Malloy’s administration to tout Corporate Education Reform Industry Agenda at National Conference

While wooing teachers with false promises of a change in policy here at home, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his administration continue to trumpet their Corporate Education Reform Industry Agenda far from the gaze of Connecticut voters.

Next month Connecticut taxpayers will pick up the tab to send the Connecticut delegation to the annual meeting of the National Association of State Boards of Education annual meeting in Colorado. Of course, ever year, the taxpayers also pick up the tab for Connecticut’s membership in the organization.

The National Association of State Board of Education (NASBE) claims that it “exists to serve and strengthen State Boards of Education in their pursuit of high levels of academic achievement for all students.”

How do they go about doing that? Well just last year the NASBE accepted an $800,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to spend the next two years pushing the Common Core with state boards of education and other “stakeholders” involved with running public education around the country.

So while Malloy will spend his October trying to persuade Connecticut teachers, parents and public school advocates that he is “softening” his pro-corporate education reform stance, his delegation will be jetting off to Colorado to showcase Malloy’s “record of success” when it comes to dramatically increasing the use of standardized tests, expanding the role of charter schools and undermining the role and rights of parents, teachers and school boards.

One session at the NASBE national conference is entitled “State Policy and Practice for Turnaround Schools.” Lead presenters include Morgan Barth, one of Stefan Pryor’s top appointees at the State Department of Education and State Board of Education member Stephen Wright.

Barth is the former Achievement First Inc. employee who, with no state certification, illegally taught and worked at Achievement First for at least six years before Achievement First’s lobbyists managed to get the law changed to allow charter schools to have up to 30% of their teaching and administrative staff be non-certified.

Although repeatedly warned by the State Department of Education that Barth’s lack of appropriate certification meant he was teaching illegally, Achievement First, Inc. kept him on the payroll and in the classroom the entire time.

When Stefan Pryor, the co-founder of Achievement First, Inc. became Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Pryor hired Barth to play the key role in the SDE’s “turnaround office” where he has spent his time getting Alliance Districts to turn over their schools to charter companies, most notably, to the disgraced Jumoke/FUSE charter school chain.

Connecticut’s other representative at the National Association of State Boards of Education annual meeting is Steven Wright, a Malloy appointee to the State Board of Education who served as chairman of the Trumbull Board of Education.

Wright has been one of Malloy and Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s strongest allies and safest votes on the State Board of Education.  Reporting on another national conference earlier this year, the conference wrote,

“Wright hailed the state’s work to adopt Common Core standards, saying the standards are the best thing for students and teachers…’They are empirically superior and age-appropriate — developed by educators,’”

And in 2012 when the Trumbull Education Association refused to accept an “award” from ConnCAN, the charter school advocacy group, Wright, in his role as Chairman of the Trumbull Board of Education, attacked the union saying,

“I read with no small measure of disappointment the letter of the Trumbull Teacher’s Association rejecting the prestigious recognition the high school received from ConnCAN… through an obvious display of ignorance of the goals of ConnCAN and an undertone of an elitist attitude, the authors of the letter have managed to alienate trusted allies and provided the missing ingredients that will sway those who were on the fence with the education reform legislation to side with the Governor and give wholesale support to the reforms proposed in Senate Bill #24.”

And if Barth and Wright’s participation wasn’t telling enough, another speaker at the October National Association of State Boards of Education will be a senior corporate officer from Global Strategies Group, the political consulting group that serves as Malloy’s lead campaign consultant while running the public relations program for Connecticut’s corporate education reform groups.

In the past year or so, Global Strategies Group has collected at least $297,000 from the Malloy campaign and his shadow political operation at the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee.

During the same period, Global Strategies Group has billed ConnCAN and A Better Connecticut, Connecticut’s two leading education reform groups, more than $2.5 million for consulting services and media costs.  Global Strategies produced and broadcast nearly $2 million in television advertisements “thanking Governor Malloy” for his leadership on the education reform effort.

And what will the Global Strategies Group representative be speaking about?

“What’s in Store on Election Day and What Does It Mean for Education?”

One wonders how many times he’ll mention Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy, the most pro-education reform, anti-teacher Democratic governor in the nation.

But one thing will be certain — While Malloy’s operatives will be singing his praises at the NASBE meeting in Colorado, Malloy himself will be here, at home, telling teachers, parents and public education advocates that he has “seen the light” and will spend his second term supporting teachers and Connecticut’s public education system.

  • cindy

    Maybe we need an orchestrated effort to FOIA information from every single school district about how much money this has cost districts, and demand full transparency and disclosure regarding every contract executed by the SDE, CABE, CAPSS, etc plus local districts?

    Then prove it was the result of undue influence, bribery, extortion, etc. This is truly organized crime, and gangsters running our state departments.

  • msavage

    I’m so glad you decided to continue this blog. You are amazing–truly. Keep pulling Malloy’s slimy operatives and sleights-of-hand out into the sunlight for all to see. So grateful that you continue to fight the good fight for all of us peons trying to survive out here in the trenches. And Malloy–you’re not fooling anyone with your abrupt about-face. You’re done come November. Start packing your bags now.

    • R.L.

      Malloy may be fooling more people than you think. Have you been reading the comments some of the regulars here have been posting lately. It sounds like they’re ready to let him off of the hook due to their FEAR of Foley.

      • msavage

        I guess there will always be some people who will allow themselves to be ruled by fear. Hopefully, there are enough people who will be brave enough to do the right thing–write Jon in come November–to end Malloy’s reign of terror.

      • Linda174

        I must have missed them. Most are not supportive of Malloy and do not trust him.

        • msavage

          I know what R.L. means. It seems like some people, no matter how much they mistrust Malloy, are so afraid of Foley that they might just be willing to vote for Malloy to keep Foley out of office. Hope that’s not true.

        • R.L.

          See the discussion under “Malloy to Teachers – Just for the record, I’m lying to get your vote”

        • msavage

          Wow, don’t know how I missed THAT whole conversation! That’s just one household, though. I don’t think their views are shared by many.

      • skygirl

        Here’s what you tell them: Anything you’re worried about Foley doing, Malloy has already done.

        • JMC

          I agree, Skygirl. The Blue legislature has given Malloy all that he asked for. Maybe they’re afraid of having their offices moved next to the lavs if they don’t, or losing their parking spaces. They wouldn’t have to give a Gov. Foley what he wants, and they didn’t have to give Gov. Malloy what he wanted. But they did. That’s the problem. I think teachers would be safer with Foley. The legislature can say no to him. They are afraid to say no to Malloy. The Blue legislature makes the laws and determines the budget. But they vacated their responsibility in the name of party unity and threw students, parents, and teachers under the bus. And then of course there’s that boding presence off in the Whitehouse, that Chitown mafia privatizer whose ape Malloy is and will remain because of his national ambitions. There’s the real issue. But until Dems want to take a good look at themselves and at the results of their votes, including their support for the CT legislature, the self-deception will go on.

      • jrp1900

        R.L.: I don’t think Malloy should be let off the hook AND I am afraid of Foley. See, it is possible to hold BOTH these positions. I don’t need to tell you what is bad about Malloy. But I am afraid of Foley, because I fear what he will do to poor and oppressed people. Foley has spoken of the need to bring State spending into line, and he has resolved not to raise taxes (especially on the rich). This can only mean substantial cuts in the social welfare budgets. I fear for single mothers and grandparents who rely on State support to raise their children; I fear for the mentally ill and the drug addicted who need social services; I fear for those facing foreclosure or unemployment; I fear for students who can barely afford to go to college; I fear for children in rotting school buildings; I fear for all those people in Connecticut who can barely make ends meet, and who are just about keeping their heads above the water. It’s not that Malloy has been the Savior of these people–far from it. But I don’t see any scenario, involving Governor Foley, where the poor and working people will better off. Do you?

        • msavage

          Do you really see a scenario under Gov. Malloy where the poor and working people will be better off? I fall into the category of the working poor, so I represent both. I am far worse off than I was four years ago.

        • msavage

          Working on a story this morning, jrp, I came across one example out of many, many out there, of Malloy doing exactly what you fear Foley will do. It’s the overall game plan, for “approved” candidates in either the D or R party. Either party will follow the game plan of their Corporate overlords. This article talks about cuts to funding for residents with developmental disabilities. Here’s an excerpt:

          “The two-year budget Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and legislators adopted last
          year left DDS’s budget $36 million below what the department had
          projected it would need to maintain current services, and advocates and
          service providers say that followed two decades of chronic underfunding.
          The department handled the cut by reducing provider rates and
          individual budgets and cutting staffing, spokeswoman Joan C. Barnish

        • jrp1900

          Msavage: I am asking will you be better off under Governor Foley?

        • msavage

          “But I wouldn’t say that they are exactly the same in providing room for political maneuvering. Would you?”

          I’m not sure what this means. I think I’d actually be worse off under Malloy, because I think the Dem. legislators, who are not necessarily handpicked by the Corporatocracy (as both Malloy and Foley have been), will be far less likely to roll over for Foley than they are for Malloy.

        • R.L.

          A vote for Malloy is letting him off the hook. Your fears will be realized if either of these assholes become governor. Your position as of late has been quite disappointing. It makes no sense and it is coming from a place of cowardice. This is a lose, lose situation. “Man” up to it. We’ll have to do something to prevent this situation from occurring in the next election. When Foley wins, at least people will get stirred up enough to fight. Allowing Malloy to continue his failed policies only entrenches the mentality that got us here in the first place.

        • msavage

          Write in Pelto/Murphy. At least your conscience can be clear. Either corporate puppet is going to do the things you fear. At least maybe Foley would get a little bit of push-back from our cowardly Dem legislators.

        • JMC

          Here’s a quote from a Courant article (Aug 12, 2013) by Michael Tanner entitled “Welfare Can Make More Sense Than Work”: “…A mother with two children in CT would have to earn $21.33 per hour for her family to be better off then they would be on welfare. That’s more than the average national entry level for a teacher or secretary. In fact, it is more than 107% of CT’s median salary.” Allow me to draw a conclusion from this based on behavioral psychology: When you pay people to be poor, you get more poor people. Thus poverty will continue to increase in CT.

        • msavage

          Yeah, and here’s just one article debunking that report:

          Many people need assistance IN ADDITION to working, ’cause wages are being held so low by sociopathic Corporate heads. I may soon be among that group.

        • msavage

          And another. They’re not hard to find, but I’ve gotta go work now for my poverty-level wages.

        • JMC

          Well taken, M. And then there are the stories of people stocking up in Boston at Sam’s Club with EBT cards and loading their purchases into Cadillac Escalades. There is no question that working parents of poorer citizens’ families should get assistance. The minimum wage should also be higher. The Tanner article does not, I believe, factor in the new CT EITC passed in 2011 which has probably paid out in cash to date over half a billion dollars. If you know that figure, please post it. But I think it is also imperative to consider a form of “wage suppression” that progressives do not want to face up to – the wage suppression caused by huge numbers of “immigrants” taking scarce jobs. In June of 2013 the CT legislature passed an “immigrant” drivers’ license bill. I assume a major reason for that was to permit them to travel to “the jobs that Americans don’t want to do”, to quote a now discredited Clinton-era meme. The figure quoted in 2013 for these licenses was 53,000. Now the figure seems to have changed to 200,000. Welcome to wage suppression by “immigration”. As you may recall, the start date for issuance of these licenses was supposed to be Jan. 2015 but “inexplicably” appeared as July 2013, on the day of the vote. Just in time for election year voter registration. The Republican counsel sniffed it out.

        • msavage

          Don’t know the figure re the EITC, but I DO know that I was able to take advantage of it last year–which made a HUGE difference to me. I don’t receive welfare. I don’t use food stamps (yet). I take nothing from the taxpayers. I work a full-time job, and two other jobs on the side. Yet last year, despite the fact that I hold an M.A. and have been a responsible, reliable worker for most of my adult life, I made so little that I qualified for the EITC.

          Re immigrants taking jobs from others–my feelings re this waffle constantly. My grandma’s ancestors actually came over on the Mayflower. Does that make them more American than other immigrants? Does that make ME more American than other immigrants? I don’t know. I admit to resenting, sometimes, the influx of immigrants into this country–at least after looking for more lucrative work for more than 13 months and not being able to find any. Do immigrants have something to do with this? Again, I don’t know. I think we all tend to want to find a scapegoat when we’re undergoing difficulties.

        • JMC

          And the state of CT transferred your EITC money to you from me via a raise in my taxes. I’ve paid $800 more in taxes over the last 4 years because I own a modest house. I see you’re equating illegal immigrants with legal immigrants. Sadly, you are no longer need by the progressives. They are encouraged by your uncertainty about the causes of economic hardship and they’ve got lots of new voters to put on the assistance rolls and the voters’ rolls, along with plenty of “Navigators” to help them there. The laws of this nation are not being enforced, with the tacit approval of progressives . We are now subject to the whims of men. The results are plain to see. It is no fun to struggle, especially with children who suffer. But what you must understand is that the Dems have been constructing a one-party welfare state for 25 years and it is approaching completion and perfection. The state is approaching insolvency. Your services to education have been amazing, M., and your talents are formidable. You deserve to have the profession you are qualified for.

        • jrp1900

          RL: “Cowardice” has nothing to do with it. Your resort to insults says more about you than me. If I understand you correctly, you disagree with Malloy from the left, but you have no problem if he is defeated from the right. I think it is YOUR position that “makes no sense.”

          “When Foley wins, at least people will get stirred up enough to fight.” You don’t have a crystal ball, but I hope you are right.

          Incidentally, I have never counseled anyone to vote Malloy. I am only pointing out the disastrous aspects of a Foley victory. People in the voting booths will do what they think is right, but in my view you have to think strategically, as well as tactically. I’m not sure that it’s good strategy or good tactics to embrace the enemy of my enemy as a friend. Too often this leads to “disappointing” outcomes. I don’t know if you are familiar with Foley’s education policies; they are the same “failed policies” as Malloy’s, only more extreme in the corporate direction. Make of this what you will, but that’s a fact.

        • R.L.

          A thin skin I see, I guess you don’t work in a “Commissioner’s network” school. I have no problem where Malloy is defeated from, as long as he is defeated. I may not have a crystal ball to see if people will be stirred up enough to fight Foley, but the union certainly won’t bend over for him like they do for Malloy and I suspect the democratic legislature won’t either.
          You may not be counseling anyone to vote for Malloy, but the things you’re saying are the same things Malloy’s campaign seems to using as a strategy. “I know I suck, but Foley sucks more”. That is certainly the AFT’s message. Foley may be the enemy of my enemy but he is certainly not my friend. However, everything you say he’s going to do (or be able to get away with) is pure speculation. Malloy has actually done the things that you are speculating Foley will do. You are spreading the same fear that the Malloy campaign is counting on. If you feel insulted by my coward remark, don’t be
          one and vote out of fear.

        • jrp1900

          RL: I don’t have a thin skin. I am not in the least affected by you calling me a “coward.” As I said, insults say more about you than me. I am simply stating that you are mistaken if you think that the best thing we can do–bar elect Jon Pelto–is to have Tom Foley assume office.

          Its not true that I am characterizing Foley on the basis of “pure speculation.” I am following what he has said. You should take the time to educate yourself about Foley’s actual policies. You will see that there is reason to fear him coming to power. There are people in Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury, the poorest cities in Connecticut, who dislike Malloy intensely, but would prefer to see him elected over Foley, because they realize that Foley will harm their communities more so than Malloy, the corporate Democrat. Are they wrong? Would you tell them that they are misguided and that they ought to do everything they can to put Foley in power? How would you counsel them that political and economic suicide is their best option?

          YOU can vote your conscience and feel good about it, but the issue is who gets to wield power. And when you give power to people with clear nefarious goals, and those people hurt other people, your feeling good and pure is a mere luxury. If you want to develop a politics of solidarity, you actually have to practice it. It’s not about being FOR Malloy; its about standing with the disenfranchised and the impoverished. IF there was a way to defeat Malloy without empowering Foley, I would certainly take it up. But I would not put Foley in power just to spite Malloy, when Foley will do harm to vulnerable communities. If that makes me a “coward, then so be it!

          I think we are going to have to agree to disagree…

        • R.L.

          “And when you give power to people with clear nefarious goals, and those people hurt other people,” – that would be Malloy.
          “Its about standing with the disenfranchised and the impoverished.” – That would not be Malloy. Your fear is affecting your logic skills.

        • tom burns

          I get it

        • msavage

          Oh, and regarding this:

          “Foley has spoken of the need to bring State spending into line, and he
          has resolved not to raise taxes (especially on the rich).”

          Remember when Malloy failed to increase tax rates for the rich? I remember watching him at a meeting at Windham High School. Someone in the audience asked him about rates for the rich, and he said something about not wanting them to leave the state. So the rest of us got slammed harder. State spending NEEDS to be brought into line. But neither candidate has any intention of making the rich in this state–some of the richest rich in the nation–pony up more to help fund the gap.

        • jrp1900

          Msavage: I am well aware of Malloy’s craven capitulation to the plutocracy. You seem to think I am defending him. Can’t you understand that if I criticize Foley, it’s not because I am defending Malloy. A pox on both of them! But if you think your chances of seeing economic justice will improve with Foley in the governorship, I would say: dream on!

        • msavage

          But they’re both the same. They’re both working to put more money into the pockets of the 1 percent. My point is–why support either of them? Why not just write in Pelto/Murphy? My problem isn’t with your criticizing Foley. Criticize away! I think he’s a despicable capitalist who cares about nothing more than the almighty dollar! My problem is with the fact that you seem to be suggesting that we should vote for Malloy over Foley. Is that what you’re saying?

        • R.L.


  • sick of politicians

    If we don’t promote Jon to our colleagues and friends and educate others; we will be stuck with more crap from Hartford. Get annal Malloy and Fooley outta here.

  • Mary Gallucci

    I’m surprised Allen Taylor isn’t going. Didn’t he get an award from them? One nice thing is to see that, for once, a teacher’s union got it right in sending back a ConnCAN award.

  • msavage

    Chris Hedges with some input into why “The Lesser of Two Evils” is a bad idea:

    “We are governed, rather, by a species of corporate
    totalitarianism, or what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin
    describes as “inverted totalitarianism.”
    By this Wolin means a system where corporate power, while it purports
    to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution, the three
    branches of government and a free press, along with the iconography and
    language of American patriotism, has in fact seized all the important
    levers of power to render the citizen impotent.
    The old liberal class, the safety valve that addressed
    grievances and injustices in times of economic or political distress,
    has been neutered. There are self-identified liberals, including Barack
    Obama, who continue to speak in the old language of liberalism but serve
    corporate power.”

    Substitute Dannel Malloy for Barack Obama, and you have your reason for writing in Jon Pelto, regardless of who you fear may end up in the governor’s mansion as a result.

    • msavage

      And a bit more from Hedges, from the same set of remarks made this past Saturday:

      “If we appeal to self-identified liberals in the establishment who have
      no capacity or desire to carry out the radical reforms, we will pour
      energy into a black hole. And this is what the corporate state seeks. It
      seeks to perpetuate the facade of democracy. It seeks to make us
      believe what is no longer real, that if we work within the system we can
      reform it. And it has put in place a terrifying superstructure to
      silence all who step outside the narrow parameters it defines as

      Note–THAT IF WE WORK WITHIN THE SYSTEM WE CAN REFORM IT We cannot work within the approved two parties. They have been completely taken over by the corporate.

      • msavage

        And a final section:

        “The Democratic Party speaks to us “rationally.” The party says it seeks
        to protect civil liberties, regulate Wall Street, is concerned about the
        plight of the working class and wants to institute reforms to address
        climate change. But in all these areas, and many more, it has, like its
        Republican counterpart, repeatedly sold out the citizenry for corporate
        power and corporate profits…”

        Hedges believes that it will take mass movements of repeated acts of civil disobedience to break the stranglehold of the corporate–never mind voting outside the monoparty. I believe he’s right. But at the very least, I believe we cannot keep voting for the choices with which we’re provided by the very machine that seeks to destroy us!

        • R.L.

          Yes, I agree that it will take mass movements of repeated acts of civil disobedience to break the stranglehold. Unions were once the center of this kind of disobedience. Now they just collect our dues and play nice so they can have “a seat at the table.” I bet the martinis they share at lunch with their corporate friends are way better than the milk served in my school’s cafeteria.

  • buygoldndprosper

    OT, but always germane:

    “Between 2010 and 2013, the Fed reports, median family income fell by 5%, even though average family income rose by 4%. This is, note the authors, “consistent with increasing income concentration during this period.” Only families in the top 10%, with annual incomes averaging nearly $400,000, saw gains during these three years. Families headed by college graduates eked out a gain of 1%, while those with a high-school diploma or less saw declines of about 7%. Those in the middle—with some postsecondary education—did the worst: From 2010 to 2013, their annual incomes declined to less than $41,000 from $46,000—an 11% plunge. Families headed by workers under age 35 have done especially badly—even when the heads of those young families have college degrees. The economic struggles of the millennials are more than anecdotal.”
    Cathy Malloy has done well. John Larson’s wife has done well. Bennie Barnes’s wife has done well. Friends of Danny have done well,and Danny has done very well. The rest of us? Meh! Just pay your taxes and be happy you live is such a beautiful state…

    • Mary Gallucci

      Right, the folks you mention are approaching Tom Foley in wealth–if you add them all together.

  • buygoldandprosper

    Maybe they can brag about this:

    “The University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved spending more than $1 million to put a new roof on a science building that is scheduled to be demolished”.
    I would just push the schedule forward, but as long as it is funny money the brain trust in Storrs and Hartford. and this administration will just spend, spend, spend. Oh. Cancel that. I would have to put a tarp on my house for a few years until I actually had the cash.

  • buygoldandprosper
  • 27Reasons

    It boggles my mind, how many teachers have remained so complacent and or oblivious, to all that’s gone on over the past two years. Our profession is being destroyed, and at the expense of our children, never the less.

  • buygoldandprosper

    Teach them early…it’s just a FEEE, not a tax.
    The general population has to pay but the sports fitness center was free to those “scholars”

    “A plan to put an addition on the current student recreational center rather than building a new facility on X Lot has recently been proposed and would result in a $450 student fee upon completion of the renovations.”

  • JMC

    It seems there is trouble in the socialist paradise of CT, as evidenced by the fervent discussions going on in this string. . But if I may hijack a political term I learned from our beloved host Jon Pelto, I see what’s happening in this state as the inevitable end-game, the “bleed-out” of 25 years of progressive domination of this state’s resources. It began with an income and sales tax, which were necessary to ensure CT’s future solvency. But then these humungous new revenues were diverted into in an orgy of public spending – and it wasn’t spending for infrastructure – which has turned this state into a Blue hellhole, one which the astute poster BuyGold is leaving or has left. The state government is now growing poverty at a supersonic pace. It imports poverty, it encourages poverty. Poverty is the job security of progressive demagogue politicians.

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