Money Talks: Will the Governor’s Budget Prioritize Ed?
Governor Ned Lamont will deliver a budget address for the biennial 2024-25 budget today at noon. In a press release on Monday, the Governor announced a plan to cut income taxes for the middle class, for the first time in almost thirty years. CT Insider’s Ken Dixon also says that several of the Governor's other ideas are likely to overlap with the agenda of Democrats in the General Assembly. Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, for instance, is quoted as saying that due to Connecticut's strong financial position, we can look at tax relief, as well as long-term investments in education and other priorities.
On Friday, the Education Committee and Appropriations Committee jointly held a public hearing on a bill that would speed more funds for public education. The CT Mirror explains that Connecticut passed a bipartisan plan for the state's Education Cost Sharing (ECS) model in 2017, and describes how HB 5003 would build upon that model. This effort to #FinishtheFormula would also include all types of public schools in the ECS grant year-over-year. But Alex Putterman wrote on Friday that the Governor has been "noncommittal" with respect to this proposal, saying he'd prefer for schools to use federal COVID relief to fill funding gaps.
We will be watching to see whether the budget reflects the most urgent needs of Connecticut’s children. Tune in with us at noon. Follow us on Twitter as we watch the Governor’s presentation!
"Governor Lamont Announces 2023 Legislative Proposal: Cut Income Tax Rates for the Middle Class" (Governor Lamont Press Release)
"Public weighs in on bill that would speed up school funding" (CT Mirror)
"This proposal would increase CT school funding and reduce disparities. Lamont remains noncommittal." (CT Insider)
"Connecticut General Assembly 2023 Joint Convention to Hear the Governor’s FY 2024-2025 State Budget Address" (CTN)
ERN Leads Coalition Push for Federal Data on Higher Ed, Disaggregated by Race
This week, James Murphy from ERN’s national office has been making waves in the higher education space, calling for more robust federal data collection for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Currently, IPEDS collects a plethora of information from federally funded colleges, including the graduation rates of students who receive Pell grants, a form of federal financial aid. This past Wednesday, Murphy led a coalition of progressive education groups that are calling for the US Department of Education (USEd) to collect further data—specifically, data on admissions, disaggregated by race and ethnicity. Higher Ed Drive explains that colleges should be tracking all stages of admissions, from applications to admissions and commitments, "because institutions need to know if and when during the process they are failing to attract and enroll a diverse class."
The coalition's letter to USEd anticipates a US Supreme Court ruling regarding whether universities can use race as a factor during admissions. If the Supreme Court rules against the practice, that could have a chilling effect on institutional policies designed to advance racial diversity. The addition of disaggregated applicant data would allow policymakers to track the impact of eliminating race-conscious admissions. It would also facilitate more precise identification of bottlenecks in the pipeline towards college graduation.
"Advocates ask Education Department to collect new racial, legacy data in college admissions" (Higher Ed Drive)
College Board Caves on AP African American History
The College Board has come under fire over this past week for revising its AP African American Studies curriculum, removing content regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, Critical Race Theory, slavery reparations, and queer life. The New York Times notes that the course has been highly politicized since its release last August—first by conservatives, like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who cited a left-wing bias, and now by more liberal groups who are questioning the motivations behind the change. Although the College Board asserts that these changes were not political, the article discusses the risks associated with sending the message that political rhetoric can lead to censorship. Reporting by the Associated Press further recognized that the curriculum change was announced on the first day of Black History Month. In a statement, DFER's Interim CEO, Shakira Petit, urged that high-quality AP curricula should, "honor the fulness of our nation's past and present, so that students may be best prepared for their futures."
"The College Board Strips Down Its A.P. Curriculum for African American Studies" (The New York Times)
"Black history class revised by College Board amid criticism" (AP News)
"AP African American studies course is watered down after pressure from Gov. Ron DeSantis" (NBC News)
"DFER Statement on AP African American History Curriculum" (DFER Press Statement)