Malloy Administration – Release the damn SBAC results!

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The Washington State Department of Education, the lead entity for the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium entity, was using their official website to update that state’s citizens about the 2015 SBAC results on a daily basis as early as June.

By July 2, 2015 Washington officials provided the public with a clear picture of the statewide results in a news release entitled, Sneak Peek at Washington’s Smarter Balanced Results.

For more detail see the Wait, What? post  SBAC results from Washington State confirm test designed to fail vast majority of children

At the same time, the Idaho State Department of Education released its statewide SBAC test results on Wednesday July 1, 2015.  Media outlets in Idaho immediately reported that 70 percent of high school juniors were labeled as failures in math and 67 percent were labeled as failures in English Language Arts, although they did quote Idaho’s education agency as proclaiming that the  STATEWIDE SBAC SCORES BEAT PROJECTIONS.

In Idaho, the media explained,

The SBAC grading process has been fraught by a series of technical and staffing problems. Vendors had pledged to deliver scores within 10 days of testing — the testing window ran from March 30 to May 22. However, districts had been waiting weeks for their scores.

In Maine, the Maine State Department of Education reported

NEW July 8, 2015: Reporting of 2015 Assessment Results: Our earlier estimates of dates for preliminary data being available in the Online Reporting System (ORS) have been revised because the process of scoring constructed-response items took longer than anticipated. Preliminary data intended for internal use will be made available electronically on Tuesday July 14, 2015

But while states across the nation have been reporting their preliminary results and working to get detailed SBAC results out to districts and parents…

There has been nothing but silence from Governor Dannel Malloy’s State Department of Education.

True, other states have spent significant time and energy bending and twisting themselves into knots trying to explain away the unfair and discriminatory results, but at least they have provided information about their 2015 state-wide SBAC results and are moving to get detailed results to the local school districts …. AND PARENTS!

Even in the large state of California, the State Department of California reported that local districts should be getting their DETAILED SBAC data by this week.

But not in Connecticut…

It is way past time for Governor Malloy, Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education and the State Department of Education to stop playing games and release the 2015 SBAC data.

We know, from their previous behavior, that they will say or do anything to try to explain that the Common Core and the Common Core SBAC testing scheme are good for Connecticut’s students, parents, teachers and schools.

But the truth is the SBAC is unfair, inappropriate, and discriminatory and designed to fail our children.

Yet school districts, school administrators, teachers and parents are going to be told that they should use the 2015 SBAC results to identify students with problems.

The notion is absurd and insulting.

However, even more disingenuous and insulting is failing to provide the test results at all.  Parents and teachers deserve to get the results so they can see just how inappropriate and unfair the Common Core SBAC testing is.

Malloy and his pro-Common Core, Pro-Common Core testing, corporate education reform industry entourage need to come clean and just release the damn SBAC results!

Connecticut taxpayers coughed up more than $30 million in state funds for these terrible tests and every Connecticut school district spent even more as they purchased more computers, more Internet bandwidth while teachers and students wasted countless hours on test prep and testing.

As the CT Post reported just two days ago in a story entitled  Districts still waiting for SBAC test results

The controversial on-line test tied to the new Common Core Curriculum standards forced school districts to increase band-widths, rotate students through computer labs in many cases, and helped fuel a growing anti-testing movement.

So what are the results? How bad did students do? (If other states ahead of Connecticut in giving the test are any indication, the news will not be good.) Well, districts still don’t know or aren’t saying. At last check, Bridgeport’s Interim Superintendent of Schools, Fran Rabinowitz, said she did not even know what level of specificity she will be getting in terms of scores. She said it better provide her more with a number and a label for students. She wants to know specifically what they know and what they don’t.

“I want results that will allow me to make changes in the curriculum,” Rabinowitz said. “I don’t want results that simply say, ‘below average.’ I want to know what are the curriculum implications for the child and the district.”

Before the next school year begins would also be nice.

Yeah, before the next school year begins would be nice…

In fact, how about releasing the results NOW? – Considering the Malloy administration has had the statewide results for about a month!

Luke Bronin’s Law Firm – 131 White Lawyers, No Latino Lawyers

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After serving for two years as Governor Dannel Malloy’s chief lawyer, Greenwich native Luke Bronin left his $160,000 a year state position to run for mayor of Hartford.  At the same time Bronin landed a lucrative position as a partner with the major law firm of Hinkley-Allen.

According to Law Firm Stats, the “world’s largest and most detailed source of information about law firms,” Hinkley Allen has 131 White Lawyers, 2 Asian Lawyers and 2 African American lawyers.

The law firm tracking company reports that when it comes to diversity – or the lack thereof – Hinkley Allen’s failure to hire Latino and African-American’s places it almost in the bottom 10 percent of all major law firms in the nation,

While Bronin’s law firm may lack diversity, lawyers with the firm have certainly been stepping up to support their colleague’s campaign.

In the first 120 days of Bronin’s campaign, there were at least 29 major contributions from attorneys with Hinkley Allen.  The amount of money pouring in from lawyers at the firm totaled $13,500 and that doesn’t even count the money that came in from their spouses.

Originally based in Rhode Island, Hinkley Allen has offices in Hartford, Boston, New York and elsewhere.

Hinkley Allen arrived in Connecticut in 2008 when it merged with the law firm of Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn.  In 2013, the politically connected law firm of Levy, Droney became part of Hinkley Allen.  John Droney, a co-founder of Levy, Droney is the former chairman of the Connecticut Democratic Party.

Hinkley Allen is perhaps best known for its representation of major contractors including a number that have contracts with the State of Connecticut and the City of Hartford.

The Sham and Scam called the Common Core

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The Common Core test is designed to fail the vast majority of public schools students, including up to 9 in 10 students who aren’t proficient in the English Language or require special education help.

School districts have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on textbooks that don’t even align to the Common Core standards (See:  Vallas’ $10m textbook farce means Bridgeport students don’t have Common Core aligned math textbooks and Fairfield + Farmington – Giving CT kids math textbooks that are not aligned to Common Core)

Countless hours have been lost as teachers are pulled away from their instructional duties to “learn” about this expensive, warped, system that isn’t even developmentally appropriate for some younger students.

Fellow education blogger Mercedes Schneider is one of the nation’s leading voices in the effort to reveal the truth about the Common Core, the Common Core testing scheme and the other aspects of the corporate education reform industry.

Mercedes Schneider also has a new MUST READ book out about the Common Core called Common Core Dilemma – Who Owns Our Schools?

In the following article from her blog, she takes on the new corporate funded “spokesperson” for the Common Core scam.

Campbell Brown Plans to Explain Common Core (By Mercedes Schneider) 

Campbell Brown is going to help America understand what Common Core really is.

