This weekly segment by Democrats for Education Reform CT looks at the top education stories Democrats are watching, providing bite-sized analysis and links to recent articles. On the roster this week: coalition work on desegregating CT and a national education platform.
Yesterday, a coalition called "Desegregate CT"—made up of over thirty organizations and legislators—held a press conference to unveil a legislative agenda of zoning reforms to address the inequities resulting from having segregated communities in our state. The press conference included legislators like House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, Senator Doug McCrory, Senator Saud Anwar, and Representative Jason Rojas. Later in the afternoon, the Lamont Administration announced that an upcoming special session will focus on a narrow set of issues, excluding housing. However, the Governor did say that a second special session is still under discussion for September.
We are proud to be a part of the Desegregate CT coalition because we believe that housing opportunity is indistinguishable from educational opportunity in our state. In fact, before the 2020 Legislative Session came to an unexpected halt, we had worked closely with Representative Rojas on a bill that would have linked education and housing needs by providing financial incentives via school construction grants to municipalities that undertake serious efforts to create more inclusive housing and zoning policies. We look forward to continuing these efforts for children and families in 2020 and beyond.
Joe Biden: Ready for Change
Earlier this month, Joe Biden addressed members of the National Education Association, calling the teaching profession the most important in the country. That same day, during his Mount Rushmore speech, President Trump described teachers as training students to hate America. The contrast between the two presidential candidates is truly on full display.
Yesterday, poised for meaningful change, our national affiliate, Education Reform Now co-signed an ambitious education agenda for the next presidential administration. ERN joined more than a dozen education and civil rights organizations (such as the Center for American Progress and the National Urban League) who hope to see the next US President addressing ongoing systemic inequities in public education—including a K-12 agenda of:
Promoting school finance and resource equity;
Increasing teacher pay and providing differentials for high-need schools and subjects;
Overhauling educator preparation;
Preserving assessments and accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act;
Expanding choice among quality public schools, including public charter and magnet schools; and
Ensuring access to personalized and online learning.
It's time for an ambitious platform that prioritizes the importance of students and teachers across this country. See below for more details on the proposed platform.
Reopening Schools Shouldn’t Be Political
On Friday, the Editorial Board of the NY Times published an opinion, emphasizing the academic and socio-emotional need for reopening, and noting that this will require both more federal funding and more physical space for safe, in-person learning. Today, the Hartford Courant's Editorial Board stressed that "Donald Trump is making a tough situation worse.” Indeed, over the past week President Trump has called both for watering down the CDC's recommendations on how schools can reopen safely and for cutting federal funding to districts that don't fully reopen in the fall. The NY Times editorial actually urges local officials to ignore the President, and instead follow safety measures based on actual science when determining how best to maximize in-person learning. While public safety is of the utmost importance, we hope that state and federal governments will also consider a more strategic approach to tackling the learning losses and ongoing academic needs of students after prolonged school closures. (ICYMI, see our research below on some states that are getting it right.)