Sen. Hwang: Flawed Education Bill Represents “Missed Opportunity” to Pass Landmark Student Achievement Legislation

June 2, 2023

Sen. Hwang: Flawed Education Bill Represents “Missed Opportunity”
to Pass Landmark Student Achievement Legislation

(Watch Sen. Hwang’s remarks.)

Sen. Tony Hwang wanted to address student achievement in Senate Bill 1 but could not support a flawed, last minute 92-page piece of education legislation which lacks transparency and collaboration, and imposes unfunded mandates on towns. This bill simply does not put an emphasis on boosting student achievement.

“How ironic that this enormous bill’s title is ‘Transparency in Education’,” Sen. Hwang said. “It was unveiled to us on the day of the vote as an amendment which added dozens of sections to the original bill’s language. Some of its 87 sections were concepts debated in other bills during the committee process, and this new piece of legislation contained significant new costs for taxpayers as unfunded mandates.”

“It was devastatingly disappointing. I take education policy very seriously. The disparity in education achievement in our state is among the highest in the country. Our statewide test scores are decreasing, not rising. We must be champions for our children. We must be doing all we can to stress the fundamentals of education: Reading, writing, math, and science.

“But those fundamentals are not stressed in this legislation. That’s why I wish we could have worked collaboratively to craft a high quality, landmark education policy bill that we could all be proud of. Instead, we were presented with a massive policy document which contains unfunded state mandates on local property taxpayers and does not incorporate the voices of all the stakeholders. That’s not good government.

Unfortunately, it was a top down business as usual, and it does not meet the high standards we aspire to improve if we want to do right in education policy.

“This was a missed opportunity to make transformational changes in our education laws. Going forward, we must ask: ‘What is in the best interest of the children in getting a top-notch education in Connecticut?’ We must allow parents, educational experts and educators a voice in the legislative process, and that unfortunately did not happen here. I will continue working to improve education achievement in the CT General Assembly.”

*Senator Hwang is the Deputy Chief Republican Leader, represents 28th Senate District encompassing Fairfield, Southport, Easton, Newtown, Sandy Hook and portions of Bethel. He has been an outspoken advocate for the health and well-being of children and incorporating parental engagement on decisions regarding student health and safety. In 2022, he collaborated on multiple bipartisan efforts to pass sweeping legislation to better support children’s mental healthcare needs.