So she says as part of her July 28, 2015, interview with Jon Ward of Yahoo! Politics:

What we want to do with Common Core is explain it. Just put honesty and truth back into the debate….

I just published a book on the history, development, and promotion of Common Core, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools? (TC Press, June 2015), and I have news for Campbell Brown:

Common Core did not begin in “honesty and truth,” and you cannot “put back” what was not present to begin with.

If Common Core was officially completed in June 2010, why would there be confusion in 2015 over what Common Core actually is?

Simple: Common Core is yet another top-down reform; it started years before it made its 2010 public appearance, and much of the planning and promoting that led to the June 2010 release of Common Core was chiefly orchestrated by relatively few politically-positioned individuals.

That is why there is confusion in 2015 over a Common Core that publicly emerged in 2010.

What is amusing is that Campbell Brown thinks that she and her staff of 12 will produce some pieces focused on Common Core and clear up the issue once and for all. The problem is that Common Core was politically birthed, and much of that “public confusion” is the delayed consequence of governors and state superintendents deciding that they would adopt Common Core in their states before there was even a Common Core product to examine.

In her Yahoo! interview, Brown states that she wants to “restore some of the nuance and thoughtfulness to the debate around Common Core.”

Well, here’s a nuance for Brown: At the June 2009 National Governors Association (NGA) summit, 46 states and 3 territories already signed on for a Common Core yet to be written but already declared to be connected to federally-funded consortia-produced tests.

Common Core was never intended to be separated from high-stakes testing. So, for Brown to say,

To some people, Common Core means what it actually is, which is a set of standards. … Ask other people what they think Common Core is about: It’s a test. You ask them, they will tell you it’s a test. Common Core isn’t a test, but for some people it is, because they don’t like the testing piece of it. 

is an issue that I will give clarification to right here: Common Core was not created to be separated from its tests, and that tests would surely be wed to Common Core was in the plan before there was a Common Core.

When the public reacts to Common Core because of the Common Core tests meant to be an inseparable part of Common Core, the public is reacting to Common Core.

Brown also continues with commentary about the math curriculum associated with Common Core. She thinks that the public is misunderstanding Common Core because the public is reacting negatively to the math curriculum tied to Common Core. However, one of those few Common Core insiders, Phil Daro, intended for Common Core to require math to be taught differently. He intended Common Core math to drive math instruction, and it does.

The same is true for Common Core English: The preference of an individual drives the direction of any associated curriculum and pedagogy. Common Core English “lead writer” David Coleman prefers New Criticism, which treats a text a self-contained and allows no room for the reader to create meaning from the text– and no room for a text to be placed into a context. Thus, Coleman’s preference is now supposed to be every American English teacher’s preference.

Back to math:

In the Yahoo! interview, Brown focuses on Singapore math. Her “the 74″ website includes an article that notes that Singapore math “aligns with the Common Core State Standards.” Brown even speaks of her child learning Singapore math. But here is a “nuance” to note: The Singapore math website states that it has textbooks in which it has aligned its Singapore math to Common Core. Thus, the original Singapore math curriculum was not exactly in line with a Common Core that came later, and Singapore math had to be reworked, at least in part.

So, what effect does this reworking have upon the quality of the Singapore math curriculum? Has anyone bothered to test the effect? No, because Common Core– English and math standards for all of grades K-12– was produced in a very short time (seven months max), and for all of the talk of basing Common Core “on research,” no time was taken to test Common Core in practice on a small scale; no enduring thought was given to rolling it out reasonably, one grade level at a time, and no effort was expended toward investigating the impact that altering curriculum like Singapore math to “fit” Common Core would have upon the quality of the curriculum.

Common Core was thrown together so fast that the fact that the Common Core math anchor standards are missing is even casually explained away on the Common Core website.

And here is another aside about Campbell Brown’s mentioning in the Yahoo!interview that her own child is learning Singapore math: Brown’s child attends the Heschel School in New York, and the Heschel School does not do Common Core. So, the Singapore math at the Heschel School is not the Common Core-arranged version and the Heschel School had the sense to transition its students into Singapore math a couple grade levels at a time, not foolishly impose upon all grades (K-5) at once.

Moreover, if Brown prefers that her child not learn Singapore math, Brown has the resources and ability to send her child to a different private school.

That is not the case with the general public who has had Common Core and its attendant driven curriculum and high-stakes tests imposed upon it by those who are fiscally and politically positioned– and whose lives are not directly impacted.

And whose kids are not directly impacted.

Bill Gates, who agreed to finance Common Core in 2008, sends his children to Lakeside School in Seattle, which is where he attended.

Lakeside School does not do Common Core.

Chester Finn, former Fordham Institute president and slanted grader of standards,sent his children to Exeter, which is where he and his father attended.

Exeter does not do Common Core.

And then there is US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who not only forcefully cheers for Common Core but who funded the attendant consortium-developed Common Core tests. Duncan’s children attended school in Virginia– a state that did not adopt Common Core. And now that Duncan’s days in the White House are numbered, his family moved back to Chicago, where his children will attend the University of Chicago Lab School, where he attended, and where his wife taught and will resume teaching, and also where President Obama attended.

The University of Chicago Lab School does not do Common Core.

Obama’s children attend Sidwell Friends..

Sidwell Friends does not do Common Core.

So, now we can add to the list of Common Core sympathizers Campbell Brown, whose children are not exposed to Common Core and Common Core tests.

But in her Yahoo! interview, Brown does attempt to leverage her Louisiana heritage in an effort to show that Common Core is working in Louisiana:

I would use Louisiana as a great example. It’s my home state, so I’m a little closer to Louisiana than I am to other places. There’s been a big fight between Bobby Jindal, who’s running for president, and the state superintendent, John White, over Common Core implementation. I think most people would argue that John has done a pretty good job of implementing it, and that Common Core implementation has gone better in Louisiana than it has in a lot of other places. But because Jindal is running for president, it’s been a bigger issue in terms of media coverage and visibility because you have the governor screaming and yelling about it. If you look at what’s going on with teachers and parents, it’s not as much of a blowup as it has been in some other places.

Yes, Brown is from Louisiana– the small town of Ferriday. But Brown is a child of privilege, and that privilege kept her out of public school in Louisiana. (Brown attended private schools in Natchez, Mississippi, and Washington, DC.) So, there’s a disconnect. But there is a greater disconnect in Brown’s narrative of Common Core in Louisiana: In May 2015, the Louisiana legislature passed a bill to overhaul Louisiana’s standards.

If a Common Core is to be “common,” a state cannot alter it.

According to the Common Core memorandum of understanding (MOU) that governors and state superintendents signed in 2009, the Common Core owners, NGA and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), were supposed to direct any revision effort of Common Core.

To revise on the individual state level is to not have, well, a “Common Core.”

