Trumbull postpones Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Testing for juniors

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Only 26 of Trumbull High School’s 530 juniors showed up to take last Friday’s Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test of a test.  Earlier in the week, only 47 (less than 10 percent) of the town’s high school juniors participated in that day’s portion of the test.

In response, Trumbull has postponed this week’s Common Core testing for juniors.

This comes despite repeated claims by the Malloy administration and its apologists that the implementation of the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test of a test is going well.

The truth is the attempt to force students to take the inappropriate Common Core test is an unmitigated disaster, especially when it comes to high school juniors.

The magnitude of the growing problems was laid out last week in a Wait, What? article entitled, “Opt out movement grows amid Common Core testing disasters.”

Despite the Malloy administration’s misguided program to intimidate parents into thinking that they do not have the right to opt their children out of the inappropriate Common Core Test of a test, towns across Connecticut are reporting that many parents aren’t being so easily intimidated.

The opt out or boycott effort is especially strong among parents and students who are in high school.

Governor Malloy, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and the other proponents of the Common Core and its associated Common Core Testing scheme continue to claim that the Common Core is the mechanism to ensure students are college and career ready.

However, in a display of their utter ignorance about the college prep and selection process, these non-educators decided try to force high school juniors to take the Common Core Test of a test at exactly the time of year when high school juniors are preparing for and taking the SATs, ACTs, and working to improve their grades, especially if they are taking more advanced AP, honors and other college credit courses.

By this time in the college prep process, high school juniors are well aware that only an idiot would try to require them to focus on the Common Core when they need to be engaged in the activities that will actually get them into college.

In response to the stupidity displayed by the developers and supporters of the Common Core Test, parents are opting their children out of the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test or students are simply not showing up for the faulty computer-based exam.

At last week’s State Board of Education meeting, Stephen P. Wright, who is a member of the State Board and the former Chairman of the Trumbull Board of Education, joined the Malloy administration in voting to re-commit the state and its public schools to the Common Core and Common Core Testing program.

But Malloy’s political appointees failed to even take the time to discuss the opt out issue or address the problems associated with trying to force juniors to take the Common Core test.

It is a telling statement about the State Board of Education’s lack of connection with reality that Trumbull’s own Board of Education Chairman either didn’t know or didn’t tell fellow Board members that parents and students in his community were leading the revolt against the Common Core Test.

Sadly, Trumbull’s Steven Wright isn’t the only official out of touch about the genuine problems and concerns about the Common Core and its testing program.

New Haven’s Superintendent of Schools, Garth Harries, recently joined the Malloy administration’s ongoing efforts to mislead Connecticut’s public school parents.

Parroting the letter supplied by Commissioner Pryor, New Haven’s Superintendent wrote,

 ”This letter is in response to your request to have your children out-out of mandated state testing, which will be administered this spring…please understand that federal and state laws required that all public-school students be tested, so New Haven Public Schools has no degree of freedom in matter.”

New Haven Superintendent Garth Harries adds,

 “…state law also does not permit parents to exempt their children from taking the state assessment”  

While Harries and the other superintendents who sent out the template letter supplied by Commissioner Pryor can claim they are only following orders, there is absolutely no excuse for their inappropriate and unprofessional effort to mislead the parents and children they are sworn to help.

To restate the obvious, any superintendent, principal or other school administrator who sends out the lies and misleading information provided by the Malloy administration should be held accountable for their decision to disregard their fundamental responsibility to their local schools, students, parents and teachers.

NEWS FLASH: Its official – choice means Friendship Charter School or nothing

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In a brazen effort to hand over Hartford’s Clark Elementary School to Friendship Charter Schools of Washington D.C. and divert more scarce public funds to another out-of-state charter school management company, a special meeting of the Hartford Board of Education has suddenly been called for tomorrow to approve a resolution “requesting” that Stefan Pryor, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, use his authority to simply hand Clark Elementary over to Friendship Charter Schools without any further debate or discussion.

As reported in multiple blog posts here at Wait, What?, this extraordinary abuse of power has been playing out for the last few months.

The Clark School “turnaround” process has suddenly became a case study in how the corporate education reform industry really works.

And in this case, the concept of “school choice” has been corrupted to mean that Clark School parents, teachers and the greater community must accept Friendship Charter School as their new master or Commissioner Stefan Pryor will withhold $1.5 million that was allocated to improve the neighborhood school.

Of course, a large chunk of that “new” money will be used to pay for the “services” of Friendship Charter School.

Regardless of the political spin coming from the corporate education reformers, the truth is as follows;

When Clark Elementary School’s parents, teachers and community were told that their school was going to be handed over to Achievement First, Inc., the large charter school management company founded by Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor…

The Clark parents said NO! – “We want Choices.”

And the Achievement First, Inc. proposal was defeated.

In response to this development, Commissioner Pryor, his senior staff, and high-ranking administrators for the Hartford School System decided that the new “choice” would be Friendship Charter Schools, a Washington D.C. based charter school management company.

Although the Clark parents continued to say – “We want Choices,” those in power decided “choice” is not the selection of multiple options but simply a decision of Friendship Charter School or nothing.

As internal emails, documents and first hand reports reveal, a strategy was developed by Pryor’s State Department of Education, Hartford Board of Education administrators and corporate education reform organizations to “persuade”  the Clark parents that handing their school over to Friendship was effectively their only choice.

To implement this political strategy of deception, state and city officials used a combination of public and private funds to pay for a campaign that was orchestrated and coordinated by a series of education reform groups including Achieve Hartford!, Hartford Area Rally Together (H.A.R.T) and Michele Rhee’s StudentsFirst.

The gory details will continue to leak out in the coming days, but the strategy reached its zenith today when these education reform groups handed out flyers instructing Clark Parents to meet late tomorrow afternoon at that Clark School, don tee-shirts and march to the Hartford Board of Education meeting to demand the Hartford Board of Education approve Friendship before the state withdraws the $1.5 million needed to help improve their school.

Gone is the discussion of providing Clark School parents with the range of choices they wanted to hear about.

Last week’s site visit to New York City that would have allowed Clark’s parents to examine other options was cancelled and will now not be rescheduled.

The group’s planned site visit to Cincinnati to look at other school options has suddenly disappeared, as well.

And the Clark School Governance Committee’s vote in favor of seeking multiple options has been “re-interpreted” as a vote for Friendship Charter School.

Check back for additional details as they become available…

But as far as the corporate education reform industry is concerned, the only thing that stands between them and control of another local Connecticut neighborhood school, its students and millions in taxpayer money that comes with it is the following resolution that will be taken up tomorrow at 5:15 p.m. by the Hartford Board of Education.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT: the Board hereby requests that the Commissioner exercise his statutory authority pursuant to Connecticut General Statute § 10-233h(d) and develop and impose a turnaround plan for Clark that includes Friendship as the lead partner with responsibility for the day-to-day management and administration of Clark; and

BE IT THEREFORE FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: if the Commissioner exercises his statutory authority pursuant to Connecticut General Statute § 10-233h(d) and develops and imposes a turnaround plan for Clark that includes Friendship as the lead partner with responsibility for the day-to-day management and administration of Clark then the Board will negotiate the financial impact of the plan with the exclusive bargaining units for Clark certified employees in accordance with Connecticut General Statute § 10-153S(c).

RECOMMENDATION That the Hartford Board of Education authorizes the Superintendent to approve the resolution requesting Commissioner’s Exercise of Statutory Authority relative to John C. Clark Turnaround Committee.

You can also read more about this developing issue at the Real Hartford Blog – http://www.realhartford.org/2014/04/07/boe-to-vote-on-edu-colonialism-at-clark-school/

Clark Elementary School parents played like puppets

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As Wait, What? readers will recall, first came the effort to hand Hartford’s Clark Elementary School over to Achievement First, Inc., the charter school management company formed by Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor.

When parents, teachers and the Hartford Federation of Teachers fought back, the backroom deal between Pryor, his State Department of Education staff, out-going Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and some of her senior staff collapsed.

But not to be outdone, Commissioner Stefan Pryor and his aides refocused their Clark Elementary School privatization effort, this time looking to hand the Hartford Public School over to a Washington D.C. based charter school company known as Friendship Charter Schools.

A batch of internal emails recently acquired by Wait, What? reveals just how deep the conspiracy to play Clark’s parents goes.

The emails paint a disgusting and potentially even illegal effort to give a private company a no-bid contract to run a Connecticut public school, all at taxpayer expense.

The emails reveal that the fix was in for the Clark Elementary School and its students, parents and teachers long before anyone from Clark was involved in the process.

