Bridgeport teacher Greg Furlong shared his firsthand experiences with inadequate resources and support as a witness for CCJEF during the trial in Superior Court.
Yesterday’s State Supreme Court ruling in the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell delivered a mixed verdict—bad for school funding, while rejecting the lower court’s attempt to create burdensome schemes for testing, teacher evaluation, and education policy.
The key issue in the CCJEF case was whether school funding in Connecticut is adequate. On this issue, the Court found that state funding meets the minimally adequate level required. This finding flies in the face of mounting evidence of poorly funded and resourced public schools throughout the state, especially in high poverty communities.
“This decision fails to protect education funding,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “Communities all over Connecticut have already seen the state withdraw from its obligation to fund our public schools,” Cohen observed. “Rather than protect the quality of education in our communities, this decision allows the governor and the legislature to continue to slash funding to our schools and children.” Read more
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An unprecedented Superior Court decision has sent shockwaves across the education community in Connecticut. Meanwhile, the long arm of the federal government is reaching into schools with the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). There has never been a more pressing time for teachers to band together and speak out to influence once-in-a-generation judicial, legislative, and regulatory issues.
That’s why CEA is hosting County Forums around the state this October. Attend to
- Learn the latest on how CCJEF and ESSA would impact our classrooms.
- Speak out for our students and our profession.
- Meet with legislators to share our concerns.
Register to attend a forum. Read more
Today’s CCJEF v. Rell education funding ruling recognizes the necessity to do more for students in the greatest need—those attending schools in high-poverty communities. While the court emphasized that the majority of Connecticut schools and students do very well compared to other states and countries, schools in high-poverty districts have continuing challenges and achievement gaps.
In addition, the court was correct in finding that students in high-poverty communities have fewer resources and local revenues to support their schools.
Unfortunately, the court declined to provide any remedy for the disparity in resources and revenue for students in the state’s poorest communities—the essence and heart of the CCJEF litigation.
Also, the court’s attempt to impose one-size-fits-all mandates that erode flexibility and local education control penalizes the majority of Connecticut’s schools. These mandates fly in the face of the new federal Every Student Succeeds legislation, and are clearly within the purview of the state legislative and executive branches of government responsible for setting education policy in Connecticut.
For the past two legislative sessions, CEA has advocated for a better teacher evaluation system with less bureaucracy and paperwork, and more authentic and reliable measurement of student growth. We will continue to work for the improvement of the teaching profession, not only in the majority of schools where students are performing well, but especially in high-poverty communities where students deserve well-qualified, certified, and experienced teachers and administrators.
CEA stands ready to work with educational partners to ensure adequate and equitable resources for all students in the state of Connecticut.