And there is more: the Louisiana legislature restricted the proportion of PARCC test items to just under half of any state test. Such a restriction dulls the likelihood that standards revisions will be somehow forced to fit a PARCC test, which is intended to be a Common Core test.

And yes, Jindal has been “running for president” for years, and his break with Common Core could certainly be attributed to his political ambitions. But before that,in May 2009, Jindal blindly signed Louisiana’s entire state education system up for Common Core and its assessments (which were noted as part of the Common Core package in the Common Core MOU).

I suppose that particular Jindal decision was okay since it was pro-Common Core.

I return to school on August 04, 2015, and on August 05, 2015, our entire school faculty will be participating in the freshly-legislated standards review.

Contrast that to five years ago: In 2010, our faculty was told there was a Common Core coming; that it was not yet finished, but that the entire state would be using it, and that it would have assessments to accompany it; that the assessments would be harder, but that they were not yet developed.

There’s another nuance for you, Campbell. In 2010, no intentionally sought, well publicized, stakeholder involvement. Top-down.

Let me offer one final nuance about which Brown might not be so keen but which I find comical:

Brown, who publicly opposes unions, is on the same side as both national teachers unions in her support of Common Core.

Here’s the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) statement of support for Common Core, and here is the National Education Association (NEA) message of support for Common Core.

Brown plans to explain Common Core using flash cards on her “”the 74″ website.

Perhaps she might borrow some Common Core support materials from the unions.

I dunno, though. For me, explaining Common Core was a job way beyond flash cards.

In my case, it took writing a book that has 31 pages of reference citations as well as a five-page glossary of terms.

Ask your local bookstore to order Mercedes Schneider’s new book or at last resort order it via Common Core Dilemma – Who Owns Our Schools?

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Just don’t mention race, ethnicity or white privilege and everything will be okay.

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Despite the angry remarks and heated denials, as the United States flirts with the potential of beginning a discussion about actually coming to grips with the rampant racism that undermines its egalitarian principles, the fact that the Hartford Democratic Town Committee handed its endorsement for mayor to a white, wealthy, privileged Greenwich native is, in fact, an appropriate issue to discuss.

For Democrats, who have traditionally supported the underlying value and necessity of affirmative action and recognized the critical importance of political self-determination, Luke Bronin’s rising candidacy could be called an example of neo-colonialism, in which the super elite and outsiders, claiming to “know best,” manipulate or corrupt the political process.

To others, Bronin’s arrival on the scene is being described as a way to save Hartford from itself.

As a suburban Democrat posted to Facebook yesterday,

“For when you consider Luke Bronin for Mayor‘s resume, its more like a top-notch major league pitching prospect choosing to start his career with a basement-dwelling single-A ball club that nobody goes to see play.”  He added, “Hartford is incredibly lucky that a man with Bronin’s ambition, strategic vision, and demonstrated ability to execute wants this job.”

However you see it, this political development pushes Hartford and Connecticut into the national debate about the role of race, ethnicity and white privilege in American politics.

The tone and tenor of the comments, Tweets and Facebook posts the followed the recent publication of the Wait, What? post Wealthy, White, privileged, male from Greenwich tells Hartford – Make me your leader also say a lot about how we grapple with the topic of race, ethnicity and power.

As we should all be keenly aware, racism, discrimination and the notion of white privilege goes well beyond the issue of shooting unarmed African American men in the back or dragging an African –American woman off to jail because she was not a “model person” when inappropriately stopped by a white police officer.

So “with all due respect” to the individuals who commented or Tweeted that I was a racist and a bigot for even discussing Luke Bronin’s rise to stardom, the facts themselves are pretty simple.

In a city in which half the residents are Latino, and more than 80 percent are “minority,” it is certainly newsworthy that Hartford’s Democratic elite have thrown their money, power, support and endorsement behind a White newcomer rather than go with the incumbent Latino mayor.

With Mayor Pedro Segarra calling the endorsement process corrupt and walking out of the Democratic Town Committee meeting last night, the final vote was 49 for Bronin with 23 members abstaining.

But more hidden from view, and far more consequential was the dance of the power-brokers who had successfully lined up considerable support for Bronin’s candidacy.

With significant guidance from William DiBella, the former State Senator and present Chairman of the influential Metropolitan District Commission, along with other key white political players at the state and local level, Bronin has been able to persuade many political and business leaders in Hartford to support him rather than support or seek out alternative African-American and Latino candidates.

In the world in which we live it would be unlikely, even unfathomable, that a young Latino or African-American would be able to move from Hartford to Greenwich and quickly line up the support to become the town’s first selectman.  For that matter, any person, no matter their color, would have a hard time moving from one town to another and then announcing that they are ready to be chosen as the community’s chief elected official in a matter of a few years.

However, the reality surrounding wealth and white privilege functions by its own set of rules – especially when it is inserted into the urban, minority politics of a major city.

Not only did the stars align early for Bronin’s quest to become Hartford’s mayor, but the evidence is clear that Governor Malloy, top Democratic state leaders and a number of the state’s corporate executives played a major role in giving life to Luke Bronin’s aspirations.

And leading the list of factors is harsh reality that money is “The Mother’s Milk” of politics.

According to his most recent campaign finance report, Luke Bronin raised a record-breaking $661,000 in the first six months of his campaign, leaving him with five or six times what Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has to defend his position.

Bronin’s donor list turns out to be a who’s who in Connecticut government and politics including Malloy’s former Chief of Staff, Tim Bannon, and a lengthy list of major lobbyists, those who do business with the state and those who have benefited from Malloy’s corporate welfare programs.

The money trail also speaks volumes about Luke Bronin’s candidacy, modern politics and the state of our democracy.

In the opening weeks of the campaign, Bronin raised just over $381,000 including nearly 100 $1,000 donors – the maximum allowable contribution – from people who reside outside of Connecticut.

While this mayoral election is about who should lead the City of Hartford, Connecticut, a leading source of Bronin’s major donors is New York, where he collected $50,000 in 50 individual $1,000 checks in just the first sixty or so days of his campaign.

Additional maximum contributions came from people in Washington D.C., Florida, California, Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Hawaii, Nebraska, Delaware, Missouri, Colorado, Wisconsin, Vermont, North Carolina and Nebraska.

During those early weeks, Bronin held two campaign fundraisers in Washington D.C., as well as fundraising events in Los Angeles and New York City.

Bronin was also able to cash in with donors from his hometown of Greenwich, where at least 31 people gave him the maximum allowable contribution of $1,000 per person.

As the first fundraising period ended, Bronin had nearly 120 people in suburban Connecticut donate the maximum $1,000 contribution.

Next to Greenwich, the most fertile ground was West Hartford were his donor list includes some of the biggest and most consistent donors to the Connecticut Democratic Party.

