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Connecticut Education Association News Release

Some Charter Schools Breaking State Law, Losing Public's Trust in Education

Neglecting to provide students with high-quality, certified teachers

February 18, 2016

Our public schools are among our most trusted institutions, but one-third of charter schools in Connecticut are breaking the law, breaking the public's trust, and failing to provide students with the high-quality education they deserve:

  • It is a federal and state priority to attract and retain the most experienced and qualified teachers for schools in high-poverty communities.
  • Despite federal and state mandates, up to 50 percent of all teachers in one-third of Connecticut's charter schools fail to meet the minimum standards and requirements necessary to teach our children.

"We all recognize that high-quality teachers are the greatest asset in public education," said CEA President Sheila Cohen. "Parents place an immense amount of trust in our public schools and especially in our teachers to elevate student achievement. We cannot diminish that trust by allowing charter schools to violate the law and operate under inadequate teaching standards."

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg said, "We have rigorous certification processes to assure that educators have the knowledge and proven teaching methods and strategies needed to effectively teach our children. We cannot allow some charter school operators to continue to deliberately ignore these protections."

According to state Department of Education records, one-third of Connecticut's charter schools are violating the law, with Achievement First topping the list with all four of its schools in violation of state law. The worst offender is Achievement First's Bridgeport Academy, where only 22 out of 44 educators (50 percent) have the appropriate certificates needed to teach our children.

Waxenberg sent a letter to Connecticut Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell on December 29, 2015, asking her to rectify the situation. CEA has not yet received a response from the Commissioner and is considering asking the Chief State's Attorney's Office to intervene to resolve the matter.

The Connecticut Department of Education oversees the Connecticut teacher licensing and certification process, by mandating specific requirements for educators teaching in the state's K-12 public schools, while encouraging ongoing professional development and growth.

Teachers are required to hold a bachelor's degree, complete a teacher preparation program at an accredited school, pass subject-specific exams and have a successful clinical classroom experience before receiving an initial educator certificate, valid for three years. New teachers are also required to participate in a mentoring program to further develop classroom skills. The system is tiered to advance continued professional learning and development.

Cohen concluded, "We must maintain rigorous certification standards for all public school teaching staff in Connecticut and in accordance with state law to assure parents and the public that the best and brightest teachers are in Connecticut classrooms. We look forward to a resolution of this matter."

Connecticut State Department of Education Bureau of Educator Standards & Certificate Charter School Data

Click here for the 2016 data Click here for the 2015 data

The Connecticut Education Association represents 43,000 teachers in Connecticut.

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