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: Commissioner Cardona, Common Core, and restoring busing funds in Bridgeport.
Commissioner Cardona Takes the Helm
The state's new Education Commissioner, Dr. Miguel Cardona, met with staff at the State Department of Education to lay out his vision this week. Over the weekend, the CT Post, said the new Education Commissioner is focused on supporting the state's 500,000 public school students and urging collaboration and relationship-building between administrators, teachers, and students. This morning, the CT Mirror added a profile describing him as a collaborative listener and hard worker, emphasizing his focus on the achievement gap (having co-chaired the legislature's Achievement Gap Task Force), dual enrollment, internships, and factors outside of school that contribute to student achievement. Another article today rounds out the series with direct quotes from the Commissioner regarding the topics of bilingual education, teacher evaluations, the SBAC test, the Common Core, and the Dalio investment.
Common Core Makes Local and National News
The Middletown Press released a story this week saying that Common Core was seeing varied results across Connecticut classrooms. Common Core is a set of high standards, describing expectations of the skills students should be mastering at each grade level. Curriculum and lessons are set locally and by classroom teachers, not dictated by the standards.
Meanwhile, Education Next also released a report this week showing that nationally, public support for Common Core is growing. In 2015, there was a 20 percentage point gap in approval of the standards along party lines, but the difference is only 6 percentage points today (with a resurgence of Republican support).
Safety Concerns Push Bridgeport Mayor to Fund Student Bus Transportation
This summer, the Bridgeport School Board cut school bus transportation to close a budget gap--increasing walking distances for students beyond the state’s recommendations. Last Wednesday, we covered the news that the Acting Bridgeport Superintendent, Michael Testani, would seek a reversal of that policy in the interest of the students’ safety. Then, on Friday, Mayor Joseph Ganim requested a budget transfer from the City Council to the Board of Education to restore the busing contracts. More to be seen on this important issue of student safety.