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: DFER CT takes a stand on school immunizations, school busing policies in Bridgeport, and the latest on housing segregation.
Repealing Religious Exemptions from Vaccination Requirements
This spring and summer, the debate has continued on religious exemptions from school immunizations, following the May release of Dept. of Public Health data showing that over 100 CT schools aren’t meeting the minimum immunization levels recommended by the CDC. Democratic leaders have asked the state's Commissioner of Public Health to offer an opinion, but several Republican lawmakers last week said it would be improper for her to weigh in. In our press statement, Amy responded that it’s in the best interest of all children for the Commissioner to weigh in on matters of student health. (Read our statement here.) Her thoughts on the topic were also the subject of an article in the CT Mirror and a radio segment on WATR’s Talk of the Town.
Unsafe Cuts to Busing in Bridgeport
In the face of budget gaps, Bridgeport Public Schools has adopted a new policy that would cut school bus transportation for some students--increasing walking distances beyond the state's recommendations. But the Acting Schools Superintendent is now seeking a reversal of that policy, citing obvious safety concerns. The CT Post notes, for example, that one magnet school is located near a highway entrance on a street without sidewalks. It's possible that the city would need to commit more funds to the district in order to cover the costs of reversing the busing decision.
Exclusionary Housing in CT
Last week, an affordable housing proposal was delayed for a second time in Fairfield. It would have turned a 2.5 acre property, worth $2.1M in 2018, into a five building development of state affordable housing. However--in a trend that is increasingly prevalent in municipalities across the state--Fairfield residents have formed "Fairfield Neighbors United," an anti-affordable housing effort. This past weekend, the Connecticut Post took a hard look at the state’s ongoing need to end decades-old policies that enable housing segregation--which research regularly links to unequal educational, economic, and social opportunities.