Today’s CCJEF v. Rell education funding ruling recognizes the necessity to do more for students in the greatest need—those attending schools in high-poverty communities. While the court emphasized that the majority of Connecticut schools and students do very well compared to other states and countries, schools in high-poverty districts have continuing challenges and achievement gaps.
In addition, the court was correct in finding that students in high-poverty communities have fewer resources and local revenues to support their schools.
Unfortunately, the court declined to provide any remedy for the disparity in resources and revenue for students in the state’s poorest communities—the essence and heart of the CCJEF litigation.
Also, the court’s attempt to impose one-size-fits-all mandates that erode flexibility and local education control penalizes the majority of Connecticut’s schools. These mandates fly in the face of the new federal Every Student Succeeds legislation, and are clearly within the purview of the state legislative and executive branches of government responsible for setting education policy in Connecticut.
For the past two legislative sessions, CEA has advocated for a better teacher evaluation system with less bureaucracy and paperwork, and more authentic and reliable measurement of student growth. We will continue to work for the improvement of the teaching profession, not only in the majority of schools where students are performing well, but especially in high-poverty communities where students deserve well-qualified, certified, and experienced teachers and administrators.
CEA stands ready to work with educational partners to ensure adequate and equitable resources for all students in the state of Connecticut.