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: top ed policies as session draws to a close; and segregationist housing traditions in CT.
We’ve written in the past about Connecticut’s Open Choice program, which allows students to attend school in any participating district within the region in which they reside. The program promotes the sharing of educational opportunities among districts, creates options for parents, and potentially helps smaller districts to address declining enrollment. As we approach the end of the 2019 legislative session (June 5th), we’re watching this bill, championed by Senator Doug McCrory.
As Session Draws to a Close...
Bills that pass both the House and Senate will be presented to Governor Lamont for his signature. (He just signed a bill that will raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2023.) After the regular session concludes, the Governor and legislature also have the right to call for a special session, which we’re anticipating this year. In the meantime, the legislature has been very busy with a number of education policy items this month, targeting, for instance, early college and dual enrollment, apprenticeship, minority teacher recruitment, and a computer science curriculum.
Early college and dual enrollment - SB 813, passed by the Senate yesterday.
Apprenticeship credits towards a BA - SB 607, led by Senator Will Haskell, and passed by the Senate this month.
Minority teacher recruitment - SB 1022, passed by the Senate yesterday. (See press release from Gov. Lamont.)
Adding computer science to the public school curriculum and a path to computer science teaching endorsements - SB 957, co-sponsored by Senator James Maroney, and voted out of the Appropriations Committee yesterday.
A story on affordable housing restrictions by Jacki Rabe Thomas has been making waves because it draws attention to massive socioeconomic gaps in Connecticut and the structures in place to maintain them. Centered around a Westport developer whose efforts to build more affordable housing options have been thwarted for years by the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission--the story identifies a trend of systematic segregation that contradicts state’s liberal image. The Connecticut Mirror and ProPublica have found that “more than three dozen Connecticut towns have blocked construction of any privately developed duplexes and apartments within their borders for the last two decades, often through exclusionary zoning requirements.” We think the story is well worth a read because housing policies feed directly into our disparate education structures. Upward mobility and the chance for families to move in pursuit of improved educational opportunities are core values at DFER.