This year, the collective elected body of the state of Connecticut passed the most comprehensive education reform package that the state has seen in over a decade.
Public Act 12-116, An Act Concerning Educational Reform will impact towns, school districts, magnet schools, charter schools, vocational-agriculture schools, early childhood programs, and teachers. Here are some ways in which the legislation may impact you, your town or your child:
- Beginning next year, 1,000 additional early childhood slots will be added to the state supported system. This brings the state one step closer to a universal pre-kindergarten system.
- Continuation of a current reading pilot program was included in the bill, along with the addition of a new intensive reading pilot program that will target Kindergarten through third graders. The intensive program will increase staff in the piloted schools and provide students with specialized reading interventionists and coaches.
- Expansion of Family Resource Centers and School Based Health Clinics.
- The creation of a new, uniform method for calculating school performance indices and ranking Connecticut schools.
- Identification of the lowest thirty performing schools in the state, and additional money targeted to such schools to improve outcomes.
- Increased funding and expansion of state and local charter schools, magnet schools, and vocational-agriculture schools.
- Creation of a new teacher evaluation pilot program, which will be rolled out next year in the following districts and consortiums of districts: (1) Bethany, Orange, and Woodbridge, (2) Branford, (3) Bridgeport, (4) Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), (5) Columbia, Eastford, Franklin, and Sterling, (6) Litchfield and Region 6, (7) Norwalk, (8) Waterford, (9) Windham, and (10) Windsor.
- Several changes impacting teachers, including: termination of teachers, professional development requirements, teacher examinations, teacher training programs, teacher certification, and teacher evaluation.
The comprehensive piece of legislation contained several additional important concepts and initiatives. To review the official legislative documents online, follow the link contained below:
Last year, the state of Connecticut spent approximately 20% of the state budget (or 4.3 billion dollars) on education. The education of our children, at all levels, early childhood, elementary, middle school, high school, and higher education is important to the future of our state. I am hopeful that Connecticut schools will improve and succeed and that all of our children will benefit from education reform.