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Congressional GOP Proposes Ed Cuts, NYC Emulates Right to Read, Voters of Color Favor School Choice

Congressional Republicans Propose Ed Cuts

A couple of weeks ago, the US Department of Education put out a fact sheet regarding considerable cutbacks to education programs that have been proposed by Congressional Republicans and would be harmful to both children and the public education system. In short, they would disinvest in support for low-income students, students with disabilities, and students with mental health needs, from Pell grants, and from President Biden’s student debt relief program. An accompanying fact sheet for the State of Connecticut indicates that the cuts proposed by Congressional Republicans would, among several outcomes, reduce Title I funding for Connecticut schools serving low-income children by about $33 million, impacting over 200,000 students. As the LA Times describes it, "Republicans are proposing these cuts at a time when students are still recovering from pandemic-induced learning setbacks and suffering high rates of mental health difficulties. Thankfully this bill is not likely to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate, and Biden has promised to veto if it does."

NYC Emulates CT’s “Right to Read” Law

Yesterday's New York Times highlighted New York City Chancellor David C. Banks’ new plans for early literacy. All local school districts within the country's largest school system will be required to select from among three curriculum options that are aligned to the science of reading. Waivers will only be considered in districts with more than 85% of students who are proficient in reading. The Big Apple’s new policy follows in the footsteps of Connecticut’s “Right to Read” law, through which the state has pre-approved seven options from which individual districts must select a core early literacy curriculum.)

In case you’ve missed the hit podcast, "Sold a Story,” it’s one of many pieces on this topic by American Public Media’s Emily Hanford, who has spent years explaining the so-called Reading Wars and the Science of Reading to parents and advocates. Be sure to tune in tomorrow and next week for two new episodes!

Poll Shows Voters of Color Favor School Choice

This week, our national office launched a new quarterly poll, DFER Ed Trends. Released on Monday, this first one shows that voters overwhelmingly support increased options within the public school system, especially Black and Latino voters. “At a time when so much is at stake politically, Democrats cannot afford to ignore voters of color and parents who so ardently want more school choice options,” said DFER CEO Jorge Elorza in a press release. (More coverage in The Hill.)

This political tension is exemplified by the ongoing Danbury charter saga, in which charter critics are standing in the way of a community that needs more options for its students. The CT Mirror's Jessika Harkay had a big piece over the weekend regarding the experience of an English Language Learner in Danbury who hopes to find the right learning environment for her needs. Harkay was also interviewed on this topic by WSHU's Ebong Udoma on Monday.

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