Students make the greatest progress when parents, teachers and education leaders unite around the singular goal of student success. Thankfully, we’re seeing more states move toward this ideal, including Connecticut.
Last month, officials released statewide assessment results, which showed progress toward proficiency in English Language Arts and mathematics among Connecticut students.
What’s most exciting is that increases in student achievement occurred in both subjects, across all grade levels, and in all “high-needs” subgroups. This success comes even with the state raising the bar with a new, more rigorous assessment – demonstrating how students rise to meet the challenge of higher standards.
Connecticut students, teachers and school leaders can be proud of their success. However, there is still work to be done to close the equity gap for minority students.
Only 3 out of 10 African American or Hispanic students met or exceeded expectations on the state’s English Language Arts assessments. Thankfully, leaders in Connecticut are shining a light on this disparity and recommending options to narrow the state’s achievement gap.
As Jennifer Alexander of Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCan) pointed out, “These results call on all of us to continue working to close our large opportunity gaps, especially since the population of students of color in Connecticut continues to grow.”
One solution that many states have used to narrow the disparity among students is to offer a robust array of educational choices, including traditional public, magnet, charter, virtual and private school options.
Currently, more than 6,000 Connecticut students are on a waiting list to attend a public charter or magnet school. And, because of the state’s cap on school choice, the wait continues.
In response, families across Connecticut have rallied to advocate for a better education for all students in their state. Notably, four parents from Bridgeport and Hartford filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of their children, to ensure all children have equal access to a quality education. They know we can do better, and we must.
This new challenge coincides with a ruling this month on a decade-old lawsuit in which the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding argued that the state was failing to meet its constitutional obligation to provide a “minimally adequate public education” for all students.
In the judge’s 2016 ruling, he confirmed that the public education system in Connecticut had persistent inequities. He gave the state 180 days to identify and present solutions to both expand educational opportunities for students and fulfill the state’s constitutional obligation to those students.
The judge ended his ruling with a simple, but impactful truth: Schools are for kids.
Let’s ensure every Connecticut family has the options and opportunities to find the best education setting for their child. Without a doubt, a great education is the foundation for lifelong success.
Foundation for Excellence in Education