Department of Education
BETTY J. STERNBERG, Commissioner
Established – 1838
Statutory authority – CGS Sections 10-1, 10-2, 10-3a, 10-4, 10-4a
Central office -
Average number of full-time positions - 1,932
Recurring expenditures for all funds - $3,328,700,000
Capital outlay - $3,390,000
structure - Office of the
Commissioner; three divisions—Finance and Internal Operations, Teaching,
Learning and Assessment, and Teaching and Learning Programs and Services; and
Value of real property - $442,890,956
Number of full-time secondary day students - 10,854
Number of part-time adult program registrations - 6,300
Our mission is to provide — through leadership and service — expertise, training, encouragement and resources to assist those in the education and related communities to succeed in helping all Connecticut students become effective lifelong learners, able to reach their personal and career goals and become involved, productive, confident and satisfied members of society.
Connecticut’s 11-member State Board of Education is responsible, under Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 10-4(a), for “general supervision and control of the educational interests of the state, [including] preschool, elementary and secondary education, special education, vocational education and adult education.” Sec. 10-4a further defines the educational interests of the state as including “the concern of the state . . . that each child shall have for the period prescribed in the general statutes equal opportunity to receive a suitable program of educational experiences.”
As detailed in Sec. 10-4(a), the State Board of Education “shall provide leadership and otherwise promote the improvement of education in the state.” Specific functions include research, planning, evaluation, educational technology (including telecommunications), the publishing of guides to curriculum development and other technical assistance materials, the presentation of workshops, and assessment.
The State Board also serves as the board of education for the Connecticut Technical High School System, which is made up of 17 high schools, one learning center and two satellites.
The Governor, subject to the approval of
the General Assembly, appoints members of the State Board to four-year terms.
The Chairperson, appointed by the Governor, is Allan B. Taylor,
Under Sec. 10-3a, the Department of
Education serves as the board’s administrative arm. The commissioner of
education, who is appointed by the board, is the department’s administrative
officer and, under Sec. 10-2, serves as secretary to the State Board of
Education. Betty J. Sternberg, West Hartford, is
A Superior Education for Connecticut’s 21st Century Learners, the Connecticut State Board of Education’s comprehensive plan for 2006-2011, will guide the Board’s legislative and budget proposals during the next five years. The plan’s objectives and strategies were formulated around four goals:
· to increase student achievement;
· to achieve resource equity and equality of opportunity;
· to reduce racial, ethnic and economic isolation; and
· to encourage greater parental and community involvement in all public schools of the state.
While building on the successes of
previous five-year plans, the 2006-2011 plan proposes a few bold, new ways to
improve the quality of public education in
The Connecticut State Department of Education has a strategic plan that describes in detail how it will support the initiatives outlined in the Board’s comprehensive plan. The strategic plan includes specific measurable outcomes that will serve as an accountability tool for the Department’s work.
In 2005-2006, the
The State Department of Education is committed to its agency wide efforts and leadership in developing and promoting comprehensive school-family partnership programs and activities that contribute to success for all students. Agency leadership activities include promoting linkages among state and local partners; delivery of training and technical assistance to promote model programs and state standards; policy development and implementation; and collecting and disseminating information about current research and best practice.
Another area of focus is children’s social, emotional, mental and physical health. Recognizing the impact of these factors on learning and achievement has resulted in major initiatives by the Bureau of Health and Nutrition Services and Child, Family and School Partnerships. Initiatives include pilot projects concerning health and nutrition; addition of agency staff to provide support and leadership around school-based mental health services; and targeted training and technical assistance to improve local district capacity to address and minimize these non-academic barriers to learning.
The Bureau of Educator Preparation,
Certification, Support and Assessment continued a department wide initiative to
update the educator continuum including pre-service training for new educators,
certification requirements, professional development requirements and
evaluation process for all educators. The goals of this initiative are to
continue to improve the high quality of education offered to students in
The Connecticut Technical High School System completes a large
number of varied community service projects each year. Many involve the use of
the students' considerable skills in their chosen technical fields.
For example, students at Cheney Tech
Improved student achievement is the agency’s intense and consistent focus. Spring 2006 was the first Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) administration of the fourth generation. For the first time the CMT has been expanded beyond three grades to assess all public school students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 as required by No Child Left Behind legislation. Because the CMT4 is a new test, grade-to-grade comparisons to previous generations are limited.
Results show that about 60 percent of
The Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) assesses Grade 10 student achievement in four areas: mathematics, science, reading and writing. 2006 marked the sixth and final year of the second generation of the test. When compared to the first year of the second generation CAPT, 2001, the percentages of students achieving at or above the goal level have increased; in Mathematics from 44.6 percent to 46.3 percent, in Science from 43.4 percent to 44.6 percent, in Reading from 42.2 percent to 46.5 percent, and in Writing from 48.7 percent to 52.4 percent. Student participation has also increased over the same time period. In 2001, approximately 86 percent of grade 10 students took the CAPT compared to nearly 95 percent in 2006.
Another way to gauge the overall progress of students statewide is to examine the percentage of tested students who achieve the statewide goals on all four CAPT subtests. In 2006, 26.8 percent of students succeeded in reaching this mark compared to 22.6 percent in 2001.
Under the direction of the State Board of Education and the support of
the Governor, the State Department of Education continued to address
Since fall 1997, the Connecticut State Department of Education school readiness and child day-care grant program created over 7,500 preschool spaces for 3- and 4-year-old children. Under the terms of C.G.S. SDE’s annual report, School Readiness Need and Costs to Serve All 3- and 4-Year-Old Children in the 19 Priority School Districts, estimates that there are an additional 8,731 children who are still in need of a preschool program in Priority School Districts.
