ReadyCT 2021 Policy Priorities

Advancing Academic Excellence and Career-Connected Learning

Driven by four key underlying considerations, ReadyCT has established its 2021 policy agenda. For the 2021 legislative session, ReadyCT will look to advance: 

(1) An Evidence-Based Approach to Ensuring All Students are Adequately

Prepared in Core Foundational Academic Skills, with a Focus on Literacy.
Reading is essential, yet only 41% of Connecticut’s eighth graders hit the proficient mark in reading per recent NAEP score results. A contributing factor to this is grounded in curriculum choices; some districts are not teaching reading through phonics despite research that proves phonemic instruction is most effective. Failure to correct this can result in life-long impairment to our students.

To start, ReadyCT will advocate for policies that empower the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) with statewide oversight of literacy curriculum (for both in-service and pre-service teachers) to ensure literacy instruction in Connecticut is driven by the demonstrated science of reading, with a focus on phonics and phonemic awareness.

For a deeper look at what’s needed on this and ReadyCT’s other policy priorities, click here.

(2) Increased High-Quality Career-themed Pathways at Comprehensive and Technical Middle and High Schools.

Students must have low-stakes exposure to career options with applied, project-based learning. And students want it; there are 3x more students who wish to enroll in the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System (CTECS) than there are spaces. Research shows that high-quality and specialized technical education in high school can make a significant difference, especially in the lives of male students who might be otherwise disengaged from school. By thoughtfully aligning technical instruction to regional workforce needs, and by modifying teacher certification requirements for greater flexibility, we can position students from all districts for quality career opportunities in Connecticut. The Governor’s Workforce Council Education + Training Committee is also working to advance this priority.

This effort could start with policy creating a pilot to allow students to graduate with a professional pathway credential that also provides college credit, which is transferable to the college system or, at a minimum, allowing for the creation of a Seal for Career Readiness that students can obtain (similar to the Seal of Biliteracy).

For a deeper look at what’s needed on this and ReadyCT’s other policy priorities, click here.

(3) Access to Rigorous, Transferable Dual Enrollment Offerings to More Students, with a Focus on Alliance Districts.

Dual enrollment courses provide high school students with access to more rigorous coursework that also qualifies for college course credit. This can ultimately elevate the academic experience for students while simultaneously decreasing the debt that a student incurs in the long run; however, dual enrollment offerings can vary in terms of quality and transferability. Policy efforts start with ensuring dual enrollment offerings are aligned with high-demand industry areas and are offered more widely across districts. Unique incentives to districts with these offerings could drive this.

For a deeper look at what’s needed on this and ReadyCT’s other policy priorities, click here.

(4) Study of and Investment in Remote Learning Models.

In March 2020, COVID-19 forced districts nationwide to leverage technology in new and unexpected ways. Amid challenges, there were some successes. Connecticut must capitalize on remote learning innovation in ways that support equitable, cost-effective, and high-quality instruction for all students regardless of ZIP code. Connecticut needs a policy that creates a system of metrics to hold districts accountable for remote learning access and equity, now and in the future.

(Special note: ReadyCT participated in a collaboration led by the Columbia Law School Center for Public Research & Leadership to create remote learning resources to help districts and families during this time. You can access those resources here.)

For a deeper look at what’s needed on this and ReadyCT’s other policy priorities, click here.

#academicexcellence
#careerconnectedlearning

ReadyCT 2021 Policy Primer