Since Connecticut’s founding, our state has led innovation in government, culture, industry and education. From our nation’s first law school to the first academy in New England for African American women, and the America School for the Deaf, Connecticut’s champions to expand access to education have historically been a source of pride and leadership.
Still, in 2013, Connecticut continued to show the largest opportunity gaps in the nation that fall along the lines of race and class. For example, low-income students in our state graduate high school at a rate of 60 percent, and their more affluent peers graduate at a rate of 90 percent. Additionally, those who are graduating are often unprepared for college opportunities. This gap severely limits future academic and life opportunities for students in our most high-need neighborhoods indicating that we are not delivering on our promise to prepare all of our students for educational and life success.
In our neighborhoods, and as a statewide community, we understand the importance of strengthening education systems so that they provide the excellent education necessary for all citizens, in every zip code, to have a chance at academic and life success, that will in turn, continue to make true Connecticut’s legacy as a place of prosperity.
Many parents, members of the faith-based community, non-profit organizations, and schools in Connecticut have cried out at the injustice of educational inequity and are committed to addressing it in significant ways. These dedicated champions have been and continue to be integral to our partnership with the communities of Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, and Windham where we contribute to efforts to expand excellent educational opportunities for more students.
We recruit, train, and develop college graduates and career-changing professionals as one additional source of teaching talent. Over time our alumni commit their passion, strengths and experience to addressing the issues of education and poverty. Today more than 550 TFA alumni in Connecticut contribute long-term leadership in classrooms, in school and district leadership, in non-profits, and across sectors to influence positive progress toward our state’s promise of excellent educational access in under-resourced schools and communities.
Today, a growing number of examples are proving that when students’ needs are supported and they are held to high expectations, all students have the potential to succeed. With our school communities, we want to help lead and build tremendous urgency to ensure that these examples are no longer the exception, but the rule.