While Connecticut is proud of its best students continually being considered some of the nation's highest performers, Governor Dannel Malloy says the state has "lost our edge" in education, writes Matt Zalaznick at the Daily West Port.
Malloy is referring to the fact that minorities and low-income students seem to be falling behind in district schools. Malloy wants this to change and has told education stakeholders that Connecticut's economy depends on passing wide-ranging education reform in 2012.
Malloy wrote a public letter to lawmakers and education groups:
"Our state's positioning has weakened to the point that we are not competitive in national grant competitions like the recent Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge.
"Worse, the recent release of the National Assessment of Educational Progress results demonstrated that in most cases, Connecticut's poor and minority students are less prepared for success than their peers in the vast majority of other states — and that our state has the largest achievement gap in the nation."
Malloy's reform proposals include: student performance related evaluation rather than tenure, more assistance to low-performing schools, freedom for top schools to innovate and an expansion of access to high-quality early-childhood education.
"One of the most frustrating things I heard repeatedly from employers on my jobs tour was some version of âI have job openings at my company but I can't find enough qualified people to fill them,'" said Malloy.
"We cannot prosper if we do not produce a workforce equal to the task of keeping Connecticut's companies competitive."
The Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) commended Malloy's plan on its website Tuesday, calling it "an audacious set of priorities."
ConnCAN CEO Patrick Riccards said:
"We are particularly excited about the governor's emphasis on excellent teachers and principals, fair funding for the students and districts that are most in need, expanding high-quality school options and transforming the lowest-performing schools and districts."