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: New Leadership in the Legislature, Ed Secretary Appointment Watch During Transition, and Save the Date: The Intersectional Work of Education and Housing Policy Panel Nov. 19!
New Leadership in the Legislature
With the dust settled on a very good Election Day for Democrats in Connecticut, we are now watching the reshuffling of leadership roles in the State Assembly. Late last week, elections were held in the House and Senate Caucuses to pick new leaders for the next two year cycle. With the retirements of Republican Minority Leaders Senator Len Fasano and Representative Themis Klarides, the GOP caucuses chose Sen. Kevin Kelly and Rep. Vincent Candelora to fill their shoes. But with nearly double the number of Democrats in both houses post-election, the key posts for House and Senate leadership in their caucuses will be most important when determining an agenda for next year.
The State Senate will remain under the leadership of President Pro Tem Martin Looney, and staying on as Majority Leader will be Senator Bob Duff, a longtime DFER. Additionally in the House, filling the shoes of the retiring Speaker Joe Aerosimowitz will be Matt Ritter, the former Majority Leader. Jason Rojas will be the new House Majority Leader, and as a Hispanic American, he’ll be the first person of color ever elected to this high-ranking position in Connecticut. Jason is a great choice by the caucus and an education equity champion. Congratulations to all!
Ed Secretary Appointment Watch During Transition
Now that the winner of the Presidential election is clear to those who honor math and the democratic process, we can shift our focus to who might be nominated to fill Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ Cabinet. Lots of coverage this week concluded that the Education Secretary post will be one of the most closely watched selections. While we know the President-elect will make these choices carefully, many are asking whether his nominee will reflect the moderate and ambitious Obama agenda of former Secretaries Arne Duncan and John King, or whether they will pivot to the pressure from progressive organization leaders, and select someone who has teachers’ interests at the fore but who might step away from accountability, school choice, and the Common Core State Standards. The Biden Transition team on Tuesday announced their committees for the vetting of candidates. The list includes both alumni from the Obama administration and leadership from the teachers’ unions.
Save the Date:
The Intersectional Work of Education and Housing Policy Panel
Next week, ERN CT’s Amy Dowell will moderate a panel discussion on the Intersectional Work of Education and Policy as part of next week’s Tipping Point: Connecticut’s Affordable Housing Conference Series, hosted by The Partnership for Strong Communities at 10:30am on Thursday, November 19th. Joining the discussion will be:
Newly elected House Majority Leader Jason Rojas;
Executive Director of the CT School and State Finance Project Lisa Hammersley;
Strategic Partner for Intersect Public Solutions Liz Donohue; and
Policy Director for the Partnership for Strong Communities Sean Ghio.
The conversation will include a dive into the premise, “Every child should have the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their zip code.” What does that mean here in Connecticut? What are the education and housing policies that would help more students and families access these opportunities—beyond per-pupil funding? It will explore how to build a diverse coalition of allies and be a good partner in advocacy, and it will provide a case study of a recent legislative effort tying housing and education resources together to encourage change.