HARTFORD, CT – A new non-profit was announced today, comprised mainly of business leaders with the goal of closing the state’s achievement gap and raising academic outcomes for all students.

The Connecticut Council for Education Reform was born out of the Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement, a bipartisan group of business and philanthropic leaders appointed by former Governor Rell to make recommendations for closing Connecticut’s achievement gap, the largest in the nation.

The former Commission held hearings across the state, visited schools and traveled to other states with successful records of reform before issuing its report with more than 65 recommendations in October, 2010. Many of the Commissioners felt strongly that simply writing a report was not enough and that a new organization was needed to advance the implementation of the recommendations.

The mission of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform is to significantly close the achievement gap while raising academic outcomes for all students and to facilitate the implementation of the former Commission’s recommendations.

The achievement gap is evident in the early grades in reading and math and it persists through high school. The end result for many of Connecticut’s low-income students is a lack of the preparation they need for life after high school and a high dropout rate. This gap lives in both urban and suburban communities across Connecticut and it affects everyone.

The Council, headed by former NewAlliance Bank Chairman and CEO, Peyton Patterson, will focus on the following:

  • Working towards comprehensive education reform
  • Increasing awareness of the achievement gap and solutions to the problem
  • Fostering relationships with the State Department of Education, school districts, innovative non-profits, and funders to help implement the reforms.

“Governor Malloy has indicated that the 2012 legislative session will be ‘the education session,’” said Peyton R. Patterson, Chair of the CT Council for Education Reform. “Our goal is for Connecticut to become the top performing state with the smallest achievement gap; thereby providing all students with a world-class education.”

Steven J. Simmons, CEO of Simmons Patriot Media & Communications and Chairman of RCN, who chaired the Commission on Educational Achievement and will sit on the board of the newly-formed Council: “The reaction to our recommendations was so positive, and came from such a wide variety of stakeholders, that we felt compelled to keep the momentum going towards making our recommendations a reality.”