Malloy can’t contain himself, uses speech to criticize lobbying effort by teachers and education unions…

As readers are aware, Governor Dannel Malloy traveled to Washington D.C. yesterday to speak to the right-wing, neoconservative American Enterprise Institute.  His speech was entitled, “School reform dos and don’ts: Lessons from Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy.”

As originally proposed, Malloy’s “education reform” initiative was the most anti-teacher, anti-union education reform legislation proposed by any Democratic governor in the nation.  Even after the proposal was modified by the Connecticut General Assembly is still held out as a prime example of the corporate education reform industry’s obsession with more standardized testing and inappropriate teacher evaluation programs that utilize standardized test results.

What as most noteworthy about the Malloy’s speech to the American Enterprise Institute was that while taking full credit for the legislation he tried to re-position himself for the 2014 gubernatorial election by praising teachers rather than playing his traditional role of criticizing and demeaning them.

As the CT Mirror reported yesterday, in his speech to the American Enterprise Institute, “the governor acknowledged that he could have been more delicate when introducing his proposals…’I’ve probably used the wrong language more than once. I know I have,’ he said, routinely pointing out how important teacher buy-in is to the success of the initiative.”

Apparently his remarks were supposed to appease teachers who might still be upset that in Malloy’s major education speech in 2012, he called for doing away with tenure while saying, “In today’s (public education) system, basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.”

Malloy infamously added, later that year, his observation that he didn’t mind teaching to the test as long as the test scores went up.”

But despite a carefully written script yesterday, Malloy’s real personality and opinions couldn’t stay hidden for long.

During the question and answer period following Malloy’s talk, Jennifer Alexander, the CEO of ConnCAN and co-founder of A Better Connecticut, the corporate education reform lobbying group, tossed Malloy a soft-ball question about the town meetings Malloy held around the state to promote his education reform initiative in 2012.

Readers will recall that A Better Connecticut, ConnCAN and other corporate education industry organizations have spent a record $6 million and counting lobbying in support of Malloy’s education reform initiative to date, including more than $2 million in television advertisements thanking Malloy for his “leadership.”

In response to a question from ConnCAN’s CEO, Malloy talked about how people were mad and how he stood up to the angry teachers and led the way forward for the General Assembly.

Malloy summarized the situation saying he was needed because “folks [were] spending a lot of money to try and defeat an organized effort at school reform….”

It was another great truly another great Dannel Malloy moment.

When teachers, parents and public school advocates came out to public meetings to speak out on behalf of public education, Malloy says that they were part of a group of “folks” who were “spending a lot of money to try and defeat” education reform.

But there he was – speaking at the ultra-right wing American Enterprise Institute and happily taking a question from the paid lobbyist whose organization has led the most expensive lobbying campaign in state history.

Tucked into the safety of a right-wing “think tank,” the Malloy we have come to know couldn’t resist the opportunity to attack teachers and their unions while accepting the accolades of the corporate education reform industry.

That said, not everyone who watched Malloy’s performance came away with the same reaction.

While you can read my take on the Malloy speech by reading the Wait, What? post entitled “Malloy tells right-wing American Enterprise Institute he is the “education governor”, you may also want to read what the Connecticut Education Association posted to their blog yesterday.

While both blogs report on Malloy’s speech at the American Enterprise Institute, the different interpretations of same event is rather extraordinary.

From the 12/2/2013 CEA Blog: Malloy on Teachers & School Reform

Governor Dannel P. Malloy told a national audience today that teacher concerns about the rapid pace of change in Connecticut public education are real, adding that “we’re going to get through it.”

The governor called teachers “good, hard-working people.” Malloy said, “I probably used the wrong language more than once. I know I have. It’s not because I don’t appreciate what teachers do.”

Malloy’s comments came in an interview this afternoon at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

Malloy talked about the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that are being implemented and new CCSS tests—so-called Smarter Balanced Assessments that could be linked to teacher evaluations down the road. According to Malloy, teachers are ready, but that doesn’t mean they are not scared. “Far better a carrot than a stick,” he said.

Apparently referring to Connecticut’s new teacher evaluation system, Malloy said “the vast majority of Connecticut teachers are doing a great job,” and they will be recognized for this. Malloy said he’s taken steps to make the magnitude of education reform easier on public schools. Connecticut school districts have flexibility on two fronts: administering just one test to students during this school year—the Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced Assessments or the CMT and CAPT—and giving local school districts the power to decide whether or not to include that test data in teachers’ evaluations.

Malloy took questions from an AEI audience, including one about the legislative battle over Connecticut school reform. Referring to his role, he made a number of comments, including that somebody had to be the leader, somebody had to bring the discussion to communities, and that somebody had to emphasize we needed to change direction in public education.

Malloy said “I had to fly in the face of traditional Democratic constituencies.” He added that reform cannot be accomplished top down. He called it a combination of leadership, getting buy-in, and staying at it year after year.

You can see Malloy’s performance at the American Enterprise Institute here:

  • M. Freeman

    It is absurd to think that CEA would ever think of endorsing/supporting a candidate for Governor who has done more harm to the teaching profession than all the Republican governors who came before him. Hopefully CEA will show leadership by telling the Gov. to take a hike.

