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Wednesday Weekly Special Edition: Housing Opportunity = Educational Opportunity

This is a special Wednesday Weekly focusing on affordable housing and educational opportunity. We provide a primer for what the problem is in Connecticut, and how it impacts students. We also include some key reading, as well as suggestions on how state leaders can address this critical issue to improve outcomes for both pupil and community. 

As Democrats for Education Reform CT, we realize that our work on behalf of Connecticut students cannot succeed if we ignore the challenges they face outside of the classroom. Policy decisions, like local zoning ordinances, can have a direct impact on children and their access to educational opportunities. Many of these issues are complex, even if the values they are built upon are simple. DFER CT is committed to fostering a fairer system for our students - one that invests our resources on an equitable basis. We can make progress by identifying challenges for students and offering pragmatic and progressive policy recommendations. Students and families benefit when we lead with our values, and advocate for educational opportunity for all.

The lack of affordable housing in high performing school districts and communities is an enormous barrier. We have supported and elected progressive leaders to the Governor’s Office, the General Assembly, and in many local offices. To DFER CT, being progressive means promoting policies that support every family’s option to send their children to the districts of their choosing, and attend the great public schools that are right for their students. 

In Connecticut, municipalities are using any and every tool, procedural or financial, to prevent many families from moving into and living in high opportunity neighborhoods. The ProPublica series, Separated by Design, has shed significant sunlight on these tactics and policies. 

Our students need policymakers to stand up and make their voice heard as Connecticut municipalities let exclusionary housing policies persist and expand, deepening socioeconomic disparity across our state.

In the coming months, we will spend more time covering this work, highlighting leaders that have made a difference for Connecticut students, and offering policy ideas. We are starting a conversation today. 

See our latest affordable housing action items for policymakers:

Additional Key Reading: 

Recent Report on Socio Economic Disparities Even in one of the wealthiest regions of our state, home to some of our best schools, a recent report commissioned by the Fairfield County Community Foundation reveals a growing inequity that forces many Connecticut students to graduate from failing schools. 

Flashback: A Better Address Can Change a Child’s Future New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof highlights, from August, a study by Opportunity Insights of Harvard University on how where children grow up can greatly impact economic and academic outcomes, and disrupt the cycle of poverty. 

Education Law Firm Targeted Because of Affordable Housing Clients This past week, ProPublica/CT Mirror continued their look into affordable housing and the efforts of Westport, specifically, to curtail affordable housing with new tactics. 


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