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Conn. Governor Pledges $15 Million to Support Common-Core Implementation

By guest blogger Madeline Will

Gov. Dannel Malloy made a show of his commitment to the common core in Connecticut on Thursday with a pledge to put an additional $15 million into rolling out the educational standards.

The money will go towards implementing recommendations by a task force of educators and parents on how best to transition to the new standards for English/language arts and mathematics. Malloy, a Democrat facing re-election in November, had created the task force through executive order back in March, amid widespread concerns that teachers weren't adequately prepared for the new standards.

The task force recommended more professional development and training for teachers and staff, more money, time and technical support for effective implementation of the standards and an increased awareness and understanding of the new standards. The funds to be allocated are already part of the state's approved budget, so no further action is required from the legislature.

"I'm proud of the path that we have taken in Connecticut, one that brought together teachers, parents, and administrators for one common purpose—figuring out the best way to move forward in what has been a challenging endeavor for states across the nation," Malloy said in a statement. "The bottom line is this—we will provide additional resources to public schools and we are committed to an ongoing dialogue with everyone over the coming months."

Here's the breakdown of the plan—called the Connecticut Core Initiative—that Malloy announced this week: 

  • Malloy's capital budget will allocate $10 million to upgrade school technology to support the transition to the new standards.
  • The Connecticut State Department of Education will allocate $2 million to fund 1,000 professional training days for teachers—a number that can be expanded if needed. Districts can also apply for Common Core coaches to provide training and professional development this school year.
  • The department will put $2 million towards professional development for teachers in the subject areas of English, language arts and math. There will also be training for English as a Second Language and special education teachers.
  • The department will create an advisory committee that will award up to $1 million in mini-grants to teachers and parent groups so they can receive Common Core resources in their classrooms and communities. The committee will be composed of teachers, administrators, parents and state and regional officials.
  • The department will provide "back to school kits" to superintendents and school leaders, so they can communicate with parents about the changes. The department will also provide webinars on implementation at the school level to principals.

According to an Associated Press story, Malloy has faced criticism over his handling of education issues from both of his Republican challengers. A petitioning gubernatorial candidate, Jonathan Pelto, has called on Malloy to withdraw from the common core. But this initiative suggests that Malloy is moving forward, despite opposition.

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