Gov. Dannel P. Malloy got an education reform package late Monday, while the Connecticut Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, also appeared to get what it wanted, as the final agreement appears to be somewhat of a compromise between the governor's initial proposal and ones backed by the union.
Although details of the agreement were still cloudy late Monday, and any bill making the proposed reforms law must still be approved by the legislature, Malloy hailed the agreement as one that will bring "meaningful education reform" to Connecticut.
"I can say, with confidence, that this bill will allow us to begin fixing what is broken in our public schools," Malloy said during a hastily assembled press conference late Monday evening at the state Capitol.
Highlights of the agreement include:
- The bill will create 1,000 new seats in preschool programs designated for "high need, low performing communities."
- The bill will provide "intensive supports and interventions" for 25 designated "chronically low-performing" schools throughout the state, including plans for Turnaround Committees and pilot programs within those districts to advance the reforms.
- Expanded funding and access to charter schools in the lowest performing districts, and additional funding for magnet schools, technical high schools and agricultural science schools.
- Changes to the teacher tenure and evaluation programs that ties tenure to "effectiveness" and provides for the dismissal of "ineffective" teachers.
- A $50 million increase in the Education Cost Sharing grant to Connecticut public schools, with $39.5 million designated to the 30 lowest performing districts.
Malloy addressed the need for education reform in his address to kick off the legislative session back in February, but the current process was fraught with controversy, as the Connecticut Education Association mobilized against many of Malloy's efforts. The agreement reached Monday is viewed as a compromise, and even Malloy seemed to acknowledge that it will not result in immediate and drastic changes to Connecticut's public schools. The legislature is scheduled to adjourn for the year Wednesday, so the push to hammer out an agreement also brushed up against the clock.
“This is a big issue – maybe the biggest we’ll tackle, because it involves our children. And with any big issue, especially when you’re trying to change things, it’s hard. Change is hard," Malloy said. “But we have achieved change, and our children will benefit. We will not fix what’s broken overnight – we can’t. But we will begin to."
Highlights of the education reform proposal can be viewed here.
Click here to compare the current Education Statute to the education reform legislation.