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College Students Rally At Capitol To Support Education Reform

One Student Says His Education At A Hartford Elementary School Left Him "Drastically Behind'


April 19, 2012

About 60 college students rallied at the state Capitol Thursday evening to support education reform as part of a national non-profit group called Students for Education Reform.

When Michael Daley was a kid attending the Annie Fisher School in Hartford, he thought he was getting a good education.

But Daley, now a junior at the University of Hartford, discovered when he went to Granby for middle school that he was "drastically behind."

"I was so far behind my classmates that I was held back a year while I was in sixth grade," Daley said. "I was put into special education because I was so far behind. It was humiliating, extremely devastating and tremendously discouraging."

Daley addressed a rally of about 60 college students Thursday evening at the Capitol who are part of a national non-profit group called Students for Education Reform.

While some students interviewed weren't clear on why they were there, Daley and others said they came to support Gov.Dannel P. Malloy's original education reform package, which the legislature's Education Committee significantly revised last month.

Malloy spoke to the students, telling them that his reform package would "move Connecticut from where it is in the back of the pack to where it should be and should have been … in the front of the classroom."

"Here in Hartford, we could look at a room full of kindergartners today and, if we don't change our way, guarantee that 45 percent of them will never graduate from high school," Malloy said. He added: "That is not acceptable in America."

Daley said his education turned around in Granby and later when he attended Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford. He said he wants help kids in Hartford get the education they deserve and plans to do that when he returns to Annie Fisher in the fall as a student teacher.

Malloy later said negotiations on the education bill between his administration and legislators are continuing. Malloy has said lawmakers "gutted" his reform bill and he won't sign it as is, and Thursday he pointed out that Education Committee members have said work needs to be done on the bill.

"We've got a couple of weeks left to produce change," Malloy said. "I'll negotiate 'til the cows come home. I'd prefer to negotiate around the clock and get the deal done. I'd prefer we wrap this thing up by Sunday night, and I urge everybody to get to that point."

Kevin Coughlin, the state director for Students for Education Reform, said he expected students from 12 colleges. With about 60 students at the rally, it wasn't clear if that was the case. Asked how much the rally cost, Coughlin said the buses — some of which arrived with very few students on board —cost $10,000. Students said they were also treated to Subway sandwiches.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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