Whether measured by the influence of Connecticut political and business elite or by the massive amount of money that is pouring into Luke Bronin’s campaign, what is happening to the people of Hartford is indicative of something much bigger than simply a primary challenge between the community’s various political factions.

Self-determination is traditionally defined as the right of the people of a particular place to choose their government and leaders and where they have the freedom to make their own choices.”

Luke Bronin may very well get elected and be a fine mayor, but to pretend that race, ethnicity and white privilege is not a factor in the Hartford’s mayoral campaign is to deny reality and to deny the truth is a grave injustice to the people of Hartford.

For more about recent political developments in Hartford check out the following links;

Hartford Courant – http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-hartford-democrats-nominating-convention-0728-20150727-story.html

CTNewsjunkie – http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/segarra_walks_out_as_bronin_secures_mayoral_endorsement/

Colin McEnroe – http://courantblogs.com/colin-mcenroe/city-of-hartford-jedi-masters-need-not-apply/

WNPR – http://wnpr.org/post/hartfords-pedro-segarra-wins-emotions-luke-bronin-wins-endorsement

NBC (CT) – http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/politics/Hartford-Mayoral-Candidate-Luke-Bronin-Wins-Democratic-Party-Endorsement-318727211.html

WFSB (CT) – http://www.wfsb.com/story/29643077/hartford-dems-endorse-luke-bronin

 

 

Wealthy, White, privileged, male from Greenwich tells Hartford – Make me your leader

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UPDATED to include Bronin’s time in Hartford in when he served as aide to the President of Hartford Financial Services

Meet Luke Bronin.

Luke moved to Hartford from Washington just over two years ago.

[Luke had previously lived in Hartford for period in 2007-2008 when he had served as the top aide to the President of the Hartford Financial Services company]

Luke grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Luke attended the exclusive Greenwich Day School and then Philip Exeter Academy; the nation’s most elite preparatory boarding school.  Bronin went on to get degrees from Yale University, Oxford University and then returned to Yale School of Law for to get his law degree.

With no municipal or elected experience, Luke now says he is ready to “bring new leadership” to Harford, the poorest city of its size in the United States.

In a city in which more than 80% of the residents are “minority,” the notion that a White, privileged, wealthy, young man from Greenwich would move to Hartford, Connecticut and run for Mayor might raise some eyebrows.

So would the fact that Luke Bronin, who has never run for office, raised more than $660,000 in first six months of his campaign, a significant amount of that money coming from the white, business elite who may work in Hartford, but live far, far away from the city and its troubles.

But perhaps the most telling development of all is that with the Hartford Democratic Town Committee set to meet tomorrow, July 27, 2015 to select their nominee for mayor, Luke Bronin appears on the verge of getting enough support from Hartford’s leading political players that the Democratic Party will jettison its Hispanic, incumbent Mayor, Pedro Segarra, and hand the Democratic nomination to the newcomer.

Back on January 15, 2013, Governor Dannel Malloy named Luke A. Bronin to replace Andrew McDonald as the governor’s chief counsel.

At the time, Bronin announced that he was “happy to be moving back” to Connecticut and would be locating in Hartford.  Unmentioned was the news that Bronin and his wife had purchased a dilapidated Bushnell Park Brownstone seven months earlier and were part-way through renovating it.

Less than two years later, Malloy’s Office announced that Bronin was leaving the post as Malloy’s legal advisor.  As the Hartford Courant explained at the time, Luke Bronin, who is “strongly considering” a run for mayor of Hartford, will join the law firm Hinckley Allen.

On January 15, 2015 exactly two years from the date Malloy announced Bronin would leave Washington for Connecticut, Bronin announced that he would be challenging Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra for the mayor.

The move surprised many since Mayor Pedro Segarra has worked tirelessly on Governor Malloy’s behalf and not only had he appointed Bronin’s wife to serve on Hartford’s powerful Planning and Zoning Commissioner, but despite her being new to the City, made her the Chair of the PZC where she helped push through the new Hartford Stadium Project.

But Luke said he was running and compared to Hartford’s per capita income of $16,610, the Bronin’s income must place him among the wealthiest 1% in the Capital city.

Certainly his prestigious education background and golden-boy credentials put him in a league by himself.

Bronin’s state-of-the-art website, developed by a Washington D.C. consulting firm that built Governor Malloy’s campaign website and has also done work for the Connecticut Democratic Party, features a “Meet Luke” section in which the viewer will be informed by pictures of Luke Bronin on the steps of his Hartford Brownstone, a picture of Luke in full military battle attire and the ever-present picture of Luke surrounded by his attractive family.  (Mayor Segarra, whose spouse is male, has pictures that are somewhat different).

The Meet Luke bio explains;

Luke is a father, a husband, a veteran, an attorney, and a committed public servant — who is running for Mayor to get Hartford working again — for all of Hartford’s residents.

In this day and age when people often “pad their resumes” or go so far as to attempt to “change” their race or ethnicity to gain the upper hand, Luke Bronin’s website, interestedly, makes absolutely no mention, at all, of his educational background.

While dozens of Bronin bios on the Internet celebrate his elite educational achievements, there is not a single word on his campaign website biography about where he went to school or that he is new to Hartford.

While there is mention of his work fighting “Al Qaeda” and “rogue regimes like Iran and Syria, and international organized crime,” there is no mention that he graduated with a law degree from Yale University in 2006, or got a degree from England’s venerable Oxford University in 2003, or a Philosophy degree in 2001 from Yale.  He even fails to mention he graduated from Philips Exeter Academy, the most prestigious boarding school in the nation, or that he also graduated from the Greenwich Day School, the very same institutions that educated President George H.W. Bush.

Bronin’s pitch stays on the straight and narrow message that he is a “Man of the People” and simply arrived on this earth ready for battle for the “little people.”

While the Bronin website goes into great detail about his previous occupations, there is no mention of the Greenwich Day School (Tuition starts at $33,500 for kindergarten and rises to $37,500 a year for the higher grades), Phillips Exeter Academy (With a cost of $48,000 a year, although that does include the $180 “Linen Fee”) or that he spent ten years in the halls of Oxford and Yale.

In today’s dollars, the cost of an education like that would be far more than the vast majority of Hartford residents will ever make in their lifetime… In fact, it is more than all the residents of entire Hartford neighborhoods earn.

There is certainly one thing you can say for Luke Bronin…he has been planning for his rise to power and stardom for a very long time.

Long before Luke Bronin announced that he was planning to become Hartford next mayor in January 2015, he had already reserved a plethora of website names, including;

ilikeluke.com

ilikeluke.net

ilikeluke.us

ilikeluke.org

Along with other sites he might need such as luckbronin.com, lukebronin.us, lukebronin.net and lukebronin.org.

All are now linked to his campaign website: http://lukebronin.com/

Most, if not all, of these sites were purchased when Bronin was still a kid at Yale University, where he collected the website names using his Yale University email and his Greenwich home address.

