Reform Leadership.

Realign Connecticut’s educational system for success.

Currently, organization and policy making for education are based on bureaucratic assumptions of hierarchy, centralized decision making, standardization and inspection. These characteristics limit individual discretion, depress creativity and foster stasis, not change.

For local school administrators, this model has produced ever-increasing constraints. Today, less bureaucracy is needed in order for schools and districts to invent, adapt and change to local conditions, guide activity, and encourage initiative and innovation to reform the state of public education. 

Clarify the state’s role in governing the education system.

Why This Recommendation Is Important

In a transformed system of education, the state has an important role to play. It must define the goals for the entire system, provide the technical assistance necessary and holding schools accountable for meeting those goals. The state must also create policies that ensure the equitable distribution of human andfinancial resources to guarantee that all students have the opportunity to meet the goals set by the state.

Actions Needed

  • Allow the Governor to appoint the Commissioner of Education with authority to provide educational leadership and fulfill statutory responsibilities, and have the Commissioner report directly to the Governor.
  • Redirect the efforts of the State Department of Education (SDE) to meet the most immediate needs of Connecticut’s school districts.
  • Replace all instructional regulatory state mandates with ones that emphasize student learning outcomes.
  • Tie state funding to incentives for meeting and exceeding child learning outcomes.

Clearly define the role and responsibility of the Superintendent of Education in statute.

Why This Recommendation Is Important

Effective school and district leadership makes a positive difference in student achievement. If there is to be effective leadership in a learner-centered education system, there can be no ambiguity about who is responsible for what. Leaders must have authority commensurate with their responsibilities.

Actions Needed

  • Make the authority of the Superintendent of Education commensurate with responsibilities.
  • Put systemic efforts in place so that the school system can lead transformation.
  • Base evaluation of school systems not only on success in schooling but also on progress in leading transformation efforts.
  • Define the role of school boards so that they are solely focused on policy issues and hiring and evaluating the Superintendent.
  • Remove statutory limits on Superintendents’ contracts.