If your child is struggling freshman in one of the many less affluent, high schools across Connecticut where overall achievement and test scores lag behind those in more well-to-do school districts, there is no help on the horizon.
Any solutions are still years away. By the time those solutions arrive, many of today’s freshman will have either graduated lacking the skills to compete in college and career, or dropped out to be caught the social service or justice systems.
The recent ruling of Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher in CCJEF v. Rel concluded that “the state of education in some towns is alarming” and that “egregious gaps exist between rich and poor districts.”
That ruling is being appealed and who knows when that appeal will be won or lost.
After that, our elected officials still have to formulate and pass a plan to fund schools more fairly and in such a way as to get more help to students in low income areas. Then find the money to actually put that plan into action, all during a time when Connecticut is facing a massive budget deficit and school funding is cut rather than increased.
In short, if your high school aged child is currently on the wrong side of the education achievement gap, good luck. He or she better figure out how to succeed in hard circumstances because there is little or no help coming in the near future.
Joseph Cirasuolo, executive director of Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents summed up the situation best when he said,
“The state makes decisions on funding every year, and unless they’re obligated by some court order there’s no proposal anyone can make that over the next few years says, ‘This is what we’re going to spend on education,’”
His comment was made recently during a meeting of leaders from five state education advocacy groups.
Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, Connecticut Association of Schools, and Connecticut Council for Education Reform.
According to the experts, the best we can hope for is some sort of policy change over the next few years.
What about the thousands of children who are in school right now?
Shouldn’t someone be something to help them?
At the very least, shouldn’t someone be offering these students a way to try and help themselves while the “cavalry” is trying to build a roadmap to find them and to buy horses to reach them?
Fortunately there is at least one organization that is helping students to overcome this adversity and help themselves now.
Wayne Winsley is Executive Director of Brave Enough To Fail, a nonprofit student motivational program. To interview Mr. Winsley or learn more email wayne@BraveEnoughToFail.org or visit http://www.BraveEnoughToFail.org