Malloy Administration has “change of plans” – “Public” Meetings will be Public.

37 Comments

The CT Mirror is reporting that “after holding numerous meetings behind closed doors to finalize details on how teachers and principals will be graded, the State Department of Education has said the public and the media can attend the sessions from now on.”

The Performance Evaluation Advisory Council, charged with the task of developing a new evaluation system for Connecticut educators were scheduled to have their first meeting in three months on Monday, but  the meeting was cancelled and “closed ‘working group’ meetings scheduled instead.”

However, that decision was reversed today, with Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s spokesman saying “We have decided that inviting the media to these working group sessions is the right thing to do. We are hopeful and confident that these sessions can proceed with the candor necessary for participants to advance this critical process.”

So let’s hear it for the Malloy Administration who have decided that “inviting the media to these working group sessions is the right thing to do,” not to mention it is the law!

Meanwhile, those interested in the “underlying issue” should read the rest of the CT Mirror article at http://ctmirror.com/story/16438/change-plans-meetings-creating-teacher-evaluations-will-be-public .

It looks like the best quote goes to the representative of the Connecticut Association of Superintendents who apparently addressed one of the teachers on the panel by saying “You’re concerned about monstrous administrators, and we’re concerned about ineffective teachers.”

Apparently the concerns of parents and students didn’t warrant any discussion.

The whole mess is a reminder that if these “education reformers” aren’t stopped soon, they’ll end up destroying Connecticut’s education system and it will be our children that will pay the price, while these people cash their consulting and lobbying checks.

  • Linda174

    What is also sickening about statement by Calchera (rep from super association) is evidently he can only focus on ineffective teachers.

    Apparently, coming up with a system to evaluate and remove ineffective adminstrators (superintendents, principals, vice principals, curriculum specialists, literacy coaches, special masters, etc) is not something he can focus on.

    You know, the ineffective, incompetent, monstrous adminstrator who granted tenure to the ineffective teacher. Really, Mr. Calchera, you can’t multi-task and concentrate on both?

    You really do have your hands full in you focus on the buffoons in your own circle.

    • Brutus2011

      The hubris of administrators knows no bounds unless of course counts the financial incentive.

      And yes, there are some ineffective teachers and some montrous administrators.

      However, the percentage of ineffective to effective teachers is far better that the percentage of ineffective to effective administrators.

      Why? Because there are far more teachers and the effect a bad admin has on the school(s) is much more far reaching than a teacher.

      Finally, who is the boss? Who makes the executive salary and pension perks? Who has the power and influence? Who has the authority to make and implement policy?

      Is it the teacher? Or is it the administrators(s)?

      Where does the buck stop?

      According to the administrators, it is the teacher’s fault, or the ineffective teacher’s fault?

      Only in the bizzaro-world of public education in Ct. today.

      • jonpelto

        I’m pushing for ridding ourselves of the ineffective elected officials!
        Mastery Tests for them all – ban on seeking re-election below the 50th percentile, immediate removal from office for those below 33rd percentile. Let the testing begin!

        • Linda174

          They are all lawyers; they will find someone to classify them LD or ADD.

          Then they get extended time, a reader and snack breaks. 

          They will also lower the percentage correct required to meet proficiency and pass with flying colors.

          The high standards and scrutiny doesn’t apply to anyone who does not teach children and who earns well over $100,000 a year. They are protected because they are the REFORMERS!  Get with the program, Jon!

          • jonpelto

            Oops – sorry

      • Linda174

        Yes and pretty soon our minute by minute teaching will be scripted so all creativity and professionalism is drained from us shredding what little dignitiy we have left.

        And when these new “reform” plans do not work and we have complied with whatever foolish new fad they mandate, the standard setters ( these know-it-all administrators) should be the ones judged as the failures.

        It is only a matter of time when the creative, intelligent, caring teachers leave and we are slowly replaced by Stepford test prep drones or temporary TFAers.

  • CONconn

    BEST PRYOR STORY OF “REFORM ’12″:

    In New Haven, after a long evening’s work of handing Dannel notes filled with talking points and inaccurate statements during the town hall meeting, Stefan Pryor exited through the front of the building to go to his car in the “reserved” parking lot (other spots were reserved for ConnCAN workers, so it would be easier for them to carry their crates of blue t-shirts into the building).On his way out, a group of teachers asked Stefan, “Commissioner Pryor, what is your philosophy of education?”

    Now, this question is given to every college student entering a teacher prep program. Every teacher job interview gets to this basic, general idea in one way or another. But when the commissioner of education was asked it, he became dumbfounded and nervous about having to interact with real life teachers (something he has never done before in his life), so he quickly powerwalked to his car as teachers continued to shout the question at him from a distance. He was so flustered that he exited the parking lot by driving the wrong way on a one way lane. Anything to avoid having to reveal his philosophy of education… or the fact that he doesn’t have one. 

    • Linda174

      You have got to be kidding me…..really? How did he manage the interview for the job?

      You really can’t even make this stuff up anymore. How embarrassing for our profession. I am ashamed to say I am a CT teacher. Just what we need….one more adminstrative buffoon.

      • Guest

         Linda, Never, and I mean never be ashamed of being a CT teacher! Just because Pryor is a horses behind does not mean you have to be embarrassed to be an educator.

      • sharewhut

         Interview for the job????
        No,No,No!!!!
        A voice whispered in an ear…”Dannelllll,…Stefannnn’sss the oooone….”
        “Stephen who, why?”
        “You don’t need to knowwww, we’ve vetted him for youuuu,just put the name in. And remember, it’s Stefan, Daniel!. Just make sure it’s spelled right on the Department chekbook”

        • Msavage51

          Oh my….what a frightening thought. And, sadly, probably very close to the way it actually went down.

  • guest

    Sorry, but did I just see Elizabeth Shaw, of “Education First”?  This Elizabeeth Shaw:
    http://www.education-first.com/who-we-are/elizabeth-shaw
    AND this one (pardon my french, it’s not my blog)
    http://gbitchspot.com/gbitchspot/?p=1296

    Sounds dreadful.  Why do we need her?

    • jonpelto

      Great find – certainly worth some attention.  Education First, we’ll recall was one of the firms that Pryor instructed SERC to hire – no competitive bid process needed.  I vaguely recall a whole gubernatorial impeachment based on directing state contracts to friends and colleagues. 

  • CT Dad

    It’s called “Pelto Power.”

  • guest

    Sorry if I am repeating a comment; this one seems to have gotten lost.
    One of Education First’s clients is the Thomas Fordham foundation, which once funded Steven Adamowski for a faux, non-peer-reviewed report on Principals and the Autonomy gap (these people love gaps).  The Autonomy gap means that principals cannot fire teachers because of unions, although according to Adamowski’s small sample, charter school principals felt they had lots of autonomy.  Fordham’s group also funds the National Council on Teacher Quality, on whose board Adamowski sits.  Adamowski hired the NCTQ to evaluate teacher quality in Hartford in 2008 or 2009, without revealing his connection to the group.  The results justified Adamowski’s decision to lay off numerous big bad teachers and hire TFA corps members, like Elizabeth Shaw once was…
    Wow!  This is like connect the dots!  Checking out Fordham’s “state advocates”, we find ConnCAN!  http://www.pie-network.org/web/guest/the-network, and then, looking back at TFA, we see that they all really have school reform at heart:
      http://www.greatschoolsforamerica.org/gsa-wp/tag/leadership-for-education-equity/

  • sharewhut

    All this ‘openness’ tells me is that the deed has been done…details of which will never see the light of day by appearing in any of the future public meetings. That is never to be seen until after implementation has commenced.
    “Hey, we had open meetings! Nobody brought it up, so we figured it wasn’t that big a deal to anyone!”
    or
    “It’s standard boilerplate language that was written in after the hearings. It was always really there even if it wasn’t there, or even mentioned, to see until after the plan was agreed upon…”

  • Brutus2011

    Has anyone considered the role the teacher’s unions (Stamford Teacher’s Union, New Haven Teacher’s Union, etc., play in this whole reform movement?

    What is my point?

    Does it strike anyone as strange that no teacher’s union is openly challenging the demonization of teachers?

    Does it also strike anyone as strange that no teacher’s union is advancing forth innovative reforms with teachers as the driving force–such as teachers leading the curriculum in individual schools?

    What I see is everyone (including the union leadership) who makes 100K+ salaries scrambling to keep their jobs and to keep the public focus on teacher effectiveness while avoiding accountability for executive failure.

    And, we teachers are allowing these charlatans to characterize us as the fall-guys.

    So, ultimately, it is our lack of courage and our inaction that has led us to the brink of slaughter.

    • sharewhut

       Strange? Nope.
      Refer to State Employee union “leadershit” last summer.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4IUD4D2BEZMBUKPABNJJAY5CZU Thomas B

    Brutus–I thought you worked in New Haven–guess not——Our whole reform movement is based on teacher voice and teacher choice—the teachers in all buildings have the right and onus to step up and get involved in the decisions regarding their schools–not just to listen to top down mandates anymore—-
    If you didnt know this and you actually work in New Haven Schools, then give me a call so I can help make it happen at your school–as the VP of the Union in New Haven, I am concerned that you are unaware of our initiatives–things are changing for the better—-
    And by the way–I know you read my blogs on many sites—and at every step I fight against the demonization of teachers—the corporate takeover of public education –and any bad ideas foisted upon us—-
    Those of us on the ground floor–teaching and working with the kids MUST be the decision makers—and that is what I and our union fight to make happen everyday—-
    Teachers in New Haven have participated in large numbers in making real reform in New Haven happen—the leadership didnt do this—our membership did—where were you and where are you now—
    Come join us–Im sure you have a lot to offer–you certainly are right when you say all the money given to education never gets down to the teachers and kids–much of it is wasted on bureaucracy——but you wont join us will you–yet you speak of courage——The NHFT (thats all of our members) not just our leaders will be the ones who turn around the misguided national movement to privatize schools—we have already begun—-Be courageous and join us—Tom Burns

    • AM

      Has anyone suggested knocking off the entire magnet process and getting back to neighborhood schools so parents don’t have to endure the nightmare of kids in different schools systems, kids being bussed across the city, kids having a place to go to school, etc?  