In total, Bronin appears to have reserved at least twenty three website names, the majority aimed at locking down any and all that he might want to use in his future political endeavors.

Although, at the time, it looks like he also purchased underpuppy.com and underpuppy.net, but one assumes that must have been for some unrelated project.

And then there is this…

While Bronin’s early effort to buy up every “ilikeluke” website reveals the drive of the young politician, the more noteworthy tidbit may be that on January 12, 2015 – three days before Bronin announced that he was running for mayor– some “entity” purchased and locked up:

Ilikepedro.com

Ilikepedro.net

Ilikepedro.org

And that secret entity?  PERFECT PRIVACY, LLC, using Network Solutions LLC

And what do does one discover when looking up the various Ilikeluke and his other Luke Bronin campaign websites?  They are all managed by PERFECT PRIVACY, LLC, using Network Solutions LLC.

Yup, looks like Luke Bronin is so “sophisticated” that not only did he buy up websites that he might need to promote his own name, but before he even announced that he was running against Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, he bought up the websites Segarra might want to use.

Bronin’s calculated effort to become Hartford’s mayor is a powerful reminder that while hashtags like #blacklivesmatter continues to trending on Twitter,

#wealthywhiteprivilegedandmale is still a concept that is very much a part of the American political environment.

Stay tuned for the news from tomorrow’s Hartford Democratic Town Committee meeting.

A reader asks their Legislator – Why did you bail on Connecticut’s students, parents and teachers?

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Bill Morrison is an outstanding educator and education advocate.

A regular reader and participant on the Wait, What? blog, Bill recently followed up on the post Democrat controlled legislature’s action on Malloy’s education veto nothing but a scam, to ask his state legislator why they simply turned their back on their constituents when Governor Dannel Malloy vetoed a bill that would have required Connecticut’s commissioner of education to have appropriate education experience.

If everyone would take such action, legislators across the state would understand that their subservient behavior to Malloy’s whims was unacceptable.

What follows is Bill’s correspondence with his legislator followed by a breakdown of how legislators voted on the veto override effort.

From Bill Morrison:

I wrote the following letter to my Representative. He was one who failed to even show up.

Dear Representative Ryan,

Please allow me to introduce myself. I am a registered Democrat, a constituent, and I voted for you. I am also retired Navy, and I am a public high school history and social studies teacher.

That said, I am extremely disappointed that my state legislature allowed itself to be bullied into not overriding Malloy’s veto of the Bill setting minimum professional standards for State Commissioners of Education. As a professional educator, I am heartily sick and tired of Malloy’s targeting us for persecution, demonization, and vilification. I am sick of him undermining our strong efforts, especially in urban schools. And, I am disillusioned that a Democrat governor could so obviously pander to corrupt corporate interests through his immense support of charter schools and high-stakes standardized testing. In short, I am very disgusted by my own Party because of its sycophancy towards Malloy and corporate interests.

Yesterday, the legislature voted not to override Malloy’s veto, with many Democrats not even showing up for the vote. As you are aware, Malloy’s previous Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, was extremely unqualified for the position, and he wreaked havoc in Connecticut’s public schools. His appointment was on obvious conflict of interest because of his affiliation with Achievement First Charter Schools (a corporation that gained financially because of Malloy’s and Pryor’s influence), and he was manifestly not qualified for the position because of his not having any background in education. I had hoped that the legislature would stand up for the Connecticut’s citizens instead of slavishly pandering to Malloy. Instead of doing the right thing for Connecticut’s children, families, and schools, Democrats would not even stand up for a Bill that they had drafted in the first place, a Bill that passed the Senate unanimously with all but five dissenters in the Legislature.

I feel nothing but shame for my Party, and I sincerely hope that Democrats learn from this that they need to return to their roots and support their true constituents not big money.

Bill Morrison

While nearly every Republican legislator voted in favor of students, parents and teachers, the vast majority of Democratic legislators reversed their support or simply failed to show up when the vote to override Malloy’s veto was taken.

Here is more information about how legislators voted;

Democrat controlled legislature’s action on Malloy’s education veto nothing but a scam.

No Democratic legislator voted against the bill during the regular session, but apparently terrified to upset Governor Dannel Malloy or go against their own Democratic leaders, nearly 60% of the Democratic members of the House of Representatives failed to show up for the vote.

Of the 37 Democrats who did attend the veto session, 18 voted to override Governor Malloy’s veto, while an incredible 19 Democrats rolled over and changed their votes in a bizarre subservient gesture to Malloy.

Democrats switching sides to vote in favor of Malloy’s veto included the Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, Majority Leader of the House Joe Aresimowicz, Chairman of the Education Committee, Andrew Fleischmann, Chairman of the Human Services Committee Peter Tercyak, and Windham State Representative  Susan Johnson  The entire list included; 

DEMOCRATS supporting Malloy’s veto
ALTOBELLO
ARCE
ARESIMOWICZ
FLEISCHMANN
GENGA
HENNESSY
JANOWSKI
JOHNSON
LOPES
MCGEE
SANTIAGO, E.
SANTIAGO, H.
SIMMONS
STAFSTROM
TERCYAK
SHARKEY (SPKR)
GENTILE (DEP)
GODFREY (DEP)
SAYERS (DEP)

 

Democrats who failed to even show up at the 2015 Veto Session included

DEMOCRATS FAILED TO SHOW UP
ADAMS X
ARCONTI X
BACKER, T. X
BAKER X
BARAM X
BECKER, B. X
BERGER X
BOUKUS X
BRYCKI X
BUTLER X
CANDELARIA, J. X
CONROY X
CUEVAS X
CURREY X
DARGAN X
DILLON X
ESPOSITO X
FOX X
FRITZ X
GONZALEZ X
GUERRERA X
HAMPTON X
HEWETT X
KINER X
LESSER X
LUXENBERG X
MCCARTHY VAHEY X
MCCRORY X
MEGNA X
MILLER, P. X
MUSHINSKY X
PERONE X
REED X
RILEY X
RITTER X
ROJAS X
ROSARIO X
ROSATI X
ROSE X
SCANLON X
SERRA X
STALLWORTH X
TONG X
URBAN X
VERRENGIA X
WALKER X
ZONI X
MILLER, P.B. (DEP) X
MORRIS (DEP) X
RYAN (DEP) X

 

Democrats who stood up to Malloy and the Democratic Leadership and voted to override Malloy’s veto;

 

DEMOCRATS VOTED TO OVERRIDE MALLOY
ABERCROMBIE Y
ALBIS Y
ALEXANDER Y
COOK Y
D’AGOSTINO Y
DEMICCO Y
HADDAD Y
JUTILA Y
LEMAR Y
MORIN Y
NICASTRO Y
PORTER Y
ROVERO Y
SANCHEZ Y
STEINBERG Y
VARGAS Y
WILLIS Y
ORANGE (DEP) Y

 

Perhaps most telling of all, the following Democratic legislators co-sponsored the legislation requiring Connecticut’s commissioner of education have educational experience and then failed to back the bill when that support was necessary.

