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When the courts get it right and side with justice, such as with Brown v. Board of Education of 1954, parents of color and/or poor and marginalized communities seized the moment to ensure educational equality for all children. When the law was enforced children of color and/or the poor thrived; when the law was not enforced, children of color and/or the poor struggled to survive.

Sixty-two years later, on September 7, 2016, Hartford Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher ruled in the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. former Governor Jodi Rell court decision, that many aspects of our educational system is unconstitutional for poor children and must be fixed with deliberate speed! Now Connecticut’s parents of color, the poor, English Language Learners and children with special educational needs have an opportunity and an obligation to seize the moment, to ensure equitable educational opportunities are the rule for all children and not the exception!

As a result, the Connecticut Parents Union is excited to launch our #SchoolsR4Kids Campaign – stay tuned for details. Especially in light of the fact that Connecticut's Attorney General George Jepsen recently filed a petition to the Supreme Court to Appeal the CCJEF.

Why does the CCJEF ruling matter to parents and students? It matters because it offers much needed hope. In the communities, neighborhoods, and homes of Black and Brown families as well the homes of special needs children and/or the homes where English is not the primary language, there was a palpable atmosphere of optimism. This optimism was cautiously revealed after being denied educational equity for decades. Why? Because finally a judge stated in an unwavering conclusion that Schools are for Kids - End of Story!

This landmark ruling in the case outlines very clearly that many Connecticut school districts have failed and continues to fail poor students by "graduating them without the skills needed for higher education" Moukawsher said.

Judges Moukawsher statements about educational standards for Connecticut children were already established on March 23, 2010 when the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in CCJEF v. Rell.

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that all Connecticut school children have a constitutional right to an effective and meaningful education. In reaching one of its most important and fundamental decisions in thirty years, the Court stated that, "the fundamental right to an education is not an empty linguistic shell" and must meet "modern educational standards." The Court said these standards must prepare students to "participate in democratic institutions," "attain productive employment," and "progress on to higher education."

It is clear that in each court decision for CCJEF, equity, fiscal and personnel accountability must be at the core of the state’s elementary and secondary educational plan to ensure the Constitutional rights of all Connecticut’s children.

The bottom line, Schools are for Kids and every educational policy must align with this fact!

Yet, elected officials from both political parties decided to stand with and encourage State Attorney General George Jepsen to file an Appeal to "protect the status quo" which includes poor performing teachers and their union that protects their performance and their behavior.

The state's position demands of taxpayer dollars to continue to invest into an educational system that doesn't have meaningful accountability standards for spending or employee performance. To maintain the status quo is to continue to deny the constitutional rights of children of color and/or the poor and marginalized communities.

"In addition, a stay is necessary to protect the status quo should this application be granted. It appears, in accordance with Office of Governor v. select Committee of Inquiry, 271 Conn.540,546 (2004), that this court may issue a stay..., and the undersigned hereby request entry of that stay."


However, Hartford Superior Court Judge Moukawsher said in his ruling

"Good teachers can't be recognized and bad teachers can't be removed,"


In addition, the court ruling states that it’s an irrational and dysfunctional teacher evaluation system when the system deems the majority of teachers are "proficient" regardless of student performance in the classroom.

Many Parents of color and/or poor communities agree that Attorney General Jepsen’s act of appealing the CCJEF decision, and the overwhelming support of his appeal from elected and appointed officials, from both political parties, have made it clear, with their actions, that the constitutional rights of certain populations of Connecticut’s children do not matter.

But the good news for Connecticut parents and children is the fact that the Connecticut Constitution is on the side of all children regardless of their race, zip code or disability. Indeed, Schools are for Kids and their safety, education, and over all wellbeing is non-negotiable!

Gwen Samuel, President & Founder, Connecticut Parents Union

WASHINGTON, D.C. | May 16, 2012
CT Parents Union Founder Gwen Samuel Testifies Before Congress : The Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, chaired by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), today held a hearing to examine state and local efforts to increase parental engagement and options.

