New Haven cannot reach its full potential without a public school and early childhood system that prepares all of our young people to reach their full potential. This means a school system that encourages their academic interests, provides support for their mental and emotional well-being, and prepares students for the potential career opportunities available to them. Our schools can jumpstart our whole city, driving learning and growth for our young people and building a stronger economy. We have the opportunity to reimagine old ways of teaching and learning that did not serve children or teachers well before the pandemic. New Haven needs strong schools and strong family support to prepare all of our young people for fulfilling, family-sustaining careers. We can get there, but it requires good management and investment.
New Haven public schools have been at least partially closed for a year. NHPS was the only school district in the state that did not offer in-person school in the fall. 1 out of 3 students are chronically absent, thousands are failing their classes, and we expect mass departures from our district. We need new leadership with a clear vision to build a school system that works for all our families and with the experience to build consensus around our toughest issues.
New Haven Pre-Promise:
Offer fully-funded, universal childcare and preschool for all children from birth to 5 years old in New Haven. Much like our city made a promise to our students who aim to go to college, we should make the same promise to the youngest children in our city, and to their families. Investments in early care and education can generate significant, lifelong impacts for the children who gain access, increasing graduation rates, lifelong earnings, and parental work opportunities. Access to good quality early childcare and learning also sets students up to start traditional public school prepared and nurtured, improving growth opportunities in the most vital developmental stages and preventing children from falling behind early in their school experience. While a Pre-Promise would require significant investment, the gains for our whole city would be immense: a study from Dr. James Heckman at the University of Chicago estimated a lifelong 13% annual rate of return for society on investing in early childcare and preschool, with the most important investment coming soon after birth. We can fund the Pre-Promise with a combination of city, state, federal, and private money, working with the community organizations already providing childcare and preschool and the major institutions in our city to build a program that will grow and improve our education system for decades to come. This investment in programs will increase compensation and offer opportunities to all families who seek early care and education.
Strengthen Health and Safety Measures
Create and Expand Pipeline Programs into Local Careers
Develop and expand programs to train our students in the skills necessary for the kinds of jobs available in New Haven, now and in the future. In addition to college preparation, our schools can prepare our students for the work that’s available in New Haven, both now and in the future. The city can facilitate partnerships between the district and our colleges and universities, local unions, and non-profits and other organizations like New Haven Works to generate clear pathways to available jobs and the training and credentials necessary to thrive in that work. Training and pathways to work should be available for technical work like the skilled trades, biotech, or green technologies, but should also encourage pathways to entrepreneurship, small business ownership, and city jobs where we have frequent vacancies but real opportunities for good stable work like emergency response, public safety, or education.
Increasing Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention
Making School More Accessible, Welcoming and Embracing of Multilingualism
Youth Leadership and Engagement