseworthy policy ended. The impact of reduced state funding for education will be felt in one way or the other by every child who attends a public school in the state.
Connecticut’s education funding system is broken – with charter school students receiving on average $4,000 less in funding than their peers in district schools. And this disparity in funding hurts low-income children of color most because those are the majority of the students charters in Connecticut serve.
As the Connecticut General Assembly races toward the end of the legislative session, I urge leaders to prioritize the needs of public school children this year — not adults with the biggest megaphones and the greatest influence. Lawmakers can reject Senate Bill 380, which seeks to de-couple teacher evaluations from student performance on standardized tests.