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Income inequality, unchecked disparities threaten prosperity of Connecticut children

For decades, a wealth of research has taught us that our nation is at its strongest when we make sound investments in our children and young people. Now, new data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book confirm what history has already shown: failing to invest in children and families deprives our state and nation of a robust future.

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Lawmakers let Connecticut sex traffickers off the hook

Little attention had been paid to a proposed bill — An Act Concerning Human Trafficking — that unfortunately died at the end of the 2018 Legislative Session. Given the significant attention and gains that Connecticut has made in recent years in the fight against human trafficking, it was a heartfelt defeat. For nearly a decade, Connecticut has been a leader in the nation in human trafficking reforms that better protect victims, more vigorously prosecute traffickers, and prevent continued victimization.

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It’s time for Connecticut to adopt paid family leave

The governor of Massachusetts signed a bill into law recently that would create a paid family and medical leave program, which will go into effect in 2021. Massachusetts’ paid leave program is similar to one that was recently enacted in New York state, as well as a program has been proposed in the Connecticut state legislature. It is time for Connecticut to act by passing a bill during the next legislative session to create a paid family and medical leave program in our state.

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Childhood challenges within our borders, not just at them

For the past few weeks, stories about the separation of children from their parents at our borders have been everywhere. For people of compassion, it’s been brutally difficult to see the images and hear the cries of children going through such terrible experiences. What has been less discussed over the last few weeks is the fact that, in under-resourced communities across our state and nation, children go through experiences that can lead to PTSD and complex trauma on a daily basis.

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A preamble for every American political platform

This is a preamble to the political platform needed to unite our country and give everyone the opportunity to prosper:
We believe that America needs to be led by elected officials in Washington whose first goal is not to get re-elected, but instead to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, and do what is in the best interest of We the People.

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Healing children’s (and the nation’s) wounds

Children and families who have been separated at our southern border have faced significant trauma. The more than 2,300 detained children need to be reunited with their parents immediately. As professionals with many years of shared experience working with children and families, supporting their health and well-being is our core mission. The experiences that we have seen depicted in vivid images and horrible headlines run counter to everything we know from decades of developmental research about what children need to thrive. From our research and experience supporting children, we know that being forcibly separated from parents is, in fact, among the most negative experiences a child can have.

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The State Senate responded by upholding Malloy’s veto

The legislature, and the Senate in particular, did something remarkable. They voted not to override Gov. Dannel Malloy’s veto of Public Act 18-89, an Act Concerning Classroom Safety & Disruptive Behavior, a bill which received a unanimous vote in the Senate earlier in the session. While well-meaning in its intent, if passed into law, this act would have resulted in a tremendous set-back for our state in the area of school discipline and climate and would have also led to flagrant violations of students with disabilities qualified under the Individual with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA)

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Education savings accounts would help slow the loss of Catholic schools

The Connecticut General Assembly concluded its work last month, and we would like to share with you our profound disappointment that House Bill 5340 An Act Concerning a Study of Education Savings Accounts was not permitted to see the light of day, even though it had the support of a number of legislators and had advanced through various committees.

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Let Malloy’s veto of the classroom safety bill stand

Gov. Dannel Malloy was correct to veto Public Act No. 18-89 (SB 453), an act concerning classroom safety and disruptive behavior.  This bill was wrought with inconsistencies, redundant mandates, and ambiguities that would lead to administrative chaos for districts, schools, and classrooms all across the state.  Malloy’s veto allows our lawmakers to complete the difficult task of constructing meaningful and comprehensive legislation during a full session in 2019.

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Uphold the governor’s veto of Public Act 18-89

Monday Connecticut’s legislature appears on the verge of enacting a profoundly anti-disability rights, anti-civil rights legislation over Gov. Dannel Malloy’s veto. The bill is Public Act 18-89. It permits any teacher to throw a child out of the classroom at any time that the teacher thinks the kid may be dangerous. Any review of the teacher’s unilateral decision will occur after the child is excluded. And, the bill makes the child’s re-entry into the classroom a major challenge.

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The classroom safety bill discriminates against the disabled

The Connecticut Association for Public School Superintendents has serious concern over the passage of Public Act 18-89: An Act Concerning Classroom Safety and Disruptive Behavior .  The Act would be an alarming revision to Connecticut’s education laws that would (1) discriminate against and violate the rights of students with disabilities under the IDEA, and (2) expose confidential student information to third parties in violation of federal law. 

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“Greatness all around us, and that greatness will change our world’

Graduation season is always special. Seeing the culmination and celebration of a year of student progress, learning, and teaching brings with it pride and a sense of hope for all our graduates’ futures. This graduation season is particularly personal for me as it’s my first year at the State Director for the Northeast Charter Schools Network, and I’ve become intimately familiar with our schools, their educators, scholars, and families.

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Not America’s first act of cruelty toward children

So many in the U.S. are decrying the Trump administration’s separation of immigrants from their children along our southern border, claiming, “This is not who we are.” It certainly isn’t all of who we are, but there are two such glaring examples of how it was exactly who we were – or who our government was – that we can’t ignore them if we hope to look honestly at our past and become the nation so many think we already are.

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Breaking up families? America looks like a Dickens novel

The news has been full these past few weeks of disturbing stories from the nation’s borders. The Trump administration has separated immigrant children from their parents precisely to discourage others from trying to enter the country.
What has struck me, as a professor of English literature, are the startling parallels between the Trump administration’s policy on immigrant families and the “New” Poor Laws of England in the 1830s, whose cruelty was illuminated by Charles Dickens in novels and other writings.