The State Senate responded by upholding Malloy’s veto

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)

Education savings accounts would help slow the loss of Catholic schools

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.

Let Malloy’s veto of the classroom safety bill stand

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.

Uphold the governor’s veto of Public Act 18-89

Monday Connecticut’s legislature appears on the verge of enacting a profoundly anti-disability rights, anti-civil rights legislation over Gov. Dannel Malloy’s veto. The bill is Public Act 18-89. It permits any teacher to throw a child out of the classroom at any time that the teacher thinks the kid may be dangerous. Any review of the teacher’s unilateral decision will occur after the child is excluded. And, the bill makes the child’s re-entry into the classroom a major challenge.

The classroom safety bill discriminates against the disabled

The Connecticut Association for Public School Superintendents has serious concern over the passage of Public Act 18-89: An Act Concerning Classroom Safety and Disruptive Behavior .  The Act would be an alarming revision to Connecticut’s education laws that would (1) discriminate against and violate the rights of students with disabilities under the IDEA, and (2) expose confidential student information to third parties in violation of federal law. 

“Greatness all around us, and that greatness will change our world’

Graduation season is always special. Seeing the culmination and celebration of a year of student progress, learning, and teaching brings with it pride and a sense of hope for all our graduates’ futures. This graduation season is particularly personal for me as it’s my first year at the State Director for the Northeast Charter Schools Network, and I’ve become intimately familiar with our schools, their educators, scholars, and families.

Not America’s first act of cruelty toward children

So many in the U.S. are decrying the Trump administration’s separation of immigrants from their children along our southern border, claiming, “This is not who we are.” It certainly isn’t all of who we are, but there are two such glaring examples of how it was exactly who we were – or who our government was – that we can’t ignore them if we hope to look honestly at our past and become the nation so many think we already are.

Breaking up families? America looks like a Dickens novel

The news has been full these past few weeks of disturbing stories from the nation’s borders. The Trump administration has separated immigrant children from their parents precisely to discourage others from trying to enter the country.
What has struck me, as a professor of English literature, are the startling parallels between the Trump administration’s policy on immigrant families and the “New” Poor Laws of England in the 1830s, whose cruelty was illuminated by Charles Dickens in novels and other writings.

A new task force will examine trading custody for care

Parents of children with complex brain disorders routinely labor for special education services and insurance benefit coverage, but too often they’re directed to DCF’s Voluntary Services program to access what other child-serving systems deny. That’s when trading custody presents as an “option” and voluntary admission to DCF can become a punitive and costly process for parents, and a traumatizing, dangerous experience for troubled kids. One cohort hit especially hard by this are adoptive families.

Jewish leaders condemn Trump family separation policy

The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford strongly condemns the U.S. presidential administration’s policy of separating children from their migrant families at our nation’s southern border. This inhumane policy – enacted via an April 6, 2018, memorandum for federal prosecutors along the southwest border signed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions – calls for zero tolerance for all immigration offenses referred for prosecution. It allows no exceptions for migrant families traveling with children. As a result of this policy change, by the federal government’s own estimates, 1,995 children were separated from 1,940 adults between April 19 and May 31 of this year.

Okjakian shares his revised Students First consolidation plan

This week the Board of Regents will convene to discuss, among other things, our proposed revisions to the Students First consolidation plan. In keeping with the promise to keep you informed, I am sharing our recommendation to the Board in advance of the meeting. I encourage all of you to review the Staff Report that will be discussed in detail during the Board meeting on Thursday.