Category Archives: Education

State Senators Tony Hwang & Ed Gomes Tour Bridgeport’s Bridge Together Early Childhood Education Program

Attached photos: Sen. Tony Hwang and Sen. Ed Gomes on Nov. 19 toured Bridgeport’s Bridge Together Early Childhood Education Program.

Sen. Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield) and Sen. Ed Gomes (D-Bridgeport) on Nov. 19 toured Action for Bridgeport Community Development (ABCD) Inc. to meet with employees and observe the anti-poverty non-profit agency’s Bridge Together educational program, ABCD’s effort to build bridges between communities, families, and public schools toward educational success.

ABCD Executive Director Charles Tisdale met with Senators Hwang and Gomes to discuss the state budgetary deficit and Governor Malloy’s proposal to eliminate funding for this critical educational development program for nearly 300 students ranging from babies and toddlers up to 3 years old.

ABCD’s Bridge Together staff then escorted the legislators on an interactive educational tour of a total learning imitative incorporating music, visual and other sensory skills at Bridgeport’s Barnum School.

”We at ABCD are profoundly grateful to the efforts of Senators Tony Hwang, Ed Gomes and Marilyn Moore for their aggressive attention and concern for our Early Childhood program and its positive impact on young inner city children,” Tisdale said. “The future academic and scholastic success of these children is strongly enhanced by this program and we are extremely grateful for the leadership of our state senators in gaining the recognition and financial support for this vital ABCD initiative.”

“What happens in early childhood can matter for a lifetime,” Sen. Hwang said. “ABCD’s early learning and preschool initiatives are vital to children’s development and to eliminating the literacy gap. By interacting with students, parents and educators firsthand, we saw the joyous and positive reaction of toddlers and parents toward learning, it was priceless. We will now be able to share our observations with our colleagues at the State Capitol. We plan to work on a bipartisan basis to craft legislation to strengthen and financially support Connecticut’s early learning policies, improve public education, and help communities across Connecticut realize the benefits of the ABCD experience.”

“Quality early childhood education provides children with the resources needed to master developmental milestones, said Sen. Gomes. It is vital that we continue to support organizations like ABCD, that seek to service the needs of our state’s most vulnerable residents,” Sen. Gomes said.
Serving over 35,000 individuals annually through its range of services in Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford, and Trumbull, ABCD works toward the eradication of the “paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty in this nation.”

Based at 1070 Park Avenue, ABCD concentrates its efforts on identifying and eliminating the causes of poverty rather than only dealing with its effects. ABCD’s efforts are directed towards promoting appropriate institutional change and enabling the poor to become self-sufficient.

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Sen. Hwang Welcomes New Westport Business Zaniac

Sen. Hwang Welcomes New Westport Business Zaniac

The innovative K-8 after-school education enrichment franchise is located at 1391 Post Road East.

WESTPORT – State Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28) joined state and local officials Aug. 19 to celebrate the opening of Zaniac, an innovative K-8 after-school Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) education enrichment franchise located at 1391 Post Road East.

Zaniac is a national STEM franchise designed from the ground up to prioritize fun, to actively engage and integrate a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving. The company provides a host of STEM learning programs that get K-8 kids excited about math and science. including Zaniac Robotics: LEGO®, Game-Based Learning: Minecraft™, 3D Printing, App Creation and Computer Programming, while preparing them for 21st Century jobs.

“Westport is an outstanding community with a reputation for excellence in education. We look forward to working with the public and private educational community to advance STEM education for K-8 students with programs that make learning math, technology, and other STEM fields of study fun and exciting,” said Zaniac Westport Co-Founder Flavia Naslausky.

“We are very excited that unique companies such as Zaniac choose Westport as the location to serve its clients. Our community welcomes them and wishes them much success,” said Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe.

“The educators at Zaniac offer an engaging environment for parents who believe that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education is what their kids need to achieve their potential and control their future,” Sen. Hwang said. “I am especially impressed that children in the Zaniac environment can become self-directed, curious scientists with a love of figuring out how the world works.”

“Creative, innovative and highly skilled science students are essential to meeting the demands of our increasing technologically advanced civilization,” Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) said. “I applaud the Zaniac program for expanding to Fairfield County. Students from both suburban and urban communities in the area are some of the top performers and young scientists in the state and deserve an opportunity to compete.”

Zaniac first entered the Northeast in December 2013 when Greenwich residents Camilla Gazal and Flavia Naslausky launched the first Zaniac franchise in Greenwich at 644 West Putnam Ave. Since opening in Greenwich, more than 500 students K-8 have signed up for Zaniac’s programs.

Gazal and Naslausky recently announced plans for a major expansion of 10 new campuses in the New York Metropolitan area over the next five years. In addition to the new Westport campus, they are opening a new campus on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on Sept. 1.

Zaniac was founded by Paul Zane Pilzer, a college professor, economist, social entrepreneur and best-selling author. Pilzer served as an appointed economic advisor in two White House administrations and has started or taken public six companies in healthcare and K-12 education. Zaniac plans to have 50 campuses open nationwide by 2017.

For more information about Zaniac Westport and the programs they will be offering, visit

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Sen. Hwang Praises House Passage of Legislation That Gives Towns Greater Flexibility on Education Budgets

HARTFORD- State Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28) praised members of the House of Representatives for their unanimous vote May 7 in support of a bill that provides municipalities with greater flexibility to address declining student enrollment.

The genesis for the bill, HB 7019, An Act Concerning the Minimum Budget Requirement, is a growing trend of declining student enrollment in towns across Connecticut. Under the existing MBR statute, municipalities are extremely limited in terms of how much they can reduce their education budgets to reflect the enrollment declines. Reductions are currently limited to 0.5% of the total education budget in a given year.

