Committee Meeting Turns Out to Be a Bust

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On February 10, 2014, the State of Connecticut’s Education Committee held a meeting in the Capital Building located in Hartford, CT. Room 2C was a beautiful room with a large mahogany, crescent shaped, table filled with representatives who overlooked the large turnout, which sat in front of them. The audience was dressed in business attire and everyone in attendance appeared to be eager to learn and start off the new session.  At around ten thirty-five A.M., the meeting began, however more people and representatives trickled in past the start time and sat down to open their computers in an attempt to miss not a thing.  The Chairwoman and Chairman were both announced and began the meeting in a very official manner.


Senator Fleischman began by welcoming everyone and briefly mentioned there would be a large focus on pre-schools this year.  Senator Stillman followed and quickly got to business.  She began with briefly speaking about the new tiles for bills and encouraged everyone not to try and look them up because the language for them did not currently exist.  Next she referred to the handout every attendee picked up on his/her way in.  She first touched on item three.  Item three, a large one to chew off, consisted of AAC Minor Revisions to the Education Statutes, AAC the Recommendations by the Legislative Commissioners for Technical Revisions to the Education Statutes, AAC Authorization of State Grant Commitments for School Building Projects, AAC Education Issues, AAC State Education Resource Center, AAC Uniform Regional School Calendar, AAC Education Mandate Relief, AAC the Technical High School System, AAC The Minimum Budget Requirement, AAC Boards of Education, AAC Academic Achievement Gap, AAC Special Education, AAC Magnet Schools, AAC School Safety, AAC Chronic Absenteeism and so on.  Stillman did not read the list she only referenced item three and left the reading for the audience to do.  As the list was mentioned, attendees delved into their laptops and notepads, hoping not to miss anything important.  The thought of sitting there to listen to every single one of these issues was agonizing.  Stillman proceeded to ask everyone to view item four on the list and then everyone came into an agreement they would discuss these lists further.  After a brief introduction to item four and a quick recitation of its three components, everyone in the room seemed ready for the intense, detailed, material to begin.  However, Stillman then thanked everyone for coming and dismissed the meeting leaving everything for “next time”.


A moment of silence followed and the other three journalists and myself were quite stunned.  Senator Stillman had just read four things off a piece of paper and then casually ended the meeting.  We were unsure if people were taking a break to go eat and then they would return, so we sat and waited.  After about ten minutes we noticed attendees were not returning and we had really attended a fifteen-minute meeting.  Unsure what to think, we rethought details that led us to believe this meeting would be somewhat important.  The room was beautiful, everyone was dressed to impress, and the list of items was very hefty.  Naturally, we thought the meeting would last a tad longer than what it had.


With everything going on with school reform policies, it would have been nice to learn about some of efforts being made in order to implement certain policies.  The only beneficially thing taken from the meeting was that I now know there will be a focus on pre-schools.  How?  Nobody at the meeting would be able to tell you.  For folks who have a jam-packed schedule filled with meetings and appointments, this committee meting was a waste of precious time and merely a joke.  Anybody can read from a list or open an attachment in an email and it would have been just as beneficial as attending.  As well as students in Professor Jack Doherty’s class Education Reform Past and Present, there were other Trinity students in attendance as well.  All which seemed to take time out of their day, put on a nice outfit, and all who I am sure would have liked to gain some form of knowledge from a meeting wishfully longer than fifteen minutes.


Our hope was to learn more about policies being implemented in pre-schools particularly or any policy in general for that matter.  My fellow classmates and I who attended all are looking to work with children and were left with many questions and a lot of confusion.  As and Ed Studies major, we understand it is mandatory to attend events dealing with policies and how these policies will be implemented.  However, it is neither beneficial nor time-

Trinity Students Christina Raiti (left) Biance Brenz (right) in attendance at Connecticut Education Committee Meeting
Trinity Students Christina Raiti (left) Biance Brenz (right) in attendance at Connecticut Education Committee Meeting