New ERN Report: CT Takes Lead on ARP Education Plans Our national affiliate, Education Reform Now (ERN), released a new report, Driving Towards Equity, that reviews and compares all states' K-12 federally-approved plans under the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Today, as an addendum, an analysis of Connecticut’s strategies for investing federal education relief funds under ARP was released. Although results across the nation were decidedly mixed, Connecticut has emerged as a national leader, one of only seven states to receive the highest rating. As The 74 reported in its coverage yesterday, advocates are firm that—because the pandemic has disproportionately impacted historically disadvantaged children—these federal resources should be used to target those with the greatest need.
Governor Asks Lawmakers to Extend Executive Orders, Including School Mask Mandates This weekend's CT Insider covered a host of executive orders Governor Lamont hopes the legislature will consider extending after his emergency powers expire on February 15th. Included on this list is an executive order allowing the Commissioner of Education or the Commissioner of Early Childhood to call for a school masking mandate. Indeed, a study from the University of Michigan in October found that COVID-19 transmission was 62% higher in school districts without mask rules than those with. That said, the Governor has also noted that there's an end in sight for mitigation strategies like masking in schools. "The end isn't calendar-related, it's infection-related," he's quoted as saying in Monday’s CT Post. If COVID-19 positivity rates decline, the Governor said he might allow communities to set their own masking policies. The Hartford Courant has a list of the proposed executive orders here. The legislative session begins on February 9th, giving lawmakers six days to review the list.
Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Affirmative Action
On Monday, the New York Times reported that the US Supreme Court will consider the legality of "race-conscious admissions programs" at the University of North Carolina and Harvard. Under a new conservative supermajority, the challenge threatens affirmative action programs that have been in place for decades. If the Court restricts or prohibits the practice, that will likely reduce the number of Black and Latino students enrolled in elite colleges. In a story by the Associated Press, NAACP Legal and Educational Defense Fund Director Sherrilyn Ifill points out that, beyond diversifying student bodies, affirmative action policies also address systemic barriers faced by students of color.