Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Blue Ribbon Budget Panel Reports to BOA

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

The final recommendations to the New Haven Board of Aldermen from the Blue Ribbon Citizen’s Panel on the Budget is ready. Its a worthwhile read. Thanks to all the panelists and city staff that contributed to its construction.

Is the official Drop Out Rate sanitized?

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Support Youth Rights Media’s documentary on the Drop Out Rate in New Haven. New Haven was recently labeled a “drop out factory.”

Youth Rights Media Premiere


In this new documentary, youth pose urgent questions about the local impact of the nation’s largely invisible “dropout crisis.” Along the way they ask how many of our city’s students really graduate from high school, and do we really understand why others
fall short of completing? Their search for answers yields inspiring, puzzling, and often troubling results.

Friday, June 19, 2009 at 7pm
Yale University Art Gallery
1111 Chapel St
New Haven, CT

Please RSVP to: [email protected] or 203.776.4034

Direct access to the Gallery Auditorium from High Street.
Parking is available on the street or in the lot on York Street
between Chapel and Crown.

City to Name New Asst. Super for Portfolio Schools

Monday, June 8th, 2009

The New Haven Register reports “New York City school reformer Garth Harries [to be appointed] to the new post of Assistant Superintendent for Portfolio and Performance Management”. From the article, it seems like this would be a great addition to the educational reform needed in New Haven. I wish this person success. To complement the City Administration, this new trend of hiring experts to run the city is an encouraging development – especially if we can truly leave behind this “mom and pop”/”friends and family” style politics and cronyism. We can only hope that bringing in this new person from the outside does not meet with the same resistance/interference from politicos in the City Administration (and BOE) that are notorious for needing to control everything. This “business as usual” B.S. has already interfered with at least two outside experts hired by the city – the police chief and Michele Whelley from the new EDC. I hope Mr. Harries brings some antacids with him.

One Thing You Can Do Right Now To Improve Education

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Write an email to our state delegation. With one click, you can email them all. The link is just on our right hand side of this page. Here is the letter Jeffrey sent:

Help make Education actually educate our children!

Dear New Haven Delegation:

I am writing you from New Haven. As a progressive democrat, I am outraged by a system that continues to provide barriers to reforming education. For too long, we have accepted failing schools over special interests and have made excuses for non-performance. For instance, why on earth would we turn away some of the most talented young people in the world from teaching in our classrooms? Although not the first source for progressives, read this maddening WSJ article that is spot on: Teach for (Some of) America, Too talented for public schools:

Right now, you are in a position to start eliminating some of these barriers through your powers on the CGA. You can promote data transparency (S.B. 1014) which would allow a better understanding of which schools work and which fail. For too long, we allow people to manipulate fungible numbers. The second opportunity to be a true progressive for transformative education lies in letting smart people teach, no matter what undergraduate education they have pursued. S.B. 939 allows a friend of mine, someone who got a full scholarship to Yale Business School (SOM) due to academic achievement, and who has worked as some of the top companies in the world, to work in the classroom. He loves math and would enjoy teaching in New Haven schools but has not been able to do so despite several unsuccessful attempts to navigate the process. This is shear madness!

Here is a summary of each bill:

The first bill (S.B. 1014) promotes data transparency in schools by requiring that the Connecticut State Department of Education allow nonprofits and universities to use education data the state already collects to improve instruction and help parents make smart choices.

The second bill (S.B. 939) helps improve teacher quality. It removes roadblocks keeping excellent math and science candidates from teaching without a specific college major, instead giving them the option to prove their subject knowledge through a rigorous exam. This bill also establishes a teacher certification pathway so that Teach for America can continue to provide its teachers the long-term professional development and support that has proven so effective. The bill also aids interstate reciprocity for experienced teachers.


Jeffrey Kerekes

With A Shortage of Quality Teachers, Why?

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Read this interesting article from the WSJ, Teach for (Some of) America, which describes the barriers keeping out high energy, smart college students, from teaching in the poorest schools. Does this make sense to you? Is our school system itself the barrier to a quality education? Are these sorts of barriers happening here in New Haven? Believe it.

ConnCAN Rally & Legislative Initiatives

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

See letter below from ConnCAN on their efforts with the State.

Dear Friend,

I’ve been asking a lot of you these past weeks. Since launching our ‘Mind the Gaps’ campaign almost two months ago, I’ve been asking you to write your legislators, attend legislative hearings, visit our campaign website and spread the word among friends and family.

You responded – and because of that, we’ve made real progress. As we head into the latter part of the legislative session, I wanted to take a moment to update you on the state of our campaign and thank you for your work.

Over 1,000 Connecticut citizens have written their elected officials to ask them to ‘Mind the Gaps’ in student achievement by enacting three fiscally responsible, commonsense, results-oriented education reforms in the 2009 legislative session.

