Although the corporate education reform entity, Relay School of Education, has recently been prohibited from working in California and Pennsylvania, Governor Dannel Malloy’s political appointees on the State Board of Education are poised today to grant the controversial teacher training scheme, “full program approval” to operate in Connecticut.
The stunning move comes after months of illegal lobbying by the Relay School of Education, including direct contact between Relay corporate officers and some of the highest ranking officials in the Malloy administration.
Relay School of Education is closely associated with the charter school industry and has particularly close ties to Achievement First, Inc., the large charter school chain with schools in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island. Achievement First’s CEO is a key player on the Relay School of Education’s Board of Directors.
Charter school advocate Jonathan Sackler, who help fund Achievement First and sits on its Board of Directors is one of Malloy’s largest campaign contributors. A number of Malloy’s other top campaign contributors have deep connections to Achievement First and the charter school industry that has been working, so hard, to persuade the State Department of Education to overlook Relay School of Education’s poor track record and faulty Connecticut proposal.
In addition to engaging in illegal lobbying, the Relay School of Education has been violating state law and regulations by engaging in activities prior to receiving state approval.
However, despite these serious legal problems and a proposal deemed insufficient by a number of experts, State Department of Education officials are pushing for a quick approval of the Relay School of Education’s application at today’s State Board of Education meeting.
If Malloy’s appointees on the State Board of Education approve the Relay School of Education’s proposal, Connecticut’s Attorney General, the Office of State Ethics and the State Auditors should immediately open an investigation into the role Governor Malloy’s administration or his campaign contributors played in tilting executive decision making in favor of the Relay School of Education.
Connecticut’s students, parents, teachers, public schools and taxpayers deserve better.