Quality Education Agenda

Connecticut’s public schools have a responsibility to prepare all students for the opportunities and challenges that await them, and in so doing, to develop an educated citizenry.   Every day, in classrooms across the state, teachers help move us toward those goals. Our aspirations for our children are inseparable from our societal imperatives.  Yet our schools are not oriented in a way that allows them to provide all children with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life and career.

Self-described education “reformers” advocate top-down overhauling of systems, using standardized testing in math and English as the primary measure of student and teacher performance and success, and using competition to leverage change, although neither approach has been shown to improve student achievement. Their tactics are intentionally disruptive and invite instability: frequently opening and closing entire schools rather than fostering stable, successful neighborhood schools and cycling through a procession of short term teachers, seeking to fire, instead of develop, a large number of teachers. They require teachers to implement policies made without their input, yet shift responsibility for school outcomes solely onto teachers.

Such an approach to education will not get our children, our communities or our state where we need to go. Test-taking skills must take a back seat to developing students’ ability to analyze and apply knowledge. Memorization must give way to true mastery of concepts. Narrowed curricula must be broadened to give students the breadth and depth of knowledge they need to be truly well-educated individuals. The education we provide our children—all our children—must help develop their capacity to problem-solve, think critically and approach challenges with ingenuity. And in order for children to do all this, their teachers must be well trained, supported and developed throughout their careers; given true voice in their work; and treated as professionals.

AFT Connecticut presents a quality education agenda focused on evidence (to ensure quality, efficiency and effectiveness), equity (to provide a great education to all children), scalability (to make success systemic, not isolated) and sustainability (so that the reforms outlast changes in leadership; budget circumstances or political shifts).
The major proposals focus on two primary linchpins of educational attainment—what students need to succeed, and what their teachers need to facilitate success. In these efforts, teachers and teachers unions are partners in reform—not impediments.

AFT CT (American Federation of Teachers Connecticut) is committed to improving the quality of education for every child in the state. Education reform issues like teacher tenure, teacher certification, teacher evaluations, early childhood education, charter schools, school funding and more need input from all educators. PreK-12 teachers, paraprofessionals and school related personnel are working every day to improve learning and help students to grow. From urban schools in Connecticut, such as Hartford, New Britain, New Haven and Meriden, to suburban schools, such as, Bloomfield, Simsbury and Waterford,  to regional school districts, our members are working to provide quality education.