New Haven public charter school parents meet with Representative Toni Walker

On Tuesday, December 13, a group of New Haven-based public charter school parents met with Representative Toni Walker to discuss funding, pledges, and the possibility of gaining legislative support for charter schools.  

The event, organized with our partners at Achievement First, aimed to advance the discussion about great schools in Connecticut. Parents were prepared with questions and a range of stories about how their children’s education and lives have been positively impacted by being a part of their charter communities. 

The evening started with a speech from AF parent, Kim Hart, who met Representative Walker over ten years ago at the state capitol while advocating. “I found out she was my state representative, and whenever I needed anything I would call her or leave a message and she was always helpful,” Hart said. She reiterated that charter parents are just looking to have their scholars treated fairly, before turning the microphone over to the audience. 

Integration of technology, a challenging curriculum, and a dedicated staff are just a few of the reasons parent, LeeAnn Pettruzzelli, has had an amazing experience at Elm City College Prep Elementary. Her question for Rep. Walker was pretty straightforward: “Will you sign the pledge for fair funding?” 

Sharkia Bookert, a parent of three children at Achievement First schools asked the important question, “What can we as parents do right now to encourage the legislature to support charters?” She went on to tell Representative Walker that she wished more people, especially in the state house, understood how amazing these schools are. “Because of their dedication, they get results!” 

Garrett Munroe, parent of a 10th grade scholar at AF Amistad High School, talked about how he’s confident that his son is receiving a quality education, but says that doesn’t stop him from worrying about the students in his neighborhood, and across New Haven who are underserved. “They all deserve a quality education, and all of our children should be funded equally.”

Mr. Munroe’s also spoke about his son, Taylor, who dreams of being an engineer, and his nephew, a graduate of Amistad who is currently studying at Yale. “These kind of stories should happen more often, and not be the exception to the rule for inner city children like ours,” he said. 

Rep. Walker was receptive to the stories and questions, and agreed that charter schools should be funded equally, but acknowledged that fiscal challenges in the state make it tough to find the necessary funds. 

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Parents, Community Members, and Electeds Rally For Equitable Funding

On October 5th, parents, community members, and elected officials called on state legislators yesterday to build a new, equitable funding system that provides charter schools with sufficient resources to continue their transformative work and expand to reach more of Connecticut’s highest-need communities.

If state leaders don’t level the playing field, they will miss a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make sure all public schools are funded fairly and to invest in schools that are producing transformational outcomes for high-need students.

Read our new white paper here. 

 

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New White Paper: Schools Are For Kids

Judge Moukawsher’s ruling in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell called for a fundamental shift in the way Connecticut funds its public schools.

The CCJEF ruling established that the state’s funding system has had a disproportionate, deeply negative impact on  African-American, Latino, low-income and other high-need students in the state’s most underserved communities, in violation of Connecticut constitution and federal law. According to Judge Moukawsher, Connecticut’s broken school funding system “makes a mockery of the state’s constitutional duty to provide adequate educational opportunities to all students.” 

The court’s ruling CCJEF v. Rell is a clarion call for action from Connecticut’s leaders to fully invest in high-need children and provide them with a constitutionally adequate education. This means that the public schools educating these children must be funded fairly.
 
This paper builds off of the landmark decision in CCJEF v. Rell. In it, we argue a clear case for fairly funding public charter schools, which have consistently  delivered excellent results for high-need families. 

Any state response to the CCJEF ruling that does not include fair funding for public charter schools should be viewed as a failure to invest in some of the most traditionally underserved students in Connecticut. 

Download the full paper here.

"Judge, Citing Inequality, Orders Connecticut to Overhaul Its School System" via The New York Times

This is huge news.

The decision by Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher on September 7th has the potential to "fundamentally reshape public education in Connecticut" according to the NY Times.

"Reading his ruling from the bench for more than two hours, Judge Thomas Moukawsher of State Superior Court in Hartford said that “Connecticut is defaulting on its constitutional duty” to give all children an adequate education.
Judge Moukawsher’s decision was a response to a lawsuit filed more than a decade ago that claimed the state was shortchanging the poorest districts when it came to school funding. What separates the decision from those in dozens of similar suits around the country is that rather than addressing money only, it requires the state to rethink nearly every major aspect of its system.
“This is a game changer,” said Joseph P. Ganim, the mayor of Bridgeport, Conn., one of the state’s poorest and lowest-performing school districts. “It’s an indictment of the application of the system, and of the system itself.”

We will be monitoring the response to this decision closely, and will keep our supporters up to date as the situation develops.

Read the full story here at the NY Times: