CAPSS Blueprint to Transform Connecticut's Public Schools
The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) is made up of 164 superintendents and over 100 additional members who are in education or providing support to education.
The Mission of CAPSS is:
To lead in the continuous improvement of public education for all students by advocating public policy for children...
Two years ago, CAPSS began to discuss and design a comprehensive, long-term set of recommendations for addressing the educational and fiscal needs of Connecticut’s school districts. CAPSS chose to undertake this work seeing the urgent need for fundamental reform of Connecticut public education if the state is to serve equitably and responsibly every student in its public schools. For years, CAPSS had annually established its legislative priorities and policy direction. However, the organization realized that far more needs to be addressed, from changes in funding – local and state – to policy, delivery of services to our neediest children,quality of education, student assessment, teacher hiring, governance, and more, including addressing systemic racism and significant inequities within our schools. CAPSS fully understood that more than a band-aid approach was needed, that in fact, what was needed was a plan for the next decade and beyond.
CAPSS Blueprint to Transform Connecticut's Public Schools articulates a comprehensive set of 30 recommendations that CAPSS believes will move Connecticut closer to assuring that every child receives the high-quality teaching and learning which they are owed. Within this CAPSS Blueprint is an all-encompassing,equitable strategy for funding and improving public education in Connecticut, one which addresses the highest priority needs as expressed by Superintendents of Schools. These recommendations are aimed at state funding, legislation, and local and state action. In declaring the CAPSS Blueprint as “comprehensive,” it signals that the plan goes far deeper than the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant for it addresses categorical grants, teaching, and needs and solutions. At this moment, Covid-19 and the continuing economic stresses on the state’s budget make any consideration of new ideas and new spending very difficult.However, choosing not to acknowledge the facts and the injustices in Connecticut’s public schools, even at this time, would be a grave disservice to its youth and its future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on education inequities in Connecticut. During the early days of the pandemic, intense media coverage highlighted that education inequities are inextricably connected tot he state of the economy and public health. The pandemic has confirmed what has been known to be true in data and experience: that Connecticut’s Public Schools is a system of the haves and have-nots. The State of Connecticut can and should do better in its leadership and funding of public elementary and secondary schools.
This plan is the outgrowth of both old and new ideas for improving public education, some are considered prototypes and others are yet to be tested. The sources of the content are eclectic in that no single philosophical direction gave rise to the recommendations. However, the plan is unwavering in its goals of greater equity and sufficiency in state funding, as well as greater expectations and accountability for higher student achievement, particularly for those with the greatest needs.
The CAPSS Blueprint addresses multiple objectives, and its set of recommendations respond to the need for state grants, programs and services, a new funding formula, and local implementation, but does so in a way that is more:
1 Comprehensive and long term
2 Predictable and sustainable
3 Equitable and sufficient
4 Coherent and inter-related
5 Innovative and efficient
6 Demanding and accountable
7 Realistic and aspirational
CAPSS views its leadership role in Connecticut as helping to articulate educational needs, and support federal,state, and local initiatives that continuously attack the other inequities that significantly impact countless publicschool children. Superintendents across Connecticut are acutely aware of the issues of need and inequity in the areas of housing, employment, health care, and transportation. The growth in our country’s and our state’s wealth and income inequality are clearly reflected in our schools. These social concerns significantly diminish the ability of public schools to achieve greater equality of opportunities and outcomes.
CAPSS does not envy the work of elected officials to weigh competing needs for public funds. However,we believe that the recommendations provided in this report will advance the statewide understanding of educational needs and the value of public education as a long-term investment, helping to address the quality of life. The CAPSS Blueprint to Transform Connecticut's Public Schools is a roadmap for 15 years, a plan with a set of 30 recommendations that will keep Connecticut on track in the work of exponentially improving education for every child in the state.