Increased Access to High-Quality Public Schools of Choice
Achievement First University Prep High School, Hartford
Like you, we know that a bright future depends on how well our children are prepared to meet the challenges ahead in college and career. Increasingly, our children will need higher levels of education to succeed in the global economy. Here in Connecticut, 70 percent of jobs will require some form of higher education by 2020. Nationally, workers with at least some college education have captured 11.5 of 11.6 million jobs created during the recovery from the Great Recession, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce.
In Connecticut, charter public schools are helping to provide students, particularly students who are impacted by our state’s persistent opportunity gaps, with access to a quality public school that will prepare them for future success. For example, overall, 82 percent of charter public schools (with data reported) outperformed their host district in English Language Arts (ELA) and 71 percent outperformed their host district in math on the Smarter Balanced Assessment, known as SBAC, in the 2015-2016 school year. The SBAC is annual state test given in grades 3 through 8 based on globally benchmarked college and career-ready standards. Additionally, overall, 63 percent of charter public schools (with data reported) outperformed their host districts in ELA and math on 2016 SAT, which marked the first time all Connecticut 11th graders took that college-entrance exam.
Charter public schools are beacons of hope: In 2017, Amistad was ranked the number one high school in the state by U.S. News & World Report, surpassing elite schools in Connecticut’s wealthiest suburbs. The vast majority of Amistad Academy’s 1,036 students, 98%, are students of color and 83% receive free or reduced lunch.
Outcomes like these reinforce what we know to be true: that kids of all backgrounds can achieve at the highest levels when given the opportunities they need and deserve. That’s why, with your support, we fought to maintain level-funding and keep kids in their charter public schools in 2016.
During the 2016 legislative session, in the face of major budget deficits, the General Assembly proposed deep cuts to the state’s education system. You lent your voice to protect charter public schools from painful cuts, at a time when these school already receive thousands of dollars less per student than their host districts. Maintaining level-funding ensured that these schools continue to provide high-quality options for thousands of Connecticut kids and to help close the state’s opportunity gaps.
Outstanding results for thousands of kids is also why we urged the NAACP’s national Board of Directors to reconsider their position on a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter schools. Our board chair, Derrick Diggs, joined more than 160 Black leaders in education, faith, and public service to send a letter to the NAACP board asking for a meeting to discuss a resolution adopted at the NAACP national convention calling for a nationwide moratorium on new charter schools. The letter was referenced in supportive editorials in The Washington Post and The New York Times. While the resolution was passed in October, in December, the Connecticut NAACP hosted the first of seven hearings conducted nationwide by the NAACP’s National Task Force for Quality Education in response to the resolution. You made it possible for us to prepare testimony for the hearing and support our community and faith partners with the data and information they needed to testify. The hearing received media attention from the New Haven Register and the New Haven Independent.
Without your support, our advocacy to ensure great schools for all would not be possible.
To read more on about how your efforts helped to secure funding for charter public school students across the state, click the links below: