Saturday, May 1, 2010


For Immediate Release
Friday, April 30, 2010
Contact: Gwen Samuel
Tel: (203) 953-5154

Roll Call of CT House of Representatives results in 145 Yea 0 Nay
Historical H.B. 5491 An Act Concerning Certain School District Reforms To Reduce The Achievement Gap In Connecticut Thus Giving Parents Equal Power To Transform Failing Schools

It was Part 4 of a historical civic engagement moment in time within Connecticut where as parents, education advocates and members of the Connecticut General Assembly’s (CGA) Black and Puerto Rican Caucus gathered at the State Capitol to discuss the direction of Connecticut’s Educational Institutions and the future of its children.

The result: April 30, 2010, 7:20 pm roll call of Connecticut House of Representatives voting to pass Amended H.B 5491 An Act Concerning Certain School District Reforms To Reduce The Achievement Gap which include implementation of majority parent, equal voting power, school governance councils within low-performing and/or systemic failing schools. 145 Yea 0 Nay.

The School Governance Councils, consisting of majority parents, promotes equity in the decision making power between parents and youth (the consumers), and administrators and educators as it relates to transforming low-performing and/or failing schools.

A big “Thank You” is given to the CT House of Representatives for having the moral courage to vote in a manner that will ensure the necessary educational reforms are in place statutorily to promote access to high quality public schools for ALL children and not SOME children. CT parents and first time voters will remember your commitment on Election Day November 2nd, 2010.

The so-called Parent Trigger was the most controversial education reform concept introduced to CT lawmakers in the beginning of the legislative process. The concept: If 51% of parents/guardians in a systemic failing school, as identified by federal requirements, signed a petition, a “triggering” of a reform mechanism would be initiated.

During the vetting process, CT lawmakers and some education advocates felt the “trigger” would be more effective if it was more inclusive, therefore school governance councils was substituted into bill language. The stakeholders at the School Governance Council table are majority parents, youth, community leaders, the principal and teachers.

Some CT parents are now calling the amended H. B. 5491 the “reform trigger” because of the expansion of stakeholders in the education/school reform process.

The law intentions are to encourage school districts to address low-performance sooner rather than later — replace administrators, reconstitute a school or make other major reforms to ensure academic success for ALL children.

Fact: CT has over 185 low-performing schools. Ninety-five (95) of those schools are five years or more “failing” and some schools are in their 9th year of “failing” under federal requirements.

Fact: On March 22, 2010 the state Supreme Court ruled that Connecticut school children are guaranteed an adequate standard of quality in their public school…the state constitution requires "that the public schools provide their students with an education suitable to give them the opportunity to be responsible citizens able to participate fully in democratic institutions, such as jury service and voting, and to prepare them to progress to institutions of higher education, or to attain productive employment and otherwise to contribute to the state's economy." (Source URL:

Time line of Historical Civic Engagement

Part 1-March 15: the historical civic engagement movement was a CT Education Rally & Public Hearing held March 15, 2010 alongside California grass-roots group Parent Revolution from the Los Angeles Unified School District led by Executive Director Ben Austin. More than 700 parents, community members, students and members of the Connecticut General Assembly Black and Puerto Rican Caucus showed support for education reforms that will close the achievement gap. A parade of parents and students walked through the Education Public Hearing to acknowledge their presence and commitment toward raising achievement and reducing the gap.

Parents and education advocates testified to the fact that every parent should be able to demand that their child have access to a high quality public education and FAILING should not be an option of choice.

Part 2 –March 24: the historical civic engagement movement in time where as the CT Education Committee lawmakers, after long and passionate debates, passed H.B. 5491 An Act Concerning Certain School District Reforms To Reduce The Achievement Gap In Connecticut. This bill, introduced by the CGA Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, includes the so-called “Parent Trigger”, the most controversial education reform concept being introduced to CT lawmakers that will balance the power between parents, administrators & educators within the education and school reform process.

Part 3 April 1: the historical civic engagement movement in time where as the CT Appropriations Committee lawmakers, after lengthy discussion, passed
H.B. 5491 An Act Concerning Certain School District Reforms To Reduce The Achievement Gap In Connecticut.

This “education equality” vote of 46 Yea, 9 Nay and 3 absent/no vote sends a message that every child, regardless of race, ethnicity, or their family’s income, should have access to a high-quality public education.

Here are the economic results of a 1% increase in the education levels of CT’s future work force as outlined by the State Department of Education.

Connecticut: $5 billion more economic activity each year
Fairfield County: $ 1.8 billion
Greater Hartford: $1.6 billion
Greater New Haven: $800 million
Southeastern CT: $300 million

Higher levels of education equal better community, higher employment, lower taxes, stronger businesses and less crime.

For more information on bill visit


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