Department of Education

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Later this month, Connecticut students will begin taking the Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test, which is designed to measure their progress in a variety of subject areas. 

But some are not so thrilled about Connecticut’s testing requirements. The state’s largest teachers union recently asked lawmakers to cut back on standardized tests. And a number of parents say they plan to opt their kids out of SBAC testing this Spring.

Puzzles: The Joy of Being Perplexed

Jan 27, 2015
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People have been puzzled since the beginning. And while that might sound like a problem, it may in fact be our preferred state of being. Since the first fires needed to be lit with tinder too damp to kindle, we've been problem solving. When one problem was solved, another was found. And when seemingly, we could no longer find enough problems to satiate our appetites, we created puzzles: problems in a box; food for our minds.

Chion Wolf

Ever since 1778 when Thomas Jefferson, revising the laws of Virginia, wrote something called a Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge, there's been an ongoing debate about how to make sure people know what they need to know to participate fully as citizens of this democracy.

As is so often the case with Jefferson, his ideas and words seem visionary and eternal until you poke around in them a little bit and then it gets more complicated especially vis-a-vis who he thought was really fit to lead the American people.

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Governor Dannel Malloy wants to reduce the number of standardized tests taken by Connecticut students. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, he offered a solution to cut down on all of the testing.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Restraint and seclusion is a legal, albeit controversial, practice in our nation's public schools. Students -- often those with disabilities -- can be restrained and secluded against their will. This can result, and has resulted on many occasions, in injury to the student. Nationwide, there are 20 known cases of death because of restraint or seclusion in the past two decades.

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As the FBI continues its investigation of a disgraced Hartford-based charter school company, some education advocates think it's time to take a closer look at charter school accountability in the state.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

As federal investigators continue their probe of a troubled Hartford charter school group, agents are now seeking to obtain all department correspondence, including Commissioner Stefan Pryor's emails that relate to FUSE, Jumoke, Michael Sharpe or Hartford's Milner School.

Josh Nilaya / WNPR

Concerned parents gathered for a rally in Hartford on Thursday afternoon. At issue is the large number of Hartford students currently waiting for a seat in a high-performing school.  

The Connecticut Department of Labor is getting a $3.39 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Job-Driven National Emergency Grant program. The funds will go toward creation of an apprentice program designed to steer workers displaced from other industries into careers in manufacturing.

Malloy Pledges Millions For Common Core

Governor Dannel Malloy, along with Early Childhood Commissioner, Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, and local officials, have announced the allocation of about 1,000 additional School Readiness opportunities for low-income children in 46 municipalities throughout the state.

Lawmakers Battle Over Bridge Repair and Transportation Funding

Governor Dannel Malloy signed two pieces of legislation today designed to improve early childhood education and increase access to pre-kindergarten in the state. The bills increase funding for early childhood education and poorer school districts and creates a kindergarten to third grade literacy pilot program.

Bridgeport Votes for Medical Marijuana Yearlong Moratorium 

Fast Food Workers Protest; State Unemployment Dips

May 15, 2014

Connecticut fast food workers joined national protests today calling for higher wages. Workers are asking for $15 an hour. Connecticut raised the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour was last raised in 2009. And that works out to about $15,000 a year for a 40 hour work-week.

Connecticut Employers Add Jobs

Governor Malloy announced this week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow Connecticut to use more than $8 million of federal funding to preserve and protect the state's farms. He says Connecticut has already preserved more than 300 farms and 13,000 acres of farmland and hopes to use the extended funding to protect not only farms, but also jobs.

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In most charter schools in Connecticut, more than 90 percent of students are racial and ethnic minorities. This is despite a state goal to provide an integrated learning environment, and let students and teachers interact with people of other racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds.

Casino City's Indian Gaming Industry Report, which was released today, says Connecticut was in the top five states in revenue brought in by the casinos, totaling $1.85 billion.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last year, Hartford's board of education decided against renewing the contract of Superintendent Christina Kishimoto beyond this coming June. Now, Kishimoto, a reformer who took the job after Steven Adamowski, is leaving.

The legislature’s higher education committee heard testimony on Tuesday over a bill aimed at improving sexual assault policies on Connecticut college campuses. The proposal would change how schools report sexual assaults involving both students and employees.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

After mounting complaints from teachers, officials recently announced the state plans to delay the implementation of teacher evaluations. Meanwhile, other lawmakers are calling for a re-examination of the Common Core standards. Two years after Connecticut approved sweeping education legislation, we'll check-in on the implementation and receive an update on Common Core in the state. 

