FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 29, 2020
CONTACT: Amy Dowell | Amy@dfer.org
April 29, 2020 — Rethinking the logistics of how we educate children in a pandemic is no easy task. The plans put forward today by Governor Lamont’s administration are substantive and thoughtful, and we are grateful for the hard work of Commissioner Cardona and his team. In response to the state’s new reopening plan, Amy Dowell, State Director of Democrats for Education Reform CT, made the following statement:
“We appreciate the focus of the Governor and Commissioner on safety, and their clear goal of getting all students back into classrooms this fall. However, there is a critical area where the plan falls short, and where we hope it can still be improved: Connecticut needs a statewide diagnostic assessment, administered upon the reopening of school doors, to determine the extent of the COVID-slide. Children in our state have had wildly disparate experiences learning from home, and even before COVID-19, students were not receiving an equitable education. If we do not insist on uniform requirements and measurements in each and every community—measurements informed by fresh data—we will perpetuate the inequalities we already know exist. Connecticut can help all its students only if we know how they have been individually impacted by the loss of traditional schooling at the end of the 2019-20 school year, and if we require all communities to address their needs in a uniform way.
“And yet, this plan specifically states that ‘one does not need to administer a new test to ‘assess’ students in fall 2020,’ and that we can instead rely on old data and unscientific observation to inform our efforts. The plan boldly lays out equity in its introduction as a driving principle, saying that Connecticut should ‘interrupt status quo ways of doing things that perpetuate inequities.’ We couldn’t agree more— so why are we reverting to our old ways? How can Connecticut interrupt the status quo without a clear understanding of how students have been impacted? How can we further the cause of equity without a consistent effort from town to town and district to district? Who will be left behind in this plan?
“Connecticut is now a leader in lowering COVID-19 transmission rates, and it should also be a leader in preparing for the 2020-21 school year. We can do it by improving upon these plans, by undertaking the self-reflective step of a real assessment, and by requiring that districts all set a high bar for providing children a first rate education this fall.”
About Democrats for Education Reform CT:
The state chapter of a national organization, Democrats for Education Reform CT advocates for change guided by progressive values. We seek to promote great educational opportunities and achievement for all by increasing equity, protecting civil rights, and strengthening the social safety net. We are building a political pipeline of Democratic leaders who will improve our education system so that it better serves students and families.