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Nicki Perkins

Nicki Perkins is the Director of Communications and Development for the Connecticut Council for Education Reform. She began working at CCER as a Graduate Fellow while earning her JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law. During that time, she helped CCER to establish priorities and associated briefs for the 2012 legislative session, and she also conducted research on Connecticut’s then-existing statutory provisions as compared to corresponding statutes from other states. Currently, Nicki manages CCER’s efforts to raise public awareness and garner support for the organization. She also continues to support CCER’s research and policy work.

CEA Out of Touch: Proposes Costly, 19th Century Solutions to 21st Century Problems

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Nicki Perkins
EMAIL: Nicki.Perkins@ctedreform.org
PHONE: 203-506-5799

New Haven, Connecticut – Today, January 7, 2016, the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) called for Connecticut legislators to abandon the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC). In response, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of the CCER, made the following statement:

“The CEA’s proposal is startlingly out of touch, particularly as our state grapples with enormous budget shortfalls. As we contemplate a looming budget deficit, we can’t afford to waste public dollars.

“Connecticut has already invested millions of dollars in developing, field testing, and piloting the SBAC. That investment has spanned five years of hard work, including participation in a multi-state, non-profit consortium by content experts from the Connecticut State Department of Education and hundreds of Connecticut educators. The state also invested millions of dollars in improving district-level technological infrastructures. And the CEA’s proposal would throw it all away. That just doesn’t make sense.

“The SBAC’s 2015 administration only served as a benchmark for future assessments, so we haven’t even explored the test’s full potential yet. I doubt that Connecticut legislators are irresponsible enough to abandon the SBAC after this enormous financial investment and return to an outdated system.

“The legislature has already taken steps to improve and refine the SBAC—in the form of a Mastery Examination Committee. We encourage legislators to continue pursuing this very reasonable course of action.”

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Ready CT (Republication): Under Every Student Succeeds, Will Some Children Be Left Behind?

The new federal education bill continues to require that schools be held accountable for student outcomes, but it gives control back to states over setting expectations and policing outcomes. In that way, it marks a significant shift from the NCLB decade, in which efforts to reform American public schools were federally motivated and funded. But all we know so far is that the new federal bill will grant greater flexibility to states. What we don’t know yet is whether, given that flexibility, Connecticut will remember what it learned under NCLB: namely, that not every student succeeds in our state; indeed, that until things change significantly in our schools, many Connecticut children will beleft behind. Under Every Student Succeeds, it is now our responsibility to hold our state accountable for properly educating all students, regardless of race or socio-economic status.

Read the full opinion here.

CCER’s 2015 Policy Progress Report

Each year, we hold ourselves accountable by tracking the number of policies from our original 10-year policy plan to narrow the achievement gap that have been implemented in Connecticut. 

In 2012, Connecticut passed landmark education legislation aimed at closing Connecticut’s achievement gap. However, creating meaningful and lasting change requires transforming these policies into practice. Because the key to success is continuous, measurable improvement over time, we use a rubric to quantitatively chart our long-term progress in both passing and implementing these critical levers for change.

At the end of 2015, we found that over 37% of our priorities had been fully implemented. And we embedded our policy progress report into our website so that we can track change in real time.

  • Click here to access the full report. You’ll find our six priority areas, and–within each–the specific policy recommendations we support. At the bottom of each policy area is a rubric that explains how we’ve allotted points.)
  • Click here for a one-page overview of the rubrics.

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–CCER Awards Meriden for Innovative Data Systems 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Nicki Perkins
EMAIL: Nicki.Perkins@ctedreform.org
PHONE: 203-506-5799

New Haven, Connecticut – Yesterday, December 7, 2015, the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) presented the Meriden Public Schools with an award for its innovative data systems. In 2014, CCER conducted an analysis Meriden’s data and IT systems, and determined that the district was using some highly advanced data and IT practices to support its strategic plans. Regarding the award, CCER Executive Director Jeffrey Villar made the following statement:

“We were very impressed by several innovative uses of data in the Meriden Public Schools. From using teacher collaboration periods in furtherance of student learning to using advanced school climate surveys that track students’ well-being and school culture—Meriden is innovating in several noteworthy ways. The district exemplifies how data can be used to drive decision-making and improvement.

