With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis shuttering our schools now and into the foreseeable future, educators are scrambling to provide necessary support to students and families in this difficult time. Numerous commentators, including recent reporting from Jackie Rabe Thomas, quite correctly shine a troubling light on the range of circumstances now facing Connecticut’s public school students.
Just days into the new school year, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) released the results from last year’s Smarter Balanced (SB) testing. Some progress is being made. Still, even a cursory look at the data makes the case that more must be done — with a sense of purpose and urgency.
Lawmakers are charged with solving problems by enacting laws that promote statewide success, and the passage of SB-957 does exactly that. Specifically, the 2019 session closed with legislation that requires increased access to computer science instruction in our public schools and updates teacher preparation/certification laws relating to computer science to make it easier to attract the talent and expertise schools will need to teach relevant, timely material.
A recent NY Times article calls attention to a $773 million failed experiment within New York City Public Schools — an effort intended to address the city’s 94 lowest-performing schools. New York City’s “Renewal” effort proved to be another flash-in-the-pan attempt at addressing the district’s most struggling schools. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his city’s adoption of the Renewal program in late 2014; this initiative came on the heels of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s sweeping school closures and charter replacements.