For the past four and a half years, Eduflack has written about education reform. What is working. What is not. How successful are we communicating our efforts to improve our public schools. For the most part, I’ve done so from the cheap seats, observing from the sidelines, watching through the eyes of an observer, a consultant, or an advisor.
This morning, ConnCAN (the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now) formally announced me as its new CEO. This is a tremendously exciting opportunity. For years now, I have seen ConnCAN as the gold standard in state-based education advocacy organizations. From its school report cards to its reports to its community engagement and advocacy, ConnCAN has demonstrated a clear path for how a state (and a nation) can provide a great public school for all children.
More importantly, ConnCAN isn’t shy about tackling the tough issues. Many organizations in the education sector often struggle with the question of whether it is better to lose big or win small. Over the years, ConnCAN has been able to win big on issues that matter to real families and real communities. And its “no fear” attitude allows it to advocate for bigger and more significant agendas each and every year, priorities that can directly impact our communities and our economies.
Through recent efforts, the organization has made clear that the status quo in public education simply cannot stand. If we are serious about closing the achievement gap, improving opportunities, and providing a great public education to all students, we must take bold steps. Tinkering around the edges will not cut it. Real change demands real action. And that means implementing a school funding formula that addresses the needs of today and tomorrow, not the expectations of the past. It means a great focus on teacher quality, where every student — regardless of race, socio-economic status, or zip code — has educators who are effective and supported. And it means a community that is united in its vision to improve the quality of public education for all, recognizing there are NO excuses for achievement and instructional gaps.
I am incredibly fortunate to be working with such a terrific team, each and every one committed to bringing real change and real improvement to our public schools. I am incredibly fortunate to work with a board equally committed to such improvement. And I am honored to be working with a network of advocates, friends, partners, teachers, parents, and policymakers all dedicated to improving our schools and charting new, more effective paths to lasting school improvement.
As the son of educators, I was raised to believe that there was nothing more important than a good education. Through organizations like ConnCAN, we can clearly see how fixing our schools is possible and the social, economic, and community benefits that come from such a commitment.