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Behind The Numbers Podcast – Episode 6: Charter schools, state aid and UConn in a lean budget

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Connecticut Mirror budget reporter Keith M. Phaneuf and education reporter Jacqueline Rabe Thomas discuss the new $40.3 billion, two-year state budget legislators sent to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and its impact on every level of education from preschool to colleges and universities. 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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