Governor Dannel P. Malloy joined Lieutenant Governor Wyman, Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, and Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto at SAND Elementary School in Hartford today to announce the Governor's legislative proposals to address low-achieving schools and improve education statewide.
"We made a promise to our kids that education will prepare them for college or the workforce. These reforms ensure that Connecticut schools give our children every opportunity for a bright and successful future," said Governor Malloy. "Many Connecticut schools and their dedicated teachers give students an excellent foundation, but the ones that are missing the mark are causing serious damage to Connecticut's next generation workforce--and our overall economic competitiveness. Transforming our educational system--fixing the schools that are falling short and learning from the ones that are graduating high-achievers--will help us develop the skilled workforce that will strengthen our state and our economy."
"Today begins an effort not only to create a new model and new standards for achievement and accountability, but to change the entire culture of our educational system," said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman. "This is a unified, results-oriented strategy that will raise the bar for everyone involved -- from students to teachers to the state Department of Education. I believe this plan has the potential to dramatically improve the way our students, our schools, and our state perform for many years to come."
The centerpiece of the Governor's proposals is the Commissioner's Network, a system of supports and interventions designed to improve chronically low-performing schools. The Commissioner's Network, supported by $24.8 million in new funding, is led by the State Department of Education's newly created Turnaround Team, which will transform up to 25 schools over the next two years.
Network schools will either be administered by a partnership between the home district and the state, or the state will serve as a temporary trustee and directly administer turnaround efforts. These schools may be operated by universities, Regional Educational Service Centers, non-profits, charter management organizations, CommPACT, or other providers who have proven school design and track records.
"Our state has the dubious distinction of having the largest achievement gap in the nation. This situation cannot be remedied through patient rationalization and modest tinkering. Instead, we must get involved --immediately and vigorously -- in the places where students' performance and life prospects are severely limited by their schools' struggles," said Stefan Pryor, Connecticut's Commissioner of Education. "The Commissioner's Network will attract and bolster transformational leaders and teachers, provide critical flexibility to enable innovation, and offer the resources and services needed to improve student learning. We believe our Network will achieve great progress for our students."
The Network schools will provide extra compensation for educators, opportunities for career advancement linked to the teacher evaluations, extended learning time for students, and a community school approach that strengthens wrap-around services.