Court orders CT to do the right thing by her students

school-bus-safetyThe State Superior Court on Wednesday ordered an overhaul of the way Connecticut educates its children in public schools.

Saying the state is “defaulting on its constitutional duty,” Judge Thomas Moukawsher ruled in the 11-year old case that the state’s method of doling out money to school systems around the state is patently gamed to favor wealthier school districts. He called the current system “irrational” and gave the state six months to address the issue. From the judge:

“The state spends billions of dollars on schools without any binding principle guaranteeing that education aid goes where it’s needed,” the judge ruled. “The state’s latitude to decide how much overall money to spend on schools doesn’t mean the state can have a constitutionally adequate school program while spending its money whimsically.”

That “whimsically” is putting a nice face on things. Don’t believe it? Pick a Hartford/Bridgeport/Waterbury school, say, a middle school. Go into their science room. Make note of the facilities. Then get in your car and drive to Glastonbury/Darien/Greenwich, and do the same.

The plaintiff was the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding.

You can read more about the decision here. Legislators? The ball’s now in your…uh…court. Imagine a state where all students had equal opportunity to learn in well-resourced schools. Glory!

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  1. I don’t think anything will happen anytime soon. The time frame demanded by the judge is unreasonable, especially considering the fact he offered no solution to the core issue…the allocation of resources. (According to union leader Sheila Cohen.)

    That leaves the issue completely up to the legislature. A legislature controlled by who? The Hartford/Bridgeport/Waterbury people? Or the Glastonbury/Darien/Greenwich folks?

    Combine that with what Cohen called “[T]he court’s attempt to impose one-size-fits-all mandates that erode flexibility and local education control [that] penalizes the majority of Connecticut’s schools.” And what you’ve got sounds like a recipe for another 11 years of “conversation.”

    1. We here in CT are accustomed to long conversations. The most recent iteration is called Sheff v. O’Neil, now entering its third decade.

      1. Wow.
        So far…children have a right to an education, but nobody can agree exactly what constitutes “an education.” Is that about where Sheff currently stands?

        Magnets and charters are turning out to be tools of even more class segregation.

        1. I can’t even describe where the Sheff decision stands. It’s been in court, and out, and the young man for whom it was named is an adult now. It’s a mess.

        2. What do you mean when you say magnets and charters are tools of even more class segregation? I had heard from a parent that they offered a better educational environment and sadly not all kids who wanted to attend were able to due to the lottery. Maybe they need more.

          I’m tired of all the talking and wish they’d get on the stick and get things done on this. I skimmed this news and thought, “good”, then wondered when the kids would benefit from any of it. Can’t they get the right people together and make it a priority to figure it out? The State needs to commit funding, without taking away from other budgets (yup maybe taxes do need to go up a wee bit for the sake of the kids). They need to JUST DO IT.

          1. Quality education shouldn’t be locked behind a lottery, for starters.

            But looking just at Connecticut, I think this policy statement from AFT is a fair representation of what I’ve read from elsewhere around the country.

            Education shouldn’t be a commodity.

            1. I agree, it shouldn’t. I wonder what would have to change (and why don’t they) if they were to put new signs on all the schools, with charter school a part of their new names.

  2. When Hartford teachers need to admonish parents to sit with their child at least one hour every night and read to them and study with them, presumably to increase the learning potential of the child, one might begin to understand where the larger problem lay. And when you have Hartford teachers receiving bonuses for bringing up student test scores only to be discovered erasing wrong answers in order to collect on said bonuses, they one may understand better how courrpt the local system is. And when these teachers were caught but not charged, convicted and sent to prison like they were in Atlanta, then one can begin to get a better picture of at least, a partially broken system.

    After spending one billion on school rebuild over 20 years in Hartford alone, I dear say, perhaps other issues should be considered in the grand dialogue. Bandaids are not the way to heal an open, festering wound.

  3. I know you guys don’t like my comments for lack of response but that is unfortunate. I have been honest and I have only stated facts (as I understand them, of course) and have shown a historical understanding of issues that are seldom addressed at least in Hartford.

    I will sign out. My purpose was not to irritate you. Only to engage you on the issues. No need to respond. Cheers. Keep positive.

    1. I never let people not liking my comments stop me.
      And when it comes to irritating………well…standards must be maintained. Somebody has to do it. I approach it as a duty.

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