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End Legacy Preferences in CT; Gov's Budget Misses Opportunity for Kids; and CT Senate Dems Agenda

ALERT: Your Help Needed TODAY to End Legacy Preference in CT

Last week, Connecticut's Higher Education Committee introduced new legislation that would put an end to the practice of using legacy preferences during the admissions process in both public and private institutions of higher education. The term “legacy preference” refers to an advantage that is commonly given to college applicants who are related to alumni. By favoring students whose families have historical connections to colleges, the practice perpetuates systemic discrimination along racial and socio-economic lines. Literally by definition, legacy preferences also disadvantage first-generation college applicants.

On Thursday, the Boston Globe had an excellent opinion piece by Viet Nguyen, the founder of EdMobilizer, which has launched a Leave Your Legacy pledge. It’s an alumni donation boycott of elite colleges that use legacy preferences.

The Higher Education Committee is holding a public hearing on Connecticut’s new bill Tomorrow, February 17, 2022, starting at 11:30am. The deadline for speaking at the hearing is TODAY at noon. Click here to find out how.

Governor’s Budget, Missing an Opportunity for Students

On Wednesday, Governor Lamont introduced his proposed budget adjustments for Fiscal Year 2023. The CT Mirror’s coverage includes an observation by ERN CT State Director Amy Dowell that the state's current surplus and influx of federal relief funds should both create opportunities for a budget that prioritizes meaningful change for students. Unfortunately, that opportunity has been missed in this proposal.

The Appropriations Committee will hear testimony on the Governor’s budget tomorrow as well. Check out our testimony, which focuses, in particular, upon how the legislature can put forward a budget that favors equitable opportunities and school choice, prioritizing: (1) a student-centered funding formula; (2) weights for the needs of individual students that are fully phased-in within schools of choice, just like elsewhere; and (3) long-overdue funding for a charter school in Danbury, where the State Board of Education approved opening a charter way back in 2018.

CT Senate Dems Release Agenda for the “Whole Child”

On Monday, the CT Senate voted to extend a statewide school masking mandate until February 28th, after which local boards of education will make decisions on school masking going forward. The Hartford Courant’s coverage also described how the Senate, controlled by Democrats, rejected a proposal to allow parents—rather than districts—to make the call for their own children. Senator Matt Lesser correctly noted that such a measure would have been completely irresponsible, creating chaos in schools.

Yesterday, Senate Democrats additionally announced a broad legislative agenda, chiefly aimed at providing mental health services for students and expanding investments in preschool. SB 1, An Act Concerning Childhood Mental and Physical Health Services in Schools, features proposals including more funding for social workers, training for school nurses and educators on administering medication during an opioid overdose, expanded school-based health centers, and increased minority teacher recruitment. SB 2, An Act Expanding Preschool and Mental And Behavioral Services for Children, includes proposals like boosting pay for childcare workers, increasing access to mentoring and after-school programming, investing in disengaged youth, and providing universal preschool to children aged 3 and up. We’ll be watching closely to see how this agenda develops!

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