“That’s why we have teamed up with the district to build a website–schooldataystems.org—that highlights these and other practices. This website contains three sections with self-evaluations that were designed to promote discussions within other district leadership teams about the strengths and weaknesses of their own data and IT systems. Each of these three sections also contains numerous resources and examples to help show how these best practices can be implemented well. A final section features videos highlighting some of the very impressive practices within the Meriden Public Schools.

“With quality strategic plans, cultures, technology, and data, CT’s public school districts can go far. Meriden serves as a terrific example, and we hope that this website will also be a useful tool.”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–CCER Awards Meriden for Innovative Data Systems 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Nicki Perkins
EMAIL: Nicki.Perkins@ctedreform.org
PHONE: 203-506-5799

New Haven, Connecticut – Yesterday, December 7, 2015, the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) presented the Meriden Public Schools with an award for its innovative data systems. In 2014, CCER conducted an analysis Meriden’s data and IT systems, and determined that the district was using some highly advanced data and IT practices to support its strategic plans. Regarding the award, CCER Executive Director Jeffrey Villar made the following statement:

“We were very impressed by several innovative uses of data in the Meriden Public Schools. From using teacher collaboration periods in furtherance of student learning to using advanced school climate surveys that track students’ well-being and school culture—Meriden is innovating in several noteworthy ways. The district exemplifies how data can be used to drive decision-making and improvement.

“That’s why we have teamed up with the district to build a website–schooldataystems.org—that highlights these and other practices. This website contains three sections with self-evaluations that were designed to promote discussions within other district leadership teams about the strengths and weaknesses of their own data and IT systems. Each of these three sections also contains numerous resources and examples to help show how these best practices can be implemented well. A final section features videos highlighting some of the very impressive practices within the Meriden Public Schools.

“With quality strategic plans, cultures, technology, and data, CT’s public school districts can go far. Meriden serves as a terrific example, and we hope that this website will also be a useful tool.”

Read More »

CT Viewpoints: Connecticut must continue push toward education equity

With the new Every Child Succeeds Act, states will have more flexibility to determine policies on accountability and intervention in our lowest performing schools. Our six organizations join together to urge Connecticut’s leaders to use this flexibility to build upon and accelerate the progress that is already underway in our schools.

Read the full opinion here.

Republican America: Waterbury schools group pushing change

By Michael  Puffer

Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, said Monday the public can hold its elected officials accountable for contract decisions. He had to admit that most voters, including himself, do not consider this at the polls.

“We are not really forcing them to be accountable,” Villar said.

Read the full piece here.

SeatingChair.com: School Report Shows Dip in Math Scores for Kansas Students

Tonya Becker

These tests allow educators to compare educational knowledge of students nationally, because unlike state-specific tests, the National Assessment of Education Progress uses the same test questions and same proficiency scores in every state.

North Dakota’s scores remain above the national averages. California’s average eight grade math score was higher than that of five states and Washington, D.C. and about the same as nine states.

Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, said change takes time.

Read the full article here.

WNPR: Connecticut’s NAEP Scores Flatten, Worse in Fourth Grade Math

By David Desroches

 

The renewed focus on testing has been heavily criticized by some parents and many teachers. The Connecticut Education Association, which is the state’s largest teachers union, issued a statement after the NAEP scores were released, urging these scores to be viewed as the result of flawed policy.

Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, said change takes time.

“We are working to raise academic standards, use data from a new state assessment, and develop a system for providing professional development to our educators,” Villar said in a statement. “These aren’t the types of changes that happen overnight, so we can’t expect scores to improve immediately.”

Read the full piece here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–CCER: NAEP Results Mirror SBAC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Nicki Perkins
EMAIL: Nicki.Perkins@ctedreform.org
PHONE: 203-506-5799

CCER: NAEP Results Mirror SBAC

Today, the results for the National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP) were released. Administered nationally every two years, NAEP is the only current exam that allows all American states to compare their students’ achievement. In response to the results, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) made the following statement:

“The NAEP results released today really matched our expectations. In fact, they mirror Connecticut’s recent SBAC results, which were relatively low, particularly so in Math. For me, the key takeaway is that Connecticut still struggles with gaps in achievement, and we still have so much more work to do before every Connecticut child has a shot at a great education.

“What we need to remember is that our state is on a path to making a long-term change in the way public education works for our students—and this is just one data point along the way. We are working to raise academic standards, use data from a new state assessment, and develop a system for providing professional development to our educators. These aren’t the types of changes that happen overnight, so we can’t expect scores to improve immediately. Proper implementation will take time.”

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