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Calkins is Out at Columbia TC, News from Building Bridges Initiative, Need for Child Tax Credit

Lucy Calkins Officially Out at Columbia Teachers College

In a dramatic about-face, Lucy Calkins' Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) is being dissolved by Columbia University—in the wake of national criticism regarding its lack of foundation in evidence-based practices. According to coverage by The New York Times, 42 states have passed laws requiring schools to use research-backed early literacy strategies aligned to the science of reading. Connecticut, of course, became a national leader when it passed its Right to Read legislation in 2021—standing out because of the coordinated leadership with the State Department of Education as the law gets implemented.

Education Week notes that Teachers College plans to transfer TCRWP's work to a new unit that will keep providing professional development to schools that use Calkins' debunked curriculum, as well as to schools using other curricula. However, it is not yet clear whether those training efforts will be aligned to the science of reading, especially since many of Calkins’ deputies remain at the institution for now. Calkins is also starting a new professional development company called Mossflower Literacy.

New Release from Building Bridges Initiative

Today, our national office released a critical, new document—A Generation at Risk: A Call to Action—through the Building Bridges Initiative. In 2022, DFER National’s VP for K-12 Policy, Charles Barone, collaborated with Mike Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute to launch the Building Bridges Initiative. They convened a diverse group of education advocates across the political spectrum to discuss American education in the wake of the pandemic. Agreeing to transcend their differences, the group arrived at a call to action and a bold vision for change to America's system of education. The document released today tackles both the longer-term imperative of shifting to a more responsive and modern educational system (calling for a student-centered system with greater parental empowerment)—and the immediate needs of today's students, post-pandemic. Get the details and sign on here.

Growth in Child Poverty Prompts Renewed Urgency for Child Tax Credit

CT News Junkie reports that yesterday, the US Census Bureau released new data on child poverty, which indicates that it has doubled since the prior year. The data show that 12.4% of children were in poverty last year, just one year after hitting record lows. US Rep. Rosa DeLauro is urging for the revival of the federal Child Tax Credit, a pandemic-era program that was part of the American Rescue Plan Act. It lifted 2.1 million children above the poverty line in 2021, according to CNN's reporting. But those gains were short-lived, since the program was temporary and not extended. (Connecticut's state-level Child Tax Credit similarly expired in 2022.)

Primary Results are In!

Last night’s primary results in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven rolled in with few surprises. In these heavily Democratic cities, the General Elections will be mostly a rubber stamp. Congratulations to the winners - looking forward to working together on behalf of CT students!


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