Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143), a member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee, today issued the following statement on the revised version of SB 24, the Governor’s education reform bill, which was brought before the Education Committee for a vote.
“The education bill first proposed by the governor contained a number of bold, significant reforms. The bill was not perfect, and I, along with many others, hoped that certain provisions would be modified in the revised version that came before us for a vote. Instead, what we received yesterday was a bill that had literally been eviscerated of any real reform initiatives.
“The substitute bill puts off plans to move quickly to turn around many of the state’s lowest performing schools. It also reduces support to public charter schools. Instead of attempting to resolve issues of concern in provisions that linked teacher and administrator evaluations with tenure, certification, and dismissal procedures, it calls for a study of these matters and indefinitely postpones resolution.
“Connecticuthas the largest achievement gap in the country. Graduation rates are falling, and the percentage of students who do go on to higher education and need remediation in reading and math is around 60%. The state has lost in all of its attempts to win federal funding in three Race to the Top federal grant rounds, because it has failed to make a convincing case that it is taking strong enough initiatives to improve its public education system. If there were ever a moment to take action, it is now.
“There is still time during this session to turn this bill into legislation that can addressConnecticut’s achievement gap with urgency and action. To make that happen, however, we need to have the kind of bipartisan collaboration and open exchange of ideas that benefited the passage of the jobs bill last fall. Union leaders had more involvement in working with the Committee chairs to draft the substitute language that we received yesterday than Education Committee members on either side of the aisle. Managing the process that way is disrespectful to my constituents and to those of my Committee colleagues.
“We need legislation that puts the best interests of students before any others. It also must hold accountable the professionals who give so much of themselves to educating our young people, while demonstrating the utmost respect for their skills, experience, and dedication. If we work together, we can have a bill that will restoreConnecticut’s educational competitiveness, and gives our students the kind of educational opportunity they deserve.”