Rep. David W. Kiner, 59th Dist.                    (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. David Arconti, 109th Dist.                    (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Juan R. Candelaria, 95th Dist.              (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Terry B. Adams, 146th Dist.                  (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Patricia Billie Miller, 145th Dist.         (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Kim Rose, 118th Dist.                           (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Louis P. Esposito, 116th Dist.               (Did not show up for the vote)

Sen. Eric D. Coleman, 2nd Dist.                    (Voted NO on holding a vote)

Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, 17th Dist.                    (Voted NO on holding a vote)

Sen. Mae Flexer, 29th Dist.                           (Did not show up for the vote)

Sen. Marilyn Moore, 22nd Dist.                    (Voted NO on holding a vote)

If you don’t know who your State Senator or State Representative is go to http://www.cga.ct.gov/

And scroll down for form to use to identify your elected officials

Charter School + Corporate Education Reform Industry continue record-breaking spending on lobbying

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With the 2015 session of the Connecticut General Assembly finally over, the corporate education reform industry is celebrating its victories.

More money for charter schools, while Connecticut’s public schools remain significantly underfunded, tops their list.

In addition, of course, there is the incredible and unethical defeat of the legislation that would have required Connecticut’s commissioner of education to have appropriate classroom and education experience.

All together the various corporate funded “education reform” groups dropped another $1.4 million, over the last six months, to promote and lobby on behalf of Governor Dannel Malloy’s anti-teacher, education reform initiatives that included diverting even more scarce public funds to privately owned, but publicly funded charter schools.

According to the June reports filed with the Connecticut Office of State Ethics, Charter Schools and Corporate Education Reform groups have spent the following so far this year;

Corporate Education Reform Organization Amount Spent on Lobbying
   
Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, Inc. (ConnCAN) $84,100
   
Achievement First, Inc. (Dacia Toll/Stefan Pryor) $5,700
   
Connecticut Council for Education Reform  (CCER) $40,000
   
North East Charter School Network $109,700
   
Families for Excellent Schools Inc./Coalition for Every Child $1,123,300
Bronx Charter School for Excellence $13,100
   
Other Corporate Education Front Groups include FaithActs for Education, Educators 4 Excellence, Connecticut School Finance Project, Achieve Hartford, Excel Bridgeport…  
TOTAL LOBBYING EXPENDITURES BY CHARTER SCHOOL INDUSTRYJanuary 1, 2015 – May 31, 2015 $1,375,900

 

Not surprising, a number of individuals associated with Malloy have collected huge amounts of money in lobbying and public relations fees to help promote his “education reform” agenda.

Consultants and lobbyists who made money this year from the corporate education reform industry included;

Corporate Education Reform Group Consultants and Lobbyists
Families for Excellent Schools Andrew Doba (Malloy’s former spokesman)
Roy Occhiogroso (Malloy’s chief advisor)
ConnCAN: Gaffney, Bennett & Associates
Connecticut Council for Education Reform: Reynolds Strategy Group
NE Charter School Network: Depino, Nunez & Biggs

 

Since the corporate education reform industry began ramping up their lobbying efforts as part of Governor Malloy’s education reform initiative of 2012, the various charter school advocates and education reform groups have spent a record breaking $8.4 million on behalf of their pro-charter school, pro-Common Core, pro-Common Core testing, anti-teacher agenda.

CT Mirror recently took a look at lobbying expenditures in an article entitled Digging into spending on lobbying in ConnecticutAlthough they noted the massive expenditure by the lead education reform group, Families for Excellent Schools, which is based in New York, they didn’t total all of the funds being spent by the corporate funded education reform advocacy group.

However, no matter how you calculate it, the education reform industry has become the biggest “player” when it comes to lobbying Connecticut State Government.

Better school libraries, not more Common Core testing, is a real Civil Rights issue

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The Corporate Education Reform Industry and its allies have been spending a lot of energy claiming that requiring more Common Core standardized testing is a “Civil Rights” issue because it serves as the mechanism to determine which public schools are failing.  How else, they assert, will we ever be able to determine where to invest public dollars in order to provide children of color with the support they need and deserve to become college and career ready?

Of course, the entire claim is nothing but a scam considering the fact that standardized test scores are driven by poverty, English language barriers and unmet special education needs, all of which are  factors that can be identified without turning classrooms into little more than standardized testing factories.

But truth has never been a concern to those who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting the notion that privatization, charter schools, the Common Core and the Common Core testing scheme are the solutions to reducing the nation’s achievement gap.

Calling for more testing, rather than recognizing the fundamental challenges associated with poverty and language barriers, has become the overarching strategy of the education reformers.

Their education philosophy is driven by the notion that when it comes to ensuring academic achievement, test prep and a curriculum focused on math and English language arts trumps a comprehensive school experience in which children are given the full range of courses, programs and services they need in order to learn and prosper.

In this era of scarce resources, the fact that more money is being spent on more testing, while important educational assets like school libraries are allowed to disintegrate, is a quintessential example of the stupidity surrounding the education reform agenda and a reflection of the real Civil Rights issues that are facing poorer school districts.

In Connecticut, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and his General Assembly recently adopted a budget that devotes more than $50 million over the next two years for the SBAC Common Core testing program, while doing nothing to address the very real Civil Rights violations associated with the fact that that tens of thousands of black and brown public school children don’t even have access to a quality school library.

Walk into any one of Farmington Connecticut’s elementary schools and you’ll find a vibrant school library with an average of 60 books per child and trained library professionals to help students learn how to fully utilize libraries and the portal to information and knowledge that library’s provide.

A visit to a Fairfield elementary school will reveal a center of learning with at least 50 library books per child and Greenwich is not far behind with 45 books per child.

By comparison, there are 17 elementary schools in Bridgeport with so-called “School libraries” that have less than 15 books per child, and a growing number of schools that have no school library at all. Library professionals are just as scarce.

And not surprisingly, considering the State of Connecticut’s historic underfunding of its public schools, Bridgeport is not alone.

While the State of Connecticut and its school districts can find the money for the technology required to institute the Common Core testing program, some can’t or refuse to come up with the funds necessary to provide students with a quality school library.

The following chart reveals just the tip of the iceberg;

School Districts with libraries that have less than 15 books per child # of Elementary Schools
Bridgeport 17
Hartford 9
New Haven 3
Meriden 3
West Haven 3

 

Other towns with elementary schools that have libraries with less than 15 books per child include Ansonia, East Hartford, Griswold, Naugatuck, New Britain, Rocky Hill and Shelton.

