The Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, Inc (ConnCAN) and the other groups pushing Governor Malloy’s “Education Reform” bill continue to claim that a vital portion of the bill is the “Commissioner’s Network” in which Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education is given unprecedented powers to take over up to 25 schools, fire the staff, ban collective bargaining, turn the schools over to some unnamed third-party who will then be exempt from Connecticut’s laws limiting the use of consultants and the law requiring competitive bidding.
The Education Committee took out the most offensive portions of this program.
ConnCAN CEO Patrick Riccards was recently quoted as saying that teachers at Network Schools would not be fired because they could “re-apply” for their jobs at the “Network School” or that if they did not want to reapply or were not chosen, they would be placed elsewhere in their home districts.
The problem with the his rationalization is that his statement is simply untrue. This approach to the truth has become a perfect example of how the “Education Reformers” deal with facts. What isn’t clear is do they simply not understand what is in the “Education Reform” bill or are they knowingly lying about it?
One cannot demand that the bill’s language be returned to its original form without facing the ramifications of that move.
Not to bore people with legalese, but the following IS THE language that Governor Malloy introduced and the language that ConnCAN and the other groups are demanding be put back into the bill.
“(B) Any teacher or administrator assigned to a school prior to its designation as a commissioner’s network school (i) may apply for a position in such school after such school has been designated as a commissioner’s network school, and (ii) if electing not to apply for or if not selected for a position in the commissioner’s network school, shall be assigned or transferred to an available position at another school under the jurisdiction of the local or regional board of education for which such teacher or administrator is assigned…”
The operative language is “shall be assigned or transferred to an available position…”
Let’s say there are a total of 90 administrators and teachers in the targeted school. Assuming the school district had 10 openings elsewhere in the system then the language appears to require the town to transfer 10 of the 90 teachers leaving the remaining 80 employees without jobs.
The bill is so poorly written that it is possible that “Education Reformers” meant to write that all 90 administrators and teachers must be reassigned but this alternative would be equally problematic.
Assume, for the moment, that 90 administrators and teachers (including salary, benefits and related school expenses would cost a town in excess of about $9 million dollars).
Since the town must maintain all funding to the “network school” even though the local board of education will have no authority over that schools (maintaining local funding is another mandate of the bill), then reassigning the 90 employees will increase the local school budget by $9 million dollars.
Since town will not be receiving any additional funding from the state to cover that cost, local taxpayers will face an extraordinary increase in local property taxes and/or the level of education services to the towns remaining children will have to be dramatically cut back to make room for this new expenditure. (Even a big city would be unlikely to find enough cuts to cover that type of increase).
The fact is, the language in Malloy’s bill DOES NOT protect the teachers in the Network School and if the language was “corrected” to do what the “education reformers” claim that the bill does, the impact to local property taxes would be unimaginably high and politically impossible to achieve.
And yet, Riccards and the rest of them keep saying that the employees of the “Network School” would be completely protected.
Debating the merits of a bill (or negotiating the elements of a bill) becomes impossible when one side is either unable or unwilling to recognize that the truth is – in fact – the truth.
If you read Riccards’ quotes or, for that matter Governor Malloy’s quotes, it becomes immediately clear that they literally don’t understand their own bill or they are purposely lying about the bill’s impact in an effort to hide the truth from Connecticut’s residents.