BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork / AP) – Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy signed into law Tuesday his education reform package, and the state’s biggest city stands to benefit, WCBS 880 Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau On The Story

For Bridgeport, education reform brings the hope that with a change of priorities and effort, inner city kids can begin to learn with a spark of enthusiasm.

The city stands to get an extra $4.5 million with the signing of the new education reform law.

“Bridgeport has, unfortunately, the worst performing school system in the state, and we’re not proud of that, but we’re dedicated to making it better,” Mayor Bill Finch told Schneidau.

The mayor said that a complete overhaul will take the effort of every student, teacher, principal, and parent.

“I have two children in the public schools and we all want better for our kids, not just in Bridgeport, across the whole state and across the country,” Finch said.

Finch said the goal is a diploma for every student with an expectation that they will grow into productive citizens.

The education package allows the state’s education commissioner to provide “intensive supports and interventions” needed to turn around 25 low-performing schools. Connecticut has one of the widest achievement gaps between rich and poor students in the nation.

The package also requires annual performance evaluations for principals, administrators and teachers, and links tenure to a teacher’s effectiveness.

There are 1,000 new early childhood education slots in low-income communities; additional funding for agricultural science high schools, magnet, vocational-technical; and two new charter schools focused on English language learners.

Lawmakers approved about $100 million in new funding for the initiatives, including nearly $40 million for struggling districts.

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