And although it is the 21st Century and Connecticut has the highest per capita income in the nation, there are elementary schools in Connecticut that don’t have any school libraries at all.  That list includes schools in East Hartford, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven and elsewhere.

Oh, and what about those magical “charter schools” that the education reformers claim will “save” the poor and minority children?

According to the official school profile reports filed with the Connecticut State Department of Education, Achievement First Bridgeport Charter School, Achievement First Hartford Charter School, Achievement First Elm City Charter School and Side by Side Charter School in Norwalk have no school library at all.

Meanwhile, Highville Charter School (Hamden) has a library with only 12 books per child and the infamous Capital Prep (Hartford) has a library with 13 books per child, but as reported previously, students aren’t allowed to take books out of that library.

The charter school and corporate education reform industry lobby groups have spent nearly $1.4 million so far this year promoting Governor Malloy’s education reform agenda.

Just imagine what they could be doing with those funds if they were actually serious about helping poor children succeed in school.

Fellow Education advocate and columnist Sarah Darer Littman has written extensively about the school library issue in Connecticut.  Start by reading her piece in CTNewsjunkie entitled, College, Career and Democracy ready? Not without a trained librarian

Democrat controlled legislature’s action on Malloy’s education veto nothing but a scam.

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A lesson on power politics and how many legislators will jettison their constituents in order to hang with the power elite.

Where did your elected representative stand on the veto issue?

A handful of Democrats and a bunch  of Republicans proved that they are willing and able to stand up for the students, parents, teachers and public schools in their district.  The others… nope!

At yesterday’s constitutionally mandated 2015 veto session of the Connecticut General Assembly, 50 of the 87 Democratic members of the Connecticut House of Representatives (57 percent) didn’t even bother to show up show up and vote.

With only 37 of the 87 Democrats in the chamber, the Democratic leaders were able to ensure that there were not enough votes to override Governor Dannel Malloy’s veto of the bill requiring Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education to have appropriate education experience.

As the CT Newsjunkie reported in the article entitled, General Assembly Opts Not to Override Malloy’s Vetoes,

The House needed 101 votes to override Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s veto of a bill that outlined qualifications for a state Education Commissioner, but only 62 lawmakers voted in favor of an override Monday.

At least 21 representatives voted not to override the bill and a whopping 68 representatives did not attend Monday’s constitutional veto session. And even though House Speaker Brendan Sharkey allowed a vote on one of Malloy’s vetoes, the outcome was a foregone conclusion.

Sharkey said there were members of the Democratic caucus who felt strongly about the Education Commissioner bill to turn out Monday and vote to override it. There were 18 Democratic lawmakers who voted in favor of overriding Malloy’s veto.

One of those was Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven. She said she thought the legislation, which specified that education commissioners must have at least five years’ experience as a teacher and three years as an administrator, was “good public policy.”

The bill originally passed the House 138-5 and got unanimous support in the Senate before being squelched by Malloy.

No Democratic legislator voted against the bill during the regular session, but apparently terrified to upset Governor Dannel Malloy or go against their own Democratic leaders, nearly 60% of the Democratic members of the House of Representatives failed to show up for the vote.

Of the 37 Democrats who did attend the veto session, 18 voted to override Governor Malloy’s veto, while an incredible 19 Democrats rolled over and changed their votes in a bizarre subservient gesture to Malloy.

Democrats switching sides to vote in favor of Malloy’s veto included the Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, Majority Leader of the House Joe Aresimowicz, Chairman of the Education Committee, Andrew Fleischmann, Chairman of the Human Services Committee Peter Tercyak, and Windham State Representative  Susan Johnson  The entire list included;

DEMOCRATS supporting Malloy’s veto
ALTOBELLO
ARCE
ARESIMOWICZ
FLEISCHMANN
GENGA
HENNESSY
JANOWSKI
JOHNSON
LOPES
MCGEE
SANTIAGO, E.
SANTIAGO, H.
SIMMONS
STAFSTROM
TERCYAK
SHARKEY (SPKR)
GENTILE (DEP)
GODFREY (DEP)
SAYERS (DEP)

 

Democrats who failed to even show up at the 2015 Veto Session included

DEMOCRATS FAILED TO SHOW UP
ADAMS X
ARCONTI X
BACKER, T. X
BAKER X
BARAM X
BECKER, B. X
BERGER X
BOUKUS X
BRYCKI X
BUTLER X
CANDELARIA, J. X
CONROY X
CUEVAS X
CURREY X
DARGAN X
DILLON X
ESPOSITO X
FOX X
FRITZ X
GONZALEZ X
GUERRERA X
HAMPTON X
HEWETT X
KINER X
LESSER X
LUXENBERG X
MCCARTHY VAHEY X
MCCRORY X
MEGNA X
MILLER, P. X
MUSHINSKY X
PERONE X
REED X
RILEY X
RITTER X
ROJAS X
ROSARIO X
ROSATI X
ROSE X
SCANLON X
SERRA X
STALLWORTH X
TONG X
URBAN X
VERRENGIA X
WALKER X
ZONI X
MILLER, P.B. (DEP) X
MORRIS (DEP) X
RYAN (DEP) X

 

Democrats who stood up to Malloy and the Democratic Leadership and voted to override Malloy’s veto;

 

DEMOCRATS VOTED TO OVERRIDE MALLOY
ABERCROMBIE Y
ALBIS Y
ALEXANDER Y
COOK Y
D’AGOSTINO Y
DEMICCO Y
HADDAD Y
JUTILA Y
LEMAR Y
MORIN Y
NICASTRO Y
PORTER Y
ROVERO Y
SANCHEZ Y
STEINBERG Y
VARGAS Y
WILLIS Y
ORANGE (DEP) Y

 

Perhaps most telling of all, the following Democratic legislators co-sponsored the legislation requiring Connecticut’s commissioner of education have educational experience and then failed to back the bill when that support was necessary.

Rep. David W. Kiner, 59th Dist.                    (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. David Arconti, 109th Dist.                    (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Juan R. Candelaria, 95th Dist.              (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Terry B. Adams, 146th Dist.                  (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Patricia Billie Miller, 145th Dist.         (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Kim Rose, 118th Dist.                           (Did not show up for the vote)

Rep. Louis P. Esposito, 116th Dist.               (Did not show up for the vote)

Sen. Eric D. Coleman, 2nd Dist.                    (Voted NO on holding a vote)

Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, 17th Dist.                    (Voted NO on holding a vote)

Sen. Mae Flexer, 29th Dist.                           (Did not show up for the vote)

Sen. Marilyn Moore, 22nd Dist.                    (Voted NO on holding a vote)

If you don’t know who your State Senator or State Representative is go to http://www.cga.ct.gov/  and scroll down

By Comparison, 45 of the 64 (70 percent) of the Republicans were present at the Veto Session and all but two voted to override the Governor’s veto.

