I am writing to provide you with recaps of both the March State Board of Education Meeting and the Education Committee Public hearing, both of which took place yesterday, March 3rd, 2021.

Education Committee 3/3 Public Hearing

On Wednesday, March 3rd, during the Education Committee’s public hearing, charter school advocates presented testimony to our elected leaders demanding #EducationJusticeNow. 60 of our charter champions shared their testimony and stories with the Education Committee members along with 150 other coalition partners, thank you! It was a long hearing, and those of you who got called on to speak took an important action and pushed our movement forward. As you all know, only by making our voices heard can we make clear the collective positive impact that SB 948 would have on our schools and surrounding communities. 

During the hearing, the Association live-tweeted key pieces of testimony, which you can find here. Additionally, if you are interested in reading my testimony, you can do so by clicking here.

Thank you to all who participated and continue to be a part of this crucial fight for equity. If you are interested in making your voice heard during this legislative session, we encourage you to sign up to submit testimony for the upcoming hearings on March 9th and 17th. You can email kneidhardt@ctcharters.org to learn more.

March 2021 CT State Board of Education Meeting Update

On Wednesday, March 3rd, the Connecticut State Board of Education (Board) held its monthly meeting by video, which was publicly televised and is available online here. The meeting agenda can be found here.

This month’s agenda included:

After the Board’s executive session, the State Board of Education named Charlene Russell-Tucker as Acting Commissioner of Education for Connecticut, after former Commissioner Dr. Miguel Cardona was officially sworn in as the United States Secretary of Education this week. The Association released a statement congratulating Acting Commissioner Russell-Tucker which you can read here.

During the discussion on The Condition of Education in Connecticut 19-20 Report, Chief Performance Officer Ajit Gopalakrishnan discussed statewide data and trends in education data and addressed several topics, including academic and non-academic measures and performances and trends in enrollment, demographics, discipline, and other significant categories. The Board asked questions concerning several issues, including the overall trend in statewide declining enrollment, the impact of COVID-19 on education as seen in the data, discipline, and more.

The consent agenda was unanimously approved, which included accepting the surrender of the Stamford Academy charter. Because it was on the consent agenda and no member requested discussion, the item passed without discussion.

During the agency updates, the Department discussed the Board’s multi-year strategic planning process timeline. A draft of the plan will be presented to the Board in January of 2022.  An opportunity for public comment will be made available in March of that year. The ultimate adoption of the plan is expected to be approved by the Board in June of 2022.

The Department also discussed federal requirements for school and district accountability implementation, noting that Connecticut will continue to administer annual state assessments. The federal government will grant accountability waivers so that states can be waived from reporting on certain accountability requirements.

As we continue our advocacy efforts on behalf of our state’s public charter school students and families during the current ongoing legislative session, we look forward to your continued engagement and participation in these important events in the coming weeks.