A very bad day for public education in Connecticut

61 Comments

Yesterday was a dark day for public education in Connecticut.

Before voting to give away $80 to $100 million in taxpayer funds over the next five years to private companies that want to open four new charter schools in Connecticut, Governor Malloy’s State Board of Education voted unanimously to re-commit our state, our public schools and our students and teachers to the Common Core.

The State Board of Education’s resolution reads;

Resolved, That the State Board of Education stands firm in its belief that full and immediate implementation of the Common Core State Standards is necessary, and pledges its commitment to provide the necessary leadership, supports and resources for educators, students, and families, to ensure its success.

“….full and immediate implementation of the Common Core…” is not only inappropriate for our schools, teachers, student and parents, but it will cost Connecticut taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in the next few years.

Since most communities don’t have these extra funds, the Malloy Administration’s out-of-control drive to immediately implement the Common Core will mean scarce public dollars are diverted away from subjects like art, music, physical education, social studies, and other key courses and programs as districts are forced to focus even more exclusively on teaching to the new and absurd Common Core testing program.

Meanwhile, the Common Core Task Force that Governor Malloy so proudly set up last month held its first meeting and members were told that they COULD NOT DISCUSS whether Connecticut should implement the Common Core Standards.  According to Malloy’s rules, the Task Force can only provide advice about how to fully implement the developmentally-inappropriate, standardized test driven education and privatization system that was begun by George W Bush and expanded by Barack Obama.

After re-endorsing the rush to implement the Common Core, Malloy’s political appointees on the State Board of Education then engaged in a duplicitous maneuver to approve four new charter schools; another one for New Haven, two more for Bridgeport and one for Stamford.  Their approval came despite the fact that the local boards of education in Bridgeport and Stamford are OPPOSED to having new schools forced upon their communities.

This development comes at a time when the State Board of Education is well aware of the fact that many public schools in Connecticut don’t have the resources that they need to provide students with the quality education that is mandated by the Connecticut Constitution.

Malloy and the State Board of Education are already facing a major school funding lawsuit called the CCEJF case due to the state’s failure to provide sufficient funds for our existing schools.

But instead of fulfilling its legal and moral responsibility to Connecticut’s students, teachers, parents and society, the State Board of Education continued the Malloy administration’s program of privatizing Connecticut’s public schools.

As noted, the four new charter schools will cost taxpayers $80 to $100 million over the next five years.  This new charter school funding commitment comes despite a projected $1 billion state budget deficit in EACH OF THE THREE YEARS following this year’s gubernatorial election.

The message to Connecticut students, teacher and parents could not have been clearer.

The message to Connecticut cities, towns and taxpayers could not have been more direct.

In this time of unprecedented fiscal problems and despite Malloy’s failure to provide adequate funding for our existing public schools, Malloy and his administration are 100% committed to forcing the Common Core on our state along with his anti-public school privatization agenda.

Perhaps “Dan” Malloy truly believes in the corporate education reform industry’s political agenda or perhaps he has sold out to these corporations in return for the massive amount of campaign funds that they are distributing nationally.

But whatever his reasoning, it is worth repeating again and again… Dannel “Dan” Malloy has become the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic governor in the country.

Yesterday Malloy reiterated that key point yet again.

  • Martin Walsh

    A vote for this governor is a vote to destroy public education.
    Three guesses on what his “evaluation committee” will come up with…after the election of course.

  • mookalaboona

    I wonder what CEA is thinking now after endorsing him 4 years ago. Probably they will still endorse him this election year as well!

    • Bill Morrison

      AFT-CT seems to be on the verge of doing so as well. It is a shame that our unions are so out of touch with what teachers want.

      • CTedFromTheTrenches

        They know what teachers want, but the higher ups refuse to buck the system.

        • Bill Morrison

          I’ll repeat myself here because it seems appropriate.
          Following the Munich Conference in September, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to Britain with the announcement that we have peace in our time”. Similarly, Melodie Peters, AFT-CT President, sent out an email to AFT-CT members several months ago announcing a major win for teachers in her negotiations with Malloy. Hitler proceeded to complete his annexation of Czechoslovakia and Hungary, then went on to invade Poland. Malloy proceeded today with his unbridled support of Charter School profiteering at the expense of public education.
          While I do not say that Malloy is a thug to the degree that Hitler was, nor do I assert that his henchman Pryor is a thug to the degree of Heinrich Himmler, both Malloy and Pryor are thugs for whom the law means nothing.
          When will our Chamberlain of the AFT-CT, Ms. Melodie Peters, wake up and realize that she cannot negotiate with thugs?

          • brutus2011

            Bill, I believe our union managers know full well what they are doing.

            They are in cahoots with administration and are counting on the historical docility of their constituents–teachers.

            We must send a message to the politicians and the managers that we will no longer be marginalized and chumped-out as my kids would say.

            Union management(s) are in on it and it is astonishing that teachers have not risen up against their duplicity.

          • Mary Gallucci

            Well, in many unions there are provisions for the rank and file to force meetings and to make resolutions. I believe that a certain percentage of the membership need only express their desire for such a meeting. Go for it! I believe that other unions could be tapped to support this.
            Try the meeting/parliamentary route.

          • Bill Morrison

            Mary,
            I am trying that route. I have emailed Andrea Johnson for help in organizing such a meeting.

          • Mary Gallucci

            contact the other union, as well. Unite to fight.

          • Bill Morrison

            My deep concern is that both unions support CCSS and Smarter Balance at the highest levels, and they do not want to hear from the rank and file. They have both been coopted by the Malloy/Pryor cabal, and their recent activities show their deep-rooted support for Malloy’s reelection, in spite of what the members say. It is so very disgusting!

          • JMC

            It’s time for CEA members to become part of the same union/s to which the State employees belong. That will be the only safety, and teachers will be welcomed by State employees. Malloy knows that CEA teachers’ voting numbers are not high enough to affect any election outcome, and that large numbers of CEA members are clueless anyway and will remain so. Next he’ll start deconstructing teacher pensions. He’s already started the abuse with the withholding of any State contribution to retired teachers’ healthcare – which was a measly $60 per month. The layers are already getting peeled back by Malloy and Barnes, starting with the most vulnerable, least informed, and least numerous, i.e. the retirees, of whom I am one. Many retired CT teachers are still foolishly hoping that the WEP will be repealed, which will not happen, and the Lucy-and-the-football game is played every year with the WEP, while far more important issues, like those I mentioned above, are neglected.

          • Maggie Tarbox

            They will not be so compliant to Malloy, et. al. We are PAYING our unions to represent US! We need to be heard.

          • CTedFromTheTrenches

            The NEA is most definitely in cahoots with CCSS and the NGA.

          • Maggie Tarbox

            Let me know if you need help.

          • Guest

            Andrea Johnson is part of the problem and needs to be voted out!

          • CTedFromTheTrenches

            The meetings that were held in each county across the state during Jan and Feb were massively attended. They are surely what prompted the state hearing, which was disgracefully carried out by Fleichmann.

          • Bill Morrison

            Brutus,
            I have been actively fighting for this for the past several years. But, teachers are afraid. They forget that there is strength in numbers and unity. Just look at Garfield High and their stand against standardized testing. Look at the various fights in American history over civil rights. The powerful will always try to intimidate the weak; the weak can only realize their strength in unity and numbers. Unfortunately, we have to count the two unions in CT as being complicit in the crimes being committed by Malloy/Pryor. Teachers MUST overcome their fear and fight back!

          • Maggie Tarbox

            By my count there is 40,000+ teachers (certified-highly qualified) in CT. WE NEED to get together and talk!

          • Guesta

            If the shoe fits . . .

      • Twisted state

        This is absurd! Boycott the unions! Stop paying union dues… Unions are biting the hands that feeds them.

      • Guest

        HFT election coming soon! Vote line A and vote out the current union president, her VPs, etc. time to take back control!

    • CTedFromTheTrenches

      I’ve seen much discontent; we’ll see very soon what happens in this regard…

    • Follow the Money

      I hope not. It’s different leadership than it was four years ago.

      • mookalaboona

        The current leadership is more passive than the last bunch. They’ll be to afraid not to. AFT will because Malloy gave their last leader a cushy state job.

  • buygoldandprosper

    The good news?
    Steve-OJ-Perry has opposable thumbs,thus his ability to work that QWERTY.
    Moales might well pay off his bankers now!
    Always an upside.

  • Follow the Money

    A leopard does not change its spots. Malloy may not be as incendiary and blatant with his anti-teacher comments but that’s just damage control. He is nothing but a corporate shill and people need to wise up and see it. As for the so-called state board of education, look only to who is on it to see whose interest they really represent. It certainly is not the students, parents, teachers or local boards of education after that vote to bring in even MORE charters. Districts still have to pay to send students to these factory “schools”, and when you are an underfunded district like Bridgeport, where will that money come from? Where is the proof of their superiority? Where are their test scores to compare, by the only means we have, to the public schools from which they extract students and money? And how does an underfunded district, or any district for that matter, compete with million dollar charters and, for that matter, the preponderance of magnets being built, using 10 year old textbooks, sub-par technology, and broken down facilities? How do I teach about the earth moon and sun when my paperback texts are dated and taped together, when just down the road, the brand new magnet school has imported Danish furniture for their planetarium?

  • Bill Morrison

    Jonathan,
    What would you think if we were to put together a symposium or forum in which the AFT-CT and CEA Presidents were invited to hear from rank and file teachers on the issues of CCSS and the Smarter Balance? We need our unions fighting this fight on our side, not on Malloy’s.

    • Maggie Tarbox

      I’m in!!! The rank and file is cowed right now. People fear repercussion/retribution on the job. Where is Sheila Cohan on this? Silent is not an option. Just got off the phone with John Rowland Radio Show. He has bought in to Charter Schools. SMH! We REALLY NEED to get AFT/NEA folks together for a symposium. Many of them do not realize how this will impact their jobs/job prospects. Maggie

    • Guest

      HFT vote coming up soon for president, etc. Vote line A! We must get rid of Johnson and her cronies, especially Joshua Hall. A Symposium would be a great way to revitalize the union and regain our voices! A new beginning of more active involvement for teachers.

  • Follow the Money

    Common Core discussion at the state BOE meeting was a joke. The insistence that questions with several “correct” answers, as teachers pointed out, could merely be justified and explained by students does not hold water. If a student chooses the incorrect answer on a multiple choice test, it is still scored as wrong no matter how much explanation to justify is involved. I’d love to see the esteemed chairman of the BOE take the sample test. What they fail to understand is that this whole common core initiative was rolled out half-assed in this state. Other states were two years or more ahead of us creating resources for their teachers to implement the new standards. Not us- we were busy trying to match up our pitiful standards against the common core because no one figured out how completely different EVERYTHING about the common core actually is. To this day, there are very few resources provided by the state, leaving teachers to their own devices to create something to use. We needed more time to do it right, but instead it was railroaded through by people who are not educators. So we’re not going to slow this train down or look objectively to fix it, we’re just going to plow ahead. Brilliant.

    • Linda174

      Taylor is clueless and an embarrassment.

      The teacher wasn’t commenting on the need to defend your answer, but the fact that there are two or more answers that could be correct (and you can only choose one), which is designed to confuse the students.

      He should take the 11th grade SBAC and publish his scores.

      • Sleepless in Bridgeportt

        At his home ground in Trumbull only 50 out of 300 bothered to take the SBAC. Way to lead jackass!

        • Mary Gallucci

          The districts from which the SBE members come (except for the urban ones, which have had too much intervention of late–we need to equalize this) should be forced to have charter schools and 100% compliance on standardized tests and pilots–I am not sure folks in those places realize how authoritarian the SBE is toward poor districts.

          • Bill Morrison

            Mary,
            I’ll bet that they would scream about the rights of their local districts to determine educational policies and programs for themselves!

          • Maggie Tarbox

            My kids are being tested to death. Unfortunately, I have had to be a player in their submission to crazy testing and limited instruction.

          • Bill Morrison

            Why?

          • Maggie Tarbox

            fear

          • speaking up

            This is important and good.
            Fear of what, exactly?

      • Follow the Money

        Right. It was Taylor who was saying that this kind of thinking, the ability to justify and explan an answer, was what students need to learn. He ignored the fact that the test does not allow for that because he has no clue. The teacher, as you mentioned, tried to point out that some of the questions appear to have more than one correct response. He clearly did not understand and jumped to the defense of a flawed test.

        • Linda174

          It’s called group think and he follows Pryor like a puppy. How embarrassing for his profession….must be a lawyer, same as Stefan. Yeah and teachers are the problem.

    • guest

      Because there has been words, words, and blogs, blogs and blogs but no action – no mobilization. You all can comment ’til the cows come home but what has it changed????

      • Mary Gallucci

        Most people posting here do much more than comment. Did you see/hear the 4 hours of testimony yesterday at the SBE meeting? the forum on the CCSS (11 hours?).

      • jonpelto

        I agree – time to take action!

      • speaking up

        The co-chairwoman of the General Assembly’s powerful budget-writing committee is upset that the State Board of Education has approved opening more charter schools than the state budget pays for.

        “I am sort of outraged that they approved additional charters. Did they also vote on a resolution to fully fund our public schools? No, I don’t think so,” Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, said during an interview Thursday morning.

        “Where do they think this money is going to come from?” asked Bye, co-chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee. She pointed to the state’s funding problems with operating existing traditional public schools and magnet schools.

        http://ctmirror.org/not-so-fast-key-lawmaker-upset-with-approval-of-more-charter-schools/

        • Follow the Money

          True, but Beth Bye had better be way more than “sort of outraged”. She should be ENRAGED that this group could be so arrogant as to ignore the people they serve and push their own political agenda. It’s clearly a money grab, and the legislature is the only entity who can stop it at this point. Does the state BOE answer to anyone?

    • cindy

      What about the poor child who said that he loved common core because he used to always be wrong..and now he is right because under common core, there is more than one answer. We are screwed as a society.

      • Follow the Money

        OMG, missed that one. That poor baby. Misled by the misinformed. Proof positive that those making the decision about this test are
        truly misguided. So what they believe is that if I make a plausible argument for, say, the sun revolves around the earth, even though it is wrong, I can sti be “right” if it’s a good enough argument.

        Doomed. We as a society are doomed if that’s the crap they believe. That’s not the way it works. That’s not the way any of this works…

  • Peter Sorenson

    Isn’t it ironic that in the same board meeting the SBE decides to give away $$ to corporate backed entities while deciding to charge parents of magnet school PreKindergarteners $3800 to attend public school? Why isn’t this PK tuition issue and the lack of parent communication getting more high profile scrutiny from the press?

  • Fredda Friend

    Any district impacted by these new charters should defy the state and resolve at their next BOE meeting to refuse transportation and any other funds for the charter schools.

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  • cindy

    It is all in here, folks. This is where they gave away the shop – all part of Race to the Top:
    Especially this: ” and allowing creation of Innovative Schools in priority districts.”

    “P.A. 10-111
    This landmark legislation provides strong support for the RTTT Application and sets requirements that include: increasing high school graduation requirements; increasing advanced placement courses in all districts; credit for online courses and coursework; Student Success Plans and support systems; piloting “board examination systems;” expansion of the State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS); linking teacherevaluation to student performance; authorizing the Commissioner of Education to reconstitute local boards of education; authorizing parent-teacher governance councils; providing alternative certification routes for administrators; waiving enrollment limits for charter schools; making the charter school facility grant program permanent; and allowing creation of Innovative Schools in priority districts.”

    …give, give, give and never get any back. With Obama putting his gloved hand on CT in the last few months, we may be chosen next time. That is like the kiss of death.

    http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/arra/ct_rttt_execsummary.pdf

  • Mary Gallucci

    Here’s a “what’s old is new” protest idea: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/03/ukrainian-women-have-launched-a-sex-strike-against-russian-men/284614/
    I just don’t see how we can get all the, er, stakeholders on board, though. I see from links within this article that in Tokyo recently there was a similar bedroom strike threatened over undesirable gubernatorial candidates and who voted for them.
    But as long as we are tossing ideas around here, I thought I’d pass this one on.

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  • Sue

    I’m going to start keeping a graph on who is winning the Diane Ravitch Front Page Link – Sarah Littman or Jon Pelto. Right now it’s neck and neck, with Jon leading by a hair with today’s linkie.

  • joevisconti

    It is a sad day Jonathan. As your governor I will work to reverse the unsustainable corporate influence on our state education system and empower local boards of education to choose the type of curriculum parents have come to demand in Connecticut. Common core is a synthetically engineered educational product from what for a decade I have termed the education cartel. It is a corporate power grab that robs our children of their childhood, just when their formative minds need the arts and a balanced curriculum with a holistic approach to the modern world. Restricting and cramming data at an early age can have disastrous results later in life, especially without the arts included in the curriculum. Hang in there Connecticut, help is on the way. http://www.viscontiforgovernor.com

  • JJ Thorpe

    I’m no expert, but I don’t see this as “privatization” when the people running the schools are nonprofit organizations (versus some of these other groups like Edison–clearly in this for profit). I distinguish between charters that suck the best students out of our public schools versus those (few and far between, I know) that are educating groups of kids who don’t do well in our schools (ELL, behavior problems, etc.). In my mind, those schools are *saving* districts money since (in my district) it costs us $35k or so to send a kid with behavior issues out to a specialized school like CES. Just my opinion.

  • Linda174

    Please read this comment titled “For the love of reading” from a teacher in reference to the testing.

    If someone has an email for Alan Taylor I will send. He was clearly confused, misinformed or deceitful when he made his comment about the testing and more than one answer.

    For those of you who want to know what is really happening please read the comment on testing talk and search for more by state:

    http://testingtalk.org/response/for-the-love-of-reading

  • Anthony Carfagno

    Read: Dr. D.L. Cuddy’s paper …
    A CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER and SEE where & Who runs … The “NEA” (National Education Association)

    Quote FROM: 1932 / 1933

    “… the teachers should deliberately reach for power and then make the most of their conquest” in order to “influence the social attitudes, ideals and behavior of the coming generation… The growth of science and technology has carried us into a new age where ignorance must be replaced by knowledge, competition by cooperation, trust in Providence by careful planning and private capitalism by some form of social economy.”

    “Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday schools, meeting for an hour once a week, teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”

    It’s been an AGENDA LONG BEFORE G.E.H.R.S.D. But … It STILL AN “AGENDA!”

    http://www.constitution.org/col/cuddy_nwo.htm

    • jonpelto

      What part of the post is inaccurate? Is the Reverend, his assistant and his wife on the board? Does it say she will resign when she gets a job at the school. Was jumoke given 2 no-bid contracts to run CT schools, did Jumoke recently get a contract to run a school in Baton Rouge, is the COO off jumoke on the state board of education. Did any member of the Board raise these issues,
      What would happen if I announced that I was being appointed to my school board along with my spouse and their assistant but would only serve until I got a job there – and that all three of us were leaders in the same chuch?
      Wouldn’t that make the news?

  • Follow the Money

    QOTD: “Hopkins-Staten said there will be thousands of students who won’t get into charter schools and “you need to be just as committed to their success as you are to those children who will be blessed to get into a charter school. ” (Hartford Courant)

    Yes, because in the vice-chair of the state Board of Education’s view, Connecticut public schools are hell on Earth. Can there be any doubt about where her interest, and that of others on the STATE BOE, lie? Tell me again who they represent? Disgraceful.

  • Guest

    VOTE LINE A on the HFT ballot in the upcoming election!