Malloy to Join Anti-Teacher, Anti-Union Forces at Capitol Rally


Malloy’s decision to speak at a rally with anti-teacher, anti-union advocates, once again, raises the question of why he seeking confrontation instead of consensus.  Malloy failed to tell the public that Connecticut already has one of the longest teacher probation periods in the nation (4 years) and the major teacher evaluation reforms that became law in 2010 will finally require school administrators to do their job and remove teachers who are not up to the job.

Instead, the Governor continues to demonize those who devote their careers to educating our children.

Now we learn that on March 14th, 2012 Governor Dannel Malloy will join radical “education reformer” Michelle Rhee and the CT Parent’s Union (a new Connecticut group that is directly connected to controversial conservative RiShawn Biddle) in an effort to pressure legislators to adopt Malloy’s education proposal.

The CT Parents Union, who is hosting the rally at the State Capitol, is pushing for the widespread use of school vouchers and an end to teacher tenure in Connecticut.  Although clearly engaged in lobbying, CT Parents Union has yet to file with the State Ethics Commission nor have they filed an IRS form 990 revealing where they are getting their funds or how those funds are being spent.

Earlier this year the CT Parent’s Union hosted a press conference in Ohio with other education reformers including the Ohio Parent’s Union, the Texas Parent’s Union to push for an end to “Zip Code” education which prevents students from moving across town lines to attend their school of choice.

Here in Connecticut, the CT Parents Union first became known as the entity that paid the legal fees for the grandmother who illegally enrolled her grandchildren in the Stratford School system.

CT Parents Union lists RiShawn Biddle as their lead consultant.

Biddle is the editor of an “education reform” blog called Dropout Nation and a regular contributor to The American Spectator, the right-wing magazine that played a leading role in the efforts to impeach President Clinton.

Just a few weeks ago, the CT Parent’s Union lead consultant was the keynote speaker at the Central Minnesota Tea Party’s “Excellence in Education” Forum

Biddle message is that the two major American teacher unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have preserved the policies that have “perpetuated the low quality of instruction in the nation’s school.”

Last year, Biddle authored a piece in The American Spectator entitled The New Civil Rights Leaders in which he observed that “old-school civil rights activists are fading into the history books — making way for a new generation.”  In his article, Biddle specifically highlights Steve Perry who he calls “the blunt-speaking social worker who has garnered national acclaim for his work as founder of Capital Prep Magnet School  in Hartford,”  and Gwen Samuel, the president of CT Parent’s Union, who he calls “one of the foremost leaders of the Parent Power movement.”

Biddle’s does a good job (albeit unintentionally) revealing the interconnection among anti-teacher forces.

While Biddle fails to point out in his American Spectator article that he is the lead consultant for Samuel’s CT Parent Union he says “the level of fear among teachers’ union leaders over Samuel’s efforts — and that of fellow Parent Power groups such as Parent Revolution (which passed the nation’s first Parent Trigger law) became clear last month when education magazine Dropout Nation (Biddle also fails to note that Dropout Nation is his blog) revealed a presentation given by the AFT at one of its conferences that showed how its Connecticut affiliate worked unsuccessfully to kibosh the law (it did manage to water it down).  The widespread outcry forced AFT President Randi Weingarten to issue two apologies”

Meanwhile, as the Hartford Courant wrote yesterday, in addition to Biddle’s efforts, the extremist “education reformer” Michelle Rhee will be joining Malloy at the March 14th rally.

Rhee told the Courant’s Rick Green that a “‘Collaborative Approach’ In Education Can Dilute True Reform.”  Green notes that “during her three-year run in D.C., Rhee raised test scores, closed schools, fired principals and teachers, and tied compensation to student performance.”

Green also adds that Rhee “remains embroiled in controversy over test score gains under her leadership, even as StudentsFirst, the national group she founded two years ago, plays an increasingly prominent role around the country.”

When addressing the teacher tenure issue in last week’s State of the State address Governor Malloy claimed that “In today’s system basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years.  Do that, and tenure is yours.”

Now Malloy will be joining some of the most anti-teacher, anti-union activists in the nation.  It would be a sad commentary about seeking consensus on education reform if he actually attends the rally.  Perhaps he could send his Lt. Governor instead.

  • jschmidt

    it’s all show. He did the same thing with the state unions and he would push them for their fair share, and he gave them a light slap and a no layoff guarantee. It is the same with the teachers. THey’ll get a light slap, he’ll get the coverage and in 3 years he’ll be going to them for a campaign donation. The unions control the agenda of the state and the Democtats

  • Prester John

    Looks like my comment on your 2/13 post regarding AchievementFirst is now more than just an end-run…
    Dan is taking a controversial approach to shake things up,garner headlines and stay in the spotlight.
    Divide and conquer is getting tedious and shows a complete lack of leadership skills.

  • Gwen S.

    My apologies for typos and being long winded:)

    This is Gwen Samuel. First and foremost, I am a PARENT of color with kids in Connecticut public schools. I am also the founder of the CT Parent’s Union.

    Myself and other parents have every RIGHT to speak up and out for education reform because My children, and children in general, are the “consumers” of the educational system, and for kids of color, poor kids and special need children that says a lot.

    For people to attack parents for protecting their children is why education reform is NEEDED! Lawmakers are suppose to make decisions that protect ALL of their constituents NOT a select few!

    The mission of the PARENTS Union is to protect the educational rights of children because in CT we are very selective! We choose which children we will educate and which children we will not!

    To add insult to injury, you fund the penal system 4 to 1 averaging $40,000 per inmate and $14, 000 for education. Are You Kidding Me!

    Why is Governor Molloy being attacked for listening to ALL of his constituents..not just a select few? What makes YOUR children better than my children!

    FYI…my children attend great traditional schools with GREAT teachers they work hard and are effective so I am their biggest cheerleader but teachers who make children clean toilet bowls, put children in cement room i.e scream rooms, and are not effective at what they do should not be in a classroom…its that simple…They don’t get a vote of confidence.

    As it relates to school choice, parents and guardians choose every aspect of a child’s life except education and that is totally unacceptable. Many educators and affluent neighborhoods would not let others “solely” make decisions regarding their child’s well being yet the poor, people of color, special needs etc… are told everyday “Everybody else WILL make the decisions for your children and there s NOTHING you can do about. I am a parent and there IS something I can do about it. I can demand the same things everyone else wants for their child and that is to be free from harm and have equitable access to high quality education and life opportunities.

    Just like suburban parents’ fight for their child’s educational rights, urban families should be able to fight for their child’s educational rights as well.

    Choice is a good business practice it breaks up MONOPOLIES – forces people to provide their consumer with good stuff or risk losing the business…its that simple!

    Lets talk facts!

    An analysis of the State of Connecticut using almost any indicator of socio-economic progress quickly reveals stark contradictions in the fortunes of its residents. Connecticut, one of the richest states in the nation is also home to some of the nation’s poorest cities; it is home to some of the most prestigious Universities and schools in the nation, yet its academic achievement gap is among the highest in the nation, observable between rich and poor students, and between white students and students of color.

    The socio-economically disadvantaged in Connecticut’s cities tend to be people of color, trapped in schools that persistently fail to meet their need for a quality education; these residents are also likely to be underemployed, or lacking in job skills that would provide a livable wage, consequently they tend be under-insured, or uninsured.

    The CT Parents Union protects the educational rights of children and will partner with communities and key stakeholders to affect sustainable change through thoughtful, responsive public policy, re-allocation and application of critical resources, and the empowerment of residents to become engaged in reforming their communities.

    As a state, we can work through this economic and education crisis without “blaming each other”. We must ALL accept some responsibility for the way things are. We may agree to disagree and that’s okay BUT we can get through this if we put the needs of children first. After all, children do not vote, nor can they sign a permission slip or a medical release form. They trust the adults in their lives to make responsible decisions on their behalf.

    If parents don’t protect their children then who will??

    As for Ms Michele Rhee, she puts children first and was willing to help the MOST vulnerable in CT get their educational needs met. As a parent, I appreciate and can respect that. FYI Students first has teachers as members so clearly her message resonates with teachers as well

    I have also had the pleasure of meeting AFT Randi Weingarten and CEA leadership as well. We agree on many things and some things I feel, as a parent, are not in the best interest of children, especially children that are poor and have special educational needs. That is okay, we can agree to disagree. This doesn’t make CTPU anti-teacher. Teachers Unions are designed to protect teachers and CTPU is designed to protect the educational rights of Children. Welcome to Democracy;)

    In closing, debate is good for the soul but let us NOT become bullys.!

