Earlier this year, Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed P.A. 12-116, An Act Concerning Educational Reform, into law. P.A. 12-116 stands as the most significant education reform effort every undertaken in the Nutmeg State. This new law addressed needed changes in everything from early childhood education to school choice, from turning around our lowest-performing schools to fairly evaluating all of our teachers and principals.
As we all know, though, passing a law and actually doing what the law promises are two very different things. Many disagreed with P.A. 12-116 and many powerful special interests stand against some of the key components passed by the Connecticut General Assembly. So there is little question that some may seek to delay, deter, or downright reject efforts to take the specific improvements called for under the law.
We should all agree that every child in Connecticut should receive a great public education. That all kids should have exemplary teachers and should attend good public schools that prepare them for both college and career. And that every child, regardless of race, family income, or zip code, can and should succeed.
If we can all agree on those points, then we should all agree we need to ensure we implement a law – P.A. 12-116 – that seeks to provide all of that for every kid and every family in our state. That is why ConnCAN has decided to issue a Progress Report help Connnecticut’s families see the progress being made in education reform and to understand what we all should be looking for in the future from our schools, our policymakers, and our state.
ConnCAN released the first edition of this Progress Report this week, and will release updates every quarter. The Progress Report is publicly available, and can be found at: http://www.conncan.org/progressreport.
In this report, we examine progress in five key policy areas: Educator Evaluations; Commissioner’s Network; Alliance Districts; School Finance; and School Choice. In each category, we examine what the law requires, progress to date, and what to watch for.
From the inaugural report, a few key trends are clear. First, P.A. 12-116 is very ambitious in the improvements it promises to Connecticut’s students. Second, we have made real progress since it was signed into law in late May. And finally, we have a long way to go before we deliver on our promise to improve our public schools for all of our kids.
If we are serious about real education improvement, we must be willing to hold all accountable. It falls to all of us – educators and advocates, parents and policymakers, community leaders and civic voices – to ensure we fulfill the promises made in P.A. 12-116. The stakes are too high, and the outcomes are too important, for us to settle for anything less.