FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–CEA Allegations Completely False

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CONTACT: Nicki Perkins
EMAIL: Nicki.Perkins@ctedreform.org
PHONE: 203-506-5799

CEA Allegations Completely False

New Haven, Connecticut – Today, the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) released a press statement containing false allegations about the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER). In response, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of CCER, made the following statement:

“It is a shame that the CEA is so determined to protect adults and the status quo that it would work against our efforts to make schools better for kids. Worse, the statements released by the CEA are factually incorrect, and they know it. It is completely irresponsible for them to make these false and inflammatory statements. Although this is going to sound harsh, they ought to be ashamed of themselves.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–Education is a Data-Driven Science

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CONTACT: Nicki Perkins
EMAIL: Nicki.Perkins@ctedreform.org
PHONE: 203-506-5799

CCER: Education is a Data-Driven Science

New Haven, Connecticut – Today, Wednesday, May 20, 2015, the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) released the results of a survey on the impact of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test (SBAC) on teachers and students. In response, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of CCER, released the following statement:

“I am baffled by those who continue to rail against reasonable efforts to ensure that we are providing all children with a high quality education and using public resources in the most effective manner possible. Apparently, they expect Connecticut citizens to continue to dole out millions upon millions of dollars annually with no regard for the quality of services provided or student learning outcomes. What industry in our modern world works under such conditions?

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–CCER Supports State’s Continued Commitment to Preschool

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

CCER Supports State’s Continued Commitment to Preschool

New Haven, Connecticut – Today, May 8th, Governor Malloy announced that he expects the State Bond Commission to approve almost $1.6 million in capital improvement grants to districts seeking to enhance or expand preschool services.  These grants are apart of the Smart Start program, established last year as a ten-year initiative to expand preschool access, particularly for children from low-income families. In response, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), issued the following statement:

“We are very pleased that Connecticut has continued to provide support to our districts and to promote the importance of expanding preschool access. Research shows that students from disadvantaged backgrounds really can overcome gaps in achievement, if we make the right early investments and give them sustained support.

“As Connecticut’s young students are poised to begin their academic careers, they deserve a fair chance at meeting success. Under Smart Start, the state is able to work with districts make that happen. We hope that Connecticut will continue to honor this commitment for years to come.”

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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–CCER Responds to Appropriations Budget

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Nicki Perkins
EMAIL: Nicki.Perkins@ctedreform.org
PHONE: 203-506-5799
CCER Responds to Appropriations Budget

New Haven, Connecticut – Today, April 27th, the Appropriations Committee voted out its budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. In response, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), issued the following statement:

“We were very pleased to see that the Appropriations Committee has recommended a full restoration of the funding for priority school grants, which will assist our neediest districts through measures such as increased learning time. The Committee also allocated new funding for the educations of English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual students. In addition, the Committee has provided funding for districts to phase in full-day kindergarten. All three of these initiatives play an important role in narrowing Connecticut’s achievement gap.

“However, we are disappointed that there has been a reduction in the school accountability grant and funding for school choice options for children and families.

“As our Legislature seeks to finalize our budget, we encourage them to continue to prioritize education. Connecticut’s students deserve nothing less.”

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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–CCER Testifies on Certification, Assessments, and More

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

CCER Testifies on Certification, Assessments, and More

New Haven, Connecticut – On Thursday, March 19, 2015, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), testified before the Education Committee during a public he­aring on several pieces of proposed legislation that ran deep into the night.

“CCER strongly supports many aspects of Senate Bill 1098,” said Dr. Villar of a bill that would address various requirements for teacher certification. “This bill would reduce barriers for out-of-state teacher candidates and also create Alternate Routes to Certification for administrator positions. Both of these measures would serve to broaden the pool of educator candidates in our state.”

“CCER is also supportive of a study on the impact of standardized assessments on students,” Dr. Villar said. “We need these tests if we are going to have any accountability in our public education system. Standardized tests allow us to measure the efficacy of our investments in improving public education. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve helped us to identify whether students from subgroups are doing as well as other students. My organization exists because they are not.”

The Education Committee heard about numerous other important bills that night. To read Dr. Villar’s full, written testimony, click here.

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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–To Appropriations: Neediest Districts Shouldn’t Bear the Burden

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

CCER to Appropriations: Neediest Districts Shouldn’t Bear the Burden

New Haven, Connecticut – Today, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of CCER, testified before the Appropriations Committee about the Governor’s proposed budget and its implications for Connecticut’s neediest schools and districts.

Villar reminded the Committee that in 2012, Connecticut committed to providing the 30 lowest-performing districts (the “Alliance Districts”) with increased oversight and resources so that they could improve. “The work of raising achievement in the Alliance Districts is not yet complete,” he said. “And we believe that it would be unwise to reduce funding for grants that disproportionately impact them.”

Villar also observed that the Proposed Budget’s treatment of early childhood funding did not meet the state’s need. He informed the Committee of recent estimates that “about 7,500 children in high-need communities still lack access to quality early childhood experiences.”

Although Villar commended the Governor for refraining from balancing the budget on the back of the public education system at large, he reminded the Committee that Connecticut residents are relying on them “to ensure that we don’t place that burden on our lowest-performing districts or our youngest students either.”

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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–Education Remains Best Investment for Connecticut’s Future

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

CCER: Education Remains Best Investment for Connecticut’s Future

New Haven, Connecticut – Today, February 18, 2015, Governor Malloy delivered his biennial budget address. In response, Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), made the following statement:

“We are pleased that the Governor’s proposal prioritizes capital investments in the Alliance Districts, emphasizes the importance of full-day Kindergarten, and continues state funding for preschool. Investing early will save us money in the long run by setting students up for success.

“However, we should also be strategically investing now in programs that bring the best and brightest in the teaching profession to the lowest-performing districts. For example, if we want every classroom to have an exceptional teacher, we need to invest in incentives that will attract and retain them in the neediest public schools.

“The proposed budget also outlines a hiring freeze. We recognize that this is an important measure because of the impending budget deficit. However, we need to ensure that the next Commissioner of Education is able to staff the State Department of Education with enough capacity to provide high-quality technical support to our neediest districts, and hold them accountable for results. We are concerned that a hiring freeze may impede an incoming Commissioner’s ability to effectively narrow the achievement gap.

“Narrowing Connecticut’s widest-in-the-nation achievement gap is of incredible moral importance, but it is also an economic imperative for this state. We need to continue our commitment to a long-term investment in improving outcomes for our students if we want to ensure Connecticut’s economic viability.”

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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–CCER Congratulates Crosby on Approval of Turnaround Plan

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

CCER Congratulates Crosby on Approval of Turnaround Plan

New Haven, Connecticut – Today, February 4th, the Connecticut State Board of Education (SBOE) approved a turnaround plan for Crosby High School in Waterbury. Crosby joined the second cohort of Commissioner’s Network Schools in 2013. These schools gain greater school-level flexibility and autonomy in exchange for additional state-level oversight, including the need to have their turnaround plans approved by the SBOE. In response to the SBOE’s approval of Crosby’s plan, CCER Executive Director Jeffrey Villar made the following statement:

“CCER congratulates both the Waterbury Board of Education and the Turnaround Office of the State Department of Education on getting this plan approved. They took a hard, honest look at the data, and developed a realistic school turnaround plan for Crosby High School.

“Turning around a school with a long history of low performance is very difficult work. I am pleased that the proposed plan seeks to address the needs of diverse learners; recognizes the need for a rigorous and engaging curriculum; promotes a positive school climate; and maintains a focus on parental engagement.

“I also applaud the State Board of Education for requiring the plan to focus on chronic absenteeism. Absenteeism is a fundamental problem in many low-performing schools, and any investment in school improvement is wasted if we cannot ensure that students are attending in the first place.

“It’s vitally important to the turnaround process that approvals of these plans not become merely a rubber stamp. By making sure that the Crosby plan was sound, the State Board of Education has demonstrated that it takes this process and this intervention framework very seriously. Now that this plan has been approved, it will be equally important for Crosby, the State Board of Education, and the State Department of Education to hold each other responsible for showing that real, measurable progress is being made. Connecticut’s students deserve nothing less.”

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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–CCER Prioritizes Pre-K and Human Capital in 2015

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

CCER Prioritizes Pre-K and Human Capital in 2015

New Haven, Connecticut – On Wednesday, January 21, 2015, the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) released its 2015 legislative and administrative priorities. According to Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of CCER, these priorities are intended to improve public education in Connecticut by narrowing the achievement gap and raising academic outcomes for all students.

“As always,” Villar reported, “our top priority is to ensure that the historic reforms successfully passed in previous years are fully funded and implemented. But we also need to make new changes to keep improving the public education system.

“For instance, we want to further increase the number of School Readiness slots, setting aside new funding for low-income children to have opportunities to attend accredited programs. We also need to make sure that our low-income families can get access to that support, regardless of where they live in Connecticut.

“Additionally, we must elevate the teaching profession in several ways. To bring in more talent, we should enter into agreements with neighboring states, allowing educators who have successfully taught there to come and be licensed to teach within Connecticut too. Then, within the state, we need to improve our teacher preparation programs so that our new teachers are better prepared for the demands of teaching. We should also provide incentives to attract and retain excellent teachers to our neediest schools.

“At the same time, we can broaden our leadership pool by entering into administrator reciprocity agreements and adding Alternate Routes to Certification (ARCs).”

However, according to CCER, not all the needed changes are legislative.

“There are also some things that need to be done administratively,” Villar explained. “We have outlined several steps that the state can take to ramp up its interventions in low-performing districts. We’ve also recommended that regulations be amended to heighten admissions standards for teacher preparation programs. And, one of the most important things we’ve recommended is a focus on increasing the capacity of the State Department of Education.”

To read CCER’s 2015 legislative and administrative priorities, visit: http://ctedreform.org/2015/01/priorities/ .

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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–CCER’s Progress Report: We Must Do More In 2015

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CONTACT: Nicki Perkins
EMAIL: Nicki.Perkins@ctedreform.org
PHONE: 203-506-5799

 

CCER’s Progress Report: We Must Do More In 2015

New Haven, Connecticut – Today, December 11th, the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) released its 2014 Policy Progress Report. The report uses a rating system to track the state’s progress in effecting the changes needed to narrow Connecticut’s widest-in-the-nation achievement gap and raise academic outcomes for all children.

According to Jeffrey Villar, Executive Director of CCER, “Last year’s report charted the tremendous progress that had been made over the last few years. But this year’s report shows that progress has slowed. The complex and difficult work of transforming Connecticut’s schools and narrowing the achievement gap requires our firm resolve and continued commitment to improving student achievement. CCER stands ready to assist our school districts as they engage in this important work.”

Some of the findings in the report are that Connecticut should:

  • Intervene earlier, as soon as students start falling behind;
  • Broaden its leadership pool by developing Alternate Routes to Certification;
  • Better prepare new teachers, especially to work with low-income students;
  • Do more to reward and retain effective teachers;
  • Create a more transparent and fair funding system for the state;
  • Give the School Turnaround Office more autonomy and hold it more accountable; and
  • Develop a longitudinal data system to drive informed decision-making.

To view the full report and rubrics, click here.

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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

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