    • jonpelto

      Gwen Samuel, thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my blog post and I appreciate the thoughtful response to the issues you’ve raised.
      I agree that there is no greater issue, no more important challenge than developing an education system that provides ALL our children with the education, knowledge and skills they needs and deserve to live and compete in this increasingly complex world.
      As I parent myself, I not only say that you have the right to speak out – you have the obligation to speak out and fight for your children – and all children.

      I am not attacking you or the shared goal of increasing the quality of education in Connecticut.
      But I am confronting and questioning some of the solutions that you – or perhaps others associated with “reform” efforts are pushing.
      For example, I generally oppose charter schools and vouchers because they allow some children – with engaged parents – to seek greater opportunities leaving behind the vast majority of children with the challenges, problems and if you believe in “money follow the child” the fewer resources to overcome those challenges.

      When it comes to the “solution”, I believe in dropping town borders and going to broad regional school districts in which the education system must address the needs of every child.

      Short of that, I have believed that the state should dramatically increase its roll in funding local education.

      I was a legislator when the teacher enhancement act and the education cost sharing formula was adopted. Paying teachers a fair wage that attracts good teachers to our schools and using various incentives to bring the best teachers to our urban districts was the first key stop. Having the state pay for at least 50% of the total cost of education and distributing it based on need was the next step.
      Since then the state has not only backed off its obligation to properly fund the ECS grant but has corrupted the grant so that the money started shifting to the wealthier communities.

      When ConnCAN says that more money is not needed – the totally lose their credibility. The problem – in part – not enough money.
      Second, I believe that the attack on tenure is unwarranted and counterproductive. School administrators must do their jobs – and that is use the four year probationary period and effective evaluations to identify and remove the poor teachers while making the teaching professional attractive enough to increase the flow of teachers who are willing and able to succeed in the face of such incredible challenges.

      Third, as you so articulately point out – it takes more than a teacher to make our schools work. For a small expenditure, we could see a great impact by upgrading the pay and professionalism of para-professionals. Children need hands on personal help and support – from the teachers – from other experienced and capable para-professionals and mechanisms to recruit and engage more partents.

      I honestly believe there are ways to get rid of the bad teachers while protecting the majority – who are good and great teachers.

      I honestly believe that the wealthiest state in the country has the ability to fund a quality education system for all our children.

      Finally, I don’t believe teacher unions are only there to protect teachers.
      When it comes to education, what gains we have made in the last 40 years in this country and state occurred with the direct help and participation of teacher unions.

      Where we do disagree is the motivation of people like Michele Rhee or your CT Parent’s Union consultant.
      For reasons I don’t fully understand they are aligning themselves with people who are fundamentally opposed to broad based education.

      Some of the things that the consultant to the CT Parent’s Union has said is shocking.

      Can I ask – is the CT Parent’s Union paying him?

      Are there others consultants, lobbyists or firms that CT Parent’s Union is paying?

      From what you are saying – I personally think your work and your goals are being derailed by people who have a different agenda than you.

      As to bullies – it starts and ends with the way Governor Malloy has handled this whole situation.

    • Allison

      “Just like suburban parents’ fight for their child’s educational rights, urban families should be able to fight for their child’s educational rights as well.”

      Ms. Samuel,
      As a “small town mom”, I fight for my child’s educational rights by going to Board of Ed meetings, PTO meetings, volunteering when I can, voting on school budgets, speaking with their teachers and making sure my kids are holding up their end of the deal.

      I don’t expect to be able to enroll my child in a system someone else is paying for. I don’t expect the state to fund a selective charter school in my town. Nor do I immediately blame the teacher if there is a problem.

      Please don’t be mislead by the con artists in the reform movement who ignore a parent’s role in education..or mislead involved parents.

  • wendy

    Great post. Of course, Rhee’s illegal firing of 75 DC teachers was reversed by an arbitration panel and upheld by a court- a move which cost DC about 8 million dollars. And, on the heels of the cheating scandal now revealed, DC test scores flatlined. So much for Michelle Rhee’s “miracle.”

  • centriststudent

    I love the way your write Jon, but it would be amazing (and enjoyable) to see you write something positive about the state of our government. Maybe how successful the EITC has been so far? Otherwise Jon, if I were a brand new reader to your blog, I’d be ‘educated’ to see the government is only doing wrong, ‘persuaded ‘there is little they can do right, and ‘motivated’ to run as far away from politics as possible, lest I be sucked in and wrongfully indicted as a part of the mess.

    I know writing passionate works are rarely sunshine stories (most popular fiction is never a happy story, or even have the happiest endings), but I had to take a serious overview of your past year in blog postings to see if I could even find one item that expressed you were happy with something going on in the state. The most recent one seems to be August 30th, in which you applaud his efforts after a major storm. Even I commented on it stating I had faith in you to move towards holds Malloy’s work on a balanced scale, offering both the positive and negative actions of this administration. 2012 so far though, its feeling a bit like 2011 and the union concession saga all over again. Malloy will have to be digging us out by hand from several feet of snow or clearing thousands of trees from the roads with a rope and Paul Bunyan’s axe to prove state government can do real good.

    • jonpelto

      Onbe of my next two posts will be 100% positive. I promise and then we can compare how many hits positive blog gets vs the critical ones :)

      • centriststudent

        Hahah definitely! I mean, I don’t want to deny you the ability express your feelings and opinions about issues (no matter how strongly I might agree/disagree with them). At this point though, I’m starting to feel bad about how upset you are with today’s political/governmental climate!

      • TMS

        Hi everyone ~

        Three things: 1) Please forgive my typos in advance; 2) I am new to this website (as of last night); 3) I want to comment on a couple of post so thanks for your patience.

        To Ms. Samuel ~I have to say that from your post, your organization comes off as extremely self-righteous. ALL of our kids count, not just the fortunate few that are selected to attend one of the Charter Schools. As a taxpayer and parent with a child in the school system, I’m skeptical that the right mechanisms, meaning those that cannot be corrupted, could be put in place to monitor private entities operating public school systems. I know that with many charter or magnet schools, if a current student has a sibling applying for a space, the probability is that they will get in also. Your organization may not be a bully, but form the research I’ve done on Ms. Rhee, she certainly is. It seems to me that both she and Gov. Malloy have this disquised their “it’s my way, or else”, manner as enthusiasum for a cause. I don’t want my kid to think the way to effect change is to beat someone into another person’s way of thinking and that’s how I’ve fewed Gov. Malloy and his administration since day-one. I hope all of our elected officials keep in mind that they are here to advocate and represent ALL of their constituants and not just those they agree with or the Governor. If yours is truly an organization that cares about the quality of life and education for ALL Connecticut students, I would think you’d want to see a balance in funding so no matter what district or school a child is in, they get the benefit of being able to succeed, not just the kids of the parents associated with your organization.

        My second comment is to “centriststudent” ~ As a new visitor to the site, I’ve read past blogs and I’ve seen a great balance of positive and negative. What’s great is that all who post are not bashed and there is a respectful tone set by Mr. Pelto to everyone. I personally don’t want to run from the site, but can’t wait to read further discussions. Whether something is positive or negative is a matter of perspective. It’s the first genuinely object site I’ve been on and I’m grateful to have found it.

  • Gwen S.

    @ Jonpelto I appreciate and respect your response. For the record, we are still an all volunteer organization. We have NO staff and NO funding, but we have a VERY strong volunteer base committed to putting children first. I hope our funding situation changes for CTPU very soon because parents MUST be players in the legislative process, if not we continue to be in the dark when it comes to how to help our children more effectively . We are still very grassroots in EVERY sense of the word!

    I don’t mind sharing, I put in over 50 non traditional hour weeks to build this organization because CT children and their parents need help in a big way, especially vulnerable populations. Plus I work part time;) This work is clearly on the job training but MLK states it best:

    “There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that that have nothing to lose. People who have stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don’t have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.”

    Parent’s need to have the power to help them selves when safety nets and educational systems fail them.

    When CTPU felt it was not getting the support they needed to help their children effectively we reached out to Michelle Rhee. I met her on a few occasions and it appears both parents and teachers respect her ability to not take NO for an answer, especially when it comes to the rights of children ….I do not see anything wrong with that.