      I wish the teacher in New Have that I know were as positive about this as you are.  BTW, why are we modeling a system that is constantly “reforming”?  Why not model a Darien or Westport and see what they are teaching?

      • sharewhut

         Got a chuckle reading this after reading Linda’s ‘Stepford Drones’ comment below…was going to reply warning Darien, Westport, Wilton, etc. teachers to not drink the water!
        Perhaps it’s too late?

      • guest

        Yes!  I hate all the emphasis on competition embedded in the test culture and ratings systems.  Just teach!  Just let children learn!  All public schools should be created equal!

    • guest

      These points sound promising, but I am not all that sure it is as rosy in New Haven as you suggest, Thomas B.  I realize that the teachers and union can only have so much say in the “non-profit” charter schools, but I do think that this aspect of New Haven’s system is detrimental to the whole cause of universal public education.  TFA is another huge negative which proponents of education should be fighting–if you have TFA in New Haven public schools, you should be more vigilant in observing them and in preventing the TFA spin about how they are comparable, no worse, or better than traditionally trained teachers.
      I am also very suspicious of the support of De Stefano for Malloy’s “original” ed reform bill, which seems to be pretty much what he got in the end.  If you can enlighten me ThB, please do.

    • Brutus2011

      I have taught in a NHPS school with you. I have spoken many times with you.  You have always been gracious and have even praised my professionalism. You and the NHFT President are pleasant people.

      However, you and the NHFT leadership are beholden to the mayor-superintendent-BOE cartel. You only do, and say, what will not alienate you from the education managers.

      In effect, you have no power to truly represent your teachers.

      Your post is smoke, pure and simple.

      How?

      Although I now am in a different school district, I still am part of the New Haven community and keep in touch with some of my former NHPS colleagues.

      They are afraid of losing their jobs by speaking up as you suggest.

      In fact, one NHPS was recently threatened by a NHPS administrator about something she posted on facebook.com.

      So, I am sorry “Thomas B,” I cannot join you because the NHFT leadership is not what it purports to be.

      • guest

        Well, this is what I feared.
        I now hesitate when I see “choice” brought up–like many truly progressive ideas, it has been hijacked by conservatives and worse…

        • Msavage51

          I’m not following you. Would you elaborate, please?

          • guest

            School choice, parent choice–these are two usages that are code for vouchers, charters, and other privatizing schemes.
            Choice in schooling could be meaningful if every school had quality resources and good class sizes, but, as we see even with magnet schools, some get more money and support than other schools in the district.
            Adamowski is all about “choice”, and it basically means charter schools are coming to town.  Just as George Bush the younger once declared that he was the “decider”, Adamowski shall henceforth be dubbed the “chooser” (he does make all the meaningful decisions, even regarding bathroom breaks, or so I’ve heard).

  • guest

    Chiefs for Change–just another ed reform movement–check out their goals and such–it looks like they have written CT’s ed reform (well, they were founded by Jeb Bush, Geo Bush’s brother).  It also says, “More states coming soon”!!!  I see where Adamowski  and Cirasuolo get their agendas from:

    http://www.excelined.org/Pages/Excellence_in_Action/Chiefs_for_Change.aspx
    I found this by following the Diane Ravitch link on the National Council on Teacher Quality and all thse interconnected reform groups–TFA, Education First, NCTQ, Students First, the Thomas Fordham foundation…. Just fill in your favorite privatizing, anti-teacher, anti-child group here.

  • Msavage51

    We all knew Facebook’s IPO was going to be a big insider deal, right? Is it any wonder that the education “reformers” have the mentality that they do when this type of crap is sanctioned–heralded, actually– by a large portion of our society?
    http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/279-82/11583-the-facebook-ipo-clusterfk

    Our “reformers” are just following the same game plan, only on a smaller scale. “Get as much money for yourself as you possible can, screw the consequences for the rest of society.”

  • guest

    Well, Thomas B., we may soon see more of New Haven, along with Arne Duncan:
    http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/race_to_the_top1/

  • http://profiles.google.com/daveandcori David Andrade

    What’s funny is how most people aren’t holding the administrators responsible for any “ineffective” teachers. It’s their job to counsel, and if need be, get rid of these so-called ineffective teachers. The problem seems to be too many ineffective administrators and leaders, not the teachers. 

    The military doesn’t go after the soldiers when a battle plan fails. They go after the generals that planned it. Education should be the same way. Stop blaming the teachers for bad administrators and very bad policies, created by politicians. Where’s the accountability for politicians!?

    • jonpelto

      That is such a good point! I definitely need to do a post on that very issue – thanks so much for that observataion

  • guest
    • jonpelto

      Thank you so much!

      • TMS

        Yes, well done and well deserved!

  • brutus2011

    Thanks Jon Pelto for your journalism. I hope enough people are listening.