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.