Connecticut Health Investigative Team: Low Graduation Rates Tied To Absenteeism, Poverty In Urban Schools

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By Molli DeRosa

According to the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, Connecticut has the largest education achievement gap in the United States, meaning wealthier students are assumed to be doing well in school, but lower-income students are assumed to be doing poorly. The council also states on its website that one factor contributing to the achievement gap in schools is the “need for more effective teachers and school leaders.”

Read the full piece here.

Hartfordbusiness.com: Businesses seek bigger say in education reform

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The Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) affiliated in mid-May, hoping to align their areas of expertise so that businesses can assist educators in improving literacy, fostering professional development and establishing other policies that help strengthen the state’s workforce and close the so-called “achievement gap,” which is the difference in educational performance between Connecticut’s low-income and non-low-income students.

Read the full piece here.

Center for Data Innovation-Dear Parents: Your Concerns About Student Privacy Are Being Exploited

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Parents understandably value the privacy of their children and thus are sensitive to programs that collect and analyze student data. On the other hand, nonprofits, education researchers, and education technology firms rely on data collected inside and outside the classroom to develop and improve educational products and services, enable teachers to personalize lessons, help school administrators make more informed decisions, and increase student achievement. All too often, many education stakeholders falsely portray these two objectives as mutually exclusive and insinuate that if the education system is going to explore data-driven innovation, it will sacrifice student privacy.

In 2015, the Connecticut Education Association (CEA)—the state’s largest teachers’ union— accused the Hamden school district of irresponsibly sharing student data with the Connected Council for Education Reform (CCER), a nonprofit working to reduce achievement gaps between schools in wealthy and poor districts. CCER’s work, which it offered to the school district at no cost despite being valued at $100,000, focused on analyzing budgeting data to identify inefficient administrative practices so the school district could devote a greater share of its resources to educating its students. The data CCER was legally provided with by the school district was both anonymous and subject to a confidentiality agreement, preventing CCER from sharing this information. Despite this, CEA falsely insisted that CCER was covertly accessing personally identifiable data without parental consent and insinuated that CCER would sell this data. While student privacy was never in jeopardy here, CEA levied these accusations to garner support for state legislation that would greatly restrict the ability of well-meaning groups like CCER to access and analyze education data and in theory, prevent third parties from uncovering inefficient allocation of resources that benefited CEA members.

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WSHU: Will More Minority Teachers Close Connecticut’s Achievement Gap?

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Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the non-profit Connecticut Council for Education Reform, thinks that even if 1,000 teachers of color are recruited in the state, it may be a while until that translates into better results for minority students.

Read the full story here.

CT Mirror: Comey fired, making CT politics seem normal by comparison

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By Paul Stern

Also this week, the Connecticut Council for Education Reform – often a voice opposing the state’s teachers’ unions – was folded into the state’s chief business organization, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Read the full story here.

Westfaironline – CBIA, Connecticut Council for Education Reform form partnership

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By Kevin Zimmerman

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association and the Connecticut Council for Education Reform have formed a strategic affiliation designed to enhance the existing education and workforce initiatives of both organizations. The combined organization will operate as CBIA’s Education & Workforce Partnership.

Read the full story here.

CT Mirror: Education reform group folds into CT’s chief business lobby

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The business-backed Connecticut Council for Education Reform – which lobbies at the state Capitol and is often a voice opposing the state’s teachers’ unions – is folding into the state’s chief business organization, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Read the full piece here.

Hartfordbusiness.com: CBIA, education reform council affiliate to boost workforce

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The Connecticut Business and Industry Association said Wednesday it is affiliating with the Connecticut Council for Education Reform to enhance both groups’ education and workforce initiatives.

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CBIA: CBIA, Connecticut Council for Education Reform Join Forces

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Since 2011, CCER has worked to narrow the achievement gap and raise academic outcomes for all students in Connecticut.

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CT Viewpoints (opinion) – State board should project objectivity in teacher evaluation

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By Jeffrey Villar

…last year, the State Board approved yet another de-coupling with the express caveat that ‘the Board fully supports and expects the implementation of the use of state test data in the 2017-18 school year, with a further report to the Board by November 2016, and informs PEAC that the State Board of Education will not grant any additional extensions.’

That’s why it’s so disappointing that the State Board voted earlier this month to permanently prohibit using the state test when evaluating the performance of teachers. Beyond flouting its own promises, beyond damaging the balance within the never-implemented evaluation model, the State Board challenged the expectations we have slowly been building about whether our education system has a duty to our kids.

Read the full piece here.

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