“I’ll settle for teaching to the test, if it means raising scores” Dan Malloy 4/9/12

Last night, Governor Malloy made his understanding of public education clear – teaching to the test and handing over low performing schools to private entities is his solution to the problems facing Connecticut’s urban schools.

Speaking at the Milner Core Knowledge Academy (The Milner School in Hartford), Governor Malloy, once again, called for passage of his “Education Reform” plan and those who oppose his proposal – defenders of a status quo in which urban school systems have languished.

It’s either Malloy’s Way or “you are a defender of the status quo…”

Listening to a parent from Achievement First-Hartford, the Governor criticized the Milner School’s standardized test scores and said that his “Commissioner’s Network” would help low achieving schools like Milner.

In classic fashion Governor Malloy left out far more of the details than he included;

  Achievement First -Hartford Milner Core Knowledge
Free/Reduced Lunch 68% 95%+
Home Not English Speaking 5% 39%
Black 88% 54%
Hispanic 10% 43%
Attended Pre-School 84% 68%


The Governor knows that the two greatest predictors of lower CMT scores are language barriers and poverty.  But although he was quick to use those test scores to condemn the Milner School he failed to reveal the truth about the very real challenges facing the Milner School and other schools like it face.

The Milner School’s student body is 43% Hispanic and 39% go home to non-English speaking households.

Meanwhile, Achievement First- Hartford’s has a student body that is 10% Hispanic and only 5% go home to non-English speaking households.

Of course their test scores are going to be different.

The Milner School also has far poorer students, students who have had less pre-school experience and a much larger number of students who have special education needs.

But Malloy didn’t say a word about those issues either.

And when it came to his “Commissioner’s Network” schools and the offer of “more money” for schools like Milner he failed, yet again, to explain what would happen at his “Commissioner’s Network Schools”

Commissioner’s Network Schools:

Commissioner selected schools by July 15th of this year.

All staff (teachers and administrators) are fired

Collective bargaining is outlawed

The Commissioner turns the school over to a third-party to run

The new entity is exempt from the Connecticut laws concerning consultants, purchasing and bidding.

And the “new” money the school gets?

In Windham, where the state named Steven Adamowski as the “Special Master,” he is using half of the $1 million that is supposed to help the schools for his own salary, benefits, personal staff and expenses leaving only $500,000 (at best) for the “failings” schools.

Not once in this “education reform” debate has Governor Dan Malloy been honest about what his “Commissioner’s Network” proposal is really about.

Malloy doesn’t mention that the entire staff is fired or that collective bargaining is banned.

Malloy doesn’t mention that the school is turned over to a third-party or that the company getting the school is exempt from the state laws limiting consultants and ensuring open bidding.

And Malloy doesn’t mention that in the one existing, at least half of the new money is going to MORE administration and not to educational services.

And the only thing that can save Connecticut’s public schools from Malloy’s proposals are the Democratic members of the Connecticut General Assembly.

The Courant story can be found here: http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-hartford-malloy-0410-20120409,0,2734084.story

  • guest

    This is the second story in 7 days from the Courant detailing the calls of the same group of parents from a current or future charter school–that the legislature pass Malloy’s original version of the education reform bill.  One small group of parents (who admittedly have a very high stake in the education debate, because funds have traditionally been so unequally distributed in Connecticut)–yet they get much more air time than parents, teachers, and educators throughout the state.  Malloy’s lobbyists’ original bill will decimate public education in Connecticut.
    We need a real solution, not more greedy Adamowskis and Cirasuolos, Pryors and Snows, who just want to divert crucial public dollars to their own bank accounts, management firms, and not-earned pensions.
    And teaching to the test is not education.

  • Roger Conway (NMI)

    Malloy and his minions have become a swarm of truculent interlopers.  As you indicate, their only interest now is to be validated.  They have demonstrated a complete ignorance of what goes into the learning process and they couldn’t care less anyway. They think that education can be expedited the same way businesses can be expedited.  For an assessment of the latest business model consult any of the millions of people who are still out of work and ask them how the expeditious model is working out.