The proposed bill, which Sen. Hwang co-sponsors, increases the allowable spending reductions to 1.5% or 3%, based on the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch. A local Board of Education could also apply for approval from the state Department of Education (SDE) for further reductions, and the top 10% of highest performing school districts do not have a spending reduction cap and do not need an SDE signoff.

“With towns across the state facing significant declines in student enrollment for at least the next 10 to 15 years, this bill provides our education boards and municipal leaders with much-needed flexibility to work together in a collaborative manner to align resources and needs in a fiscally responsible manner without sacrificing the educational excellence we all strive for and value,” Sen. Hwang said.

At the same time, the bill also presents the very real potential for meaningful property tax relief at the local level.

“If in the face of declining student enrollment our local education and municipal leaders can achieve budget savings without sacrificing educational excellence, then this is truly a win for all stakeholders in our communities,” Sen. Hwang said. “We all feel the pressure of property taxes, and it is incumbent upon us as elected officials and responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars to come up with ways to lessen that burden without sacrificing the quality of essential government services.”

“I’d like to thank my colleagues in the House for voting in support of this bill,” the senator added. “I look forward to doing the same when it comes before the Senate.”

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Newtown Delegation Applauds State Bond Commission Approval of Funds for Sandy Hook School Construction Project

HARTFORD – Today, the State Bond Commission authorized $340,601,879 in general obligation bonds, including $36 million for the Town of Newtown to finance the construction of the new Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The town’s legislative delegation – state Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28), state Reps. Mitch Bolinsky (R-106), J.P. Sredzinski (R-112), and Dan Carter (R-2) – applauded the announcement.

“I am pleased to see the State follow through on its commitment to our community,” Sen. Hwang said. “Today’s vote reinforces that commitment and reminds us all that our road to recovery is one we will continue to travel on together.”

Rep. Bolinsky said, “My thanks to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and the bond commission for their continuing support for this important project. Releasing the construction-phase dollars to keep the New Sandy Hook Elementary School on its fast-track to completion is another milestone in our community’s healing.”

“We all realize this has been a lengthy journey, one that is far from over,” Rep. Sredzinski said. “Funding the construction of this new facility will bring the community one step closer down the path of healing and I am pleased the State of Connecticut is fulfilling its promise.”

Rep. Carter said, “These funds mean a great deal to our constituents, who have long been concerned about this project and how it will affect their children’s education. This is the start of a new beginning for our district.”

With today’s bond authorization, the total general obligation bonds that will have been allocated during the first five months of the year (plus the automatic allocations that take place on July 1st) will be $1.821 billion. This is just $145.8 million below the total amount allocated in the last calendar year ($1.97 billion).

“As responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars and especially given our current and projected fiscal climate, it is imperative that we weigh every dollar spent against its expected return on investment,” Sen. Hwang said. “Our state residents and businesses cannot afford to shoulder higher tax burdens and we must not tolerate wasteful spending, government inefficiencies, nor can we afford to have the credit card mentality continually perpetuated at the State Capitol. Yet when it comes to the education of our children and ensuring they have a safe and healthy learning environment, that’s an investment worth making.”

For a full list of items included in the bond authorization package, please see the State Bond Commission’s agenda at this link:

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Senator Hwang Greets Newtown Students at Capitol

Senator Tony Hwang Greets Newtown Students State Capitol
Senator Tony Hwang Greets Newtown Students State Capitol
Senator Tony Hwang Greets Newtown Students State Capitol

Newtown residents Katherine Harrington and Brian Vander Have were in Hartford the week of March 30 for TeenPact, an educational organization whose mission is to engage youth in the political process.

While in the capitol, the two home-schooled students met with their state Senator, Tony Hwang, to discuss everything from healthy food legislation and passing laws to basketball foul shots and favorite food spots in Newtown. Their families joined them and the group gathered for a photo in one of the hearing rooms at the Legislative Office Building.

They are, in the front row, from left, Katherine Harrington (13), Abigail Harrington (7), and Sen. Hwang; and in the back row, from left, Ruth Harrington (mom), Jeremiah Harrington (12), Noah Harrington (10), Timothy Vander Have (17), Brian Vander Have (13), and Susan Vander Have (mom).

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Are You Tired of a Top-Down Approach to Education?

Are You Tired of a Top-Down Approach to Education?

So is Tony Hwang! From No Child Left Behind and the Common Core Curriculum Standards to the new Teacher Evaluation procedures, educational decisions are being made in Washington and Hartford, not where they belong – with our local teachers, parents, and administrators. Without important input from these stakeholders: Connecticut teachers have lost faith in the… Continue Reading

Kupchick & Hwang Look to Re-Set the ‘Common Core’ Clock

Kupchick & Hwang Look to Re-Set the ‘Common Core’ Clock

FAIRFIELD – State Representatives Tony Hwang and Brenda Kupchick along with their Republican colleagues called on Governor Malloy and the State Department of Education to not only delay implementation of the Common Core teaching program and teacher evaluation process until further study on the effectiveness and feasibility of the program can be performed, but to… Continue Reading

Rep. Tony Hwang hosts Frenchtown Elementary Tour of CT Science Center

Rep. Tony Hwang hosts Frenchtown Elementary Tour of CT Science Center

HARTFORD, CT – In his continued effort to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, State Rep. Tony Hwang (R-134 Fairfield-Trumbull) traveled to Hartford to host and greet students from Frenchtown Elementary School during their visit to the Connecticut Science Center (CSC). Many Connecticut adults and young people are struggling to find good jobs… Continue Reading