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Letter: Fairfield Rep. Explains Education Reforms

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – TheDailyFairfield accepts signed, original letters to the editor. Letters may be emailed to gcanuel @ the daily Fairfield.com.

Dear Friends,

I wanted to take a minute to thank all of the teachers, parents and concerned citizens for your advocacy and patience over the past several months as the Connecticut General Assembly discussed and debated various aspects of education reform for our state. In the final days of the 2012 Session, the legislature did pass a comprehensive reform package that directly reflects what teachers and progressive educators know works to improve our schools.

This bill addresses:

  • Literacy, with a new focus on reading in the primary grades.
  • Early childhood education, adding 1,000 pre-K seats.
  • Wrap-around services, expanding social, health, and family supports for our children.
  • Collaboration among parents, students, teachers, administrators, and community members.
  • Transparencies, in evaluation processes and turn around schools.

Other important aspects include:

New Commissioners Network for struggling schools will provide intensive supports and interventions needed to turn around 25 of the most chronically low-performing schools in CT over the next three years. The network grants the state commissioner of education the needed authority to develop or modify plans with teachers and parents at “turnaround” schools, while respecting collective bargaining rights.

Fair teacher/administrator evaluation, tenure and certification systems will be developed over the next two school years, allowing for removal of “ineffective” teachers. The evaluations will include multiple indicators of student academic growth, professional dedication and achievement and fairness.

In 2012, the collective efforts of many individuals and groups (Republican and Democrat) throughout Connecticut highlighted the key components needed to help struggling schools. Together they impacted change for the children of Connecticut. We all did this with persistence, perseverance and professionalism, thanks to all of you.

Sincerely,

State Rep. Kim Fawcett (D-Fairfield)

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