  • CT_Dad

    Counting votes before they hatch?

    >> Job posted by Achievement First – April 9, 2012

    Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven, CT,

    First, Dean of Students 2012-2013

    Achievement First, Dean of Students 2012-2013 Start Date:
    July 2012 Locations: Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven, CT About Achievement
    First: Achievement First is a non-profit charter school management organization
    which is creating a network of achievement-gap clo…


    Job posted by Achievement
    First – April 9, 2012

    Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven, CT,

    First, Principal in Residence 2012-2013

    Description Principal-in-Residence Start Date: July 2012
    Locations: Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven, CT About Achievement First
    Achievement First is a charter school management organization started in July
    2003 by the leaders of Amistad Academy, a high performing…


    >> Job posted by Achievement First – April 9, 2012

    Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford, CT,

    First, Academic Dean – 2012-2013

    Achievement First, Academic Dean – 2012-2013 Start Date:
    July 2012 Locations: New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford CT About Achievement
    First Achievement First is a charter school management organization started in
    July 2003 by the leaders of AmistadAcademy, a high pe…

  • am

    What do you know Millie Arcinegas is a guest blogger at ConnCan


    • jonpelto

      Isn’t that interesting – thanks for finding that. You get the investigator of the week award!
      must have been other plants too.

      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

  • Bronx Teacher

    Moron. All that needs to be said.

  • Msavage51

    Please consider signing up for one of these workshops. It’s all related to what is going on with “education reform” in CT.


  • jonpelto

    I just wish these people would take these damn tests and then go into a classroom and teach for a month or a week or even for a day.

    Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

  • Linda

    It is very scary to think someone who would openly admit to settling for teaching to the test is in a leadership position and his personal opinion will determine education policy for children in our state…..I don’t know if he even understands what he is saying.

    • JM

      We also call it ‘artificial elevation’. 

      I think Malloy has become a puppet.  Once this bill gets the boot, he’ll be thrown to the side.

  • LutherW

    How about a deal. Turn a school over to a business, same students. If the results increase by say 10% more meeting standards they get the same money as the school in receiving now. Less than 10% they get nothing. If results are 10% worse they have to pay the students the equivalent for the year they lost.  (I’m sure they would agree that as business experts, they could do it for at least 20% less cost). 

  • Mariposa464

    This Bridgeport school news item made the Miami Herald. Would it be because our educational poverty issues are crazy to get nation-wide attention from everybody (except our own Governor).

  • Magister

    Is the Governor unable to distinguish between education and test prep training, or does he simply not care? Do you know what would happen if everyone achieved hgh scores on a standardized test? The test would be considered weak or flawed in some way. High, rigorous standards by definition mean that not everyone will meet them. The excessive focus on test scores and standardization is appealing to those who do not think in a sophisticated way about education, but this MacDonaldization of education is terribly destructive.

  • jonpelto

    Best idea I’ve heard in weeks!

    Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

  • Im counting on those democrat and republican legislators to do the right thing – do not support this bill–even as amended–Tom Burns

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  • disgruntled

    I agree that our current educational system is not working.  Putting the blame on teachers isn’t the answer.  I work at a failing school.  I have seen all kinds of money poured into it from the state….and to no avail.  The teachers work tirelessly, but have no say when it comes to what and how they teach.  It all starts with the top.  Poor leadership all the way from the top!  We are discouraged when parents have no responsibility whatsoever in the education or parental duties of their own children.  And to think that we may be fired because our school is failing????  Maybe we should just ignore the curriculum guidelines our district is mandating since it is our jobs on the line!  Wouldn’t it be fulfilling once again to stop teaching to the test and to actually teach so that students will have authentic and meaningful learning experiences!!!

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