Conn: Defining Education -- Does it include Early Education?

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, December 8, 2011

There's agreement that too few children in Connecticut have access to quality early education programs, but the Malloy administration and advocates are butting heads on how to get to a near-universal system.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the power to expand early education should remain with lawmakers, while advocates say they worry that lawmakers will continue to look at early education programs as ATMs when budgets are tight.

"This is a civil right and a human right," said Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, who has a long career in early education. "We know right now there is not access in an equitable way."

Advocates were counting on the Superior Court in Hartford to step in and require that early education be considered a constitutional obligation, but Malloy says that nowhere in the state Constitution will you find a requirement that early education be provided. He is backing a motion filed by the state's attorney general office to exclude early education from a much broader lawsuit that charges the state has failed to adequately fund education as a whole.

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