The state of the education system in America is at a crucial juncture, and not just because of theories held by the current Secretary of Education Betsy Devos. Indeed, there is more going on here than one administration is likely going to be able to address with such drastic address.
A good place to look for change, then, might be at the state level; and particularly in Connecticut, where the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education is presently investigating just how much it costs to educate students. The organization held a news conference on Wednesday to announce and launch its new initiative to convince state legislators to invest $250,000 to study this very thing. You may recall that the coalition was originally formed in 2005 when it filed suit alleging that the state of Connecticut does not adequately fund education.
According to Alex Knopp, who is a former mayor of Norwalk and CCJE co-founder: “Education finance reform in Connecticut has been a marathon project. In our view one of the key steps … is to conduct an adequacy cost study which would identify what it costs to meet Connecticut standards of education for all children…including children with needs like those who grow up in poverty, those who don’t speak English at home and many other issues.”
Now, in September, Hartford Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher issued an initial ruling in favor of the coalition, arguing that the state, in fact, was “defaulting on its constitutional duty” to a fair education, even for the state’s poorest students. As a result, the judge ordered the state to draft new funding plans for public schools.
As might be expected, the state has appealed the case all the way to the Connecticut Supreme Court, but that outlet is not expected to rule on the case until later this year, perhaps in the fall.
Knopp is running out of patience, saying that it is high-time all the parties involved—the coalition, the state legislature, and the governor—work together in order to fix this problem quickly. Hence, perhaps, the Coalition’s initiative to spend $250,000 to study just how the state spends its money on the public education infrastructure. The proposal, which was drafted in partnership with Yale University’s Education Adequacy Clinic—where Knopp is a regular visiting lecturer—suggests the study should take roughly one year and will more than likely ask to increase the state’s spending on education in the process.