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Lavielle no fan of ‘burdensome’ education mandates

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State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143)

NORWALK, Conn. – State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) says she is concerned with state education mandates that, she says, puts an undue burden on teachers.

Lavielle, a member of the Education Committee for the last four years, and the Higher Education Committee for the last two, is facing a reelection challenge from Democrat Keith Rodgerson of Wilton, a former two-term Bridgeport City Council member and currently executive director of the non-profit Neighborhood District Economic Development Corporation and a member of the Wilton Economic Development Commission.

“I meet regularly with teachers, and among their primary concerns are burdensome one-size-fits-all mandates – including the simultaneous statewide implementation of new academic standards, new student testing, and a new teacher evaluation system,” she said in an email to NancyOnNorwalk.

Lavielle, also from Wilton, said the teachers feel that the new regulations are “taking them away from their primary job in the classroom.”

Teachers want more autonomy for local school districts regarding curriculum choices, teacher evaluations, academic calendars, and student assessment, she said, adding that “Many administrators, Board of Ed members, and parents agree. I will continue to advocate for mandate relief and more local decision-making.”

Lavielle, reacting to the state teachers’ union endorsement of her rival, said she respects the union and values its opinions, she makes it a point to listen to the teachers themselves.

“My priority is the students and the quality of the education they are receiving, so I have focused more on listening to and addressing the day-to-day concerns of the people who have the most contact with them — the teachers themselves,” she wrote. “I’ve visited classrooms and watched with great admiration as teachers have taught their students critical thinking skills with impressive dedication and acumen. We have extremely talented teachers in our district, and we need to enable them to spend as much of their time as possible with students, where they can use their talents to the fullest.”

The two-term representative, whose district covers parts of Norwalk, Wilton and Westport, acknowledged Norwalk’s battle for more state Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) funding, which, she said, “has never been fair.”

“I proposed two separate pieces of legislation which would have revised the formula and substantially augmented Norwalk’s funding with very little impact to other municipalities,” she said. “I will continue to advocate for this, even though upstate majority legislators seem determined to believe that Norwalk is far too wealthy to deserve more funding.”

Lavielle said her other areas of focus in education include investing in early education and literacy, which, she said, is “absolutely necessary for further lifelong learning,” plus strengthening teacher preparation programs, special education, reducing the cost of higher education for students and their families, and ensuring that graduates can enter the workforce with skills that match the demands of the job market.

“Additionally,” she added, “I’ve worked to prevent repeated attempts to defund the retired teachers’ healthcare fund.”

Comments

3 responses to “Lavielle no fan of ‘burdensome’ education mandates”

  1. Piberman

    The central problem facing CT public schools is the disparity between teacher incomes – among the highest in the nation – and student performance especially among lower income students in single parent families. As long as teachers are not held responsible for more vigorously addressing that disparity why should we expect better results with still higher pay ? Is Norwalk well served with the 5th highest teacher pay in CT ? Many have doubts.

  2. EveT

    The problem is that Lavielle seems to believe statewide implementation of new academic standards, new student testing, and a new teacher evaluation system is burdensome for the schools in Wilton and Westport, but not for Norwalk’s schools. Correct me if I’m wrong about her position on that.

  3. Donald Jones

    Lavielle is also no fan of burdensome insurance mandates like mammograms and cancer screenings.

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