Good Morning New London!
Please note that you have been taken over and a “Special Master” will be assigned to direct you from here on.
You can read the latest news in the CT Mirror, but the highlight is Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor who said “we are not waving a magic wand, but it is a reason for optimism.” (The entire article is here)
To appreciate what comes next, we suggest that you take a look at what Steven Adamowski has been doing as Governor Malloy’s “Special Master” for Windham’s School System.
According to the “education reform” bill that Governor Malloy signed into law, in addition to providing you with a “Master,” Commissioner Pryor will be allocating some additional funding to New London. Don’t tell anyone, but Windham got $1 million in extra funds when they were taken over.
Any funds that the state allocates will be used to pay for a “Special Master,” his or her staff and the array of consultants that are likely to show up in your community.
If there are any funds left, they can go toward helping the New London School System.
In Windham, “Special Master” Adamowski and his operation are using at least half of the new money, so you shouldn’t count on seeing too much new funding being used to educate the students of New London.
Assuming New London’s “Master” follows the usual process, the first step will be to “reconstitute” the central office.
As a warning, be aware that this means that a bunch of existing people will be laid off but new positions will be created and some of the work will be turned over to consultants.
In Windham, Adamowski kept the Superintendent, and added a Deputy Superintendent position, even though the town already had an Assistant Superintendent. It just goes to show you that you can’t have too many superintendents.
Like Windham, you may also see a new position created that is called “Communications Officer.” Apparently “education reformers” feel that a vital government function is having a professional spokesman for the senior school administrators.
Another new position that New London may see is called a “Special Administrative Manager (SAM).” In Windham, Adamowski has appointed a SAM to oversee the high school.
You will also probably be told that from now on your high school will be called an Academy and instead of a principal you will have a number of “Head Masters,” at least that is what Adamowski is doing in Windham. I guess Academies and Head Masters sound better than high schools and principals.
I realize that a huge number of your teachers have already been laid off, but expect that your “Master” will lay off more in order to save money. This is because a Master must show effectiveness and effectiveness is measured by how much you can cut the budget. However, you will probably be required to sign a contract with Teach for America. For a fee, they recruit, train and oversee young people who will be taking over the teaching duties in a number of your classrooms.
Also prepare for a new focus on your reading curriculum and program. Of the one million dollars that the state provided Windham, $250,000 was reserved for a new reading module. The cost t Windham for their new reading module is actually $750,000, so be prepared for more cuts or higher local taxes to pay for what the state will require you to institute.
You’re also likely to see an attempt to close at least one of your schools and have it re-opened as a charter school run by an outside charter school management company. You may want to do some research on Achievement First. Commissioner Pryor helped form that charter school company and served as one of the company’s Directors for the last eight years. They seem to be doing particularly well now that he is deciding where state funds are going.
In addition, any schools that aren’t turned over to a third parties are likely to be called “magnet schools.” It is true that they aren’t magnet schools in the true sense of the word, in that they don’t attract students from outside of the community, but, again, it sounds really good to have “magnet schools” in a community.
Finally, if you don’t have them already, you may also see your “Special Master” open your schools to the Junior ROTC. While no suburban school would actually include the ROTC as part of its curriculum, apparently the school reformers think it is appropriate to begin to direct urban, minority students toward a career in the military starting much earlier in life.
For more on the benefits of being taken over, do keep an eye on Steven Adamowski in Windham or check back here at Wait, What? on a regular basis.