On Friday, officials in New Britain celebrated New Britain High Schoolâ€™s selection to be part of the Commissionerâ€™s Network, joining 21 other low-performing schools, including DiLoreto Elementary & Middle School, in the state program designed to boost student achievement.
Obviously, this is a bad news, good news situation. The bad news we already know: city schools and many city students are struggling. The good news: additional resources are promised - funds and consulting services from the state.
Our question is: where will these additional funds come from? Both the city and the state are struggling financially, making it harder to create the professional development, coaching structures and protocols that the Network promises to put in place.
One answer is that the U.S. Department of Education should be supporting our schools, fulfilling the promise on its website: â€śOur mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.â€ť
Unfortunately, the Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has also said, â€śI believe in a limited federal government,â€ť adding in a recent speech, â€śstates are best equipped to solve the unique problems they face.â€ť
Itâ€™s true that, here in Connecticut, we know many ways to improve learning for our neediest students, including the family engagement plan which is expected to be developed in New Britain as a result of this selection. What we donâ€™t know is how to pay for all that is needed to bring city schools up to the level of wealthier suburban towns.
But this is a country built on certain principles - and one of them is an equal education for all our children.