Feb 9, 2012

Connecticut Students Have Only One Shot (So Let's Shoot 'Em!)

Milly Arciniegas is former President and current active member of the Hartford Parent Organization Council (HPOC), a coalition of 48 PTOs at public schools throughout the city of Hartford. She is also the mother of 2 boys educated in Hartford public schools.

As a mother of two boys educated by Hartford public schools -- one a current student and one a former student, I know first hand of the challenges faced today by parents, teachers and district leaders as we try to provide a quality education for all Connecticut students.

We have an enormous achievement gap in this state -- perhaps the highest in the nation. The difference in academic achievement between groups of students -- particularly between low-income minority students and their wealthier white peers -- is staggering and unacceptable.

Our kids only have one shot at a quality education. We cannot wait another year to make changes -- change must occur now. It is critical that the state step in with some clear policies that help ensure that every child gets a quality education.

That is why I’m so excited that StudentsFirst has come into the state of Connecticut to help organize and support the 13,000 StudentsFirst members in the state and work with groups like HPOC and CHIPSA to make sure new laws are passed this legislative session that will drive meaningful change in our local schools.

One of our highest priorities is to implement rigorous and meaningful teacher evaluation systems across the state. Teachers obviously play a huge role in the education of our students. But without rigorous and meaningful teacher evaluations, we often lose some of our best teachers and we let teachers that need improvement flounder with no support. This is unfair to our kids – every kid deserves a great teacher.

I look forward to working with StudentsFirst members in the coming months to make sure that the state of Connecticut gets on the right track so that no more students lose their one chance at a quality education.

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