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Earlier this week, The President and Co-founder of the Families and Work Institute came to Hartford this week to talk about the work she’s been doing in early childhood development.

Hartford Community Schools was chosen as one of a handful of communities nationally to take part in her “Mind in the Making” initiative - meant to share life skills and give hands-on training for parents and educators. Today, we’ll talk with Ellen Galinsky.

The U.S. Department of Education has issued new data on the cost of college in America. Three Connecticut colleges rank among  the nation’s most expensive. 

Trinity College’s tuition is  5th highest in the nation for private, not-for-profit 4-year colleges. The sticker price at Trinity is $44,070 dollars.  Connecticut College ranks 7th .  Wesleyan University comes in a close 8th. 

The data can be found on the USDE’s website called College Scorecard, which offers students and families a variety of ways to compare the cost of college.

Yale University has asked federal education officials to lower a fine imposed on the school for under-reporting sex offenses.  

The federal Clery Act spells out how colleges and universities nationwide are expected to compile and report crime data – including sex crimes on campus.  The U.S. Department of Education began reviewing Yale’s compliance with Clery back in 2004, after a Yale Alumni Magazine article raised questions about the accuracy and completeness of the school’s reports.  

Yale University has asked federal education officials to lower a fine imposed on the school for under-reporting sex offenses.  

The federal Clery Act spells out how colleges and universities nationwide are expected to compile and report crime data – including sex crimes on campus.  The U.S. Department of Education began reviewing Yale’s compliance with Clery back in 2004, after a Yale Alumni Magazine article raised questions about the accuracy and completeness of the school’s reports.  

The Connecticut Department of Education has reached a new agreement with the plaintiffs in the decades long Sheff v. O'Neill case.

The lawsuit is meant to ease the racial disparity between students in Hartford Public Schools and neighboring school districts.

The Connecticut Department of Education has reached a new agreement with the plaintiffs in the decades long Sheff v. O'Neill case.

The lawsuit is meant to ease the racial disparity between students in Hartford Public Schools and neighboring school districts.

Yale University has introduced new workshops for students aimed at reducing sexual misconduct and improving the sexual climate on campus. Many sexual misconduct and prevention programs for college students center on decision-making and consent.

But if you’re at the point where there’s a question about consent, then you already have a communication problem, says Yale student Matt Breuer. He’s a Communication and Consent educator at the university. He says Yale’s workshops begin with conversation about sexual pressure.  

Hartford Public Schools have signed an agreement with federal education authorities to improve supports and services for students who are English Language Learners.  

A complaint was filed with U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in 2007 on behalf of Somali-Bantu, Liberian and Spanish-speaking students in the Hartford Public Schools.   

"Students did not have appropriate amounts of supports, accommodations and services so they could understand what was being asked of them."

Chion Wolf

The New York Times had the best description of the first term of Governor Dannel Malloy, “a wearying tape loop of natural chaos.”

The state is still digging out from yet another blizzard and he’s probably sick of the seeing the inside of the Emergency Operations Center and many students are probably sick of being stuck at home.

Advocates have been saying for years, that the needs of young children get lost inside Connecticut’s larger school system. 

Governor Malloy has just proposed a new Office of Early Childhood, focused exclusively on children ages zero to five years old.

Multiple state agencies have administered Connecticut’s early childhood programs, and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman says its been hard for parents to figure out.  

"To get through the bureaucratic mess in government was terrible. Because you’d have to go from one department to the other department."

Students in three Connecticut school districts will start having longer school days beginning next year. Governor Dannel Malloy joined U-S Education Secretary Arne Duncan and leaders from four other states to announce the initiative in Washington DC.  He says Connecticut will use a mix of state and federal funding to help pay for an additional 300 hours of school time next year.

Connecticut’s Governor has staked a lot on reforming the state’s educational system. And a large part of the motivation is to provide a workforce literate in science, technology, engineering and math – the STEM skills. But the pace of technological change is getting quicker every year, and figuring out how to train workers for the high value industries of the 21st century is ever more challenging. This week on the business report we begin a series of reports on three industries vital to Connecticut’s future, and ask whether the state is living up to its reputation for a superior workforce.

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