In late February, over 400 advocates attended the appropriations hearing in Hartford, wearing bright blue Mind the Gaps t-shirts and asking our legislators to avoid the tragedy of half-completed, high-performing public charter schools.

In March, advocates from across the state testified at two hearings on three important bills that were raised by the General Assembly’s Education Committee for data transparency in schools and teacher quality.

1) An Act Concerning Longitudinal Studies Of Student Achievement (H.B. 6491) would require that the Connecticut State Department of Education allow nonprofits and universities to use education data the state collects to improve instruction and help parents make smart choices.

2) An Act Concerning Teacher Certification (H.B. 6666) would remove the roadblocks keeping excellent teachers out of Connecticut classrooms by changing the law that prevents great candidates from teaching without a specific college major. Instead, this bill would give them the option to prove their subject knowledge by passing a rigorous exam.

3) An Act Establishing A Resident Teacher Certificate (H.B. 6654) would establish a one-year resident teacher certificate so that Teach for America can continue to provide its teachers the long-term professional development and support that has proven so effective in helping raise student achievement.

Next week, on April 2, charter school advocates will converge on the steps of the State Capitol for one last push to ensure our voices are heard as legislators make their final funding choices. And on April 6th, the Education Committee will reach its final deadline to pass these three bills on to the General Assembly as a whole.

If you haven’t done so yet, please take two minutes right now to send a letter to your legislator about these critical issues so that we can ensure that every child in Connecticut has access to a great public school.

Thank you for being an advocate for Connecticut kids.

My Best,

Alex Johnston
Chief Executive Officer

P.S. Don’t forget to visit our campaign website – – for more information, videos, and to keep track of our progress.

About ConnCAN — The Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) is an advocacy organization building a new movement of concerned Connecticut citizens working to create fundamental change in our education system. To learn more visit:


Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

There has been a discussion about the following spreadsheets going on. Take a look and help make them better.

Save Money While Giving Away Scholarships? Early Graduation.

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

This article was recently forwarded to our group. It proposes that allowing High School students to graduate in 3 years (if they meet the graduation requirements) and pass along a portion of the savings of the senior year towards a grant for college. The article suggests that the grant amount should cover two years at a local community college (allowing for a Associates Degree). The other savings goes towards reducing the cost of education, reduces census and perhaps the need for more buildings, and more…. Interesting idea. Read about the proposal here.

Here’s one criticism/response. What’s your thoughts?

I like Newt and I think he is bright but this proposal does nothing to address our failing schools. It is the kids who do not graduate at all and who are graduated with no education that costs society so much.

This does nothing to change the schools and the way the schools are forced to teach.

Kids who now graduate in 4 years could graduate in 3 years with little or no incentives. The schools just donot offer such a program. Why does Newt or others think that saving a year of a students life is not worth enough to the student to make such a school option hugely popular without any more of these silly give aways to get kids to go to school.

What next, pay kids to graduate in 3 years from college.

Fix the schools with more choices, competition. I have nothing against this, but it seems designed to help the white kid in a good school who would graduate anyway and who would graduate in 3 if offered the choice even without further incentives.

New Budget Released

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

The City released a new budget document with the announced cuts.

No More Fair Rent Commission, Elimination of Small Business Initiative, $1M less in BOE, almost $6M in proposed layoffs and concessions while increasing employee benefits by a $1/4 Million, $679k from Community Services Administration, reduced soup kitchen aid, homeless funding, two people from the mayor’s office, $150k less to Shubert, $150k Less to Market New Haven and $250k less to Tweed. $144k from Executive Management Concessions (No Reduction for the Mayor who is still at $131,000. In fact no one in his office got a salary reduction although two positions were eliminated all together.). Elimination of some senior centers (there was low attendance at a few of these), closing some police substations, eliminated 3 Librarians, and more.

They estimate $1M in new money from an unannounced source (sale of parking lots?), increased money from parking meters, vital stats, and $150 per bulk pick-up.

2008-9 Budget Recommendations

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

(NHCAN) is pleased to announce the budget recommendations for the 2008-2009 Fiscal Year. We have prepared a list of recommendations including the ending of unsustainable subsidies, to the reorganization of departments, to the transformation of the budget document itself. Below you will find the link to the full document (2.3 MB), as well as, shorter versions of the document. We recognize that some of these recommendations may be impractical or even naïve. We invite you to consider these in the spirit in which it is offered and to offer superior alternatives for the general good. We look forward to continuing this discussion.

2008-2009 Budget Public Comments(2.3 MB)

Executive Summary Only (414 KB)
Full Document Without the Appendices (1.4 MB)
Appendices Only (2.0 MB)