State law requires that school readiness programs must be accredited or approved by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), Head Start or the American Montessori Society. The percentage of priority school readiness programs that are accredited or approved is currently 88 percent. Accreditation insures a level of quality and confidence as measured through standards in the areas of teacher qualifications, leadership credentialing and child assessment.
Adult education programs assist
Participation and performance data reveal that:
Progress has been made in meeting the
objectives spelled out in the four year stipulation and order, dated January
22, 2003, settlement related to Sheff v.
O’Neill. The settlement has two major goals. Eight magnet schools are to be
The second overall goal is reducing racial
isolation of 30 percent of all
The Bureau of Special Education focused
its attention on three important initiatives: progress in the Settlement
Agreement, P.J., et al. v. State of
The State Department of Education is
entering year four of a five-year implementation period for this federal
district court case, settled in May 2002. P.J. et al. v. State of
Noteworthy progress has been made since 2000 in the following five areas of the settlement agreement:
· The percent of students with an intellectual disability being educated in a regular class setting nearly doubled, going from 10.8 to 20.4.
· Individual districts have revised practices to more appropriately identify special needs students. Though there remains some disproportionate identification of students by race and ethnicity, for both black and Hispanic students with an intellectual disability there has been a continual and significant reduction in disparate identification.
· The mean percent of the school day that students with an intellectual disability spend with nondisabled students has increased from 34.6 to 51.9. The median time has also increased, going from 30.0 to 52.8.
· The percent of students with intellectual disability who attend their home school has increased from 71.3 to 77.1.
· The percent of students with intellectual disability who participate in school-sponsored extracurricular activities with nondisabled students has increased from 20.3 to 33.2.
The Bureau of Special Education is also entering its second year of monitoring school district implementation and compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Focused monitoring is a process that selects priority areas for monitoring in an effort to maximize resources, emphasize priority variables for improvement, and increase the probability of improved results for students with disabilities. Key performance indicators for the 2004-05 and 2005-06 school years have been 1) the overrepresentation of students with disabilities, in specific disability categories by race/ethnicity; and 2) the education of students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Results from year one of focused monitoring has demonstrated significant improvement on all data probes for both indicators.
Consistent with the recognition of the
importance of parents and families to the successful education of students in
Connecticut, the Bureau of Special Education has developed and implemented a
significant number of strategies designed to assist “parents of students with
disabilities, ages three-21, to participate as full partners in the planning
and implementation of their child’s educational program.” An advisory group of parents (Parent Work
Group) was created to assist in the development and implementation of these
strategies. These strategies include the
development of a resource brochure for parents of students with disabilities,
the implementation of a State Improvement Grant initiative designed to provide
training and support to local districts, the development of a parent
satisfaction survey, training in the implementation of the P.J. et. al. v. State of
In 2005-06, the Division of Finance and Internal Operations continued to assist the Department in meeting its goals of achieving resource equity and equality of opportunity among the state's school districts. The division distributed $1.7 billion in general state education aid to support the efforts of all school districts. In addition, targeted aid of over $100 million went to the priority school districts which house the state's neediest and poorest performing schools. To help achieve the goals of the Sheff stipulated agreement, along with offering opportunities for school choice statewide, approximately $109 million was spent on high-quality interdistrict programs and schools.
Other projects undertaken by the division include providing staff support to the legislatively authorized Magnet School Task Force and ongoing support to the Governor's Commission on Education Finance. Staff provided testimony to both groups on current law guiding the calculation of various education grants, with significant time also spent developing various simulations of potential modifications to these formulas.
Department's statewide Public School Information System (PSIS) is a
comprehensive undertaking. This system
was fully implemented for the 2002-03 school year and represents the
Department's move away from aggregate data collections towards individual student
records. In addition to compliance with
state statutes, this system includes data necessary for
In addition, the Bureau of Information
Technology (BIT) assigned approximately 580,000 student identification numbers
for PSIS. During the 2005-06 fiscal year,
BIT developed a web application for the expenditure portion of the Prepayment
Grant System; implemented Storage Area Networks (SANs) in both
The Bureau of School Facilities (BSF)
manages the school construction grant program which currently consists of
approximately 750 active projects. This
represents $8 billion in construction costs and $3.5 billion in outstanding
state grants. During fiscal year
2005-06, BSF provided approximately $650 million in grant assistance for the
construction and renovation of
It is the policy of the Connecticut State Board of Education that no person shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or otherwise discriminated against under any program, including employment, because of race, color, religious creed, age, sex, marital status, national origin, ancestry, mental retardation, present or past history of mental disability, learning disability or physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness. Additionally, the department will not knowingly use the services of, patronize, or otherwise deal with any business, contractor, subcontractor or agency that engages in acts of unlawful discrimination.
The Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, under the direction of the commissioner, is responsible for ensuring the agency’s compliance with a wide variety of federal and state laws and department policies that address equal opportunity in employment and education. Activities related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act include investigating grievances, determining and documenting reasonable accommodations, and visiting work sites. This office also investigates complaints (in the areas of employment practice, sexual harassment, disability/handicap and age/sex) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Ø The State Department of Education hired 167 employees, 52 males, 88 white females, four black males,
five Hispanic females, three “other” males and three “other” females. Of the 167 hires, the department
hired 84 goal candidates.
Ø During this reporting period, there were 34 promotions; 9 white males; 15 white females;
3 black males; 5 black females and 1 Hispanic female. There was one white female goal candidate
who was offered a position but she declined.