Education Reform Possible: If We ‘Race to Top’ for Funds Now
Connecticut is on the verge of making great progress in bringing much-needed reform to its public schools. While some in the legislature are still hesitant, saying that we can’t afford it right now, the truth is we can’t afford not to move forward.
With Race to the Top (RTTT) Phase Two applications due June 1, Connecticut has a second opportunity to give our young people and economy the best chance for success through an improved education system. Winning RTTT dollars requires states to promote reform in four specific areas:
- Standards and assessments to help students succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy
- Data systems to measure student growth and success and help teachers and principals improve instruction
- Programs to recruit, develop, reward, and retain effective teachers and principals
- Success in turning around the lowest-achieving schools
States that lead the way on those reforms will be the ones who earn federal funding, say RTTT officials. Our state legislature’s Education Committee can help cinch a win by approving several measures that address the RTT guidelines:
- SB-438 – Promotes the growth of charter schools by removing fiscal restrictions on state Board of Education’s ability to grant charters to local and state charter schools; eliminates the cap on charter schools.
- SB-440 – Expands the statewide public school information system to collect and analyze measures of student growth for purposes of monitoring teacher effectiveness.
- HB-5421 – Improves the quality of teaching faculties by establishing an alternate route to certification program for administrators and superintendents.
- HB-5489 – Raises standards by implementing the State Department of Education’s high school graduation requirements reform measures in 2017.
- HB-5491 – Increases students’ standards and performance by requiring school districts to implement an Advanced Placement course program.
- HB 5492 — Holds schools and districts accountable for adopting new high school graduation requirements, collecting student data, and administering end-of-year examinations.
- HB-5493 – Promotes charter schools by making them eligible for state funding to the same extent as local and regional boards of education.
By passing these bills, the committee can ensure at least an extra 152 points towards our RTTT application. CBIA urges lawmakers to approve these measures to improve the quality of education in Connecticut and secure the federal funding that could make it happen.
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