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Connecticut ed reform law disregards parents

Connecticut Parents’ Union President Gwen Samuel says that if lawmakers don’t shift the balance of power back to parents – as the 2010 law intended – they will once again become helpless bystanders in the effort to improve education in the Constitution State. “When will parents matter?” Samuel asks. Photo source: CT Dept of Children and Families media resources.

Connecticut Parents’ Union President Gwen Samuel says that if lawmakers don’t shift the balance of power back to parents, they will once again become helpless bystanders in the effort to improve education in the Constitution State. Photo source: CT DCFs media resources.

By Ben Velderman | EAGnews.org

Last month, a group of parents in California’s Adelanto school district succeeded in using that state’s Parent Trigger law to convert a chronically low-performing public school into a charter school.

It was the first Parent Trigger victory in the nation’s history, but analysts expect the number of “trigger” cases and laws to expand quickly in the wake of the Adelanto victory.

Some education reform activists are already declaring 2013 to be “The Year of Parent Empowerment.”

But that’s not how the new year is shaping up for Connecticut parents, who are in jeopardy of losing what little power they currently have in the state’s public schools – thanks to the state’s 2012 education reform law which is beginning to take effect now.

Connecticut’s 2012 education reform law – which enables the state’s education commissioner to take control of low-performing schools – is directly undermining a 2010 reform law that gives parents in troubled public schools the legal authority to recommend “turnaround” plans.

… A key provision in Connecticut’s 2012 education reform law allows the state education commissioner to take control of up to 25 malfunctioning schools, bypassing both the school governance councils and the local school board.

… The collection of state-controlled public schools is known as “the Commissioner’s Network.” Schools in the network are given access to extra financial resources and can be granted exemptions from rules and provisions in the teachers’ union contract.

… According to the 2012 reform law, schools in the Commissioner’s Network are managed by a six-member “turnaround committee.” The local teachers union is allowed to appoint two of the group’s members – a teacher and a parent.

The local board of education appoints its own parent representative, as well as a school administrator. The local superintendent and the state education commissioner comprise the rest of the turnaround committee.

Connecticut Parents’ Union President Gwen Samuel says that if lawmakers don’t shift the balance of power back to parents – as the 2010 law intended – they will once again become helpless bystanders in the effort to improve education in the Constitution State. “When will parents matter?” Samuel asks.

To read more, please visit the EAGnews.org site at this link http://eagnews.org/connecticuts-new-education-reform-law-leaving-parents-out-in-the-cold/

Posted February 4, 2013 as excerpted by HTNP News Editor Brenda Sullivan

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