And that is just the tip of the iceberg…
Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, and his sidekick and aide, former Achievement First principal Morgan Barth, are pushing the ethical envelope ever further while telegraphing where Malloy really stands when it comes to teachers, parents and public education in Connecticut.
While Malloy is touring the state claiming that his goal is to “win back” the respect of teachers, parents and public school advocates, later this week, Commissioner Pryor and SDE Turnaround Director Morgan Barth will be handing the microphone over to the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, a corporate funded lobby group that has spent over $160,000 lobbying on behalf of Malloy’s “education reform” initiative.
The event is this Thursday’s State Department of Education’s “Alliance District Convening Meeting,” a publicly funded event for school officials and community members from the 30 Connecticut school districts receiving funds through Malloy’s Alliance District program.
According to the agenda, Pryor and Barth have scheduled the Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) to, “share best practices and tools for district-wide, long-term strategic planning.”
CCER’s Executive Director, Jeff Villar, who once served as the superintendent of schools in Windsor, left his position there three months ago to become the six-figure executive director and lobbyist for the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER).
Apparently the CCER lobbyist’s presentation will include, “strategies to establish Board of Education goals, develop district indicators of success, and design a process to monitor implementation. Districts will also learn about how the CCER can help districts workshop their Year 3 Alliance and Priority School District consolidated applications.”
REALLY? How CCER can help districts workshop their Year 3 Alliance and Priority School District consolidated applications??
Beyond the fact that “help districts workshop their applications” is a bizarre concept, what the hell is a registered corporate education reform lobbying group doing instructing school districts on how to work with the State Department of Education?
Has the system become so corrupt that the Department of Education has turned to a corporate lobbying group to help Connecticut’s school districts fill out their applications to the state agency?
The ethical issues surrounding such a move are significant and extremely serious.
But Pryor and Barth’s actions also raise extraordinary political questions.
Over the last two years, some of the most anti-teacher, anti-union and anti-public education rhetoric has come out of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) public relations operation.
Allowing this industry lobbying group the opportunity to speak to all the Alliance District participants without giving equal time to those opposed to the corporate education reform industry’s agenda is unfair, insulting and a clear and concise indicator where Governor Malloy really stands on these issues.
Handing state functions over to CCER is even more stunning.
Malloy famously said teachers need only show up for four years and they get tenure…. The Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) has been lobbying, from the beginning, to do away with tenure altogether.
Malloy also added that he didn’t mind having teachers teach to the test as long as test scores go up… The Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) has been one of the most outspoken proponents of more standardized testing, the absurd common core testing scheme and pushing the unfair concept of using standardized test scores as part of Malloy’s teacher evaluation program.
Malloy can claim his anti-teacher position has “changed” or “evolved” but actions speaks far louder than his words.
Putting the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) on this week’s Alliance District Convening Meeting agenda speaks volumes about where the Malloy administration really stands when it comes to teachers, unions and pro-public education advocates.
Oh and it gets worse… much worse…
After CCER’s Executive Director speaks, CCER’s Chief Operating Officer will be joining another out-of-state consultant in a session called, “School Budget Hold’em – Strategic resource use is the name of the game.”
According to the meeting agenda, “School Budget Hold’em is more than a game. It’s an interactive exploration of the thoughtful trade-offs school district leaders must make, especially in challenging budget times. It evolved out of ERS’ [the out of state consulting company’s] experience working with urban districts across the country. Hold’em helps change the conversation from “Where do we cut?” to “How can we best use each dollar to achieve our long term vision for student success?” Experience the game and see how you can use it in your district. Each participating district will get a set of “Hold’em” cards to take back to their district. ERS and CCER will also discuss their joint collaboration to perform a school district funding analysis for a Alliance District and how they can help your district.”
So there you go…
The Malloy administration’s approach to public schools;
(1) Hire out-of-state consultants and (2) hand over State Department of Education responsibilities and operations to a corporate education reform industry lobby group.