Achievement First/ConnCAN, Charter Schools, Democratic Legislators, Education Reform, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Wyman Achievement First, Charter Schools, ConnCAN, Education Reform, Malloy, Stefan Pryor 15 Comments
National “Education Reform” Leader instructs Malloy that if he can’t get SB24 back to its original language he should;
“…just veto S.B. 24. Period. It’s not worth signing. Malloy should then work with reformers on running candidates to primary the legislature’s education committee co-chairs.” – RiShawn Biddle 3/27/12
As much as Dan Malloy would like to claim that Senate Bill 24 is simply about education policy in Connecticut, the truth is that it is part of a much broader effort to undermine public education in the United States.
Whether he is leading or simply joining this national effort remains unanswered but the stark reality of the path he is trying to take us down became all the more apparent as more of the “national players” weighed in.
Take for example today’s post by RiShawn Riddle, the editor of the “Education Reform” Blog, “Dropout Nation.”
Biddle authored a piece entitled “Dan Malloy’s Moment of Truth.” (see link below)
You might recognize the name RiShawn Biddle. On February 16th I wrote about him in conjunction with Governor Malloy’s decision to attend the Capitol Rally at which Michelle Rhee was also scheduled to speak. (Malloy backed out the following day). Wait, What 2-16-12
At the time I noted that RiShawn Biddle, the consultant to the group hosting the rally, had only weeks before been the keynote speaker at the Minnesota Tea Party’s “Excellence in Education” Forum.” In addition, Biddle was “a regular contributor to The American Spectator, the right-wing magazine that played a leading role in the efforts to impeach President Clinton.”
Now RiShawn Biddle has spoken out on behalf of Dan Malloy’s proposals and against the Legislature’s efforts to bring some sanity to Malloy’s plan.
Biddle writes “Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy has talked a good game about undertaking systemic reform — and for the most part, he’s walked it too. From appointing reform advocate Stefan Pryor as his education superintendent, to succinctly summing up the problems with tenure and other aspects of traditional teacher compensation…Malloy has made Connecticut one of Dropout Nation‘s Five States to Watch on the school reform front.”
Biddle goes on to applaud Senate Bill 24 saying that it would “end near-lifetime employment, require the use of student test performance data in evaluating teachers, allowing the results of evaluations to be used in awarding tenure and dismissing laggard teachers, and provide charter school operators with funding equivalent to traditional district counterparts.”
And then he shifts his focus to those that stand in Malloy’s way saying “But now, the co-chairs of Connecticut’s joint education committee –after meeting behind closed doors with NEA and AFT bosses…have essentially eviscerated Malloy’s plan.”
Biddle opines that if Malloy doesn’t get the bill back to its original form he “should just veto S.B. 24. Period. It’s not worth signing. Malloy should then work with reformers on running candidates to primary the legislature’s education committee co-chairs. Some would call it hardball. It is. But political leaders don’t deserve allegiance if they don’t do the right thing by their constituents…right now, Malloy has an opportunity to win the long-term war for reforming public education in the Nutmeg State. It is time to take advantage of it.”
Connecticut has become one of the most important battle grounds in the national “Education Reform” movement.
And make no mistake – it is a “movement” – with people like Michelle Rhee leading the charge and hundreds of millions of dollars being pumped into the national effort.
Over the last three years, The Walton Family Foundation (funded by the Wal-Mart family) has poured $450 million into efforts to change education policy and develop charter schools in this country. They are very open about their “Investment Strategy.” Their goal is to promote charter schools, private school choice and education reforms. As they put it, “the need to continue improving the public policy environment is central to our education reform strategy.
To that end, the Walton Foundation has donated $1.3 million to the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now Inc. (ConnCAN) and $2.6 million to 50CAN to fund their advocacy efforts. The Gates Foundation, another major player in the “education reform” battle, has donated another $2.4 million to 50CAN and close to a million to Achievement First, the charter school management company.
Enhancing the quality of our education is the single greatest priority facing our society but the proposals being put forward by these people will take us in exactly the wrong direction and, for whatever reason, Dan Malloy has decided to side with those forces and continue to push their agenda.
There is one point I agree with RiShawn Biddle about. The only thing protecting our public schools are the Democratic members of the Connecticut General Assembly. Let’s hope they have the courage and conviction to support our children and protect our public schools.
Read RiShawn Biddle’s commentary piece here: http://dropoutnation.net/2012/03/27/dan-malloys-moment-of-truth/