In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the State Senate approved the latest version of S.B. 24 (now known as Senate Bill 458). Tonight the House followed suit.
Governor Malloy put the stake in the ground and called on the legislature to enact the types of reforms that will no doubt result in better outcomes for our students. Though the road was quite rocky, the governor, education commissioner, and legislative leaders demonstrated a steadfast commitment to reaching an agreement. In the end, and on behalf of Connecticut’s students, the General Assembly was able to enact meaningful reform.
Here’s how S.B. 458 will go far for Connecticut’s students:
On school staffing: Requires annual educator evaluations. Establishes a pilot of the evaluation system in 8-10 districts. Requires that teacher tenure be earned based on effective practice, with “ineffectiveness” added as a criterion for dismissal.
On school finance: Creates a common chart of accounts so that we can understand how schools and districts spend education dollars. Creates conditional funding for a set of the lowest-performing districts.
On school choice: Increases per pupil state charter funding (currently at $9,400) to $10,500 in 2012-13, going up to $11,500 by 2014-15. Incentivizes locally approved charters by providing $500,000 in start-up grants, and $3,000 in additional state aid per pupil.
On school turnarounds: Creates a Commissioner’s Network to intervene in up to 25 of the lowest-performing schools over the next three years. High-performing non-profit organizations (such as charter school operators) can run up to six of the 25 schools.
On early reading: Provides all students with the early reading skills they need to successfully read at grade level by fourth grade, so that all students are strong, confident readers.
Your advocacy was essential to getting this done. Thank you for getting involved and contacting your legislators – they heard you. S.B. 458 may not be identical to the proposal the governor put forward in February, but it represents a significant step forward.