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Posted inCT Viewpoints

Office of Early Childhood merger takes us back, not forward

It is troubling that several of the budget proposals floating around the State Capitol call for the merger of the Office of Early Childhood into the State Department of Education. It was just three years ago that we finally brought together services touching families with young children from five different agencies into one stand-alone Office of Early Childhood, under the direction of a commissioner. 

Posted inCT Viewpoints

A new approach to Connecticut juvenile justice — with better results

At any given time many children are in the care of Connecticut’s juvenile justice system. Everyone agrees their personal stories are troublesome, but it is also important to understand each story can be turned in a more positive direction if we as adults commit to helping each child based on their individual needs. This is the premise behind a series of recommendations the Children’s League of Connecticut (CLOC) has presented to the state Department of Children and Families(DCF), legislators and other policy-makers.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Talk about Connecticut’s educational inequity, but no action

“Equity is great to talk about until someone has to give up something.” Quesnel’s quote, in particular, struck me because it perfectly encapsulates the situation here in Connecticut. For all the talk of consensus after Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s scathing 90-page ruling, neither state Republicans or Democrats included meaningful reform of the Education Cost Sharing Grant, the main grant the state uses to distribute school funding, in their proposed budget plans this year.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Early childhood: An effective long-term investment in Connecticut’s children

Usually, but especially when resources are limited, good investments are those that are based on research about what really works and have promise for making a positive and long-term impact. One of the state’s recent examples of a good investment is the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC). Unfortunately, budget proposals recommend decreasing, and in some cases ending. this positive long-term investment in order to create short-term savings.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Will our children become casualties in the state budget battle?

Any family enduring a budget crisis is faced with a difficult task — prioritizing where to cut back on expenses. They must decide which expenses are unnecessary, which can safely be postponed, and finally, which are absolutely essential. Ultimately, the new sofa will be cancelled and replacing the tires on the family car will be delayed. These sacrifices will be made for one reason: to ensure money is available to pay for what is essential, such as food, rent, or life-saving medications for their children. The governor and state legislature of Connecticut currently face a similar task.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Public charter schools deserve equitable funding for continued success

Having sent my daughter to public schools for more than a decade, I can see the difference between a normal school and an extraordinary one. An extraordinary public school guides students from childhood into the beginning of adulthood, never giving up on them or letting them fall by the wayside. That’s what Achievement First Hartford did for Nyjah. It’s the kind of life changing school that every family should be able to choose, and the kind of school I’m happy to fight for.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Doing better for all Connecticut Learners

Learning a new language could be daunting and especially more challenging for new immigrants that not only come face to face with a new culture, but to a totally different environment. Most times children adapt easily, but in the case of English Language Learners, the assimilating process may take longer than most, particularly when the primary language spoken at home is not English.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Focus educational help on improving minority high school graduation

Government funding for underprivileged students to attend college is not an effective way to close the education gap because it does not address the core problem, which is that many low-income students never make it to graduation in the first place. The government should be providing students with the resources they need in order to graduate from high school and be successful when they go to college, instead of providing a donation toward a college fund for students who made it to graduation.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Parent: Racism is at the heart of Connecticut’s ELL failures

Connecticut’s school policies don’t value the language and the culture that English language learners bring to the societal table. Said differently, the people who make laws and set educational policies along with those who oversee educating our children — legislators, voters, commissioners of education, union officials, boards of education members and superintendents of schools — don’t value immigrants.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Proposed federal cuts jeopardize programs that save children’s lives

In the time since the Trump administration released its budget proposal, many have raised alarms about cuts to well-known, popular programs and agencies like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and NASA. What’s gotten less attention is that the administration’s proposed budget also includes cuts to programs that help children facing adversity to become successful, productive adults.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

One teacher to others: Our voices can shape Connecticut education

In some ways, it can be easy as teachers of young children to understand the power our voices have in our students’ lives, and in their self-esteem. Our words can urge a child to struggle through a difficult problem, or shape the way they see themselves. Despite this, we often forget the power we can wield outside the four walls of our classroom.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

The true crisis in Connecticut higher education

I recently had the honor of speaking at an event to support the Student Crisis Fund at Charter Oak State College, my alma mater. This is a fund that helps students – and their education – survive unexpected financial challenges, from broken computers to dental emergencies. For many students, these $100 – $1,000 problems can stop an academic career dead in its tracks. And yet, colleges and universities – ours included – raise tuition and fees by easily the amount of the average withdrawal from the Student Crisis Fund. For too many students, these increases themselves create a widespread financial crisis every year.