Education Committee approves watered-down proposal

Connecticut’s public schools once led the nation. Today, too many of our children are denied the opportunity for a great education and the skills they need to pursue meaningful careers.

Every child deserves a great education, the chance to be exceptional. The reform initiatives outlined in the original version of Senate Bill 24 represent a promise to all Connecticut children.

The legislature's Education Committee, however, voted to approve a watered-down version of SB 24 that puts off some of the most important reforms. 

We are past time for studies; other states years ago implemented the reforms called for in the original SB 24. We need to have a greater sense of urgency for restoring Connecticut's educational excellence.

Among other things, the original version of SB 24 called for:

Rescuing at-risk students

  • SB 24 gives more children access to quality early childhood education programs;
  • Offers additional help and resources for low income students, students with histories of low academic performance, behaviorial/social difficulties, and English language learners;
  • Provides additional training and incentives for teachers and administrators who choose to work in low performing schools.

Fixing broken schools

  • Provides a systematic, intensive approach for intervening and turning around our worst performing schools;
  • Gives those turnaround schools the necessary operational, management, and evaluation resources;
  • Continued funding of turnaround schools contingent on results.

Supporting teachers and leaders         

  • SB 24 encourages and rewards teachers, principals, and superintendents for enhancing their skills, fostering student learning, and improving student performance;
  • Connecticut teachers will enter the classroom better trained and better prepared;
  • Fairly evaluates teachers and administrators as true professionals, with more than $7 million allocated for new development and training programs.

Offering more choices

  • Magnet, agricultural science, charter, and technical high schools receive more funding, including performance-driven grants;
  • Preference in granting/renewing charters to applicant schools that recruit and retain identified student populations;
  • Develops and adopts readiness assessment plans for college and vocational tracks.

Promoting accountability

  • SB 24 cuts red tape, giving school districts more flexibility to pursue innovation and increase efficiency;
  • Schools and districts must track how they spend education dollars and measure effectiveness;
  • Adopts new, performance-based evaluation and tenure systems for teachers, principals, and superintendents.

Connecticut’s most important economic asset is the skill, innovation and productivity of our workforce. Today’s competitive global economy demands that we raise the academic performance of all students and close the achievement gap.

Numerous organizations and groups support the education reforms outlined in SB 24, including: