At ConnCAN, we are working on public policies that ensure all children, regardless of their background, have access to a great education.
During the 2019 legislative session, we testified on 15 bills in front of 7 legislative committees and met with nearly 100 legislators!
We set out to increase educator diversity, connect classrooms to career and equitably fund public schools. Here’s how we fared on those goals and more:
Where ConnCAN secured wins
Develop inclusive policies that support the recruitment and retention of high-quality minority teachers
POLICY WIN: ConnCAN, in partnership with CT’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, secured passage of SB 1022: An Act Concerning Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention! Now, Connecticut has yearly targets for increasing minority teachers (of which 30% are men), expanded reciprocity agreements with all fifty states, flexible certification requirements for shortage areas (STEM, special education, ELL) and mortgage and scholarship incentives.
Update teacher professional development to include culturally responsive pedagogy and practice
POLICY WIN: ConnCAN helped secure passage of SB 1020: An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Instruction in Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Practice in Preservice Training, Professional Development and In-Service Training Provided to Teachers! This legislation ensures current teachers participate in professional development to learn about culturally responsive pedagogy and practice. This will improve relationship building between teachers, students and families.
Ensure that all Connecticut students have access Black and Latino studies
POLICY WIN: ConnCAN testified and worked with members of CT’s Black & Puerto Rican Caucus to secure passage of HB 7082: An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Black & Latino Studies in the Public School Curriculum! This ensures that all Connecticut high schools offer a one-credit course on Black & Latino studies. Students across the state demanded that schools better teach the value and contributions of Black & Latino people throughout history. The State Department of Education will develop the course with the State Education Resource Center (SERC).
Ensure that all Connecticut students have access to computer science instruction
POLICY WIN: ConnCAN testified and worked with forward-thinking legislators to secure passage of SB 957: An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Computer Science Instruction in Public School Curriculum! As Connecticut’s economy requires greater computer science acumen, we must ensure that all schools, regardless of their location, have computer science programs that help prepare students for high-growth, high-wage jobs.
Where ConnCAN made progress:
Create career pathways for students eager to enter the workforce after graduating high school
PROGRESS MADE: Two workforce development bills, SB 5 and HB 5001 passed, both focused on studying workforce needs in the state. However, ConnCAN’s preferred bill, HB 6887 passed the house (141-5) but was not taken up by the Senate. ConnCAN will work to ensure that the voice of educational equity is loud and present in the two task forces.
Streamline how schools are funded
PROGRESS MADE: Connecticut invested more money and resources into public education this session (see CT’s FY20-21 budget). Cities & towns will receive an additional $113 million dollars over two years, and public charter schools will receive nearly 7% more in the biennium. Magnet schools will receive a 2% increase in funding. However, funding for schools of choice remains complex and unverifiable. We will continue to advocate for a streamlined funding formula that includes all public schools, rather than placing magnets and charters on separate line-items.
Where progress stalled
Deepen post-secondary education data collection and reporting
PROGRESS STALLED: Connecticut continues to not track or report post-secondary data, including remediation, industry certification and career entry rates. ConnCAN will work with SDE and legislators to address the benefits of data collection and reporting for families and the community. Families, armed with accessible data, are able to make informed decisions about the educational path of their child. Until we know how well schools prepare our young people for college and career, we’ll fall short of finding solutions for closing the opportunity gap.
Catalyze the development of teacher housing pilots that help teachers live and work in the same community
PROGRESS STALLED: Connecticut failed to pass a bill making housing more affordable for teachers. While HB 7226 passed the House 133-11, the Senate did not take up the bill. ConnCAN will continue to find creative ways to support teachers to live in the communities where they work. Research shows that this makes a positive impact on the teacher-student relationship and has numerous economic benefits.