    I actually like Randi Weingarten because she is a straight talk, no nonsense person like Michelle Rhee in different arenas

    As a parent, I THANK our Governor for making a decision to attend the rally and meet with parents and students from ALL types of schools and ALL walks of life. This shows he listens to ALL of his constituents.

    Finally, I will go to bat for effective teachers, future teachers and principals as long as they treat children like they want to be treated and they are effective in their skill set. If teachers and principals need professional development support,parents will get behind them 200% to ensure they get the support they need.

    Teachers should want the same for parents and students

    The status quo nor any teachers union should never make these conversations “teachers versus children” because you force the PARENT to make a choice about a situation that should not be either or but recognizing teachers have specific needs and children have specific needs and there will be conflicts of interest because adult needs vary from children needs

  • Long Time Educator

    Is there no one left but a few bloggers who see that people who have been away from any responsibility to a classroom since they graduated and never loved any idea, or skill, or book so much that they wanted to share it with children and young people for their whole lives, are now taking hold of education in America? These people have found the easiest way to secure a profit and assign a scapegoat, the teacher, for what they call today’s educational crisis. They disregard the poverty, over crowded classrooms, underfunding, and the BOE mismanagement that vulnerable parents face. They sell them magic programs that confuse and intimidate with eduspeak. Never offering to address even one of those real problems and always silent on their collusion with state and local elected officials and their appointed boards. Funding is only available if it’s secret or private or anonymous just “to get things started” like positions secured and laws passed with special amendments. The “educational leadership” crowd is crawling out of its little offices to cash in on those EdDs. They manipulate and create confusion, show a profit and disappear. As I read recently, charter schools and educational reform corporations are to learning as sub-prime mortgages were to home ownership. Teacher groups and unions are just not loud or honest or harsh enough in bringing the problems forward. We seem to just be screaming out to each other. What can we do?

  • Prester John

    Gwen obviously feels that children of color are entitled to a bigger slice of the ever shrinking pie and she is also a perfect example of someone who is being used by Malloy in his divide and conquer approach.
    Did Dan send his kids to private schools? Does that show a commitment to public education or is “lead by example” only a slogan for a State Energy Efficiency Policy. It is very hard to take a politician seriously who says one thing and does another and,Gwen,be very careful what you wish for.

    Long-haired preachers come out every night,
    Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right;
    But when asked how ’bout something to eat
    They will answer in voices so sweet

  • Jeff Klaus

    Once again you state that the charter school kids are somehow different because they have involved parents. Despite the fact that Hartford is an all-choice district and New Haven is a mjaority choice district you still beat this drum. Let me ask you, if their parents are the reason the kids are doing well, why did the charter schoolo kids enter the charter school 2 or 3 years behind grade level?

    And are you being facetious when you say that you don’t think teacher unions are there to protect teachers? Seriously?

  • jonpelto

    Editor’s Note: I’ve “approved” all the comments today because so many include important observations. Some have elements that maybe be offense to some so I want reiterate the one primary rule of Wait, What? and that is …. it is my blog so I’m the only one who can say rude or insulting things. I you really want to say rude or insulting things – drop me a note and I’ll walk you through setting up your own blog :) Till then, be respectful… firm but respectful.

    • TMS

      I apologize to anyone who may have been insulted or offended by my comments.

      • jonpelto

        TMS, I didn’t consider anything you said insulting of offense. Really.
        In fact even the people who came close didn’t do it in a mean way – I just wanted to remind people that this is “protected ground”. Say what you want, get tough, get angry, argue your position – just be respectful at the individual level – and that applies to everyone – except of course to me – and I have not problem being insulting. It has become one of my better skills.

  • jonpelto

    Editor’s Note #2: By the way, my goal is to try my best to get the facts out as I see them (granted we are all biased in different ways) but I’ll at least claim that I’m getting the facts out (as I seem them) and promote dialogue, discussion, debate… not necessarily in that order.

    To that end – you are all doing really well! high fives and fist knocks all the way around.

  • jonpelto

    Editor’s Note #3: (final one for now) I also wanted to make mention that – once again – our fellow comment-er Jeff Klaus wins award for being the most consistently and honestly conservative. While I find myself on the other side of his arguments 99.9% of the time, I have to say that he doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to his beliefs (not to mention his dedication to charter schools). I would actually watch Fox News if he was one of their commentators – I’d still throw things at the television but I’d watch first.

  • jonpelto

    oh… and last but not least when i say don’t be insulting I mean to the other people commenting – you can be as insulting as you like to elected officials – i have no doubt most of them deserve whatever insults you want to hurl in their general direction.

    • centriststudent

      Another reason why I would be extremely hesitant to get into the state legislature. Either its the fact I’m pretty thin skinned when it comes to political discussion, or I might not fully handle being misinterpreted. Though I’d work to keep myself as straightforward as possible.

  • Thomas

    I think Peter Lumaj, a US Senate Candidate and a conservative, should be invited to speak at this rally. Check his web site

    • jonpelto

      Thomas wins the award for the best post of the day and I will personally put in a call to Connecticut’s own Peter Lamaj, one of the lesser know candidates for the United States Senate. Lamaj’s slogan which strikes me as brilliant is:

      God, Family and Country
      Unapologetically American
      Absolutely Conservative

      Of course, speaking for myself – as a strong supporter of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights I think the more accurate approach is to say I’m an Apologetic American but will become unapologetic when we actually get back to the America that is based on the ideals and principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights…


    The mission of the PARENTS Union is to protect the educational rights of children because in CT we are very selective! We choose which children we will educate and which children we will not!

    How come your Group picks and choose what parents can comment on your website.Parents have call me and have told me you pick and choose what comments you will take.I am one of them still waiting Ms Samuel to get on your webiste,

  • Prester John

    Peter Lumaj and his ilk make folks like Dan Malloy electable and also makes me think of the chorus to the song above–

    You will eat, bye and bye,
    In that glorious land above the sky;
    Work and pray, live on hay,
    You’ll get pie in the sky when you die

  • Athena Wagner

    Anti-teacher? Anti-Union?…….Really?
    Is this the correct approach to a collaborative effort in education reform?
    I personally am NOT now nor have I ever been anti-teacher or anti-union (as a long standing union member myself )……However, I am and will continue to be a strong, visible and outspoken education advocate in the sincere hopes that ALL parents and teachers, lawmakers, school boards, and any others concerned can come TOGETHER to ensure a quality education for ALL children…….It’s likening it to the fact that as an African American female, who is an advocate (pro) my people, heritage and culture, I’m certainly NOT anti-all others……That’s ridiculous…….There should be one common goal here: to provide the BEST quality education for EVERY student………” By Any Means Necessary ” ~~Malcolm X.

  • Athena Wagner

    The academic success of every student relies heavily on the 2 primary educators in their lives: the FIRST is the PARENT and the Second, but just as important, is the TEACHER, who spends 5 days a week, and almost 6 hours a day with these children……EVERY student needs the care, consideration and cooperation of BOTH to meet their educational needs.

    I’m really disappointed in your blog Jonathan!

  • Athena Wagner

    What facts have you gathered to label this rally as such?
    Nevermind, it doesn’t matter because I’m about to educate you on what this rally is TRULY about…….It is a Rally primarily for PARENT engagement/involvement and Parent education ( inclusive of many other education advocates, i.e. students, organizations, clergy, politicians )…..As you well know, parents have often been blamed “the first scapegoats” for the FAILED education system……Therefore we have decided to change that in a very positive way……TAKING ACTION to advocate for our children….ALL children……..So you in turn label this effort from such a negative perspective……..Who does that benefit and what’s your motive?
    MARCH 14, 2012……3PM – 6PM

    Athena Wagner:
    The CT Parent’s Union Presents:
    ACTION ALERT – MARCH 14, 2012


    Where: Begins at State Capitol (South Grounds) Time: 3:00pm–6:00pm
    (Includes: Transportation, Tee-Shirts, Advocacy Training material, and refreshments)

    * Pre- Kindergarten – College Graduation Systems
    * Real Parent Power through School Governance Councils
    * School Choice Options
    * Early Child Education & Afterschool Programs
    * English Language Learners (ELL) Supports
    * Children w. Special Needs & School Based Health Care Services
    * Effective Teacher/Principal Preparation & Evaluation Systems
    * High School Drop Out Prevention Supports
    * Children in Foster/Adoptive Care & Alternative Education

    ** Join the Students and Family Parade, Meet Your Lawmakers, Learn
    Tips to Effectively Speak Up For Your Child and much more… **
    For More Information contact [email protected] or call
    this is the video of last year’s event:
    Parent Express Bus Tour You Tube Clips Part 1​watch?v=3kQtH4DAGVE&feature​=related
    Parent Express Bus Tour You Tube Clips Part 2​watch?
    Parent Express Bus Tour You Tube Clips Part 3​embed/wZCzQEzOCeU
    You really need to check yourself Jonathan!
    There’s NOTHING Anti-Teacher/Anti-Union about it!

