CEA leaders were among invited officials at a signing ceremony today at Hockanum School in East Hartford. Governor M. Jodi Rell signed into law a comprehensive education reform policy bill passed in the final days of the 2010 legislative session.
The legislation, Senate Bill 438, An Act Concerning Education Reform in Connecticut, covers an array of issues designed to provide new chances to boost student achievement. The new law increases the minimum credits required for high school graduation from 20 to 25 and gives greater emphasis to math, science, and world languages, beginning with the Class of 2018. It also requires every student to complete a “capstone project” – an independent demonstration project.
The legislation was crafted by a working group that included CEA representatives and other stakeholders in the education community, including the co-chairs of the General Assembly’s Education Committee and the state commissioner of education.
“As a genuine partner, CEA tapped the knowledge and experience of teachers during this legislative process,” said CEA President Phil Apruzzese, who attended the signing ceremony. “We are pleased that teachers had a voice at the table and that CEA could make a difference in shaping the final omnibus school reform package.”
The governor called the legislation a product of “bipartisan” effort. “By having all of the interested parties – educators, teachers unions, parents, students, legislators, and others – together at the table, we ended up with a far stronger result than any individual effort could produce. This is bold, visionary reform – and we are making it happen together,” Governor Rell said.
The new law also enhances Connecticut’s chances to secure up to $175 million in federal Race to the Top (RTTT) grant funding that rewards states for taking bold steps in education reform. Connecticut will file its application for the next round of RTTT grants on June 1.