In the end, of the 62 members of the House of Representatives who were willing to stand up to Malloy, 70 percent were Republicans.

As CT Newsjunkie reported, in what may have been the most absurd moment of the entire 2015 legislative session, West Hartford Democrat and Chairman of the Education Committee Andrew Fleishmann changed his position in order to vote with Malloy explaining,

“[T]here was interest from the governor’s office to address the issue of Education Commissioner qualifications in the future. He said there will be an ongoing dialogue and it’s likely the bill will come up again next year.

“The administration is always open to discussion,” Fleischmann said.

The Republican legislators were clear, not only on the substance of the issue, but on the even more important procedure in which the Democrats ducked their responsibility to their constituents and the people of Connecticut.

The Republican leader of the State Senate, Len Fasano stated,

“This is politics over policy. “The legislature has spoken. The governor has every right to veto it, but when the majority party follows the politics and not the policy that makes this building very scary to me.”

Proving the accuracy of Fasano’s statement, the State Senate met after the House of Representatives had adjourned and voted 18-12, along party lines, not to take up any of Malloy’s nine vetoes.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff went so far as to blame the entire situation on the Republicans saying that the veto session was “complete theater by the Republicans.”

Duff added that the Republicans, “have been on a ‘bad news tour’ for the past month and have taken ‘rooting for failure to a new level.’”

Quite a commentary when a Democratic leader of the Connecticut State Senate claims that a demand that the Legislative Branch fulfill its constitutional duty is nothing but “theater by the Republicans.”

If Connecticut’s 2015 veto session proved anything, it is that in Hartford, as in Washington, far too many politicians have lost their way….forgetting that they serve the people of their district and not those who already have way too much power.

They would all do well to remember the lines of Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times They Are A-Changin'”

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’

You can read the full story in the CTNewsjunkie at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/general_assembly_doesnt_override_malloy/

More coverage can also be found in the CT Mirror at: http://ctmirror.org/2015/07/20/malloy-vetoes-stand-but-house-gop-forces-an-override-debate/

CT Republicans step up for students, parents and teachers as Democrats run away and hide

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Watching the way Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy has sought to undermine public education while denigrating, insulting and bullying public school teachers, one is left with the inevitable conclusion that Connecticut’s chief elected official is driven by some personal problem he has with educators.

But seeing the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly roll-over in support of Malloy’s corporate education reform initiatives and flee from the Democratic Party’s historic role as advocates for teachers, the teaching profession and public education suggests that the legislators elected under the Democratic Party Banner simply don’t feel a sense of appreciation, duty or obligation to support teachers or the students, parents and public schools of their districts.

The Decision to forgo even holding a vote on Governor Malloy’s veto of a bill to require Connecticut’s commissioner of education to have appropriate educational experience has become a prime example of the Democratic Party’s apparent unwillingness to actually stand up and be counted on behalf of public education.

Of the 108 Democrat legislators in the Connecticut General Assembly, not one voted against the bill requiring the commissioner of education to have appropriate educational experience, but these same Democrats have now refused to even hold a vote on whether to sustain or override Malloy’s veto.

Political insiders dismiss the issue as nothing more than the realities associated with power politics.  While such politics is hardly new to Connecticut or the country, the underlying problem cannot be explained away so easily.

See: Malloy, Executive Power and the Politics of Appeasement (Wait, What? 7/18/15)

The harsh reality is that Governor Malloy, along with a variety of other Democratic leaders including Governor Cuomo of New York, Mayor Emanuel of Chicago and President Obama, have been engaged in an unprecedented assault on public education.

The utter failure of Democratic legislators, at the federal and state level, to stand up to that assault reflects a problem that has become so serious that proponents of public education are being forced to come to grips with the fact that the Democratic Party appears to be simply walking away from what may very well be the single most important issue in a democratic, egalitarian society.

While many Republicans across the country have acted no better, the Republican Party in Connecticut has taken an increasingly strong stand on behalf of public education.

While some would say their gesture is primarily political, the uncomfortable truth is that it is the Democrats who have repeatedly shown voters that politics trumps policy when it comes to these critically important education issues.

While Connecticut’s Democratic legislators have refused to even vote on whether to override Malloy’s veto, the response from Republican leaders have been clear, concise and absolutely on the side of students, parents, teachers and the value of public education to our future.

Democratic legislators may be gripped by fear when it comes potentially “embarrassing” Governor Malloy by overriding his veto, but people in the real world would rather see Connecticut’s Legislature Branch overcome their self-induced level of terror and actually perform their Constitutional responsibility.

As the Bristol Press put it in editorial this weekend entitled, OUR VIEW: Legislators must remember who it is they represent;

On Monday, the General Assembly will come together in special session, one that is technically is required, to decide whether members want to override any of the governor’s vetoes from the 2015 regular session.

But members won’t have the opportunity to restore any of the bills Gov. Dannel P. Malloy rejected, thanks to a decision by the Democratic leadership in the Legislature.

“The general consensus among our members, and in light of some of the governor’s concerns, is that these issues would be best re-looked at during the next regular session. Therefore we will not be scheduling any override votes,” House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, wrote Friday.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, were not happy to hear the news.

“Failing to challenge the governor on his vetoes is putting politics before policy,” they said in a statement. “The legislature has overridden past governors, including Rell and Weicker. But Democrat lawmakers have never overridden a single Malloy veto ever. Simply accepting the governor’s vetoes is failing to represent and protect our constituents. We have a constitutional duty to the public to reassess these bills.”

They continued, “this is not a decision for only the majority leaders to make. Under our constitution it is up to the legislative body’s majority vote to consider an override of a governor’s veto. As such, there should be an opportunity for the assembly as a whole to voice its opinion. To gavel in and out without any reconsideration and without hearing input from all lawmakers violates our constitutional duty and therefore our obligations as elected representatives.”

We agree. Whatever their party, our elected representatives in the House and Senate are supposed to be the people’s voice at the Capitol. We understand that the leadership doesn’t want to put the rank and file in a position where they must choose between voting against the head of their party or against their constituents — if that’s what their conscience and the voters request — but  failing to do so leaves the people of Connecticut without representation. It also increases the arbitrary power of the governor’s office, suggesting that, even if a majority of the members of the Legislature disagree with him — and we have no reason to believe that they do — he shouldn’t or can’t be challenged.

Our view: Let the democratic process — small D — unfold!

Yes, the message to Democrats in Hartford is “let the democratic process – small D – unfold!”

But for those who belong to the Democratic Party or who tend to vote for the Democratic candidates, a parallel question is whether the Democrats’ continuing failure to stand up for public education invalidates their right to serve as the majority party in Connecticut.

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