Op/Ed

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Op-Ed: CHEER an important step… but Connecticut can do better

The Department of Children and Families’ new CHEER program is an important positive step toward improving outcomes for young people who would otherwise age out of the Connecticut foster care system. But the state can do better. Continue Reading →

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Op-Ed: New commuter busway will bring better access to food

Many people have been talking about the great things that CTFastrak, Connecticut's commuter busway, will bring to local communities when it’s up and running in early 2015.   Better commutes, less reliance on cars, fast and convenient transportation is all great news for our community.  But for many, CTFastrak will open up a much more important and basic opportunity --- the opportunity to purchase food. For some families in Connecticut’s urban areas, having access to healthy and abundant food choices isn’t an easy or sometimes even feasible option.  A lack of supermarkets within walking distance and a lack of transportation can often equal a lack of healthy food. While food cost is an issue---more than 14 percent of households in Connecticut reported not having enough money to buy the food that they needed during the first six months of 2012, according to a new report  released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), food availability is also a huge challenge. More than 40 percent of Hartford families with children live in poverty and the capital city ranks last among Connecticut communities with population at risk for food insecurity.  According to a 2012 study, Hartford was the eighth worst city in terms of providing food access to residents. Continue Reading →

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Op-Ed: Twain’s novel speaks of democracy and technology today

Steve Thornton

Today, June 19, marks a significant incident in Connecticut history. Yet no one celebrates it. (No, I don't mean Juneteenth, which is the African American community's commemoration of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.)  June 19, 1879 was the day Hank Morgan got hit with a crowbar by a worker known as Hercules, a powerful blow that sent Hank back to the sixth century. I am, of course, referring to the plot device used in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, the 1889 Mark Twain classic.  This novel is known as a satire that explores time travel and pokes fun at chivalry, monarchy, and gullible human behavior. Continue Reading →

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Op-Ed: Let’s have state-funded pre-school for all Connecticut children

Nicole Desjardins

Early childhood education, in the form of a preschool or pre-kindergarten program, is one of the key building blocks for a successful progression for students through the educational system, and developing into successful adults within their chosen career path. While not essential, it does provide many key stepping stones, including often times a child's first interaction with peers, a gradual transition into a classroom setting, a fundamental understanding of rules and order, and lastly and most importantly, many of the key educational concepts. Some of the programs are run by private organizations and some are run by the school system, but in all the different formats provide the basic groundwork for kids to enter kindergarten.  Unfortunately, not all children have access to such a fundamental early education program; either because their parents can’t afford it, or a quality program is not available in their area. Some states, such as Oklahoma, Georgia, and Florida, have passed laws guaranteeing universal pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds in their states.  The Connecticut legislature has recently taken up debate about this very issue. Gov. Dannel Malloy has made increasing educational standards in Connecticut one of the hallmarks of his administration, and he believes increased access to preschool for underprivileged children is one avenue to achieve that aim.    The proposal currently being debated in the state legislature is to provide state funding to towns to increase access to preschool. Continue Reading →

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Op-Ed: Interfaith efforts teach tolerance, both global and local

Conscientious people in Connecticut and elsewhere-- from the Ahmadiyya to the Anti-Defamation League, from the Latino-Jewish Dialogue to the Jewish-Muslim Community Dialogue and the Interfaith Youth Core -- are working to advance understanding and peace. Let’s join them, or launch our own such endeavors – individually and institutionally. Continue Reading →

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