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: The Governor’s education forum, and a Department of Public Health decision to withhold the next round of school immunization data.
The Governor’s Education Forum
As public schools opened their doors for the first day of school across Connecticut, Meriden’s Wilcox Technical High School hosted Governor Ned Lamont and the newly appointed Education Commissioner, Dr. Miguel Cardona, yesterday for a forum on public education. Fielding questions from CTNewsJunkie editor Christine Stuart and a panel with high school students--the state leaders discussed many issues including school equity, minority teacher recruitment, internship experiences for students, and Dr. Cardona’s vision of state-level inter-agency collaboration to address the non-academic problems that students bring with them to school. In addition, questions were raised regarding the need to expand opportunity in rural schools and finding cost savings through shared services to the benefit of neighborhood schools. Asked pointedly about whether he would resurrect the issue of regionalization legislation in 2020, Governor Lamont demurred. He acknowledged, however, that there are over-enrolled districts, and that others that could increase enrollment utilizing models like Open Choice, a program championed by DFER CT.
Withholding School Immunization Data
The CT Mirror reported yesterday that CT Public Health Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell will not release the most recent round of school-level immunization data, a move that House Majority Leader Matthew Ritter soundly identified as "negligent." There is some speculation that this decision may be related to a pending lawsuit in which a Bristol couple are seeking an injunction to halt the publication of the data. Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff has said that he will reach out to the Commissioner to learn about why the data is being withheld, as Democratic legislators observe that parents deserve transparency. DFER CT has consistently advocated for a repeal of religious exemptions from school immunization requirements, arguing that all children deserve a safe and healthy learning environment.
Wishing a great year of learning and success to all Connecticut students, educators, bus drivers, crossing guards, and school staff!