  • Athena Wagner

    One more thing!
    I don’t think you even know who our primary consultant is by your own remarks……You probably should have asked first!

    • jonpelto

      If I have the wrong person I apologize but is this the guy who was the keynote speaker at the January 14th tea bag event and is a contributor to the right wing magazine Thr American Spectator?

  • Pete

    I think the teacher’s of this state need to respond with a rally of their own. We need to organize and drop by on our elected officials and let Mr. Malloy know how we feel about swindling us.

    Does anyone have the clip of Malloy practically begging the CEA for their endorsement about a year or two ago? He spoke of how wonderful teachers were and that he would protect them from the anti-teacher sentiment sweeping the country. I’d love to see a viral Youtube video of Malloy at the CEA convention and then show his teacher bashing statements in the same video. It would make the perfect campaign clip when he’s up for re-election.

  • Athena Wagner

    Apology accepted Jonathan.
    You blogged on assumption and misinformation instead of FACTS.
    Be careful. You need not concern yourself about how we do what we do (the money piece), just know that we’re working really hard to make positive changes. SMH.

    • TMS

      Wow, Ms. Wagner ~

      I’m a concerned, educated, involved parent just as the rest of those in your “union”, but I find your tone incredibly contradictory to your words. It’s that “by any means necessary” statement that actually comes across as saying your group will ground anyone under your heels if they don’t support your ideas or concepts about education. You make the group sound pretty austere and unreasonable. From my perspective this bullying, malicious tone has gained traction since Malloy has taken office. I find it pretty offensive and insulting to my intelligence and upbrining. You can either lead by inspiration or fear. When you inspire, people want to follow, when you use fear, it becomes something you are forced to do and the results will reflect that.

      My child was diagnosed with a learning challenge and I worked with my school system in getting him the right assistance and now he will graduate with honors from a prep high school and is off to a service academy. It wasn’t an adversarial interaction with the staff. If you communicate with respect with one another, are persistent and insistent things can get done the right and best way for the child. There’s no need to be threatening. I don’t feel any group such as your “union” could effectively represent me, as a parent, in this dicussion. It’s unfortunate because I think the group may have good intentions, but I certainly wouldn’t want to beat anyone down or be spoken to in that tone. Our kids are watching whether we believe it or not and if we speak and express ourselves in an abusive way, then they will learn that too.

      One last thing, I think you might want to add to your list above a parent and family evaluation. You have one for teachers and administers, why not one to make sure parents are accountable as well? It all starts at home.


    @jonpelto.Keep speaking the truth.The school reform movement is full of
    the right wing.Did you know that the new head of ConnCAN Patrick Riccards work for a Senator Robert C. Byrd who was a KLANSMAN .

    • Patrick Riccards

      Yes, I did work for Senator Byrd. While on his staff, we fought to increase educational opportunities and healthcare availability for all, particularly our low-income residents. We also created real, long-term jobs for the community.

      I also worked for Senator Bill Bradley, one of our truly great statesman and a true leader on race relations. And I worked for Congressman Jon Olver, one of the more liberal voices in Congress and a true champion for the poor.

      Additionally, I have worked with groups like the American Federation of Teachers, the Economic Policy Institute, Stanford University, our nation’s teachers colleges, the National Staff Development Council, the US Department of Education, the National Institute for Literacy, and countless other groups. In each instance, my focus was on equity and fairness, fighting to endure all students have access to effective teachers and high quality educations, regardless of race, family income, or zip code.

      If you feel the need to challenge the need for education reform by lobbing personal attacks against me, please feel free. But there is no need to attack the individuals and organizations I have had the privilege to work with over my caterer, particularly those who gave their lives to leaving the world a better place than they found it.

      • Allison

        Not attacking them Patrick. Just trying to make them aware that you are using them.

  • Pingback: CT Essential Politics – Friday 02.17.12 - CT Devil's Advocate | CT Devil's Advocate()

  • paul bogush

    You can change teacher tenure, destroy the unions, go to regional districts, share the money differently, group the kids differently, increase funding to charter schools, give all the schools to Achievement Second, change the grades that education majors need, change the evaluation system for teachers,and move to Common Core Standards…none of that will change unless we decide to change how kids are taught. You can implement every ed-reform idea and we still have kids sitting in rows, memorizing, focusing on standardized tests(yes, there are some with teacher dictated projects). The systems will still dictate when, how and why they are learning. The teachers will still dictate every move of the students from walking in two straight lines, to when to pee, to how many sentences should be in their paragraphs. None of the ideas reform how kids are taught, they are just procedural changes that make adults feel better and give adults a greater sense of power. They are smokescreen ideas…so what if Malloy destroys the unions…so what if he strengthens them. Nothing will change for the kids. Not one single innovative idea is being debated…not one. Just recycled ideas, many go back the 19th Century. Let’s talk about how kids should be taught, then worry about the procedures needed to get there. Not one idea from Malloy, or one idea debated on this blog deal with the real problems facing our kids.

    A letter I wrote to my legislators:

    We need to wake-up and take the red pill <—Bad Matrix reference :)

    To the parent way above in the comments…I totally get fighting and aligning with anyone (even Rhee) to improve kids education. I spent a decade teaching in an urban district in which no one ever did anything to improve the kids schooling. When you are in the district everyday the problems are so obvious, yet none of the reforms address the real problems because the people creating the problems were almost always the ones proposing the solutions. For all the power that tenure gives teachers, I really don't know any that would risk speaking up against the problems. If I was a parent in that district I would send my kid to a charter school run by Achievement First, Walmart, or the Gates Foundation…just would not matter. It would be the right thing to do and I don't think many folks who comment on this blog, or John realize how desperate people are and how bad it is–I don't even thing that most parents who think there kid has it bad knows how bad they really have it. Even a kid who might be two years behind, can still be two years ahead of everyone else in the class. So if creating/expanding a charter school that siphons off the top kids in a district is the best parents can expect–I fully support it. If the cities don't like it then they should do something about their own houses instead of worrying about others. It's just too bad that Malloy's ideas don't come from a place that is meant to help out kids in struggling districts…


    Patrick Riccards
    Feb 17, 2012 @ 08:38:14

    Yes, I did work for Senator Byrd. While on his staff, we fought to increase educational opportunities and healthcare availability for all, particularly our low-income residents. We also created real, long-term jobs for the community.

    Pieter Willem Botha (P. W. Botha) of South African did the same thing.But up held Apartheid in South African.For me as a person of color,I don’t care how many jobs you and him created.He was still a KLANSMAN.In fact here are Senator Byrd own words The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia.Would a Jewish person work for a memeber of the Nazi party even if they gave out long-term jobs for there community.

    I also worked for Senator Bill Bradley, one of our truly great statesman and a true leader on race relations. And I worked for Congressman Jon Olver, one of the more liberal voices in Congress and a true champion for the poor.

    Liberal voices.I like what Malclom X said about liberalsThe white liberal differs from the white conservative only in one way. The liberal is more deceitful than the conservative. The liberal is more hypocritical than the conservative. Both want power, but the white liberal is the one who has perfected the art of posing as the Negro’s friend and benefactor, and by winning the friendship and support of the Negro, the white liberal is able to use the Negro as a pawn or tool in this political football game. Politically the American Negro is nothing but a football, and the white liberals control this mentally dead ball. Through tricks of tokenism and false promises, and they have the willing cooperation of Negro leaders. These leaders sell out our people for just a few crumbs of token recognition and token gains—–MALCOLM X

    If you feel the need to challenge the need for education reform by lobbing personal attacks against me, please feel free. But there is no need to attack the individuals and organizations I have had the privilege to work with over my caterer, particularly those who gave their lives to leaving the world a better place than they found it.

    How about those who gave there lives fighting the Ku Klux Klan and other White Supremacist Group.I have family memebers who were Lynched and rape by the klan.We are still fighting today.

