Enrollment in Connecticutâ€™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, itâ€™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 weâ€™ve highlighted for work."
McQuillan says the state has created 2 new accountability bureaus to work with districts deemed â€œfailingâ€ under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Other important issues in the upcoming school year include the implementation of The Sheff vs. Oâ€Neill settlement agreement, and the presentation of a revised proposal for high school to the State Board of Education in October.