Every child has an equal right to a free public education. This public education must prepare students both to participate in democratic institutions and to contribute productively to the economy and broader society.
While Connecticut has a strong public education system, we need to make sure that system works well for all our state’s children, regardless of their background or family circumstance.
Connecticut is one of the highest scoring states on the "nation's report card," the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Our students have also shown improvement over the past decade. However, Connecticut’s students who are black or Hispanic, who grow up in low-income families, who have a learning disability, who do not speak English as a first language, or who are in foster care are all behind their peers academically. These Connecticut disparities are wider than those seen in the rest of the country. Because of both in-school and out-of-school factors, not all Connecticut children have an equal opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed in school.
To improve and broaden educational opportunities, Connecticut policymakers should adopt several approaches:
- Expand access to high quality early care to all Connecticut families.
- Require schools to adopt initiatives that promote a positive school climate. School districts should be encouraged to discontinue or substantially revise policies that “push out” students, such as exclusionary discipline.
- Expand opportunities for children to attend school in an integrated setting.
- Provide towns with sufficient education funding to meet their students’ needs irrespective of their ability to pay.