Charter Awareness Day 2018: Gov. Malloy says charters are ‘moving the entire educational system forward’

In an impassioned acceptance speech before the crowd at Charter Awareness Day 2018, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, recipient of the 2018 Torchbearer Award, urged lawmakers to treat public charter schools fairly, instead of "penalizing (them) because (they’re) doing such a great job."

GSVN_CAD_Malloy_Andy_Smile2.jpgPhoto Credit: Andrae Haye, GlobalSVN Media

The Governor’s speech was the culminating highlight of our 4th annual Charter Awareness Day at the Connecticut State Capitol last Thursday, which included informational tabling, lobbying activities, and the presentation of the 2018 Torchbearer Award to Governor Malloy for his tireless work on behalf of public charter school families and kids.

"Since Governor Malloy first took office, we have seen his clear commitment to improving our state’s educational system, and in increasing high quality educational options for Connecticut’s most underserved communities,” said Connecticut State Director Yam Menon in a statement to the media. "There is no doubt that thanks to Governor Malloy’s leadership and support, our state’s public charter schools have experienced a stronger climate to best serve our kids and families. We are honored to present him with this well-deserved symbol of our appreciation."

GSVN_CAD_Yam_Malloy_Award.jpgNECSN's Yam Menon presents the Torchbearer Award to Gov. Malloy 
Photo Credit: Andrae Haye, GlobalSVN Media

The event brought together more than 100 members of Connecticut’s public charter school community, including families, students and school leaders, in highlighting the diverse offerings of Connecticut’s 24 public charter schools. But as always, the day was about much more than just celebration.

"We come together today not just to celebrate our schools, but to do the important job of advocating for our schools, and to remind every lawmaker in this building that public charter schools are here to stay, and we must have their support for schools that are producing our future generations and bringing these options to the families that demand them," Menon said. "And that support means protecting the bipartisan approved budget that includes a critical increase to $11,250 for next year."

GSVN_CAD_CathyAF_Pastors.jpg
Achievement First and FaithActs for Education
Photo Credit: Andrae Haye, GlobalSVN Media


Charter schools have been flat-funded at $11,000 per-pupil for the past four years -- a figure that is not determined by actual student need, and is significantly lower than what is needed to educate generations of kids in sustainable ways for schools. Still, students in public charter schools continue to thrive, particularly kids who come to charters from traditionally underserved communities. More than 80 percent of public charter school students in Connecticut scored higher in both Math and English Language Arts than their district school counterparts on the 2016-17 SBAC, and 70 percent of charter school students identify as low-income. It’s no wonder then that more than 10,000 kids are currently attending charter schools in Connecticut, with more than 7,000 names currently on charter school waitlists.

"If we treated charter schools as a district, you would be one of the largest districts in the state. It’s time for the legislature to treat you thusly, to understand the importance of the work that you’re doing and not penalize you because you’re doing such a great job, but in point of fact, do what everyone in this building says should be done: reward those people who are having positive results, treat them fairly," said Gov. Malloy.


GSVN_CAD_Path.jpgStudents from Path Academy in Windham at Charter Awareness Day
Photo Credit: Andrae Haye, GlobalSVN Media

The Governor also made certain to remind lawmakers that charter schools are in fact public schools and even better, they are working! In his remarks, he emphasized that charters are doing what they were intended to do by sharing best practices with district schools, which helps to improve outcomes for all schools. Those improved outcomes include graduation rates which have gone up in Connecticut for the seventh year in a row, aided along the way by strong charter schools. The Governor, who is not seeking re-election, stressed the need for lawmakers to take on the important task of supporting charter schools in the coming years and to treat them with fairness.

"Those of us who know that charter schools work for the children who are in those schools, and for the children who are not in those schools -- and (who know that) if they were to disappear, the emphasis and the push that goes on to make those kinds of changes in all schools would also disappear -- we have to stand together. We have to work hard, we have to find new allies and we have to make sure that the money keeps flowing in a way that is used impeccably well," Gov. Malloy said.

CAD_CommonGround_Selfie.JPGStudents from Common Ground High School in New Haven visit the selfie station

Throughout the morning, lawmakers and visitors were able to stop by tables lined up throughout Nathan Hale Hall and learn about all of the offerings our state’s public charter schools can provide. Participants included Jumoke Academy in Hartford, Highville Charter School and Common Ground High School in New Haven, Brass City Charter School in Waterbury, Path Academy in Windham, Capital Preparatory Harbor School and The Bridge Academy in Bridgeport, ISAAC in New London, Elm City Montessori in New Haven, Achievement First public charter schools, Stamford Charter School for Excellence, Booker T. Washington Academy in New Haven, and the proposed Danbury Prospect Charter School.

GSVN_CAD_Danbury_ISAAC3.jpgRepresentatives from ISAAC in New London and the proposed Danbury Prospect Charter School
Photo Credit: Andrae Haye, GlobalSVN Media

Guests were also treated to a delicious catered lunch courtesy of Brown Sugar Catering, as well as a slideshow presentation viewable by clicking this link. And the day even included visits from a few lawmakers, including but not limited to: Sen. Douglas McCrory of Hartford, Sen. Joan Hartley and Sen. Joe Markley of Waterbury, Sen. Tony Hwang of Fairfield, Sen. Tim Larson of East Hartford, Mayor Joseph Ganim of Bridgeport and 2017 Torchbearer Award recipient, Rep. Christopher Rosario of Bridgeport.

CAD_Rosario_CapPrep.JPGRep. Rosario with students from Bridgeport's Capital Preparatory Harbor School

New for this year, we included a team of professional videographers and photographers from the Bristol, CT-based GlobalSVN Media who will be producing a professional video capturing the essence of the day. We’ll be sure to share that with you as soon as it's ready! In the meantime, head to our Facebook page to view video and photos from the day, including the much-anticipated Torchbearer Award ceremony honoring Governor Malloy.

We are so grateful to everyone who helped to make Charter Awareness Day 2018 a tremendous success!

CAD_Malloy_Kids_Group.JPGGov. Malloy joins charter students at the selfie station


To view additional Charter Awareness Day photos on Flickr, click here!

Kerisha Harris
Kerisha is the Connecticut Communications Manager for the Northeast Charter Schools Network.

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Charter Awareness Day 2018: Gov. Malloy says charters are ‘moving the entire educational system forward’
Charter Awareness Day 2018: Gov. Malloy says charters are ‘moving the entire educational system forward’
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