3.28.12 Stan Simpson Show Education Advocate Groups Talk With Commissioner Watch CTPU Gwen Samuel, CT Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and Conncan's Executive Director 07.33 http://www.ctnow.com/news/stansimpson/


Watch School Choice, Mothers and Women YouTube link co-hosted by CT Parents Union

CT Parent Unions appears on Fox CT "The Real Story"

2012 CTPU Education Reform Plan

Watch CTPU Education Reform Plan Press Conference 1.18.12

Thank You To All Who Participated in the March 14, 2012

Photos from the 2012 CT Parents Union Event
  1. The Struggle Continues Education Panel Discussion w. Bernard Center For Women
  2. Parents & Communities High Quality Education Rally w. Special Guest Kelley Williams - Bolar, Akron Ohio, Michelle Bernard, Bernard Center for Women and Michelle Rhee - StudentsFirst

"One in four students in America drops out of high school�and in the minority community; it�s closer to one in two. We�re sending 1.2 million kids into the streets each year without an education. It�s economically unsustainable and it�s morally unacceptable." - US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan

CTPU Supports "Children First" In Parent Teacher School Partnerships -Join Your Local School Governance Councils

A Joint Statement from Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, and Gwen Samuel, President, Connecticut Parents Union (see attachment for full press release)

Thank you to all who participated in the 2011 "Parent Express" Bus Tour Experience!


Lawmakers Must Reform School Residency Laws

Connecticut and states across the county must reform school residency laws /zip code educational practices to ensure parent�s are able to send their children to safe and high quality schools when there are not any other safe and high quality school options in their neighborhood!

January 9, 2012, Connecticut Parent�s Union hosted press conference with Akron Ohio, Ms. Kelley Williams - Bolar of the newly formed Ohio Parent�s Union, Mr. Matt Prewett, Texas Parent�s Union, Mr. Kenneth Campbell, President of the Black Alliance For Educational Options and the author of the California Parent Trigger law and California Director of Democrats for Education Reform Senator Gloria Romero (Ret.) to discuss the need to reform and end Zip Code education in areas like Beach Park, Illinois.

Beach Park, Illinois is the home of the nation�s fourth case of a parent, Ms Annette Callahan, accused of stealing a �free public education� through, what CTPU alleges to be, unconstitutional School Residency laws, due to the very "selective selection" process.

Listen to CTPU's Press Conference LINK: https://www.freeconferencing.com/playback_ow.html?e=1328504400000&cid=conferences/90-17-65-67-17-65-674632996520123307057-17-65-67-17-65-67-17-65-67108.mp3&cn=94-43-28-63


An analysis of the State of Connecticut using almost any indicator of socio-economic progress quickly reveals stark contradictions in the fortunes of its residents. Connecticut, one of the richest states in the nation is also home to some of the nation�s poorest cities; it is home to some of the most prestigious Universities and schools in the nation, yet its academic achievement gap is among the highest in the nation, observable between rich and poor students, and between white students and students of color. The socio-economically disadvantaged in Connecticut�s cities tend to be people of color, trapped in schools that persistently fail to meet their need for a quality education; these residents are also likely to be underemployed, or lacking in job skills that would provide a livable wage, consequently they tend be under-insured, or uninsured. CTPU will partner with communities and key stakeholders to affect sustainable change through thoughtful, responsive public policy, re-allocation and application of critical resources, and the empowerment of residents to become engaged in reforming their communities.

Why do we need a Parent's Union?
In the past 20 years, public school enrollment in Connecticut increased by 24 percent, from 459,215 students in 1989 to 569,237 students in the fall of 2008. (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/pressroom/ConditionofEd_08_09.pdf

More than one-third of children from poor communities enter kindergarten classes already behind their peers in reading; a child who is not reading by the end of first grade has only a one-in-eight chance of ever becoming a proficient reader. America ranks in the bottom third among developed nations in terms of student performance, 25th in math and 21st in science. We fall behind in nearly every other subject as well.

Needless to say, the U.S. public school system and economy is in crisis! Providing resources and access to the decision making table is paramount as America attempts to stabilize the economy, unemployment rate, and educational achievement gap. Across America, there is a need for increased levels of civic engagement from parents, family and community. Therefore, parents, guardians, and families need an organized power base that can level the playing field within the public policy arena.

Note: Every child will not attend college but that does not mean they should not have access to a college ready academic experience!

Why is our emphasis on parent & family engagement?
A child�s parents, family members and community are his or her first teachers. Today�s children are tomorrow�s workforce and the role of the parent to the future of America's workforce is critical.

This important role must be recognized and validated within educational systems. Parents and guardians must be able to provide their children with all of the support systems necessary for them to succeed including: equal access to high quality educational, a safe and healthy home and school environment to learn and grow, and equal access to programs that promote the well-being of family members. Healthy children come from healthy families and communities; and, healthy children thrive in school!

Research clearly states that a parents� active engagement within their child�s learning is the most important long-term influence on academic success and behavior. Parental engagement goes well beyond being engaged in activities in and around school � it is about parents and effective teachers working together to support the child�s learning in the classroom and, most importantly, in the home.

Refer a Parent, Grandparent, Foster Parent, Adoptive Parent, Mentor, and Role Model...

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