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A.  Education policy makers, at both the State and local level should focus primarily on allocating greater and more equitable resources for public schools while expecting stronger student success.
  1. The General Assembly and Governor should continue to refine the ECS formula to focus funds on the neediest districts, recognizing their education challenges and the local capacity to pay. The size of the pie and the State’s share must grow every year with a stronger long-term commitment. No town should lose funds from the 2020-21 base year; and there should never be mid-year rescissions.  
  2. The State must also address the growing need to fund the recommended categorical grant programs and amend legislation as follows:

i.  2022
a.    Fully fund the Special Education excess cost grant; (See Rec. 4)
b.    Provide more resources to support English Language Learner (ELL) programs; (See Rec. 7)
c.    Begin implementation of universal Pre-K in districts with the greatest need; (See Rec. 8)
d.    Expand and improve regional services being provided by the six RESCs; (See Rec. 23)

ii.  2023
a.    Merge and streamline all State grants for School improvement in Alliance Districts; (See Rec. 25)
b.    Increase financial support to state and community agencies enabling them to support students’ social/emotional growth and health; (See Rec. 14)
c.    Make infrastructure/air quality operating and capital funds available to school districts to ensure that all school buildings are safe; (See Rec. 29)

iii.  2024
a.    Develop and execute a plan to ensure every family/community has access to the internet; (See Rec. 11)
b.    Improve adult education access and programs; (See Rec. 6)
c.    Reinstate State funds for transportation overburden; (See Rec. 9)

In consultation with others, CAPSS will begin to draft legislative proposals designed to implement each recommendation of the CAPSS Blueprint. These will include grant specifications and simulations, requirements for further research and reporting by the CSDE, improving student assessments, school and municipal cooperation, methods of measuring success, and issues of Governance including role clarification and necessary training for Board members and administrators.

Concurrently, CAPSS Public Policy Agenda 2022 also includes a call for more widespread access to high-quality remote and virtual learning, for all students, year round and from now on; and a critical review of the State’s teacher evaluation mandate that must result in greater local choice.

B.  Education leaders at the local and State level need to act now rather than wait for others to act in setting clear priorities for improving education for every child.  Priorities should include:
  1. Attacking inequity/unfairness in policies, regulations, practices that result in the discrimination of students and/or staff;
  2. Improving reading instruction in the relentless pursuit of every child becoming a successful reader by grade two and adding more one-on-one instruction with each student to achieve this goal;
  3. Creating schools that are safe and ones in which there is a sense of belonging; infusing social and emotional health into the curriculum; increasing mental health literacy of educators and connecting with community agencies for support with serious mental health and trauma issues;
  4. Seeking to hire highly qualified staff reflective of the diversity of Connecticut;
  5. Studying the identification of Special Education students, as well as growth and performance indicators, costs, and percent exiting the program;
  6. Continuing outreach to and building relationships with families in efforts to hear their voices and recognize them as partners in their children’s learning;  
  7. Adding 21st Century Skills – such as collaborating, innovating, communicating, discerning and problem solving – to the K-12 curriculum and experiences while increasing accelerated learning for all;  
  8. Demonstratively supporting the role of the teacher and the leadership of the principal as necessary to student success;
  9. Committing to continuous innovation at all levels of learning;
  10. Adopting an improvement plan at the school, district, region and Statewide level.

The State must more robustly fund a guaranteed and digestible annual increase in the ECS Grant, the Special Ed Grant, and several other categorical grants, while also providing legislation that demands change and innovation, attacks discriminatory structures, and eliminates barriers to opportunity.