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Election Week Preview and New Data and (Dis)Connectivity for CT Students

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: Election Week Preview and New Data and (Dis)Connectivity for CT Students.

Election Week Preview and New Data!

Extra! Extra! We are 6 days out from one whopper of an election- and while Connecticut will not tip the balance of the Electoral College, we are seeing an unprecedented number of voters dropping off their ballots and registering to vote. More voters, more representative representation, and more chances to put leaders in place who care about educational equity and students. Let’s go vote! To fill you in on what you need to know, we are offering our pre-Election Day DFER CT Playbook, which highlights who has registered, voted and is still expected at the polls, along with a few races we are watching in the state this year. And on another front, during the primary in August, ERN CT was doing some research to determine who can be persuaded to vote, and if outreach via text could drive more Connecticut voters to the polls in this unprecedented year. The testing universe included 198,000 registered Democrats who did not vote in the 2018 primary, half of which received two text messages reminding them to vote and information from the state on how. From the data collected, it appears to have driven an increase in turnout of about 1% point overall, a very statistically significant finding.

(Dis)Connectivity for CT Students

Yesterday, the non-profit Dalio Education and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) released a report showing that dating back to 2018, 20% of all Connecticut students were without a working computer in their home and a quarter of all households lacked reliable internet access. Broken down demographically, 37% of all Hispanic households surveyed and 31% of Black families reported not having working or available devices at that time. Governor Lamont’s office designated federal funding and joined with the philanthropic community to close this technology gap, with a plan to fill the remaining needs of Connecticut students by mid November. While the number of students who have returned to the classroom for full-time, in person learning has improved over the last several weeks, nearly half of all Connecticut students remain dependent on technology to access much of their instruction and curriculum. In the latest update on October 16th, the Connecticut State Department of Education reported 47.2% of all students were either fully remote or learning in a hybrid model. The academic and social benefits of students being in school are well documented, and we are also seeing a rise in coverage on data showing children in school are not proving to be a source of community COVID-19 spread. On the eve of schools reopening in New Haven, after refusing to offer an in-person option so far this academic year, legislators from the district are now asking questions if the state is acting in the best interests of students and if they should step in. On October 21st, the state put out new guidance on opening schools for districts, but again declined to enforce these recommendations with a few areas seeing increased cases, leaving some Connecticut students still out of school and out of touch.

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