The Achievement Gap Task Force, created by legislation in 2011 to identify effective approaches to closing the achievement gaps in Connecticut’s elementary, middle, and high schools, heard a penetrating analysis on the challenges facing African-American and Hispanic males by Anthony Simmons, program manager for the Black Male Donor Collaborative at the Schott Foundation for Public Education, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based organization dedicated to seeing all children graduate from high-performing, well-resourced public schools.
"We look at Black and Hispanic males because they are the 'canaries in the coal mine,'" Mr. Simmons said. "Many of our policies have a disproportionate effect against them," especially when it comes to discipline policies, funding policies, attitudes on race, and economics.
To get the student point of view, the Task Force also heard a presentation from Isaiah Mohammed, a Norwalk student who expressed frustration at the messages he's received over the years from teachers.
You may watch the entire event on the Connecticut Network (CT-N) website. Length: 2 hours, 16 minutes.
Mr. Simmons' PowerPoint presentation:
Times indicate where that portion of the meeting begins in the video above.
Remarks by the Co-chairs
Dr. Miguel Cardona, principal of the Hanover Elementary School in Meriden, and state Senator Toni Harp of New Haven.
Commissioner of Education's Update - 2:44
Charlene Russell-Tucker, chief operating officer of the state Department of Education, for Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.
Mind the Gap Forum Student Presentation - 8:24
- Introduction by David Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer, United Way of Coastal Fairfield County
- Nowalk Superintendent of Schools Susan Marks
- Isaiah Mohammed, senior at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering, Stamford
Early Childhood Cabinet Update -
Connecticut Commission on Children Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman
Schott Foundation Presentation - 48:20
Anthony Simmons, program manager for the Black Male Donor Collaborative at the Schott Foundation for Public Education
Panel and Audience Discussion
Created in 2011 by Public Act 11-85, the Task Force is charged with identifying effective approaches to closing the achievement gaps in Connecticut’s elementary, middle, and high schools. It must develop—in consultation with the state Department of Education, the legislature’s Education Committee, the Connecticut State University System, and the Interagency Council for Ending the Achievement Gap—a master plan for eliminating achievement gaps by January 1, 2020. The panel is co-chaired by Dr. Miguel Cardona, principal of the Hanover Elementary School in Meriden, and state Senator Toni Harp of New Haven. Other members include Commission on Children Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman. For more, go to: www.cga.ct.gov/ed/AchGap/taskforce.asp.