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Bringing the Alliance District Program into Focus

Connecticut’s 30 highest-need districts have been called the “Alliance Districts” since 2012. Each year, they receive increased state funding in exchange for producing annual district improvement plans. In total, the state has invested almost half a billion dollars in this program since its inception. In theory, the purpose of these extra funds is to promote innovation. However, many district leaders have reported needing to use the funding to cover much more routine expenses, due to reductions in local funding.

To date, no formal study has been conducted to measure the impact of the Alliance District program overall.

Focus: How Long-term Planning Processes Can Improve State-Led Turnaround in Connecticut is a study of the Alliance District program that was conducted by a research team at the Neag School of Education at UConn. It analyzes the effectiveness of the required annual district improvement plans as tools for change. In addition, it explores the link between these plans and some positive outcomes that districts within the program have seen over time. The findings in this study raise important implications for how best to strengthen the Alliance District program and leverage state improvement dollars.Read More »

Focus: How Long‑term Planning Processes Can Improve State‑Led Turnaround in Connecticut

The focus of this report, commissioned by the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) and executed by a research team at the Neag School of Education of the University of Connecticut, is to provide insights into how Connecticut’s 30 Alliance Districts—those with the greatest need and a large external investment by the state to support improvement—articulate their yearly improvement plans. It was also to begin to ascertain how these different articulations may relate to different aspects of improved performance.

  • Click here to access the full report by the Neag School of Education.
  • Click here for CCER’s policy implications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CCER’s 2016 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 2016, 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.

 

 

 

 

CCER’s 2016 Impact Report

 

This quick report tracks our latest progress in narrowing the achievement gap in Connecticut. As you’ll see from this report, we primarily do our work by: (1) supporting the highest need public school districts; (2) advocating for state-level policy solutions; and (3) promoting public awareness about the need for change.

Click here to access this report.

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–CCJEF Appeal Is No Excuse for Delay

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

New Haven, Connecticut – Today, September 15, 2016, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepson announced plans to appeal Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s decision in the decade-long trial, CCJEF v. Rell. Although the trail was about the adequacy of Connecticut’s funding of public school education, Judge Moukawsher’s decision was noteworthy because it criticized the irrationality of Connecticut’s education system as a whole–requiring the state to develop a plan that addresses its funding model, graduation standards, teacher evaluation and compensation, and special education. In response to the Attorney General’s decision to appeal, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), made the following statement:

“We believe that Judge Moukawsher’s most important observation is that the state has a non-delegable duty to provide its students with access to an adequate education. He said that the state cannot delegate its duty to local authorities and then wipe its hands of its responsibility. If local authorities aren’t getting the job done, it’s the state’s duty to intervene. We hope that takeaway stands up to scrutiny on appeal—and also motivates the legislature to push for change with urgency.

“As the Attorney General himself has observed, even though the case is being appealed, our General Assembly does not need to wait to address the very real problems that plague Connecticut’s education system. Judge Moukawsher has drawn attention to some irrational and critical issues with public education in our state. It’s high time we solve them.

“It is my sincere hope that our legislators won’t use this appeal simply as an excuse for further delay. Connecticut can’t afford to wait another ten years before it builds a system that meets the needs of its students or the promise of its constitution.”

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 About the Connecticut Council for Education Reform

The Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER)–a statewide, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) not- for-profit organization–works to close the achievement gap and raise academic outcomes for all students in Connecticut. The achievement gap is the disparity in academic achievement between children from low-income families and children of color, and their peers. We advocate for state policies and local practices that research shows have the best chance of raising achievement for high-need student populations.

