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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.

Lowest-Achieving Schools, Part 2: Lessons from Other States

Not long ago, we discussed the need for a framework for intervention in Connecticut. However, as the expression goes, “the Devil is in the details.” Working through the nitty-gritty issues can make building an intervention system for school turnaround appear to be a daunting task. That’s why it’s helpful to look at some of the exciting frameworks and approaches that other states have successfully embraced and to think about how we can learn from their efforts.Read More »

Lowest Achieving Schools, Part 1: What is a Low-Achieving School?

What is a low-achieving school and what are the lowest-achieving schools in Connecticut?  It’s a common question that we hear at CCER.  Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to that seemingly simple question.

The CT State Department of Education currently uses two different metrics to categorize schools by academic performance.Read More »

Powers of the SBE, Part 3: Student Achievement in Evaluations

The final State Board of Education superpower that we’ll look at for this week is the ability to require that student growth be given significant weight in teacher and principal evaluations.

Now let’s take a time-out to talk about what we mean when we say “student growth” because we know this phrase alarms some interested parties.

Read More »

Powers of the SBE, Part 2: Framework for Intervention

In our last post, we discussed the State Board of Education’s authority to create a new 5-year plan for the state of Connecticut.

Another power that the Board should be using is the authority to build a system that monitors the performance of all of Connecticut’s districts and schools based on pre-determined academic indicators, identifies which schools and districts are consistently low-achieving, and requires state intervention for those schools and districts.  We call this much-needed system a “framework for intervention.” Read More »

Powers of the SBE, Part 1: The 5-Year Plan

This week, let’s talk about the top three existing authorities that the State Board of Education should be using to reform public education!

The State Board of Education has the statutory authority to prepare a comprehensive five-year education plan, complete with long- and short-term goals, cost analysis, benchmarks, and methods for achieving their goals and objectives. Read More »

The Achievement Gap–Economic Implications

Did you know that Connecticut has the largest achievement gap in the country? This means that there’s a huge difference between the way our low-income and non-low-income students perform academically. In addition to the obvious moral issues this raises, the economic implications are huge. According to the former CEO of New Alliance Bank, Peyton Patterson, the achievement gap “could have a crippling financial impact on Connecticut’s economy.” Now, if you’re thinking that this gap can be explained through the stellar performance of our state’s wealthier students – think again:Read More »

CCER’s 10-Year Policy Plan to Narrow the Achievement Gap

In 2010, the Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement (CCEA) framed several important policy changes and actions necessary to radically improve public education in our state. One of the recommendations was to form an independent non-profit organization whose focus would be to propel these ideas from theory to practice in Connecticut’s public schools. This was the birth of CCER.

Download the Original Report Now

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