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Hartford Courant: Teachers’ Union Calls for Elimination of Smarter Balanced Test

Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, said Connecticut has already invested millions over the past five years in developing and piloting the new test, which was first administered to students in every district last spring. “And the CEA’s proposal would throw it all away,” he said. “That just doesn’t make sense.”

Read the full piece here.

Greenwich Time: Teachers want evaluation system changed

Others call it too soon to scrap the system. Jeffrey Villar, a former Windsor school superintendent who now heads the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, said he knows first hand the challenges the new evaluation has presented but remains committed to the idea that teachers have a critical impact upon student learning and therefore there must be a connection between student learning and teacher evaluation.

“To call for a complete disconnect eliminates accountability,” Villar said. Rather than hold press conferences, Villar said CEA should be addressing their concerns to the statewide committee that developed the standards.

Read the full piece here.

Hartford Courant: Malloy celebrates a school’s turnaround — and his record

“We have miles to go. Don’t get me wrong,” Malloy said, but he added, “It may be time to celebrate some of our successes.”

One of 30 low-performing school systems designated by the state four years ago as Alliance Districts targeted for extra funding, Bloomfield is one of the few districts that has made steady progress in all of its schools, according to a study last year by the Connecticut Council for Education Reform.

 

 

“You have stayed the course,” Malloy told students and educators in a library decorated with a banner carrying the same marketing message the school system has posted on two highway billboards, “Raising the Bar is Taking us Far.”

Read the full piece here.

Hartford Courant: Landmark School Funding Lawsuit Goes to Trial Tuesday

State Rep. Andy Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, the co-chairman of the legislature’s education committee, said he is sympathetic to the aims of the plaintiffs, but added, “It is simply not true that that increasing expenditure closes the achievement gap. That on its own won’t do it. You must have the right district leaders, schoolteachers and policies in place to move students in a lagging district forward.”

Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council on Education Reform, said he expects it to be difficult to determine if funding is “adequate and equitable” in cases, for instance, in which a district receives adequate funding but fails to make the systemic changes necessary to meet students’ needs.

“We need to be careful not to fall into the trap of oversimplifying and accepting the concept that improving educational outcomes for students is all about adding more resources,” he said.

Read the full piece here.

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.

A Field Guide to Survey Design

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downlaod pdf

An Introduction to Surveys

Surveys are used to collect information about populations of people that cannot be easily observed, such as attitudes, concepts, and behavior. Due to the un-observable nature of the information that surveys collect, survey designers must take steps to ensure surveys collect information that is accurate, reliable, and representative of the target population. The survey development process requires five key steps:

  1. Designing the Survey Process
  2. Developing the Survey Questions
  3. Testing the Survey Questions
  4. Collecting Data
  5. Analyzing Data

Developing surveys using this five step process is both an art and a science. This field guide will provide you with an overview of best practices for developing high quality surveys.

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Under “Every Student Succeeds,” Will Some Children Be Left Behind?

Here we are, at the start of 2016, and the landscape is suddenly significantly different for those looking to improve public education. On December 10th, 2015, President Obama signed into law Every Student Succeeds, which will replace No Child Left Behind (NCLB). 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
1outcomes. 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 be left 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 More »

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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