A coalition of six of the state’s leading education and business groups – CAPSS, CAS, CABE, CBIA, CCER, CONNCAN – urge legislators not to back down from key pillars of last year’s education reform law

New Haven, CT (May 6, 2013) – In the state biennial budget released by the Connecticut General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Appropriations recently, $36.9 million was slashed from key pillars of last year’s landmark education reform law (Public Act 12-116). The cuts include funding for a new statewide educator evaluation system, Common Core implementation support, and the Commissioner’s Network school turnaround program.

This prompted the Big Six – a group composed of six education and business organizations – to urge lawmakers to protect progress made last year for Connecticut children by continuing to invest education reforms, which the General Assembly passed with overwhelming support one-year ago this week (House passed 149-0 on May 8, 2012; Senate passed 28-7 on May 8, 2012).

“Let’s be clear about what this means for kids across Connecticut,” said Rae Ann Knopf, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform. “Although every child in Connecticut could be positively affected by properly investing in last year’s education reforms, the committee’s action could mean that up to 200,000 children in the state this year won’t get the interventions they need and deserve.”

Key pillars of last year’s education reform law received significant cuts in the Appropriations Budget, which include:

  • Statewide teacher and principal evaluation and support program: Talent development, a budget line item that funds the new statewide Teacher and Principal Evaluation and Support Program, took a 73 percent cut in funds. The line item received a $13,325,000 decrease for FY2014, and another $13,325,000 for FY2015. More specifically, the statewide educator evaluation and support program took a 50 percent cut in funds. These cuts decimate a program aimed helping educators to improve their performance and ensuring they get the support and feedback they need.
  • Common Core implementation: Implementation of Common Core, a set of K-12 educational standards designed to ensure that students graduate from high school with the tools they need to succeed, is also funded through the Talent development budget line item. Within the 73 percent cut from talent development, the $8 million previously made available for Common Core implementation was zeroed out. 
  • Turning around failing schools: The Commissioner’s Network, an effort to turnaround our state’s lowest-performing schools, was slashed by more than $10,000,000 over the biennium. For FY2014, the program will receive a $1,750,000 cut, and another $8,500,000 for FY2015. This cuts in half the total number of our lowest performing schools that the Network can serve.

“Last year, Connecticut took huge steps forward on education reform that will help our students. These cuts would erase that progress and take our state backward,” said Robert Rader, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. “We have to ensure all students have an equal opportunity to succeed, and that starts with investing in key education reforms supported by all of our organizations.”

“As lawmakers prepare to make final decisions on this year’s biennial budget, we strongly urge state legislators to provide support for the progress made through last year’s education reform law,” continued Rader.

 

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Contact: Nicki Perkins

nicki.perkins@ctedreform.org

C: 203.506.5799

O: 203.859.6615