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Testimony before Appropriations Committee March 9

At a time when most states are substantially increasing education funding to remediate the educational loss occasioned by COVID-19 school closures and distance learning, Connecticut is going backwards. While most states recognize that federal stimulus funds, through the CARES Act, through the CRRSA Act, and now through the American Rescue Plan, were passed to supplement, not supplant, state funds, Connecticut is using that money to backfill its obligations.

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Appropriations on ARP Funds

The undersigned are organizations dedicated to equity in the education of underserved populations, including students of color, students with disabilities, rural students, and students living in poverty. We write because under the American Rescue Plan (ARP), signed by President Biden last week, Connecticut's schools are about to receive more than a billion dollars. That money needs to be spent wisely. To do so requires strong legislative action.

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SEEK Testimony to Committee on Judiciary

Special Education Equity for Kids in Connecticut (SEEK) is a statewide organization of parents, providers, attorneys and advocates working for high-quality education and civil rights for students with disabilities. We appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today on H.B. 6667. I am here to speak in favor of Section 11.

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SEL Comments on Behalf of SEEK

We cannot have effective social emotional learning is an atmosphere of fear, in an ethos of rejection, in a school acting like a law enforcement agency. Yet, in our effort to make schools safe, we have made them appear less safe. In our striving to minimize disruptions to learning, schools have become fundamentally disruptive. In our desire to end racism, schools have become a mechanism to preserve the caste system in America.

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Response to CAPSS Proposal

What follows is a section-by-section appraisal of those of the 30 recommendation areas contained in the Blueprint that fall within SEEK's mission. We ask you to consider modifying your recommendations in accordance with these suggestions.

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Analysis of Majority-Minority School Districts

Connecticut has 205 school districts, including 149 town-based districts, 17 regional school districts, 6 regional education service centers, 3 chartered high schools, and 23 public charter schools, as well as school districts run by state agencies and a Technical High School System. Of the 166 town-based and regional school districts, 21 of the largest and all of the urban school districts have a majority of Black and Hispanic students.

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Transitioning Amidst Covid-19

Transitioning into the adult sphere can be a tricky venture under the best circumstances, and even more so for individuals with a disability. Covid-19 has abruptly transformed the landscape of transition for such individuals even further.

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Federal Judge Rejects Connecticut Law Limiting Special Education Service to The Year in Which the Student Turns 21

Senior Judge Charles S. Haight issued a landmark ruling on June 10, 2020 in the case ofA.R. v. Connecticut State Board of Education. The ruling threw out Connecticut law providingthat students with disabilities would age out of special education services on June 30 if thestudent turned 21 during the twelve months.

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Amicus Brief Appendix as Filed

Feinstein Education Law Group filed an amicus brief in the case Connecticut Coalition For Justice In Educational Funding, Inc., Et. Al. V. M. Jodi Rell, Et. Al., S.C. 19768. You can read the text here:

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CCJEF

Judge Moukawsher issued a monumental ruling yesterday in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell. Based on an extensive trial that ran from January through June, the judge determined that Connecticut’s system of funding education was irrational and unconstitutional.

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