    But there is no need to attack the individuals and organizations I have had the privilege to work with over my caterer.

    Even if they have ties to White Supremacist Group.Also I do have the right to attack these individuals and organizations due to the fact that when it comes to children of color as a person of color it is my job to attack those who are not in people of color best Interest.

  • Jeff Klaus

    Paul Bogush, you make some great observations about learning. But you might be surprised about how some of the most effective charter organizations are experimenting with contemporary visions for individualized education.

    But, its important not to lose sight of the fundamental belief held by urban ed reformers: Closing the achievement gap and ultimately the economic gap means creating student success in competitive 4 year colleges.

    Now, whether or not you think that American higher education has it right or wrong these days, the fact is that our university system is still the most desirable in the world. And it is indisputable that a college grad has a far greater chance at financial prosperity than does a high school grad. Today, college is THE gateway to prosperity for most people.

    And, admission to college is based largely on GPA, class rank, and standardized tests. Again, I am not arguing whether current admission criteria are archaic and overly rigid. I am arguing that the system largely still works this way. So until the rules of the game are changed for college admissions success overall, poor kids from cities need to be able to compete with their more affluent suburban peers under the same rules of the game.

    I’ve always found it hypocritical when white prosperous college educated professionals, who themselves were tutored, prepped, and tested to gain entrance to elite universities, are now arguing from their ivory tower perch to close the educational gate for low income children of color simply because they believe that our education system is somehow outmoded.

    I agree, primary and even higher education might be outdated and outmoded. But I’ll tell you what, when you change the rules of the game about how to get into and succeed in college, get back to us and then we can talk.

    • jonpelto

      Wow Jeff,

      Your post continues not just one but TWO statements I agree with 100%.

      “Closing the achievement gap and ultimately the economic gap means creating student success in competitive 4 year colleges.”

      “I’ve always found it hypocritical when white prosperous college educated professionals, who themselves were tutored, prepped, and tested to gain entrance to elite universities, are now arguing from their ivory tower perch to close the educational gate for low income children of color simply because they believe that our education system is somehow outmoded.”

      You are absolutely right on both counts.

      We clearly disagree on the appropriate steps to rectify the situation but there is no doubt we agree that action – dramatic action is needed.


    • pbogush

      I guess you are insinuating that I am one of those “white prosperous college educated professionals, who themselves were tutored, prepped, and tested to gain entrance to elite universities.” I am college educated…but don’t meet the rest of the criteria :)
      I was arguing to open any and all avenues necessary because the public schools have not been responsive to the needs of the kids. My sarcasm with using the “Walmart Charter School” was not saying that charter schools have the same quality of Walmart, but simply that anything almost anything is better than the current system, and when given an opportunity to go to a charter to improve their education, parents and kids should grab it–regardless of whether it is a for profit corporation, a non-profit school, or some school set-up by some rich dude. I’m the only educator I know that thought Waiting for Superman was super–my post on it The qualifications for getting into colleges can stay the same. We don’t need to test prep the kids to death to get them to meet those qualifications. There are very simple things that schools can do to change how they teach and still have kids meet the qualifications that colleges desire…authentic project based learning for example. Yes, the rules have to be the same…but Jeff, why play the same game when the game the suburban kids are playing really isn’t that great. I would like charter schools to offer up something suburban schools can’t do…be innovative and creative in a standardized testing crazed environment. My daughter is going to Common Ground next year and I think what they are doing there is incredible–not necessarily changing the rules for how kids learn, but they have put together a special program. I am not aware of any other charter schools that are really changing how kids learn beyond procedural changes. I wish we had more charters like and would love to know some innovative charters in CT. I think if you are anti-charter, or anti-school vouchers you just have no idea what parents are up against.

      By the way homeschoolers and unschoolers get into colleges at a rate higher than school grads with no GPA or class rank, and the number of SAT optional colleges grows every year I hope things change…my college education was not of much use and I don’t find the current education that many pre-service teachers are getting of much use either. Maybe if I went to one of those elite schools you mentioned :)

      • Maureen

        OK….I’m a teacher, trying to decipher the Educational proposals. There are a few of them. This blog is another great source of information. I admittedly may have missed a few posts here, but what made me stop was the comment about Common Ground.
        Many parents here commented about testing and colleges, but here’s a few realities:
        1. Not all kids go to college and a college education is not the end-game. Furthermore, schools increasingly request statements of intent or interviews as they value a “well-rounded” candidate. Tests don’t say it all.
        Machinist and HVAC are in high demand, but there was a proposal to cut Technical schools last year. We need more not less.
        2. Traditional school is great for students who can & like reading. All assessments are based upon the skill of reading for understanding, even Math and Science. If you’re not a good reader you might hate it.
        3. If you can’t sit for a while, school’s not the best place for you; and schools are pushing for more learning (seat) hours to pass one test. If anything, students should have a longer day with more electives during the day. (preferably problem-based)

        I think outside the box, and in the real world, that skill is valued. Not in school. I fear the one human who evaluates me as a teacher might not share that perspective. I come from 15 years in the software consulting industry (1983-1997). Success in the smaller firms, and at my customers (GE, IBM & others) came from problem solving and collaborating (thinking outside the box).
        Nowhere do I see programs were students work on teams to attack messy problems. It’s not particularly testable. But managing a “messy” classroom where students figure things out/solve problems and work in teams takes time. It is not teaching to a test. It is not quiet and seated. It is hard to evaluate.
        Which brings me back to Common Ground. Students CHOSE to be there (#1 motivator for learning). They are active learners. They work on projects to solve real problems. I try to implement these methodologies in my traditional classroom but
        If Malloy’s bill is passed, I will have to potentially rethink my teaching.

        • Paul Bogush

          Deep learning is messy, and so is good teaching. I agree with you…if these reforms go through my “messy” classroom will have to get cleaned up. The reality is that I need to pay bills, and I am not going to risk losing my job. Innovation, creativity, and problem solving become things of the past. I will be forced to teach to the test. Project based learning is out. Deep discussions are out. I have implemented a Google style 20% day this year, that would be out. Taking the time to collaborate with other classes is out. I would even venture to say that use of technology would plummet because it is not necessary to pass the test. Practicing real world skills would be out. presentations to the class and live audiences would be out.

          We should set-up an evaluation program for the legislators. At the end of each year we use data to evaluate them. Is the budget balanced? Did poverty decrease? Etc…then allow citizens of the state to evaluate them. At then end of the year they cold be removed from their job. We wouldn’t want a long period of time where they could just get elected and show up for work until the re-election.

          Interesting how the government wants teachers to use scientifically research based solutions (SRBIs) in the class but simply offer up their own ed-reforms that have no research supporting them…and in many cases have plenty of research showing how they will not work.

          • jonpelto

            Your two posts are the single best summary I’ve read to date – if legislators were forced to read it and follow through on your class plan – this debate would be completely different.

  • Athena Wagner

    @ TMS:
    Did you get “stuck” on the quote by Malcolm X and ignore ALL of my comments in their entirity?……..Either way, I meant what I said and it’s wasn’t contingent on anyone’s perception……As a mother, you best believe that I personally will (in your words) “grind under my heels” anyone and anything that tries to do harm to my children, with no apologies……..No approval needed, and that’s on a personal note!
    How much do you know of our organization or any of it’s work?

    Contact Us………….
    Email: [email protected]
    Follow Us on Twitter @ ctparentsunion
    LIKE Us on Facebook CT Parent’s Union (CTPU)

    • jonpelto

      Althena, I have absolutely no doubt that you and Gwen and the others associated with the organization are deeply and truly committed to doing what is right and needed for your children and all children that are being left behind in our society today. The children in our urban areas are being especially disadvantaged but there are others as well including those in poorer communities and those who are purposely not getting the special education help they need because local districts don’t want to be liable for the costs and are therefore overlooking the problems.

      Things have got to change and I respect and hopefully everyone respects your dedication to creating meaningful change.

      I’m not sure about the others who have read or commented here but what I don’t understand a couple of things.

      Building effective coalitions is critical and needed to change policy but I don’t understand how someone like Biddle involved in the organization considering his willingness to partner or at least speak with people like the Tea Party and second CT Parent’s Unions are popping up in different parts of the country which indicates some group is behind the effort. As the website says CT Parents Union hosted a meeting with other State Parents Unions. Many of the interest groups working on “education reform” are connected or funded by different entities. Its up to people to decide for themselves who they support but I’m curious about CT Parent’s union. I believe Gwen when she says CT parents are an all volunteer force but clearly there is a level of activity around the country that is being funded by someone or something.

