High School Reform Needs to Happen Now
The quality of education in Connecticut concerns everyone in the state, because only through rigorous, high-quality education can we secure the future success of our people and our economy.
That’s why the business community strongly supports raising school standards and providing support systems to make sure that our young people receive the best education possible and teachers and administrators get the help they need to foster student success.
This year, both the Education and Appropriations committees have approved HB-5489, a much-needed proposal to reform high schools in the state. CBIA applauds the committees’ commitment to the measure, but the proposal is not out of the legislative woods yet.
Enacting HB-5489 could help Connecticut gain up to a vital 60 points in its second federal Race to the Top proposal, which should be enough to win the federal funds the state needs to ease the transition to tougher high school standards.
What if Connecticut fails to win the federal grant? This year, the state is facing extreme budget restraints, and many policymakers are concerned that money for high school reform could not otherwise be found. CBIA, however, has provided legislators with recommendations for ways to find the necessary funds, including by moving money away from budget areas in which tax dollars are not being spent efficiently.
Other states ahead
Twenty-three other states have already aligned their curricula to standards similar to those proposed in HB-5489, and 21 more state are in the planning process.
The standards envisioned by HB-5489 will increase graduation rates and provide students with more opportunities to participate in hands-on learning.
The Connecticut State University System already has made these standards part of college entrance requirements, and they should also be made part of Connecticut’s public school system.
The reality is that we can’t afford to let another year go by without high school reform. Our students, who will make up our future workforce, need and deserve the best education possible if they are to compete successfully in the 21st century economy. We should not accept anything less.
This is the year the legislature is supposed to help Connecticut jobs and the economy—HB-5489 is a way to do that.</p>
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