One of the many bills to pass in the waning hours of Connecticut's 2010 legislative session was an education reform bill. As WNPR's Ray Hardman reports, the impetus for the bill was to position the state to win the next round of President Obama's Race to the Top education grants.
When Connecticut didn't make the cut in the first round of Race to the Top, legislators, educators, advocates and teacher's unions got together to initiate the changes they felt necessary to put the state in a better position in the next round of race to the top.
The result was a school reform bill which passed both houses in the final hours of the session. It now awaits the Governor's signature. The bill increases graduation requirements, creates a fast track for training and licensing school principals, and eases restrictions on charter schools. The bill also establishes a system to evaluate teachers, and requires poorly performing schools to set up a governance council of parents and teachers who would have the authority to overhaul the school. Connecticut Education Commissioner Mark McQuillan says the bill ultimately will produce a better student:
Connecticut's application for the first round of Race to the Top was ranked 25th by federal reviewers. The next round could include 10 to 15 states with grants of up to $175 million to improve schools.
For WNPR, I'm Ray Hardman.