16 Legislators Commit to equitably fund public schools, following FaithAct's Call to Action
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT
December 8, 2020 Ashlee Niedospial
Bridgeport/Hartford/NewHaven – FaithActs for Education today hosted a Public Action that called on State leaders to develop and pass a bill during the 2021 Legislative Session that equitably funds Black, Latino, and low-income students in all public schools. After hearing testimony and demands from FaithActs members, all 16 legislators who attended the event, who included Sen. Martin Looney, Sen. Bob Duff, Sen. Doug McCrory, Sen. Cathy Osten, Rep. Toni Walker, and Rep. Bobby Sanchez committed to take action to equitably fund all public schools. Rep. Jeff Currey, took further action when he committed and stated, “I will happily be proposing a piece of legislation that’s going to equitably fund all of our public school systems.” Harnessing the collective power of FaithActs members, educators, parents, and students statewide, FaithActs organized the event to compel elected officials to take action to remedy the significant inequities in educational funding that disproportionately impact Black, Latino and low-income students. “We thank each of you for the progress that you’ve made on school funding, especially in 2017, but we haven’t reached the promised land,” said Reverend A. Iona Smith-Nze, Bethel AME Church, Bridgeport. “The way that Connecticut funds public education is racist and classist. There are vast spending inequities between all of our districts.” The event was moderated by FaithActs Founder Pastor William McCullough, Senior Pastor of Russell Temple CME Church in Bridgeport, and Chair of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Bridgeport, and was attended by over 30 pastors. FaithActs pastors represent over 11,000 congregants across the state. Over 100 parents, students, educators, and community members tuned into the action. “Many of you have affirmed throughout the year that Black Lives do in fact Matter and we appreciate that. But I don’t think we can say that Black Lives Matter when Black children can’t read and their parents are being evicted,” said Pastor Daniel Bland, Mt. Calvary Revival Center, New Haven. “This pandemic isn’t just an excuse to maintain the status quo, it is the harshest reminder that if we don't do anything right now, we will lose an entire generation.” Districts that predominantly serve white students spend on average $2,500 more per student than districts that predominantly serve students of color. This translates into a nearly $640 million gap between districts that serve 25% or more students of color and districts who serve 75% or more white students. “If the state legislature put its money where its values are, we could actually become an example for education equity in this country,” implored Julie Hajducky, a FaithActs leader and student at Amistad High School in New Haven. “Connecticut has one of the highest racial wealth gaps in the US, and our current state education funding formula allows that racial wealth gap to carry into our schools.” The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vast inequities in education across the state. Challenges faced by Connecticut students, parents, and educators have only been exacerbated, and many of these challenges stem from inequitable funding. FaithActs is scheduled to meet with Governor Lamont next Tuesday, December 15, 2020 to continue the push for equitable school funding. You can view the full Public Action for Education Equity here. LEGISLATORS WHO COMMITTED TO EQUITABLE EDUCATION FUNDING: Sen. Marty Looney, Senate President / New Haven Sen. Bob Duff, Senate Majority Leader / Norwalk Sen. Doug McCrory, Senate Education Chair / Hartford Rep. Bobby Sanchez, House Education Chair / New Britain Sen. Cathy Osten, Senate Appropriations Chair / Sprague Rep. Toni Walker, House Appropriations Chair / New Haven Sen. Gary Winfield, Senate Chair of Judiciary / New Haven Rep. Steve Stafstrom, House Judiciary Chair / Bridgeport Sen. Dennis Bradley, Public Senate Chair of Safety / Bridgeport Rep. Roland Lemar, House Transportation Chair / New Haven Rep. Brandon McGee, House Chair of Housing / Outgoing Chair of BPRC / Hartford Rep. Chris Rosario, Chair of Education Subcommittee - Appropriations / Bridgeport Rep. Jeff Currey, Member of Education Committee / East Hartford Rep. Antonio Felipe - Appropriations Committee Member / Bridgeport Rep. Charlie Stallworth, Higher Education Committee / Bridgeport Rep. Juan Candelaria, Member of Education / New Haven
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About FaithActs for Education FaithActs for Education is a Black-led, faith-based community organizing nonprofit consisting of 3,500 committed voters, 500 members and 80 churches across the state. We are people of faith building power to get our children the education they deserve. We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to graduate from college, take care of their family, and fulfill their God-given potential. We build relationships, we build leaders, and we build power through community organizing and civic engagement.