Great Schools for All: A Plan Big Enough to Close America's Largest Achievement Gap
January 31, 2007
Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now
With this report the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) follows in the footsteps of Delaware's Vision 2015 project and outlines a comprehensive statewide school reform strategy--this time for the Nutmeg State. Like Vision 2015, this report was spearheaded by a large, well-credentialed Board of Directors and Advisors and is clearly serious about school reform. The reports are also similar in approach. Both call for expanding access to pre-school; improving recruitment and performance of teachers and principals; implementing a strong, value-added accountability system; and facilitating school-level innovation. On this last issue ConnCAN bests Vision 2015 with its explicit focus on charters. It recommends lifting Connecticut's exceptionally tight cap on charter growth (just sixteen schools statewide at present) and funding these schools at the same levels as traditional public schools. Its recommendations on improving principal and teacher quality are less strong. It argues for alternative certification and heavy recruitment from organizations such as Teach for America--undoubtedly positive steps. But the report is mum on teacher pay and vague on redefining the role of the principal. On finance, Vision 2015, which calls for weighted student funding, does better; ConnCAN's call for standardized accounting and increased transparency is important but doesn't go far enough. Overall, ConnCAN's report warrants attention, but one can get a much richer look at possible comprehensive state-level reform strategies by using it in tandem with Vision 2015 (which perhaps Connecticut policymakers should also do). Read ConnCAN's report here.