• Creates 1,000 new early childhood education slots in needy and low-performing districts, or double the number Malloy first proposed.
• Increases the annual state grant for each student attending an agricultural science and technology school, to $1,750 from $1,355.
• Designates 30 low-performing districts, including New London and Norwich schools, as “Alliance Districts” subject to conditional state funding for a five-year period. These districts would not receive any increase in state funding until they implement a plan for improvement.
• Tasks Pryor with creating an intensive reading instruction program to improve literacy for pupils in kindergarten through third grade. The state also must develop assessments to identify pupils who need reading help.
• Requires public schools to include at least 20 minutes of physical exercise in each school day for pupils in grades kindergarten through fifth grade.
•n Establishes a “Commissioner's Network” turnaround program for the 25 lowest performing districts. The reform plan for each school could include lengthening the school day or school year. In contrast to the governor's initial proposal, the program sets limits on the number of not-for-profit school management firms that could take over schools, and union contracts must remain intact during the turnaround process.
• Empowers Pryor to reconstitute local school boards in low-performing districts, suspending the electoral process.
• Begins a study into issues related to small school districts with enrollments under 1,000, including the potential benefits, or lack thereof, of consolidation.
• Creates a new measurement called “SPI” to gauge how schools perform on state mastery tests. Students would be divided into five groups: below basic, basic, proficient, goal and advanced, and schools would be divided into five ranked categories. The state could impose certain requirements on the low category schools, including plans for summer schools, tutors or a longer school year.
• Creates a new “distinguished educator” designation for teachers, requiring at least five years of teaching experience, a master's degree and adherence to performance requirements.
• Establishes a new teacher evaluation model with four levels: exemplary, proficient, developing and below standard.
• Adds a new funding incentive for large school districts to increase enrollment of out-of-district students under the Open Choice program.
• Requires at least 10 new “family resource centers” and 20 new or expanded school-based health clinics in the state's 30 lowest-performing districts.
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