As I bid farewell to the state , I am aware of how a place shapes our thinking.
As the next decade begins CHEFA’s Grant Program is committed to being a philanthropic leader.
Literature and art have always provided a tool to interpret and make sense of events. Major works such as El Quijote and Hamlet enable us to better understand complicated and contradictory realities. We are now living a confusing moment where a sitting president is trying to deny the results of an election carried out without fraud.
There is a beautiful book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez called Love in the Time of Cholera. That title has been present in my mind since seclusion was recommended. The novel brings to mind how in times of hardship, human beings who care for each other find ways to connect. To my surprise one of those ways has been through jokes, many of them incredibly creative and just wonderful.
The proposed consolidation of Connecticut’s 12 community colleges began as a strategy to save money, but recently, the proponents are trying to justify their plan using the excuse of reportedly low graduation and completion rates. Although the improvement of these indicators will always be a worthy and necessary goal, it is also essential to expose that the current method for reporting graduation and completion rates at community colleges is not appropriate or even fair.
I woke up recently to the headline that the governor of Nevada had signed into law the Nevada Promise Scholarship which would provide tuition-free community college to eligible students. Thus Nevada joins Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee in providing increased access to higher education for low income students through a robust community college system. Connecticut has taken the opposite route. Instead of looking at ways to increase access, the solution that is being proposed is dismantling the community college system by centralizing and creating a hierarchy with one president overseeing 12 colleges.
I have always believed that my success and opportunities in this country were attributable to my access to a solid education, and this fundamental belief has driven my passion to eliminate the achievement gap. Research resoundingly confirms the importance of good teachers, a solid curriculum, an appropriate cultural environment in school as well as other factors that are connected to the school setting. However, it is only more recently that I have begun to understand how segregated housing is a significant “missing” piece of the achievement gap. If we want better educational outcomes, then housing segregation – racial, ethnic, and economic – must be addressed.