RSS

Opportunity for Teachers to Meet with State Legislators

AFT Connecticut has scheduled our annual regional legislative meeting with members and legislators on Saturday, February 28, 2015 at the Manor Inn in Milldale from 9:00-10:30am. This is an informal, sit-down breakfast meeting to discuss AFT Connecticut legislative issues together

Click here to register online — note that attendance is limited to dues-paying members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated unions.
Manor Inn Restaurant

1636 Meriden-Waterbury Tpke

Milldale, CT

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Is “No Child Left Behind” About to Get Worse?

ESEA Reauthorization: Robin Hood in Reverse

How ESEA Title I, Part A, ‘Portability’ Takes from the Poor and Gives to the Rest

Sen. Lamar Alexander

SOURCE: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is shown speaking during an interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 14, 2014.

In the first days of the 114th Congress, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)—chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions—placed K-12 education at the top of his agenda. His goal is to quickly reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA—currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act—and, ultimately, to dismantle what he calls the “national school board.” Chairman Alexander’s bill—the Every Child Ready for College or Career Act—largely cuts back on the federal role in public education and weakens state accountability to raise achievement and close achievement gaps.

Most egregiously, the bill proposed by Chairman Alexander eliminates the targeting of federal dollars to schools and districts with the highest concentrations of low-income students. This approach ignores the long-known fact that socioeconomic isolation has a devastating impact on student learning and achievement outcomes. Simply put, the challenges that low-income students face are significantly greater when the majority of their classmates are also low income.

To mitigate the negative impact of concentrated poverty, the federal government allocates billions of dollars to states per year through Title I, Part A, of ESEA based on the number and concentration of students living in poverty. The funds are then distributed to districts following the same process. The goal of Title I is to provide low-income students attending schools with high concentrations of other economically disadvantaged students with additional financial support.

Chairman Alexander’s bill takes a different and harmful tack and actually dismantles the targeting of Title I. His proposal provides states with the option of opting out of the current system of Title I funding for schools. Instead of following the current formulas, states would distribute to all districts the same amount per student simply based on the total number of children in low-income families. This approach is sometimes referred to as “portability.” It is unclear how many states would exercise this option. However, considering wealthier school districts receive less federal support but often have greater political capital, it is possible that some states may feel considerable pressure to use portability to distribute their Title I, Part A, funds.

Using the fiscal year 2014 allocations for school districts, the Center for American Progress analyzed the impact that portability would have had on students last year. We compared how much districts would have received under portability with how much they actually received under current policy. In our analysis, we made the following key findings:

  1. Portability actually drives resources away from high-poverty districts and into more affluent ones.
  2. Nationally, districts with high concentrations of poverty could lose an average of around $85 per student.
  3. On average, the most affluent districts could gain more than $290 per student.

If all states opted into this new system, school districts with a poverty rate of more than 30 percent would lose money, while districts with a poverty rate of under 15 percent would see dramatic increases in funding. This is illustrated in Figure 1 below. In total, the poorest school districts would lose more than $675 million, while the lowest-poverty districts would gain more than $440 million.

ESEAportability-webfig1

The nation’s largest districts could stand to lose tens of millions of dollars. For example, if Illinois opted for portable Title I dollars, Chicago could lose more than $64 million, while the much more affluent suburb of Naperville could see its allocations increase by more than $380,000. In California, students in the Los Angeles Unified School District could lose out on more than $75 million, while the Beverly Hills Unified School District could gain $140,000 dollars. These patterns are similar for every state. Portability would redistribute vast amounts of resources away from the students with the most needs to provide marginal new funding to other, more-well-off students. See the Appendix for figures that provide breakdowns for each state and for large urban districts.

The most affluent districts already receive substantially more resources than their less affluent peers, and they could afford to spend more on the most disadvantaged students. These low-poverty districts collect more than $1,500 more per student than high-poverty districts. See Figure 2 below.

ESEAportability-webfig2

On the other hand, it has been long recognized that low-income students need additional resources and support to have an equal opportunity for success in college and career. Moreover, low-income students attending school with high concentrations of similarly economically disadvantaged students need even more support to overcome the burdens and barriers erected by poverty. Title I is how the federal government attempts to meet its obligation to these students. This targeted approach has helped ensure that low-income students do in fact receive more resources and support and that their right to a high-quality education is protected. More targeting, not less, is the appropriate policy response to our country’s growing student poverty.

Under portability, each low-income student is provided with the same allocation of federal funds. As a result, the marginal increases in funding that current law provides to students as a district’s poverty level increases have been eliminated. Simply put, this funding system ignores the fact that concentrated poverty has a significant negative impact on students beyond their own economic circumstances. Ultimately, portability weakens the ability of Title I dollars to combat the adverse effects of poverty.

CAP is not the first organization to point out that portability hurts the most-disadvantaged students. Recently, the American Association of School Administrators argued that portability eliminates the flexibility that current law affords it to decide on which grades to focus Title I resources. Instead, as a consequence of portability, districts might need to spend Title I money across all grades even if that approach would not be most effective for their students. The National Coalition for Public Education—which includes 50 organizations, including the Children’s Defense Fund and the National Urban League—has also written that portability would expand the amount of students served through Title I and result in the poorest districts getting less of overall Title I dollars.

The Title I, Part A, funding formulas do need to be improved, but abandoning them altogether fails to serve the students that the law is meant to support. CAP has recently recommended a formula change that removes unfair factors in the current formulas. Not only does the bill proposed by Chairman Alexander not attend to these issues, but it also actually changes Title I allocation for the worse. In essence, the bill allows states to take from the poor to give to the rest.

