Governor Lamont and FaithActs Discuss Educational Inequities and the Impact of COVID-19 on Education
Updated: Apr 14, 2021
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December 15, 2020 Ashlee Niedospial
Bridgeport/Hartford/NewHaven – Governor Lamont joined FaithActs for Education today for a live Public Action discussing the need for equitable school funding across the state. “I want to do everything I can, first of all, to get kids back to school and I think that’s a fundamental educational justice issue right now,” said Governor Ned Lamont, while discussing distance learning during the action. Throughout the event, Governor Lamont heard from FaithActs members, including Pastors, a parent, and a Bridgeport educator, regarding the inequities created by Connecticut’s current school funding model and the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the pre-existing inequities that disproportionately impact Black, Latino and low-income students. “While the pandemic has touched every school district in Connecticut, there is no doubt that districts that serve predominantly Black and Brown students, such as Bridgeport, have borne the brunt of this crisis,” said Bria McCullough, Central High School teacher and member of Russell Temple CME Church in Bridgeport. “Because these communities have been underfunded and underserved for generations, the impact of these disparities are magnified in times of crisis.” Citing the $43.5 million in state funding that was allocated for internet connectivity and devices, Bishop Theodore Brooks, Presiding Bishop of Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., a 1.5-million-member international organization, and Senior Pastor of Beulah Heights First Pentecostal Church in New Haven, highlighted the steps Governor Lamont has already taken to meet children’s needs during the pandemic, but implored that more needs to be done. “We all know that times are challenging, but the fact is the pandemic has made an already oppressive education system even more oppressive,” said Brooks. “Connecticut’s school funding system was infected long before the coronavirus arrived, causing an 'education pandemic' in the form of inequitable funding. If Black and Brown students aren’t seriously given the chance to thrive, Connecticut will be paying the price for decades and will lose another generation of brilliant minds.” Last week, during a public action with State leaders, FaithActs secured commitments from 16 legislators, including Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, Senate Chair of the Education Committee Doug McCrory, Senate Chair of the Appropriations Committee Cathy Osten, House Chair of the Appropriations Committee Toni Walker, and House Chair of the Education Committee Bobby Sanchez, to develop and pass a bill during the 2021 Legislative Session that equitably funds Black, Latino, and low-income students in all public schools. “Given the fact that so many state-level officials agree that we must fundamentally change and improve the way we fund education, what is blocking us from making equitable funding for all students in CT possible and how do we overcome it?” asked Pastor Gabrielle Beam, Mary of Bethany Anglican Church, Bridgeport, referencing the previous action. The discussion throughout the event also touched on other issues including distance-learning and the recently approved COVID-19 vaccine. Both FaithActs and Governor Lamont agreed that the conversation regarding education funding needs to continue. The event, which was moderated by FaithActs’ Founder, Pastor William McCullough, Senior Pastor of Russell Temple CME Church in Bridgeport, Chair of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Bridgeport, was attended by over 60 FaithActs Pastors and live-streamed by over 1,000 viewers. “I want great local schools in Bridgeport, in Hartford, in New Haven. I want the best schools that there can be so these kids have every opportunity they can and that’s what I commit to do,” said Governor Lamont. You can view the full Public Action with Governor Lamont here.
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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.