On Monday, March 5, 2018, E4E-Connecticut Executive Director Justin Boucher gave testimony in support of SB 256, which allows all members of the General Assembly to request a racial and ethnic impact statement on any bill to Senators Flexer and Mclachlan, Representative Fox, and the Government Administration and Elections Committee. Below is his statement.
My name is Justin Boucher and I am the Executive Director of Educators for Excellence-Connecticut, a nonprofit working to ensure educators have a leading voice in policies that will elevate the teaching profession and improve student outcomes. I am here today to express E4E’s strong support of SB 256, which allows all members of the General Assembly to request a racial and ethnic impact statement on any bill. This act would allow legislators to consider the ramifications of potential policies on communities of color to inform their decision making.
Our teacher members work in districts where people of color represent the majority and the children they teach are too often forgotten about in the creation of public policy, particularly in education decisions. For example redlining that took place decades ago is still rearing its ugly head. Redlining changed the course of this county and specifically that of education, leading to increased segregation and the attendant efforts to remediate that segregation. If legislators had access to the data available in racial and ethnic impact statements when considering these policies, it is possible we could have avoided effects that deny thousands of students a high-quality education.
Going forward, it is essential that Connecticut lawmakers have this tool to evaluate the hidden impact of policies on our state’s most vulnerable populations. As our state considers issues of school finance equity, teacher certification and teacher retention, our leaders can avoid unforeseen unequal outcomes from policies that may appear to have no effect based on race or ethnicity. Not only will this spare citizens from needless and harmful discrimination, but it has the potential to save the time and resources necessary to reverse the immediate and long-term consequences of those uninformed decisions.
On behalf of our hundreds of educators across the state, I ask that you pass SB 246. We strongly believe that if the legislature had the ability to assess the likelihood of racial injustices in potential legislation, Connecticut would make better public policy decisions that would positively impact both our members and the children they work with everyday.
Thank you for your consideration. I am available for further discussion at firstname.lastname@example.org.