Below is a letter that REd Apples received from one of Norwalk’s State Representatives and Education Committee Member, Gail Lavielle, in response to Governor Malloy’s directive to the General Assembly, the principles that he has asked Stefan Pryor, the Commissioner of Education, to use as the basis for a set of proposals to the legislature.
Take a look at the list of directives from the Governor and please feel free to direct any correspondence or feedback to our own local Education Committee Member, Gail Lavielle at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding your views on education reform initiatives.
December 20, 2011
Priority on Education: We Must Rely on Innovative Thinking and Fiscal Discipline to Move Connecticut Ahead
Last week we learned that Connecticut had lost its third bid for education funding under the federal Race to the Top Program. The grant, totaling $50 million, would have funded a number of initiatives in the area of early education, including rating of early childhood programs, assessment and tracking of students and learning outcomes, and improvement of teacher preparation.
Connecticut’s educational achievement gap remains the largest in the country. Closing it depends on many factors. Money is only one of them, and whatever is spent in this effort – grant or not — must always be spent efficiently, with rigorous oversight and accountability to our taxpayers.
Winning a grant in this Race to the Top round would not, alone, have resolved Connecticut’s early education issues, but last week’s result is nonetheless disappointing. Early education is a key area for focusing resources, because educational efforts when children are very young have the greatest impact on their overall learning experience. Effective early education makes learning easier and more efficient later.
A quality education system is fundamental to our state’s economy and standard of living. Without one, Connecticut can neither build a sought-after, skilled workforce nor attract and retain companies that create jobs. Additional funds or not, we must address the shortcomings of our education system, and I am pleased that education will remain a primary focus of the General Assembly in the 2012 session.
Today the governor sent to the General Assembly a list of principles that he has asked Stefan Pryor, the Commissioner of Education, to use as the basis for a set of proposals to the legislature.
As that list of principles will provide much of the context for our legislative discussion and debate, I would like to share it with you here:
·Enhance families’ access to high-quality early childhood education opportunities
·Authorize the intensive interventions and enable the supports necessary to turn around Connecticut’s lowest-performing schools and districts
·Expand the availability of high-quality school models, including traditional schools, magnets, charters, and others
· Unleash innovation by removing red tape and other barriers to success, especially in high-performing schools and districts
· Ensure that our schools are home to the very best teachers and principals – working within a fair system that values their skill and effectiveness over seniority and tenure
· Deliver more resources, targeted to districts with the greatest need – provided that they embrace key reforms that position our students for success.
Between now and the beginning of the session on February 8, I look forward, as a member of the Education Committee, to discussing these principles and issues with colleagues on both sides of the aisle and to working toward ways to make much-needed improvements to Connecticut’s education system. We will need a combination of innovative thinking and fiscal discipline to do this, and my hope is that both will be distinguishing marks of any legislation we pass.
As always, I hope that you will share with me your thoughts on these issues and others related to education, as well as any other concerns, ideas, or questions you may have.
143rd District: Wilton, Norwalk