      • TMS

        Jon ~
        I would suggest that you heed Ms. Wagner’s earlier warning:
        “Be careful. You need not concern yourself about how we do what we do (the money piece), just know that we’re working really hard to make positive changes”

        I separate myself from dangerous people such as Ms. Wagner. She’s dangerous to me because she’s abusive in her verbal posture and cannot disagree without trying to be offensive. This is an adult and this is the way she tries to get her point across. I was not aware of the group befor your blog.

        She asked if I got “stuck” on the Malcolm X quote. The only thing I’m stuck on is the abusive tone she chooses to use. All I can say is that if she is representative of the group, I’m counting my blessings that my son is off to college and I won’t have to worry about my kids being victimized by them or Governor Malloy. I really don’t hold out any hope for collaboration that will yield a result that’s best for ALL children, just those of the “Union”. To heck with everyone else’s kids.

  • Athena Wagner

    Thank you Jonathan.
    You would be amazed at what poor people/underfunded organizations can accomplish when they unite and commit…..Tireless volunteer hours…….In our journey, we have and will continue to meet with many people, groups, and organizations, from many facets of life……Some relationships/partnerships will sustain and some may not, because the game never changes, but the players do……..We’ve been in existance for only 1 year and have gained considerable notariety due to all of the hard work we’ve dedicated to helping others, and not just here in Connecticut either, to fight for what’s best and what’s needed to meet the educational needs of ALL children in this national movement called education reform…….Parents needed a VOICE, and a seat at the decision making tables, and we try to give them that……We are intentionally quite visible and vocal…….EVERYONE will not be pleased 100% of the time, but our mission remains the same……100%……We want ALL of our children to recieve the best education possible because they don’t deserve any LESS than that, and we will do what we have to to ensure that it’s done…….Positive CHANGE never comes easy, but it does eventually come…….Our children can no longer afford for the adults to play the “blame game”……We ALL have to work together for THEIR good……Some will, and some won’t for different reasons/agendas……Like us or not, we will not compromise our efforts and will stay the course.

  • Tom Burns

    Pelto–keep doing what you are doing–the truth–standing up for those champions in the classroom–Michelle Rhees (a failure in DC) yet running from that failure and enriching herself at the expense of poor children–and to Gwen Samuels–I am a parent of color also–White–but our color can be a great divider–cant it—knock it off–The New Haven Model is what the Right wing fears–collaboration to improve student learning–
    Ms. Rhee is all about conflict and enhancing herself—-I cant wait for the opportunity to break her down and call her out for the phony she is—-Ms Rhee–you really dont want to come to CT–Ill be waiting——-for the clown princess to come–you will not ruin our kids educational possibilities as you did in DC–by the way–is the cheating investigation over??? Bring it sweetheart–in your limousine——–Waiting–Tom Burns New Haven Reform

  • Tom Burns

    Gwen S–my teachers union in New Haven is not here to protect teachers –we are here to make sure that your children “of color” and my children “of color” get the best education possible and to afford them every opportunity to reach their optimal educational potential—thats what my union is about—I am the VP of our union and a guidance counselor who works double your hours to help make our kids be the best they can be–no excuses
    I’ll work with you–just kick that loser Michelle Rhee to the curb and we may be able to get it done in a positive fashion–without a fake reformer—waiting for your call partner–860-227-6668
    for solutions—not the divisiveness and nastiness of the self proclaimed queen Michelle–

  • Tom Burns

    4 in a row–I heard something about teacher tenure–a facade–never existed–so I propose that CT be the first state to abolish teacher tenure and get rid of that nasty word forever—
    Instead teachers will agree to just due process where an arbitrator would decide their fate quickly and the arbitrators decision is binding–what say???
    No more tenure–only state to agree to this–jump on this bandwagon–T

  • Jeff Klaus

    Paul – I wasn’t referring to you. I was thinking about people like Darling-Hammond and Ravitch. These are people who have reached the pinnacle in society by taking a well-established path through college and then for whatever reason, now wish to prevent others from travelling down the same road. If the grueling educational process of rote memorization, trial and error, high stakes testing, and boring lectures was so very bad for them, why don’t they give away all the financial fruits of their labor? I would buy their reasoning more readily if they were willing to forgo the millions of dollars that they have made using, yes, their well honed reading and writing skills that they acquired in college. Why would they deny that prosperous pathway to poor children of color is beyond me.

  • Athena Wagner

    @ TMS:


  • Allison

    How are they preventing that? They are pointing out the reality that the current reform movement will and have only educated a select few. If every school could get the funding that Geoffrey Canada’s school did, that would be beyond wonderful. But you know very well that won’t happen. Darling-Hammond and Ravitch are simply amazed that the reform movement is managing to convince legislators that this is the way to go…which includes blaming teachers for societal ills and ignoring poverty.


    @ Allison

    Geoffrey Canada got money for his school from the crooked bankers and Hedge Fund Managers.

    Schooling in the Ownership Society
    News and analysis of corporate school reform and the privatization of public education

    Geoffrey Canada asks for leniency for convicted Wall St. crook .

    He even got money from crooked Bernard Madoff.

    Geoffrey Canada gets a front-row seat to another financial scandal

    By A. James Memmott

  • Jeff Klaus

    Allison, they are preventing that by defending a system which seems to be perfectly content with having poor children of color graduate from high school with 8th grade skills. THAT is an economic death sentence.

    Before Ed reformers started to yell about the achievement gap, the status quo believed quietly that “these” kids can’t learn at the same high levels as their white affluent suburban peers. Well, along came charter schools like amistad academy and blew that pernicious racist assumption out of the water. And in the last 13 years, while the public has slowly understood the potential for all kids to learn at high levels regardless of socio economic status, the teacher unions have been undermining progress every step of the way. Teachers and their unions have:

    Attempted to reduce the length of school day despite clear evidence that time on task is a key element of success;

    Fought tooth and nail against meaningful evaluation systems for teachers even though the number one factor in student learning is instructional quality. Now they cloak themselves as open to evaluations but “collaborate” with politicians to water down the impact of the eval systems on their membership.

    Argue forcefully for a process of binding arbitration which is a stacked deck system ensuring that teachers and politicians reach amicable compromise while the education experience for children remains severely compromised.

    Harassed and lobbied vigorously against the charter school community throughout, and sought to defund and decertify schools and teachers which have been life savers for children who were lost in the district system.

    Even now, they are raging against the governor for being bold on behalf of children. It’s actually hard to fathom.

    Turn out for the testimony day on Tuesday up at the Ed committee at the LOB!

  • Tom Burns

    Hey Jeff–
    What teachers union you talking about?? Not ours—Tom


    This is what happens to Charter School Teachers,Were there is no unions.

    First-grade teacher Sauda Johnson docked $9,700 for missing two days of work at charter school
    Thursday, October 07, 2010

    A Charter school teacher lost two months’ pay for missing two days of work, a move state officials are reviewing.

    First-grade teacher Sauda Johnson was absent for the final two days at East Harlem’s Harbor Science and Arts Charter School, after students were already out for the summer, she said.

    School officials imposed a steep penalty – withholding $9,700 in summer pay, the portion of salary teachers receive in July and August for work completed during the year, Johnson contends.

    “I worked so hard,” said Johnson, noting she’d already taken a small pay cut for the chance to work at the charter school. “I worked – not just 8 to 4, but evenings and Saturdays. … I worked for that money. I earned that money.”

    The school scheduled the two days just a few weeks beforehand to make up for snow days, said Johnson, 35, of the Bronx. She’d taken a job teaching summer school at a city public school and needed to start that position, she said.

    “It was a serious blow. It was painful,” added Johnson, noting she was forced to take out a loan to cover her mortgage payments that summer.

    Johnson has been fighting for the money since she left the school in 2009, prompting Harbor Charter officials to say she forfeited the pay by resigning, documents show.

    School officials yesterday denied any wrongdoing but declined to comment on any of the claims Johnson made.

    “We are confident that the policies of Harbor Science and Arts Charter School are clear and were appropriately followed,” said Principal Joanne Hunt.

