Back to the Future
In 1993, CBIA aired this television spot about education reform in Connecticut.
Sadly, almost 20 years later, the same spot could still run, unchanged.
While other states acted, Connecticut ignored education reform. While other states showed foresight and courage, Connecticut did little.
The result? Soaring dropout rates. Dwindling graduation rates. The nation’s worst achievement gap. And too many of our children denied the chance for a great education.
Governor Dannel Malloy’s reform proposals, as outlined in SB 24, promised much: rescuing at-risk students, fixing broken schools, supporting teachers and administrators, offering parents more choices, and demanding transparency and accountability.
SB 24 didn’t survive the legislature’s Education Committee, where lawmakers stripped the bill of its key elements and passed out a pale imitation.
Editorial writers around the state universally criticized the committee, including the Norwich Bulletin:
The revised education bill essentially accomplishes the following:
It guarantees that for the next two years, at least, 70 percent of all high school graduates in Connecticut going on to state universities or community colleges will need remedial classes in English and math because they will be ill-prepared to tackle college course work.
It guarantees that for the next two years, at least, one out of every five high school freshmen will not graduate on time — if at all.
It guarantees that for the next two years, at least, the highest-in-the-nation achievement gap between poor and minority students and students from higher-income families will get wider.
It guarantees that the small percentage of teachers who fail our children in the classroom have job security for life.
Connecticut voters support education reform. So do parent groups, school administrators, and community and business leaders.
Why isn’t Connecticut moving ahead with real reforms? Adopting ideas that are working in other states?
Are we going to talk for another 20 years? How many more studies do we need? Where’s the sense of urgency?
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