Connecticut is in trouble;  the system is “broke, but we can fix it,” said former U.S. Congressman and Yankee Institute fellow Rob Simmons.

People are working to fix problems, including  former prosecutor Gov. Dannel Malloy,  who is emerging as a national leader for fairness and parity for the middle class,  women in particular.  The outspoken education  critic Jon Pelto said standard texts cannot measure knowledge needed for the 21st Century.

Simmons, Malloy, Pelto — all three have great ideas,  if only they would team up and work together.

Come together as Team Connecticut.

Leaders represent parties to do what is best for people, families and individuals who live in our state, not just  “powerful forces.” Consumers — individuals who buy goods and services — drive the  economy.  We get back less than 50 cents on every dollar we send to Washington in income taxes;  the feds are not the solution.

We must all keep learning in order to model educated behaviors. We need an attitude change.

Smaller enrollments of students can enable the much needed “one-on-one” Oxford  teaching model of the 21st Century or the devastating loss of colleagues with great depth-of-knowledge and teaching skills. I bemoan the loss of each colleague to “retirement.” It is as huge a loss as when we export young graduates to work or study in other states or nations. Retain  people who experienced the world as well as  the young ones embarking on it.

This is our  unique opportunity in history to guide children and adults who slipped between the cracks to pursue an excellent education.

Connecticut  is the stalwart state of Yankee ingenuity.  Every individual, whether former Secretary of the State and Mayflower descendant Pauline Keezer,  direct descendant of Priscilla and John Alden, or the most recent newcomer or grandchild of migrant worker immigrants,  is welcomed as a “Swamp” Yankee.  That is someone tough enough and willing to make the best of what we have to thrive  in transition.

Encourage friends and family to go back to study. Educated parents empower children.  Parents hold the gate open or close it for children.  Educate others about our rich history and direct democracy  in towns to preserve it.

1.      Increase avenues for unfettered access to community colleges for all ages  to gain critical skills required  for higher education and meaningful work. Focus on Liberal Arts with a strong STEM  (science, technology, engineering, math) emphasis to meet  demand across sectors.

2.      Revisit assumptions, i.e,  underlying reasoning for where, how much, and to whom, resources are allocated at  public educational institutions from pre-K through graduate schools using the Hay Assessment model;

3.      Reduce  property tax rates on property owners, residents and businesses, and  those who invest their own money or publicly-traded resources for private sector jobs located  in our state. We are taxing the wrong assets and driving wealth depletion among the most vulnerable people who stay and the richest corporations who will leave.

4.      Support students from each rank and level of high school classes to stay in Connecticut or to return after college graduation to attend graduate schools  or to hold jobs here.

5.    Work  proactively  where you can influence positive, forward thinking inclusion before outward migration increases.

It is a manage “up,” not down, paradigm in the 21st Century. Trust  leaders who are mentors and coaches. Respect, trust, and learning go hand in hand.

We are all Team Connecticut. A culture of disbelief cannot survive.  Civilization has been handed down through the ages through literature and history. This is our unique opportunity to help everyone benefit from a pathway through higher education to reach one’s own potential and ultimately to “give back”  immeasurable  gifts so others  learn to thrive.

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