    • Linda174

      Don’t bet on it. Was their post sent out before he spoke in DC? If so, how did they know what he would say? Maybe it’s all been crafted together.

      Use us, play us and then schmooze us.

      Doesn’t he refer to carrots and sticks? We are professionals, not mules.

      Don’t insult teachers while pretending to admire us.

      An endorsement by CEA is the kiss of death for rank and file members.

      Endorse policies that benefit children, not people.

  • jrp1900

    The dos and don’t of school reform? It’s easy. Do everything you can to advance the agenda of the privatizers. Don’t do anything that retards the agenda of the privatizers.

    Don’t pay heed to the teachers’ unions. Do flatter the teachers when you need their votes.

  • Jim Spellman

    CEA has a long history of selling out membership in return for favored status with movers and shakers ( Most infamous being complicit with the Revocation and Turn in demand of Lifetime Teacher Certifications in the 80’s – I still have mine Framed – It said “Lifetime” ! ) Just as there should be Term Limitation on elective office, so too should there be on Union Leadership Positions – a long time in and the line blurs or is eradicated between those in Government, those Lobbying, and those representing the workers. All become as one and you can bet your Democrat Ass or Republican Elephant it is not Average Joe/Joan Citizen.

  • AMSY

    Jennifer Alexander should be an interesting investigation. Given her lackluster personality I can only hope she’ll drive ConnCan into the ground. I sometimes think Alec Johnston knew exactly what he was doing getting out of the there before the full reform didn’t go through.

    • Guest

      Alex was pushed out because Diane Ravitch and and a New Haven high school teacher owned him in a community forum a few years ago.

      • AMSY

        Video please!!

      • Jeff Klaus

        Hysterical. Where do you people get your material?

        • Guest

          Banker, the new four letter word.

        • jonpelto

          Our material?

          We are simply reporting on the damage your corporate education reform industry has done.
          Putting aside the damage you’ve done to Connecticut’s public education system, you ans your colleagues have actually made the 1st Democratic governor in twenty years un-electable.
          All the money you’ve pumped into the political process can’t get malloy above 44-45% of the vote.
          Not to mention you’ve undermined both the reputation of achievement first and webster bank.


        • Linda174

          From an AF charter “graduate”.

        • Linda174

          Get in line, white shirt for you, slant, chant and finger snap PRONTO:

        • AMSY

          Hey Jeff,
          How do you and your wife sleep and night knowing what awful, disgusting people you are? Must be nice to either have no conscience or be able justify your piggish greed.

        • Disenchanted Educator

          Wonder if Ms AF and banker hubby are raising their children using their NO EXCUSES and humiliating disciplinary practices?

        • jonpelto

          Nah,,,, “no excuses” is only for “those people’s children”. Our above average, elite children deserve broad-based, whole child, holistic learning environments so they have the skills necessary to own, operate and lead in a complex 21st century world.

  • vpotus

    I just read the CEA blog post that seems to support the governor. Huh?

    This governor, along with his commissioner of education (a lawyer who has very little educational experience) are pro-business and anti-education. They don’t want to fix education. They wish to funnel public money to private corporations that are in the education business. Education should not be for profit. It makes me sick.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we had qualified people in charge who understand children as well as the purpose of education?

    My 7 year old daughter and my 9 year old son certainly don’t need to be “career and college ready” at this point in their lives. I want my children to like school and learning. I want my children to be curious and happy. I want my children to be good citizens. Isn’t that really the point of our public education?

    I don’t want my children worrying about a score on a test.

    I fear that this “reform” movement will push out a lot of great teachers who don’t wish to spend countless hours analyzing data. Endless test-prep will likely kill any love that children may have had for school. It is sad.

    We can all thank Walmart and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation for all of this garbage. How will this insanity end?

    Where is the union? I know that the current situation is better than what was coming down the pike, but it still pretty horrible. The union needs to fight. It is as if it just rolled over.

    Hello? CEA? Are you there?

  • ion magic

    I voted for Malloy last time and nearly always vote Democrat. I will not vote for him again. Malloy does not believe teachers will vote against him because the opposition will likely have even less favorable education policies. It is time to call his bluff. It is time to make Malloy and the Democrats earn our votes.

    • Linda174

      There is very little difference between them anyway. It will implode faster with one gang vs. the other. I will never vote for Malloy and there are many teachers who feel the same way. He can take his circus act on the road and never come back.

    • Magister

      I don’t vote along party lines, and they are especially blurry these days. I sometimes think that voting in an even more destructive politician of the Republican flavor might galvanize the Democrats into behaving more like Democrats.

      • ion magic


    • educationmatters

      Remember – in a straight party vote Malloy lost the election. It was the cross-endorsement with the Working Family party that got him the victory. Either he has decided that he can do it without their support, or has decided that they will vote for him over any other candidate to carry on this way. What he (and other’s) forget is that it is not about pitting one candidate against another, but getting people to turn out to vote for you. And if they are not happy, they just won’t turn up…

  • Guest

    What is ironic is that the CEA blog is heavily monitored. When I attempted a post to their recent kind words for the Governor my post never made it past the moderator. What are my dues used for again?

  • Linda174

    Failing news network screws up PISA report, time to turnaround NBC: