Wall Street Journal: School Woes Slow Malloy

By Shelly Banjo

Published by Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2011

As a candidate, Dannel Malloy a year ago placed education at the center of his campaign. He pledged that if elected governor, he would build on a slew of long-awaited education changes Connecticut lawmakers had passed in order to snag federal Race to the Top funds, intending to push the state even further.

If statewide test scores out this week are any indication, Mr. Malloy still has a long way to go before being known as an education reformer.

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Hartford Courant: CEO’s Aim to Disrupt Status Quo

By Rick Green

Publish by Hartford Courant, July 13, 2011

In a discouraging ritual that surprises almost nobody, the mastery test scores will be announced Wednesday, again revealing a vast achievement gap for poor and minority students.

We’ve had years of studies, commissions, press conferences and promises, but the gap remains. From graduation rates to third grade reading, poor and minoritychildren continue to struggle and fail.

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CT News Junkie: Nonprofit Hopes Business Input Will Help Close Achievement Gap

By Hugh McQuaid

Published by CT News Junkie, July 12, 2011

A nonprofit group consisting predominately of business leaders and inspired by a commission appointed by former-Gov. M. Jodi Rell called Tuesday for the implementation of 65 recommendations included its report, which they said will help to close Connecticut’s worst-in-the-country achievement gap.

The group originated as the Connecticut Commission on Education Achievement, a Rell initiative comprised of philanthropic and business leaders. And according to Chairwoman Peyton R. Patterson, former CEO of New Alliance Bank, business input is why the group will succeed where other nonprofits have failed.

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Hartford Business Journal: New CT Education Reform Panel Born

Published by Hartford Business Journal, July 12, 2011

Former NewAlliance Bank chief R. Peyton Patterson and other Connecticut business leaders have formed a Hartford nonprofit aimed at closing the state’s education achievement gap.

The Connecticut Council for Education Reform is the result of bipartisan blue-ribbon commission established by former Gov. M. Jodi Rell to come up with solutions for boosting academic achievement among students from low-income households.

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Hartford Courant: Business Led School Reform Group Launches In Conn

Associated Press

Published by Hartford Courant, July 12, 2011

HARTFORD, CT – Several corporate leaders are launching a nonprofit organization to push for education reforms in Connecticut, saying changes are critical to the state’s business climate, economy and the quality of its workforce.

The group members, including some current and former corporate presidents, announced Tuesday at the state Capitol that their new Connecticut Council for Education Reform is picking up where the Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement left off last year.

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CT Mirror: Teacher Evaluation Policies Must Reflect Student Needs

Op Ed By Shana Kennedy-Salchow

While most of the sound and fury during this legislative session has centered on the state’s budget deficit, there are crucial education issues that cry out for attention. For example, Connecticut’s current statutes related to teacher employment and evaluation policies are out of date. They are unfair to students and our best teachers and give us a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting and maintaining effective teachers…

These changes ensure that our most effective teachers remain and improve in the classroom, our struggling teachers receive the help they need, and our students receive the instruction they deserve. They also ensure that Connecticut is able to compete for ambitious teachers– those who want to find new ways to help students perform at their best and to be recognized for doing so.

The bill should be amended to allow districts to give primary consideration to evaluation outcomes. This way, they could first lay off teachers identified as needing “intensive supervision and assistance” with their current evaluation processes. It makes no sense to lay off a teacher who has been documented as being a great teacher while keeping someone who has been identified as struggling simply because he has more years of experience. This practice is unfair to our best teachers but most of all to our students who will receive the ultimate consequence of poor academic instruction and preparation for the future.

It is time for Connecticut’s legislature to put the needs of our students and teachers over the archaic and debilitating policies and practices that govern our teacher employment decisions today.

Read the full opinion here.



Stamford Advocate: Achievement Gap More Than a Black and White Issue

By Maggie Gordon

The achievement gap between low-income and non-low-income students in Connecticut is the largest in the nation, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics…

‘The fascinating thing here is that when you look at low-income kids in Connecticut, we oftentimes are in the bottom one-third of states…’ said Shana Kennedy, co-executive director of the Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement…

‘Connecticut’s overall performance is pretty impressive; we tend to be in the top five overall, and I think for a long time we were able to hide behind that,’ Kennedy said.

Read the full story here.



Hartford Courant: Blueprint For Public Schools

Published by Hartford Courant, December 27, 2010

Agenda 2011 Goals: End the achievement gap, get A’s on nation’s report card

This state does well in schooling better-off suburban children. But it fails low-income children, who are mostly concentrated in city schools. Poor students in the fourth and eighth grades in Connecticut score three grade levels below their more comfortable peers — the worst achievement gap in the nation — even though this state is among the highest per-pupil spenders in the nation.

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Connecticut Post: Education a Top Priority

Published by Connecticut Post, December 27, 2010

Among the new courses Gov.-elect Dan Malloy will set in the coming year is that for the state’s Education Department.

He has said he will run a national search for a person to replace Education Commissioner Mark K. McQuillan, who was appointed to the job in January 2007 and who resigned last week.

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Connecticut Post: Improve Chances for Every Student

Published by Connecticut Post, December 17, 2010

Some of the arguments made in the recent opinion piece “Educational problems run deeper than achievement gap” are indeed correct. The recent PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) results reinforce the need for the entire nation, not just Connecticut, to address and reform education for students at every level.

However, the opinion piece misses the mark in that improving educational outcomes for high-performing and low-performing students are not mutually exclusive goals.

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