Improving Policy

Each year, we work in partnership with teachers, administrators, parents, students and community members to remove policy barriers and strengthen opportunities for school choice, diverse teachers and school leaders and college and career readiness.

Once we identify the most pressing issues in Connecticut public education, we engage our partners in advocating for solutions. We plug educators and community members into opportunities to contact their state and local leaders by sharing testimony, attending meetings, holding rallies, writing letters and much more. Over the years, our work has helped advance dozens of issues. We’re especially proud of:

  • Our debut campaign, “Mind the Gaps,” which brought Connecticut’s achievement gap into the public conversation–and underscored its urgency–while sharing our vision of an education system that would elevate our students, our schools, our economy and the future of our state.
  • Our 2010 “Race to the Top Campaign,” through which we engaged elected officials around Connecticut’s application for competitive federal funds and shared our research-backed policy goals for improving the state’s chances of winning. We successfully advocated for four major reforms: measuring effectiveness through better teacher evaluations, adopting world-class standards for our schools and students, empowering superstar principals through improved certification paths and ensuring that money follows the child–no matter where they choose to learn.
  • Helping to pass policies that have increased charter public school enrollment by 50 percent and charter public school funding by 60 percent annually.
  • Adopting and protecting college- and career-readiness standards and aligned assessments at a time when states across the country were rolling back progress on that front.

Sharing Promising Practices and Stories

In addition to our policy work, ConnCAN works to change the narrative around public education in Connecticut, shining a light on the setbacks our education system faces and mobilizing the community around our collective potential to ensure that every child has access to great schools. We do this by sharing promising practices from changing-the-odds schools and creating clear, timely and user-friendly research that empowers community members to advocate for change, including:

  • Our publications on proof points from around the country that could inspire change in Connecticut and our toolkits–like the 2018 Field Guide to Education in Connecticut–that provide a snapshot of key facts about where our schools stand and where they need to go.
  • Our blog and public statements, which amplify the voices of our coalition partners, connect community members with our policy goals and keep Connecticut students, teachers and school leaders at the forefront of public conversation.
  • Our focus on connecting community members with opportunities to share their stories and ideas through the media, directly with legislators and more.

The CAN Model

The success of ConnCAN inspired the creation of an organization to help bring the CAN model to new states, 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now. ConnCAN helped incubate 50CAN and launch it in 2011 as an independent nonprofit organization. In March 2018, ConnCAN became a chapter of 50CAN.

50CAN is a locally led, nationally supported nonprofit that aims to build enduring, research-backed advocacy campaigns that find a path to success. 50CAN finds, connects and empowers local leaders across the country in pursuit of educational policies that lead to great schools.

  • 50CAN strengthens the impact of our work to improve public school policy through innovative and best practice supports in communications, mobilization, policy and research.
  • 50CAN identifies outstanding education leaders in each state and gives them an opportunity to lead as executive directors, staff, board members, philanthropists and advocates through the creation of a CAN.
  • 50CAN builds deep connections between state campaigns so that they can learn from one another, share strategies, adopt best practices and pool resources.
  • 50CAN makes it easier for leaders to carry out high-quality campaigns and more quickly achieve results by taking back-office work off their plates and providing best-in-class tools and trainings.