    In this case the teachers union are Helping them.
    Federal complaint: Filipino teachers held in ‘servitude’
    Posted 10/27/2009


    Jeff Klaus
    Feb 19, 2012 @ 12:52:37

    Allison, they are preventing that by defending a system which seems to be perfectly content with having poor children of color graduate from high school with 8th grade skills. THAT is an economic death sentence

    Hey Allison how about this death sentence for children of color who go to Charter Schools.What happen to Brown v. Board of Education.

    Choice Without Equity:
 Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards

    The charter school movement has been a major political success, but it has been a civil rights failure. As the country continues moving steadily toward greater segregation and inequality of education for students of color in schools with lower achievement and graduation rates, the rapid growth of charter schools has been expanding a sector that is even more segregated than the public schools. The Civil Rights Project has been issuing annual reports on the spread of segregation in public schools and its impact on educational opportunity for 14 years. We know that choice programs can either offer quality educational options with racially and economically diverse schooling to children who otherwise have few opportunities, or choice programs can actually increase stratification and inequality depending on how they are designed. The charter effort, which has largely ignored the segregation issue, has been justified by claims about superior educational performance, which simply are not sustained by the research. Though there are some remarkable and diverse charter schools, most are neither. The lessons of what is needed to make choice work have usually been ignored in charter school policy. Magnet schools are the striking example of and offer a great deal of experience in how to create educationally successful and integrated choice options.

    Read the rest.

  • Jeff Klaus

    Tom, your last president before cicarella at one point was actively trying to reduce work hours. You are on the record as being in favor of binding arbitration. And the state unions have lobbied vigorously against charter funding and easing certification requirements for charter teachers.

  • Allison

    That is simply not true. Any teacher, especially those, in inner cities, knows children of color are more than capable of very high achievement. They are also aware of the hindrances and interferences that come with urban schools (something ed reformers conveniently ignore). If traditional schools were allowed to siphon off the best, most willing students with caring parents and keep out disruptive students with apathetic parents, they would have done it years ago.

    The people screaming about the achievement gap were not ed reformers, but involved parents and community members – as well they should be. Today’s education reformers are merely exploiters who tell those parents that they’re victims. They’re victims because one locality has more educated and caring parents per capita, they’re victims because one locality chooses to pay more taxes and has more involved citizens making sure their towns/cities are managed correctly. It’s silly, but it’s obviously far more lucrative for the reform movement to perpetuate this anger rather than turning it inward and having parents focus on their kids, their kid’s schools, their local government and community.

    The ed reform movement is nothing than a blame game scam filled with people who have never taught in a classroom. Please don’t fall victim to them.

  • Paul Bogush

    If the legislators had to really do what kids/teachers do during the day they would sit in nice quiet rows and do the following…

    1-My blog post would be put in front of them because the teachers chooses the sources of information for them.
    2-After reading the title they would have to stop and brainstorm what they think the post is about
    3-After reading the first paragraph they would have to stop and make a self-to-text connection, or a text-to-world connection
    4-After reading a bit farther they would stop take notes to summarize the key points, some classes would be really creative and draw pictures to represent the main points
    5-After reading further they would be asked to stop and come up with three ideas on how the post would end
    6-After finishing they would create an alternative ending
    7-Then they would write a five paragraph persuasive ending convincing Malloy to enact their own ed-reforms…in this essay they will make up statistics, expert quotes, and examples from other schools to help persuade Malloy (I am not kidding, it is expected that they will make up stuff to support their argument).
    8-They will then peer edit the essays.
    9-Finally they will read sentences from the post with words missing and they will choose from a list to fill in the blank with the correct word (DRP).
    10-At some point they would have had to stop and define key words and study them for the vocab test.
    11-Almost forgot…they would also have to write in the journal reflecting on what they learned.

    Do you know anyone who would have any interest in having a real conversation of the topic after that? The above class produces kids who score high on standardized tests, but not kids who I would want creating the future. The above is what school looks like for a vast majority of kids, and we wonder why we have problems.

    • must remain anonymous

      You are so right! These people have no clue what goes on inside the classroom. They also don’t realize that after a long day, many teachers stay long after the kids leave, we then correct papers and develop/plan motivating lessons for the next day as well as spend alot of our own money for supplies, resources and student extras.
      I teach in an urban school district where most parents are univolved in their child’s life and we must teach manners, social skills and deal with consistent behavioral issues that reach far beyond what the public school should be responsible for!

  • Jeff Klaus

    3/5 – If racial integration is your primary goal then lets give charter schools the money necessary to increase seats and market to suburban kids.

    But why aren’t you and Jon Pelto concerned about the racial isolation in Madison or Simsbury? Why did the racial isolation argument only come up with respect to charters? You know there are schools in New Haven which have had no integration – ever. In fact, MOST schools in CT. are racially isolated. And yet you criticize the schools which happen to have less than 2% of the state’s school kids – and by the way deliver their kids to college?

    Allison, I WAS one of those community members. I grew up in New Haven an am a product of urban public schools. And as a young adult I returned to New Haven and for several years volunteered on the board of the Public Education Fund and other various public ed support organizations. We raised lots of money for the public schools. But over a decade I began to see that there was zero correlation between funding and gaining better outcomes for children.

    And when Amistad Academy was started by 40 community members, the vision that we had for closing the achievement gap in New Haven was viewed as naive. I remember a community meeting where some people openly said that “these kids” can’t learn. Now whether those comments were borne out of racism or a sincere belief that education could not overcome the impact of family poverty, it didn’t matter. The statements were insidious to the effort and it was demoralizing to discover that this under current belief was pervasive in this community.

    And when Amistad started to actually deliver on its promise by admitting hundreds of 5th and 6th graders who upon entrance were 2-3 years behind grade level, and then brought them up to grade level by 8th grade, the whisper campaign and the outright political attacks came fast and furious. This is when I saw that everything about public education is political.

    I was stunned that my public school community would turn against a model of schooling that was answer for so many children and parents who had nowhere else to turn.

    And Allison, to imply that the regular district hasn’t siphoned off kids and dumped them in schools like Polly McCabe, Urban Youth, Wilbur Cross Annex, ACES, and most of all into Adult Ed. is wrong. In fact today, Adult Ed is filled with students who were discarded from the traditional district. And ironically its now a charter school, Domus, which openly welcomes kids who are the most challenged and who are referred out by the district.

    So somehow I have turned from an active community member into an “exploiter”? Allison, you can’t know what motivates people. It’s best to simply look at their actions.

    And lastly there are plenty of reformers who are also some of the finest, most effective teachers I’ve ever met.

    • Sorry…will do this anonymously

      About 15(?) years ago when New Haven started making Magnet schools the system was altered to create “good schools” and “bad schools.” The magnet schools siphoned off kids and the schools that could not become magnets absorbed the rest. If you got kicked out of a school, moved in at the end of the year, or came out of detention you ended up at one of the non-magnet schools. It was amazing to watch kids with a parent at home slowly get their kids out of the “bad schools” and into the magnets.

      And Jeff, you have to realize that the kids that Amistad got that were 2-3 years behind were the cream of the crop. I know in my public school class at around the same time Amistad opened, if I was able to only teach the kids who were 2-3 years behind and get rid of everyone else, my class would have also seen dramatic increase in test scores.

  • Allison

    Everything you are saying was handled locally which makes sense. The problem is right now is that the state is expecting school systems that are doing well to follow the same model when it’s not necessary. Plus you forget to tell us how you are going to fund all schools the way Amistad is funded and how you will keep out kids who would bring down scores – by the way how is Amistad funded? All local, state, private?

    I disagree with your comparisons regarding ACES and the like. You’re talking about the removal of troubled students who have acted out and are comparing it to Amistad who has students whose parents CARE and will do whatever it takes to keep their children in the school. BTW, most school systems don’t have an alternative school or have to pay big money to send those students off so they tend to keep students in their system unless they have committed some serious infractions.

    I never said you were an exploiter – very victim like of you. I said the bulk of the reformers we are hearing about is and those reformers with good intentions are being mislead. Do you honestly think ConnCan is nothing more than a group of wannabe political lobbyists who are making a nice living preaching what teachers should be doing when they know little to nothing of what they are talking about? Ask yourself why Michelle Rhee thinks she knows everything about teaching yet couldn’t be bothered remaining in the classroom for more than two years.

    Like you, I am an active community member. But I see my local schools being effected by what reformers have gotten done…too much time spent prepping for tests, ignoring the needs of above average and average students, rubric after stupid rubric, etc. If you want to reform the schools so that kids are held accountable, teachers aren’t blamed for societal ills, schools get back to educating rather than feeding, clothing, and raising the students, the whole one size fits all mentality…then I’m with you. However, I have trouble believing ending teacher tenure is going to lift everyone out of poverty, relying on flyby teachers from TFA, and basically treating school employees like amateurs is the way to go.

  • Athena Wagner


    Mom To Plead Guilty In School Residency Case: 02/20/12

    THE McKinney-Vento Act: states that in a case of questionable residency, KEEP THE CHILD IN SCHOOL!

    ‎10-186 Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 10-186 prescribes a two level due process procedure addressing residency, among other things. If after a hearing held before the local board of education, a parent or guardian is aggrieved by that decision, said parent or guardian may appeal the decision to the State Department of Education which will conduct a hearing de novo. The State Department of Education shall hold a hearing and render a decision. The decision of the State Department of Education may be appealed to the Superior Court.
    If a board of education prevails at the hearing before the State Department of Education, the local or regional board may seek to recover the amount of assessment for tuition through available civil remedies.
    See Section 10-186(b) (4). Therefore, the board of education should not file criminal charges against the parent of the child due to the fact that the due process procedure provides a civil remedy enabling it to recover the assessment for tuition.

    In 1994, Congress amended the Education of the Homeless Children and Youth program and the
    Surplus Property Program. The amendments to the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
    program provided local educational authorities with greater flexibility in the use of funds;
    specified the rights of homeless preschoolers to a free and appropriate public preschool education;
    gave parents of homeless children and youth a voice regarding their children’s school placement;
    and required educational authorities to coordinate with housing authorities. The 1994 amendments
    also removed military bases closed under base-closure laws from the McKinney Act process and
    created a new process under which service providers could apply to Local Redevelopment
    Agencies to use property at closed bases to assist homeless persons.

    March 22, 2010……Supreme Court: Students Guaranteed Adequate Education

  • Athena Wagner

    Now if we can get CEA and NEA to collaborate in moving forward with this key component of education reform:​uploadedFiles/Newsroom/​AFT-AASA-Framework-AppA-042​31.pdf

  • Athena Wagner
  • Athena Wagner

    Here is yet another case where PARENTS need help, need a voice!
    ‎01/09/2012 Conference call:​2012/01/09/​annette-callahan-and-the-im​portance-of-ending-zip-cod​e-education/

  • Brian W.

    Teachers have been talking for generations about students who aren’t performing well in school, students who disrupt classes after being dragged to school by “attendance officers.” Teachers have been BEGGING society to recognize that without the backing and support of parents in the home, children are less likely to benefit from the skills and hard work of teachers. Great teachers are being judged and they are being demoralized by a right wing agenda that has well intentioned parents aligning with a group whose agenda is NOT in the best interests of those parents’ children. Behind the “reform” movement is the goal of money, profit, ego, political power.

    EVERY school administrator in your state has the power and the tools to weed out teachers who can’t or won’t be trained to perform as effective teachers. If that is not happening, if there is a single ineffective teaching working in CT schools, it is the fault of a school administrator; instead “reform” groups seek to demonize the entire profession, to take away the protections and influence teachers have worked long and hard to achieve.

    The teachers’ unions have been the first line of offense in fighting for the progress in schools which states such as yours have enjoyed. CT schools are serving many students VERY well. We have to look at, acknowledge then remedy what the failing students have in common. Hint: The problem isn’t parents who fight for great schools and teachers, and it is not CT teachers who are among the most highly trained in the world, and the problem won’t be solved by people like Michele Rhee who admits she was a failure as a teacher (taping students’ mouth shut?!? (Is THAT the kind of educator” you want on your side, Parents?)

  • Athena Wagner

    I don’t believe that ANYONE wants to go after the good/great teachers…There are many, good/great schools in Connecticut……However, there were 200 FAILING public schools in Connecticut as well……There are some teachers that simply can’t TEACH for various reasons…….Just as we have many good/great PARENTS, we also have many parents that simply can’t/don’t parent for various reasons……EITHER WAY, it’s the child that suffers:

    Connecticut Schools Report Cards:​reportcards
    Success Story Schools:​success

    The goal here should be that ALL students receive the BEST quality education possible no matter rich or poor, black or white, urban or suburban, etc……ALL of them deserve the best.
    It’s also not as easy as some may think to get rid of/weed out the not so good teachers…..Political nepotism runs rampid in the education department…..Here’s just one example of many:

    No arrest, no criminal charges filed, allowed to resign with a 1 sentence letter and receive her pension:​articles/2011/08/22/news/​local/579680.txt
    Hopeville principal under more fire

    ……I’ve also been a union member for over 25 years, a union steward and a union vice president (negotiating contracts)…….So, although I’m certainly NOT against unions, I definitely know well how they/we work to protect the “JOBS” of adults, whether a good employee or not.

    Whether a school [district] receives 9k per student, per year or 16k per student , per year, to have these young people graduate (if they make it that far) and NOT be able to read, write, do math, science, tell time from a numerical clock (only know digital), sign their name in cursive (no more penmanship taught in most schools)…..AFTER 12 YEARS OF SCHOOLING, are unemployable, not college ready and can’t even pass a military entrance exam………EVERY TAX PAYER SHOULD BE OUTRAGED AT THIS FISCAL WASTE!!!
    The system as is IS broken……throwing more money into a broken system doesn’t help…….I liken that to a car that’s been totaled and throwing more money into it for patchwork repairs instead of getting a new, reliable car.

    LAWS MANDATE that parents send their children to school for an education, But for those that can’t afford to send their children to the best of schools, they are then forced to send their children to a FAILING public school…..That’s just WRONG!…….You wouldn’t take your child to a doctor for medical treatment if you knew that that doctor wasn’t at the very least a good one……You would at least have a CHOICE to choose another doctor.

    A failed education system—> a failed workforce—-> a failed economy on a local, national and global level.
    THINGS HAVE TO CHANGE…..Our children are depending on ALL of us…….What changes and how they change remains to be seen.

  • Brian W.

    The solution is to support all public schools, call upon school administrators to do their job (they do have the means to identify, retrain and failing those actions, to fire bad teachers) and wake parents up to the fact that when parents are fully engaged, their children and the children of others will benefit from effective teaching. There is no teacher who can overcome the myriad of deficits too many kids carry to school. But teachers are called upon to educate ALL students, and students with highly engaged parents ARE currently successful. During these discussions it is easy to overlook the fact that most students and most public schools are successful. with most students.

    By what measure are you pegging 200 CT public schools “failures”?

  • Pingback: When Teachers Union Tactics Take on Parent Power | Dropout Nation: Coverage of the Reform of American Public Education Edited by RiShawn Biddle()

  • Athena Wagner

    Check your “stats” data ( SDE, State Education Committee, ConnCan, etc)
    The information and numbers are there!
    Please STOP the tired “BLAME GAME”…….It takes a village…..ALL are at fault in one way or another for a FAILED education system and ALL need to make some radical changes for the LIVES of our children.

  • Allison

    Plenty of villages are getting it done so I don’t see how they can be blamed for a failed education system. If a village is failing, then look inward and make some changes.

  • Athena Wagner

    Thousands of Kids still can’t read!!!

    @ Allison: Really? Then why are those NOT getting it done still extremely reluctant to replicate ” WHAT’S WORKING ” ? How much more inward do you want to go?

  • Allison

    Because you’re still going to leave a ton of kids behind. From my experience in inner city schools, you could do a lot by working with parents of failing kids…even long before the kids reach school. How hard is it to have reading material in the house? How hard is it to read to your kid every night?

  • Andrea

    Funny how this rally is all happening while actual educators will be busy administering the Connecticut Mastery Tests to our students. Coincidence? Or proposals planned that way? After attending tonights discussion with Gov. Malloy in New Haven I thought frm where I sat his job of reading some prewritten speech looked pretty easy just as he thinks my job is! I invite ANYONE of the governor and ANYONE of his supporters to do what I fo for my students on a daily basis! The preparation we received is the same that the teacher in Greenwich receives! Seriously! Is that where the governor really wants to place all the blame?! My classroom is OPEN! COME ON IN! I invite you to show us how to do it better!

  • Kathy

    Rhee is directly connected to ALEC; Biddle is conservative; the “liberally” named Connecticut Parents Union is anything but. “Education reform” is code for No Public School Left Open.