Wait, What? readers will recall Governor Malloy’s original “Education Reform” proposal which created the “Commissioner’s Network,” a system in which Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, would be given the authority to take over a series of local schools, remove the existing staff, ban collective bargaining and turn the schools over to some third-party who would then be exempt from the state’s laws requiring competitive bidding and limiting the use of consultants.
A modified version of his proposal passed the Legislature and is now being implemented.
For example, Pryor is taking control of the Milner School in Hartford and handing it over to the Jumoke Charter School company. Commissioner Pryor is taking this action despite the fact that Jumoke has NO EXPERIENCE working with non-English speaking students and yet more than 40% of the Milner School’s students are not fluent in English or go home to households in which English is not spoken.
New York’s public radio station (WNYC) and public education expert and advocate Diane Ravitch are reporting the “education reform” plan coming out of Chris Christie, New Jersey’s right-wing governor. And it sounds pretty damn familiar.
See the NYC story at Documents Detail Christie Administration’s Plan for School Reform and Diane Ravitch’s post at Chris Christie’s Plan to Privatize NJ’s Low-Performing Schools.
Both articles come from information provided by The Education Law Center, New Jersey’s public education advocacy group.
The Education Law Center acquired a copy of Governor Christie’s plan.
It is almost as if Christie took Malloy’s plan and simply exchanged the word New Jersey for Connecticut and called it a day. (Or perhaps it was the other way around and Malloy took Christie’s plan.)
As WNYC reports, “The New Jersey Department of Education is moving forward with a reform plan…[that] calls for school closures, state operation of failing schools and elimination of union representation in schools…”
Like Malloy’s original plan, New Jersey’s plan proposes that “schools will be freed from the district’s collective bargaining agreement and the school’s operator will have control over personnel decisions.”
The Christie Plan also lays out a system in which “private contractors will take over failing schools.”
In addition, similar to what is going on in Bridgeport, New Jersey’s plan relies on “private funds” that will be used to implement portions of the law. In New Jersey’s case the money is coming from the Broad Foundation of California.
Low and behold, the similarities between Christie’s plan and what Malloy, Pryor and Paul Vallas are doing here in Connecticut don’t stop there.
Diane Ravitch writes “one of the news stories says that [New Jersey’s education commissioner] wants to use [Paul Vallas’] New Orleans “recovery school district” as a model for New Jersey.”
Ravitch rightfully asks whether these guys know that when Vallas was done with New Orleans, “79% of the charters in New Orleans were graded either D or F by the state, and that New Orleans’ school system was ranked 69th of 70 districts in the entire state.”
Meanwhile, in the small world department, Christie’s education commissioner, Chris Cref and the Broad Foundation – the very ones leading Governor Christie’s efforts worked directly with Malloy’s Stefan Pryor when Pryor was working in Newark.
After reading about what is going on in New Jersey, I know I’m repeating myself, but it is worth saying again.
Governor Malloy introduced the most anti-public education, anti-teacher, anti-union “education reform” bill of any Democratic governor in the nation. Malloy’s bill was far more in line with the worst proposals coming out of the corporate privatization movement.
Thankfully, the Democrats in the Legislature watered down some of the worst provisions of Malloy’s bill, but the law is still moving Connecticut in the wrong direction.