On Wednesday, January 8th, the Connecticut State Board of Education held its first regularly scheduled monthly board meeting for 2020. Items on the agenda included:

  • The adoption of the State Department of Education’s (SDE) legislative proposals for the 2020 legislative session
  • SDE agency updates
  • A report on the Next Generation Science Standards assessment results
  • A report on the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) capacity review

SDE’s legislative proposals include an item that would impact charter schools regarding background checks for governing councils and charter management organizations (CMOs). Current state law requires members of CMOs and governing councils to complete background checks per the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) protocol. Since the FBI will not share this information with either the CMOs or charter school’s governing councils, SDE is proposing a change to the protocol for these checks, allowing flexibility for the checks to be conducted in ways other than the FBI protocol. This proposal has no impact on teacher background checks as it specifically applies to CMOs and school governing councils.

The full package of proposals can be found here. Please note that this concept is currently only at the proposal stage; we will monitor this legislation as it moves through session and keep you all updated.

The agency’s other proposals include:

  • A housing incentive pilot program for shortage area teachers in Alliance Districts
  • A proposal that would require districts to partner with higher education to increase educator diversity through a “grow your own” model promoting the field at an earlier age
  • A proposal that would require the State Department of Education to establish a framework for districts to measure whether they have specific programs/policies in place to address racial and socio-economic achievement disparities
  • A proposal calling for culturally competent statewide model curriculum
  • A proposal that would establish a working group to evaluate and streamline the current teacher regulations
  • A proposal that would extend the professional certificate from five to ten years
  • A proposal to remove burdensome requirements for initial certificate holders who have not served under their certificate and are seeking employment after having renewed their certificate five times
  • Several technical proposals

During the agency update, the Commissioner noted the recent appointment of Chris Soto as Director of Innovation and Partnerships in the State Department of Education. In this role, he is expected to work on college, career and workforce development-related initiatives.

We look forward to providing you with updates as legislation pertaining to our state’s charter schools moves through session.