Connecticut's struggle to adopt an education reform package that will help close the nation's largest achievement gap has caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Education.
In a letter sent April 17, federal officials said they are concerned that much of the state's plan to improve student learning and win a waiver of federal No Child Left Behind testing relies largely on proposed legislation.
That legislation is the focus of ongoing closed-door negotiations between Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration and Democratic legislative leaders.
Malloy said Friday that federal approval of the state's request for a waiver of No Child Left Behind testing requirements may hinge on the General Assembly adopting his 163-page reform package. This letter seems to back him up.
Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams on Friday told reporters the bill, as it is being revised, will meet federal requirements for a wavier.
The mammoth bill attempts to improve education on several fronts by bolstering preschool, expanding school choice, giving the state more control in low-performing schools and improving both teacher preparation and effectiveness. Changes in teacher tenure and evaluation rules and the ability of the state to alter teacher contracts and intercede in local schools appear to be major stumbling blocks to getting the package adopted by the time the session ends May 9.