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Schools See Enrollment Decline
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The Education Commissioner presents his 2008 Back To School Message: Photo by Diane OrsonThe Education Commissioner presents his 2008 Back To School Message: Photo by Diane OrsonEnrollment in Connecticut’s public schools has begun to decline.

More than 566,000 public school students head back to their classrooms next week, about 3,500 fewer than last year.

In his annual Back-To-School message, State Education Commissioner Mark McQuillan says although the decline is slight, it’s the first drop in student enrollment in Connecticut in nearly 20 years and the start of a trend. At the same time, the number of youngsters who are English Language Learners is increasing.

"And we have yet to I think articulate a clear path and vision for how we can provide high-quality instruction for all of them. I think our teachers need more preparation. This is an area that we’ve highlighted for work."

McQuillan says the state has created 2 new accountability bureaus to work with districts deemed “failing” under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Other important issues in the upcoming school year include the implementation of The Sheff vs. O”Neill settlement agreement, and the presentation of a revised proposal for high school to the State Board of Education in October.