Dan Malloy and The National Forces Pushing for Education Reform

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/

  • Guest

    What Mr. Biddle doesn’t realise is that Mr. Malloy will not be re-elected. There will be no primaries.

  • guest

    What is truly disturbing is how open they are becoming about manipulating the democratic process.

    “Malloy should then work with reformers on running candidates to primary the legislature’s education committee co-chairs.

    I mean, why doesn’t he just say “Let’s buy our way into key political positions so that we can get what we want, come Hell or high water.”

    Sometimes I wonder whether some  really feel that they’re doing what’s best for our kids. Whether, despite the fact that the Teach for America founder and her hubby are pulling in more than $600K IN SALARY ALONE (never mind speaking engagements, favors, etc.)–it’s really all about the kids for some of them. Or maybe they’ve somehow justified it in their minds–something along the lines of “We’re revolutionizing public education and will help millions of children”–so somehow putting milliions into their own pockets is only fair. Is it possible that Malloy really believes that he’s doing what’s best for our kids? I guess I need to hold out hope, because the alternative is too terrible to consider.

    • guest

      Now I know why Wendy Kopp is an optimist!  $$600K is a lot of sunshine.
      Of course it’s for the kids, those wonderful little cash cows.

      • guest

        Cash cows–I had to laugh, even though it’s the terrible truth.

    • Guest

      Check this out:

      Ed reformers liven up their websites with photographs of happy-looking school children, many of them minorities: the kids are busy at work or smiling into the camera. Meanwhile, their self-appointed benefactors ally with politicians who are slashing school budgets, cutting social services and benefits, gutting jobs programs, undercutting health-care reform, pummeling public sector unions, and passing laws that make it harder for the children’s parents to vote. The disconnect between what ed reformers claim to be doing for low-income children and what they actually bring about boggles the mind.

      The poster child for this moral disconnect is former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor and ed reform celebrity Michelle Rhee. Rhee resigned her D.C. post in October 2010 after her boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty, failed in his reelection bid. Within weeks, Rhee had set up a 501(c)4 advocacy organization called StudentsFirst; she announced a five-year fundraising goal of $1 billion. Rhee explained the purpose of her project this way (Daily Beast/Newsweek, December 6, 2010):

    • Guest


      Meant to add link for Dissent Magazine

      • Follow the Money

        Just read it and forwarded to a friend. It’s got many of the points that Jon and other here have been saying all along. It was refreshing (and terrifying) to read all of it in a cohesive article that connects all the dots. Thanks for the link.

  • LutherW

    Timely. Yesterday the GAE heard how big money entered races for the NC legislature and how that might be stopped. The primaried Republicans to replace them with Tea Partiers. The Dems stood by thinking it was an intraparty fight. Now they are going after the Dems.

    At least getting full, quick disclosure is something the Legislature should be working on if they want to keep their jobs. Also canning half baked, business rewarding, democracy destroying ideas like S.B. 24!

  • The republican members have also taken a good look at the Bill and have seen how it will not help children–and have stood up for public education—Lets not forget them—-as we move forward –Tom 

    • Guest

      Yes, I agree, except for McKinney.

    • guest

      Maybe I’m missing something, but the only things I heard from the Republicans were complaints about how they were not “invited to the table,” and then denunciations about how the bill had been gutted.

      • guest1

        I know for a fact that Senator Len Suzio has been very vocal about the problems with the first version of the bill.

      • Follow the Money

         True, they did complain about that. Maybe they realize now how the teachers feel. In all of this, teachers weren’t invited in to the discussions as this bill was being crafted. Not even an “advisory” role, whatever that means. It wasn’t being crafted WITH teachers, it was being done TO teachers. And the governor can’t seem to understand that because of it, a lot of teachers are pissed off, not because their union told them to be, but they were smart enough to figure it out.

  • CT__Dad

    Not to worry, Jon.  West Hartford would never replace Rep. Fleischmann with the sort of Bereavement First, Inc. profiteer that Biddle is blabbering about.

  • Guest

     Perhaps the Democratic party needs to primary Malloy? Ned Lamont for Governor?

  • guest

    Well, Malloy will accept no compromises–he wants evals back in the bill, and a lot of other nasty provisions.  Plus, he wants to make Steven Adamowski Master of the Universe.  See today’s dismal Hartford Courant.

  • Follow the Money

    ” But political leaders don’t deserve allegiance if they don’t do the right thing by their constituents…right now,”

    So apparently, teachers are not constituents by this logic. And it’s OK to listen to the outside special interests because they are constituents? Or is it OK to listen to the constituents as long as they are not teachers?

    I guess I am just confused…or bamboozled.

  • CtVeteran


    Education is another way to make more money. Public education is a threat to national security?