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Clarifying Misconceptions About Governor Malloy’s Education Bill (SB 24)

With all of the coverage of Governor Malloy’s education bill, also known as SB 24, we’ve noticed that there are some misconceptions surrounding the content of the bill and what it actually proposes.  Therefore, this is the first in a series of posts that seek to clarify some of the misconceptions and inaccuracies regarding interpretation of Governor Malloy’s Education Reform Bill (SB 24) that we’ve come across. Read More »

A Connecticut High School Student Testifies in Support of the Governor’s Education Bill

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Edwin Rosales is a Junior at Norwalk High School. At last week’s public hearings, as various parties spoke up to voice their opinions about the Governor’s Proposed Bill, Edwin’s testimony stood out to us as an important reminder that students’ needs must be the primary determinant when developing education policy. We are grateful that Edwin has permitted us to publish his written testimony below.

Senate Bill 24 Testimony, February 21, 2012

Chairwoman Stillman, Chairman Fleischmann, and members of the education committee, thank you very much for having me here today. My name is Edwin Rosales, and I am currently a junior at Norwalk High School in Norwalk CT. I am here to support Senate Bill 24.

Education has always been an important part of my life, and it is what is driving me towards success. I believe that my experience in the Norwalk Public Schools has not been a bad one, though I also believe it has not been the best. Read More »

How a Bill Becomes a Law and the Role of the Public Hearing

Introduction of New Bills

Every new piece of legislation begins as a bill before a specific committee, depending on the subject matter of the bill.  (For example, education related matters for grades K-12 would be introduced in the Education Committee of the General Assembly.)

Once the specific committee of cognizance receives and reviews a bill, the committee decides to take one of the following actions:Read More »

Unpacking the Governor’s Proposal to Reform Tenure

“And so when I say it’s time we reform teacher tenure, I mean it.”

– Governor Malloy in his State of the State Address, February 8, 2012

We began this week by taking a look at Connecticut’s teacher tenure policies– how they work (or don’t) and why they need to be reformed. Today, we’re going to look at the specifics of Governor Malloy’s plan for reforming tenure, based upon his proposed bill, which is currently being reviewed by the Joint Committee on Education. Read More »

A Look at Connecticut’s Current Teacher Tenure Policies

Where Does the Idea of Tenure Come From?

The concept of tenure is rooted in higher education, where it was implemented in order to provide protection to professors so that they could pursue politically charged and controversial research without fear of retribution from their administrations.  Then, in 1885, the National Education Association (NEA) began to advocate for tenure in the public school setting – in order to protect a group of state employees who, at that point in history, had few protections: the then-disenfranchised class of college-educated women. Before teacher tenure was established, public schools benefited greatly from the limitations placed on these women – gaining a monopoly on a capable and educated workforce that did not require high wages or high-quality working conditions.Read More »

Malloy: “Let’s speak bluntly: many parts of our system of public education are broken.”

“Let’s be honest with ourselves, and let’s speak bluntly: many parts of our system of public education are broken.”

– Gov. Malloy introduces the topic of education in his State of the State Address 

The 2012 Legislative Session is now underway.  For those of us who insist time and again that the only way to bring lasting changes to Connecticut is to introduce a portfolio of reforms that link issues of policy, funding and action to the needs and experiences of the students (rather than the adults) – our time is now.

In the past few weeks, Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor have unfolded a bold and impressive proposal for education reform that is highly aligned with the recommendations put forth by the Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement, CCER’s precursor organization, in its 2010 Report.  From intensive school turnaround strategies to forward-thinking models of educator preparation, certification, evaluation, compensation, retention, and professional development – we believe the Governor is on the right track.  What follows is a discussion of a few of the areas of alignment between CCER’s recommendations and Governor Malloy’s education proposals:Read More »

The Vice President of the National Council on Teacher Quality Weighs in on PEAC’s Recommendations and Needed Next Steps

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Sandi Jacobs is Vice President of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). In January, NCTQ released its fifth annual State Teacher Policy Yearbook, a 52-volume report on the state laws, regulations and policies that shape teacher effectiveness. To download a copy of Connecticut’s report or a national overview report, go to: http://www.nctq.org/stpy11/reports.jsp

Over the last few years, the National Council on Teacher Quality’s (NCTQ) State Teacher Policy Yearbook has chronicled a sea change in teacher evaluation policy. Across the states we’ve seen real movement toward rethinking how to evaluate teacher performance, including by explicitly tying assessments of teacher effectiveness to student results.  If the State Board in Connecticut adopts the recommendations of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) this month, the state will become the eighteenth state in the nation to include student achievement as a significant criterion in teacher evaluations (in 12 of those states, student achievement is required to be the most significant factor in assessments of teacher performance).

Even as the PEAC recommendations are a step in the right direction, the key will be what steps Connecticut takes to ensure that these evaluation guidelines translate into more effective teachers in classrooms across the state.Read More »

Our Thoughts on the Governor’s Call to Simplify Teacher Certification

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Rae Ann Knopf, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform

We at the Connecticut Council for Education Reform applaud Governor Malloy for acting swiftly to eliminate unnecessary barriers faced by Boards of Education and Superintendents as they work to place the most effective

teachers and principals in our schools. Revising Connecticut’s teacher certification and employment policies as Malloy has proposed will facilitate the raising of student achievement by helping to ensure that we have great teachers and leaders working side-by-side on behalf of Connecticut’s children.

Similarly, creating flexibility in support of reciprocity with other states will open the doors for Connecticut schools to attract the best and brightest from across the country. These most recent proposals are highly aligned with many of CCER’s 65+ policy recommendations on how to close Connecticut’s achievement gap while raising academic excellence for all students.  The momentum is truly building for meaningful education reform in Connecticut this year and we salute Governor Malloy and his administration for leading the way.

Educator Evaluations, Part 1: Recent Progress and Hopes for the Future

We are very encouraged by the guidelines that were approved by the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) this week.   PEAC was created to collaborate with the State Board of Education (SBE) in establishing statewide guidelines for the evaluation of educators. They have been meeting for two years and they finally agreed – unanimously – on the following framework: Read More »

Our New Executive Director Shares What Excites Her About Working at CCER in CT

Rae Ann Knopf recently joined the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) as its new Executive Director. After formally introducing her at CCER’s press conference at the State Capital yesterday, we’ve asked Rae Ann to share her thoughts on assuming the leadership role at CCER and what excites her about CCER’s role in supporting education reform efforts in the state.

This is, perhaps, the most exciting time in education that our country has ever known: it’s a time when the citizens of this nation have openly begun to demand a dynamic education system that will ensure a transformative learning experience for every child.

In particular, the circumstances in Connecticut this year make it ripe for educational reform because we have two of the key ingredients necessary to propel the needed changes: Read More »