A recent CTViewpoints opinion — Connecticut’s four year public state university graduation rates fall short — correctly observed that Connecticut’s state universities “have a responsibility to help students graduate.” Their success would “provide the state with more educated individuals equipped to enter the workforce and ultimately, enable them to become more productive citizens.” The good news is that the CSCU universities are in fact successful in achieving that objective. But that was not the conclusion of the author of the op-ed, who argued that six-year graduation rates of the CSCU universities were unacceptably low.
Low completion rates are a problem at some of Connecticut’s four-year public state institutions. A recent report outlining the number of bachelor’s degree earners reveals a significant gap in the graduation rates between the four-year public state institutions that make up the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities and the University of Connecticut. Although in-state, undergraduate tuition costs at each of the five public institutions are the same, their graduation rates are vastly different. The CSCU graduation rates are lagging behind those at UConn, and strategies need to be instituted in the CSCU system to correct this discrepancy.
For decades, a wealth of research has taught us that our nation is at its strongest when we make sound investments in our children and young people. Now, new data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book confirm what history has already shown: failing to invest in children and families deprives our state and nation of a robust future.
Little attention had been paid to a proposed bill — An Act Concerning Human Trafficking — that unfortunately died at the end of the 2018 Legislative Session. Given the significant attention and gains that Connecticut has made in recent years in the fight against human trafficking, it was a heartfelt defeat. For nearly a decade, Connecticut has been a leader in the nation in human trafficking reforms that better protect victims, more vigorously prosecute traffickers, and prevent continued victimization.
The governor of Massachusetts signed a bill into law recently that would create a paid family and medical leave program, which will go into effect in 2021. Massachusetts’ paid leave program is similar to one that was recently enacted in New York state, as well as a program has been proposed in the Connecticut state legislature. It is time for Connecticut to act by passing a bill during the next legislative session to create a paid family and medical leave program in our state.
“Summer Learning Day” on July 12 is a symbol of how much young people can learn outside of school —and of how those learning occasions can contribute to opportunity gaps. “Gap” is actually an understatement. There are opportunity gulfs, reflecting wider inequalities in this new “gilded age.”
For the past few weeks, stories about the separation of children from their parents at our borders have been everywhere. For people of compassion, it’s been brutally difficult to see the images and hear the cries of children going through such terrible experiences. What has been less discussed over the last few weeks is the fact that, in under-resourced communities across our state and nation, children go through experiences that can lead to PTSD and complex trauma on a daily basis.
This is a preamble to the political platform needed to unite our country and give everyone the opportunity to prosper:
We believe that America needs to be led by elected officials in Washington whose first goal is not to get re-elected, but instead to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, and do what is in the best interest of We the People.
Children and families who have been separated at our southern border have faced significant trauma. The more than 2,300 detained children need to be reunited with their parents immediately. As professionals with many years of shared experience working with children and families, supporting their health and well-being is our core mission. The experiences that we have seen depicted in vivid images and horrible headlines run counter to everything we know from decades of developmental research about what children need to thrive. From our research and experience supporting children, we know that being forcibly separated from parents is, in fact, among the most negative experiences a child can have.
The legislature, and the Senate in particular, did something remarkable. They voted not to override Gov. Dannel Malloy’s veto of Public Act 18-89, an Act Concerning Classroom Safety & Disruptive Behavior, a bill which received a unanimous vote in the Senate earlier in the session. While well-meaning in its intent, if passed into law, this act would have resulted in a tremendous set-back for our state in the area of school discipline and climate and would have also led to flagrant violations of students with disabilities qualified under the Individual with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA)
ByThe Rev. Leonard P. Blair, The Rev. Reverand Frank J. Caggiano, and The Rev. Michael R. Cote |
The Connecticut General Assembly concluded its work last month, and we would like to share with you our profound disappointment that House Bill 5340 An Act Concerning a Study of Education Savings Accounts was not permitted to see the light of day, even though it had the support of a number of legislators and had advanced through various committees.
Gov. Dannel Malloy was correct to veto Public Act No. 18-89 (SB 453), an act concerning classroom safety and disruptive behavior. This bill was wrought with inconsistencies, redundant mandates, and ambiguities that would lead to administrative chaos for districts, schools, and classrooms all across the state. Malloy’s veto allows our lawmakers to complete the difficult task of constructing meaningful and comprehensive legislation during a full session in 2019.