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: gun safety; supporting vulnerable students in school; and a Democratic divide on charter schools. Stay tuned next week for in-depth updates on the last two weeks of the legislative session.
CT Leads on Gun Safety
This month, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed two bills that would make the state a leader on gun safety laws. “Ethan’s Law” would require guns to be stored securely in any home with a minor. Another bill would ban ghost guns. CT Rep. Rosa DeLauro and CT Senator Chris Murphy are introducing a federal version of Ethan's Law to the Senate. Representing a national divide on the topic--Connecticut’s progress coincides with Florida’s steps in the opposite direction this month; the state’s governor just signed legislation allowing school districts to arm their teachers.
The legislation (“Ethan’s Law” | HB 7219)
Coverage of federal version of Ethan’s Law (The Middletown Press)
Coverage of Florida bill to arm teachers (The Hill | Bloomberg)
Emotional Needs of the Most Vulnerable Students
The CT Mirror published an article this week about the frequency with which "students with emotional disturbances" are removed from school through suspensions and expulsions. Former Bridgeport Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz points out that districts often lack the resources to meet children’s emotional needs. But she also explains that students who suffer from mental illnesses such as PTSD and anxiety should have behavior interventions at school, not exclusion. Last year, we opposed a school climate bill (which Governor Malloy ultimately vetoed) because punitive policies for disruptive students disproportionately impact vulnerable populations. This year, we’ve continued to oppose school climate bills when they discriminate against students who already have many hurdles to success.
Coverage of Students with Emotional Disturbances (CT Mirror)
Our opposition to this year’s school climate legislation (TW)
Democrats Divided on Charter Schools
DFER National has released a poll finding a stark racial divide within the Democratic party when it comes to charter schools. Black and Hispanic Democrats, whose children disproportionately benefit from charters, favor them--while white Democrats are largely opposed. Millennial voters in the party also support charters. This poll reveals a party tension and raises questions about how Democrats broadly will support students of color and students in poverty to address education inequities. These data findings are expected to create distinctions among Democratic presidential primary candidates.
“A Democratic Guide to Public Charter Schools: Public Opinion” (DFER National)