For more information on CCER, go to www.ctedreform.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–Better Outcomes Require More Than Funding

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

 

Hartford, Connecticut – Today, September 7th, Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher ruled on an almost-11-year-old case about the constitutionality of Connecticut’s education finance system: Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell. Judge Moukawsher ruled that Connecticut’s process for allocating education funding is irrational and unconstitutional. In response to the ruling, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), made the following statement:

“CCER agrees with Judge Moukawsher’s finding that Connecticut’s approach to funding public education is irrational. We have repeatedly pointed to the unclear and unjust manner of distributing education dollars through the state’s Education Cost Sharing formula. And as unjust as that formula is, Connecticut has not even been using it of late—relying instead on an ad hoc and highly politicized distribution of funds to districts. When gaps in achievement loom as large as they do in Connecticut, it’s patently unfair to underfund these school districts.

“But it is especially noteworthy that Judge Moukawsher did not merely call for additional spending, rather choosing to emphasize the various ways in which our system needs to be re-worked. I am struck by the similarities between Judge Moukawsher’s apparent outlook and CCER’s policy agenda. An offshoot of a gubernatorial commission convened to find solutions to Connecticut’s unenviable achievement gap, CCER has consistently advocated for holistic reform of the public education system, including the need to make our funding structures more transparent and equitable—but not stopping there.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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

ICYMI: Why Do We Need Assessments?

In case you missed it, we’re reposting the Connecticut Assessment FAQ, we developed in collaboration with:

  • The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents
  • The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education
  • The Connecticut Association of Schools
  • ConnCAN
  • The Connecticut Business & Industry Association

CT-Assessment-FAQ-e1440439126290-769x1024 CT-Assessment-FAQ2-e1440439190621-755x1024

Feel free to share! Download the full PDF here.

Testimony of Jeffrey Villar Before Education Committee

On Thursday, March 19th, the Education Committee heard testimony from the general public and public officials during a hearing that ran deep into the night. To read Jeffrey Villar’s written testimony, click here.

The following is a list of the important bills that were heard by the Committee:

1. H.B. No. 7016 (RAISED) AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE MORE COMMISSION SPECIAL EDUCATION SELECT WORKING GROUP. (ED)

2. S.B. No. 1099 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A COMMISSION TO DEVELOP A VISION AND STRATEGIC PLAN FOR THE CONNECTICUT EDUCATION SYSTEM. (ED)

3. H.B. No. 7017 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENT DATA PRIVACY. (ED)

4. S.B. No. 1103 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING SCHOOL DISTRICTS OF INNOVATION. (ED)

5. H.B. No. 7019 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE MINIMUM BUDGET REQUIREMENT. (ED)

6. S.B. No. 1095 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENTS ASSESSMENTS. (ED)

7. H.B. No. 7020 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS AND INITIATIVES. (ED)

8. S.B. No. 1101 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE OFFICE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD. (ED)

9. H.B. No. 7021 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAM EFFICACY. (ED)

10. S.B. No. 1098 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING TEACHER CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR SHORTAGE AREAS, INTERSTATE AGREEMENTS FOR TEACHER CERTIFICATION RECIPROCITY, MINORITY TEACHER RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION AND CULTURAL COMPETENCY INSTRUCTION. (ED)

11. H.B. No. 7018 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION. (ED)

12. S.B. No. 1096 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING CHARTER SCHOOLS. (ED)

13. H.B. No. 7022 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING AUTHORIZATION OF STATE GRANT COMMITMENTS FOR SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECTS AND CHANGES TO THE STATUTES CONCERNING SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECTS. (ED)

14. S.B. No. 1097 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING STATE FUNDING FOR EDUCATION. (ED)

15. H.B. No. 7024 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING MEASURES FOR CALCULATING SCHOOL AND DISTRICT PERFORMANCE AND WAIVERS OF FEDERAL LAW SOUGHT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. (ED)

16. S.B. No. 1102 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR BILINGUAL EDUCATORS. (ED)

17. H.B. No. 7023 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING MINOR REVISIONS TO THE EDUCATION STATUTES. (ED)

18. S.B. No. 1100 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE ELIMINATION OF THE REPORTING AND COLLECTION OF CERTAIN STUDENT AND TEACHER DATA. (ED)

 

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