by Tim Reed
Connecticut students, educators and parents are sounding a note of optimism as both chambers of congress have passed a sweeping education reform bill. The bill is now headed to Governor Malloy and is expected to be quickly signed into law.
Connecticut Education Association President Phil Apruzzesse praised the legislation, saying:
The governor and top legislative leaders have recognized that teaching and learning is complex, and that teachers’ view from the classroom is essential to enacting education reform that will benefit students and our communities. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to a long list of legislators, especially Senate President Pro Tempore Don Williams, House Speaker Chris Donovan, and Education Committee Co-Chair Sen. Andrea Stillman, for their leadership and tireless efforts in legislative negotiations.
Over the past few months, there have been ups and downs on the road to education reform. At its lowest point, the debate demonized teachers. Fortunately, with leadership in the Education Committee and in the House and Senate, the state turned a corner and put on the emphasis where it belongs: more pre-K, early literacy, health and social supports for disadvantaged students, respect for teachers bargaining rights, improved and fair teacher evaluation and dismissal, and access to innovative programs with proven track records.
In the past few months, thousands of Connecticut educators and parents have phone banked, emailed their legislators and descended on the Capitol to ensure that the education reform bill works to impact those who need it most – the students. After rounds of negotiations and public input, stakeholders arrived at a bill that raises education standards, honors collective bargaining, expands access and addresses critical issues of quality in schools.
National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel was quick to join the parents and educators of Connecticut in praising the bill, stating:
The key takeaway today is that parents and educators know what is best for their students. Most importantly, educators had a seat at the table in shaping policy and their expertise was essential in leading to decisions that will benefit students and schools. Today Connecticut students won, because elected officials listened to the experts – Connecticut parents and educators.
You can visit the Connecticut Education Association website for more information, or stand up for public education in your own state by emailing your members of congress to let them know what will work best for your students and school.