We can all agree that draining funds from resource-starved school districts is poor policy. Yet portability betrays our national commitment to protect every student’s right: Regardless of class, race, disability, or country of origin, they have equitable access to a high-quality education. CAP strongly recommends that Congress eliminate the portability requirement from any reauthorization of ESEA.

ESEAportability-webtable1

ESEAportability-webtable2

ESEAportability-webtable3

Max Marchitello is a Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress. Robert Hanna is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women’s issues, Legal Progress, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi (immigration, race and ethnicity)
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

BOE Seeking Input for 2015-16 Budget

BOARD OF EDUCATION

 FINANCE COMMITTEE BUDGET WORKSHOPS

 6:30 P.M. – Board of Education – Room 36

The Bristol Board of Education Finance Committee will be holding budget workshops in preparation of the 2015-2016 Board of Education budget.

The workshop dates are as follows:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015 *

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

 * Also a Regularly Scheduled Meeting

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

2015 Legislative Issues Conference

2015 Legislative Issues Conference

Date:

Saturday 02/21/2015 – 8:30am2:00pm

Annual conference that features planning and discussion of key public policy issues AFT Connecticut and affiliated unions are pursuing in the General Assembly’s 2015 legislative session.
Registration begins at 8:30AM — conference is scheduled to begin at 9:00AM. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Agenda:
  • Labor’s Legislative Agenda: Lori Pelletier, Executive Secretary Treasurer, Connecticut AFL-CIO
  • Education Rundown: Co-Chairs of the Education Committee
  • Legislative Testimony 101: Learn about the public hearing process and how to write effective legislative testimony
  • Connecticut Budget Process: Sen. Beth Bye, Chair of the Appropriations Committee
  • Recruiting and Running Candidates to Serve on Town Committees
Invited speakers include Gov. Dannel Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, and House and Senate Leadership.
Free parking available in the Legislative Office Building (LOB) parking garage.
Click here for a brief video on what to expect from the event that you can share with union colleagues.
Click here to register to attend — participation is limited to dues-paying members of AFT Connecticut affiliated unions.
Room 1D, Legislative Office Building

300 Capitol Ave.

Hartford, CT

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Make Congrees Fix NCLB

Let’s make sure Congress gets the reauthorization of ESEA right

All signs point to Congress reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this year.

When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the ESEA in 1965, it was a centerpiece of the War on Poverty. The law was designed to ensure that every school got the resources to teach students, particularly in neighborhoods or districts that were not wealthy. And the requirements preventing states from taking this money away from poor students have been a critical safeguard, particularly in recessions or when state funds are thin. But, since the last major overhaul—known as No Child Left Behind—the core principles of equity and opportunity in ESEA have been overwhelmed by a devastating obsession with high-stakes testing.

We must return to a focus on ensuring every student has the chance to attend a great public school. And here’s how we believe we can do that.

Click here to sign the petition.

What is ESEA? Click here to read a Wikipedia entry.

A recent Op-Ed on the re-authorization of the bill.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags:

Cafeteria Works Win Again In Court

This article appeared in the Bristol Press today. The original article can be read here.

BRISTOL — The Board of Education has been dealt another setback in its quest to outsource school cafeteria services as a judge denied an appeal to stay a state decision that the board must honor its agreement with 53 school cafeteria workers.

New Britain Superior Court Judge Carl Schuman denied the appeal of a 2014 ruling by the state Board of Labor Relations that the school board must honor its tentative agreement with the cafeteria workers’ union.

A request for maintaining the original temporary stay had been denied, so this was an appeal of the denial, said school board Chairman Larry Amara.

“We didn’t really lose anything,” he said. “We lost the appeal to keep the stay in place, but we’re in the same place we were before with the cafeteria.”

Amara said the school board is still appealing the original Board of Labor Relations decision, which will likely not be decided for six months to a year. In the meantime, the school board is in contract negotiations with the union local that represents the cafeteria workers, Local 2267, Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

“We’ve said all along that outsourcing is not in the interest of Bristol students, workers and taxpayers,” said Larry Dorman, spokesman for Council 4.

“So we are pleased with Judge Schuman’s decision and its validation of the underlying decision by the state Board of Labor Relations,” Dorman said. “We hope the Board of Education will work with us to continue improving services for the children rather than spending taxpayer dollars on fruitless legal appeals in pursuit of outsourcing.”

In May 2014, the school board voted 5-3, with its Republican majority prevailing, to sign a contract with Long Island-based Whitsons Culinary Group, after months of protests by parents and the cafeteria workers.

The school board had 60 days to void the contract, which then happened in the wake of the Board of Labor Relations’ decision that the school board had previously negotiated the tentative agreement with the union in bad faith.

Last August, Schuman had eliminated a stay of the Labor Relations decision, which the school board Republicans had hoped would allow them to go ahead with the outsourcing while awaiting the court’s final word.

Schuman had said then that the issue was not clear-cut and the court could not say which side was more likely to prevail.

“Tipping the balance” in opposition to the stay, he said, was the reality that the school board chose to enter into a contract with Whitsons “knowing that there was a possibility that it might lose” with the labor relations board and in the courts.

Schuman said school officials must “accept the consequences” of their choice to pursue legal action to overturn the labor panel’s ruling.

Susan Corica can be reached at (860) 584-0501 ext. 1802 or scorica@bristolpress.com.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

BFT Schedules 2 Meetings to Discuss New Contract

This week the BFT will conduct 2 meetings, both on Tuesday, to discuss the new contract and answer questions from members.

Tuesday 12/16/14 at 2:45 PM in the auditorium of BCHS (high school teachers)

Tuesday 12/16/14 at 3:45 PM in the auditorium at CHMS (middle school and elementary teachers)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 350 other followers