Wouldn't it be great if states took a few minutes to consider that struggling schools might be struggling not because of bad teachers or poor administration, but because of poor policies that deny those schools the resources they need to effectively teach their students? In CT that looks like it might be too much to hope for.
Connecticut has been in the news a lot recently as the State Legislature considers Gov. Malloy's proposed overhaul of CT's public education system. Particularly contentious is a plan to hand over 25 of the state's most struggling districts to the education commissioner who would have full reign to implement whatever kinds of policies he wants, from firing entire school staffs to handing the schools over to charter management organizations or even withholding funds from schools that don't comply.
In a recent column in the CT Post, Wendy Lecker, the former president of the Stamford Parent Teacher Council and a former staff attorney at the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Lecker criticizes policymakers for dressing up ineffective education "reform" policies as legitimate solutions to the "persistent and systematic deprivation in our neediest schools."
"These measures are not only irrelevant to the challenges facing our schools, they are harmful. They will exacerbate the instability and lack of resources that deprive our neediest children of the opportunity to learn.
While the governor and his allies try to peddle their experimental ideas with high-priced glossy ads and appearances, I hope it is instead the quiet but vivid images of our children trying to learn in mouse-infested, overcrowded classrooms without calculators or textbooks that should be foremost in our legislators' minds."
Click here to read Lecker's full column.