Before sending my children to a charter school, I didn’t know there was a difference between a public school and a public charter school. I assumed every child is treated and funded the same, providing them with equal opportunity for success. Every education is equally important; I thought the state realized this and funded students equitably. Sadly, right now, that is not the case.
In Connecticut, 11,000 mostly low-income and minority public charter school students are inequitably funded and unable to access the additional education funding they need! It’s estimated that 40,000 students across the state are affected by this separate and extremely unequal public education funding system. I don’t accept this for my children and their classmates, especially in a pandemic!
The pandemic has made it clearer than ever before that our schools and our children need to be funded fully, equitably, and immediately. Now, in a time when learning loss and our state’s glaring achievement gap are at an all-time high, our elected leaders should take the funding worry off the list for our schools and let them focus on educating our kids.
We teach our kids to treat everyone equally. In depriving our children of this critical funding, our elected leaders undermine this lesson and tell our kids that their education isn’t as important simply because they attend a charter school or because they have different learning needs.
Unfortunately, higher-need students don’t necessarily receive greater resources in Connecticut. Students who are low-income or English language learners often need more resources. But right now, the needs of the child do not determine the amount of state education funding he or she receives. This needs to change.
I urge our elected leaders to address the deeply inequitable system of funding our state’s public schools face through this year’s state budget. After all, wouldn’t you want your child’s education to be equally funded?