From the very beginning of their effort, Connecticut State Department of Education employee, Andrew Ferguson, has served as Pryor’s point person in the widespread effort to force Clark to “accept” Friendship Charter School Company as their new masters.

The emails also make clear that the strategy moved forward with the help of a number of senior Hartford Board of Education employees, including Superintendent Kishimoto.

On February 13, 2014, long before the Clark School Turnaround Committee had even begun the extensive process of assessing what would be the best solution to improve academic performance at their school, Andrew Ferguson and Oliver Barton, a Portfolio Director for the Hartford Board of Education, were already working on how best to insert Friendship Charter Schools successfully into the final plan.

Concerning an upcoming forum, Andrew Ferguson wrote,

“Do you want Friendship to attend?”

To which the City of Hartford’s Oliver Barton responded,

 “I don’t think we’re there yet….If we get enough of the committee to a readiness level, we could have them up to discuss how a partnership would actually work.

At the same time, investigative blogs published on Wait, What? started to shine a light on the growing conspiracy.  NEWS FLASH: Pryor reportedly giving Hartford’s Clark Elementary School to Washington D.C. Charter School Chain (February 10, 2014) and Corporate Education Reform Industry targets students, parents and teachers of Clark Elementary School (Feb 13, 2014).

In response to the 2nd Wait, What? post,  Kevin McCaskill, the Hartford Board of Education’s Director of School Design and Programming, wrote to Oliver Barton warning him,

“Jonathan Pelto again on the blog – talking about the CSDE’s attempts to privitize.”

To which Oliver Barton responded,

“Clark parents spoke with Vanessa at courant to disput blog claim that the model is predecided.  Should be in tomorrow, wed.” (Spelling mistakes are original parts of email)

Fears that the strategy wasn’t taking shape fast enough appeared just two weeks later when, on February 26, 2014, Paul Holzer, the Executive Director of Achieve Hartford! wrote to Oliver Barton and Kevin McCaskill.

Achieve Hartford! is the corporate funded lobbying and advocacy group dedicated to privatizing Hartford’s schools and implementing the corporate education reform industry’s political agenda to undermine public education in Connecticut.

In his email to the two Hartford Board of Education employees, Achieve Hartford’s Paul Holzer wrote,

“…The [Clark] parents seem to be playing into the pockets of the AFT…”

And Holzer added,

“I just need to know from the District’s perspective how this is playing out against the game plan, so to speak.”

Taken in total, the various emails back and forth between the Malloy administration, the Hartford Board of Education employees, Friendship Charter School and outside education reform advocacy groups explain how hard these “public” officials have been working to force the Clark School community to accept their “destiny” of seeing their school handed over to a private corporation named Friendship Charter Schools.

The communications also reveal an utter disdain and disregard for Hartford’s teachers and especially for the Hartford Federation of Teachers.

And although the process raises serious ethical and legal questions about state and local public officials using their positions to steer public dollars to private corporations, the Malloy administration clearly believes that it has “won” the battle.

A sign of their arrogant sense of accomplishment could be seen just this week.  Although the future of Clark Elementary School wasn’t even on the recent State Board of Education’s agenda, a group of Clark Parents were persuaded to sign up and spoke “in favor” of the so-called “Friendship Charter School Partnership,” despite the fact that just a week earlier Friendship Charter had withdrawn their proposal to run Clark Elementary.

This latest move by Pryor, Hartford, Achieve Hartford! and Friendship Charter Schools is nothing short of a late breaking effort to isolate and undermine the role the Clark’s teachers and the guaranteed role that the Hartford Federation of Teachers is supposed to play in the turnaround process.

This package of emails is yet another reminder of just how committed the Malloy administration has become in their effort to silence parents, teachers and public school advocates as part of their ongoing effort to push through their corporate education reform industry agenda.

Sarah Darer Littman’s MUST READ – “A Discouraging Day for Democracy and Education.”

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In her latest CT News Junkie column, Sarah Darer Littman confronts those that are celebrating their latest efforts to buy up the public policy making process at the federal and state level.

In Washington it was the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the McCutcheon v. FEC case that removes the limit on the amount of money individuals can give to all political campaigns.

In Hartford it was Governor Malloy’s State Board of Education and their ongoing efforts to undermine, demean and demoralize public education while promoting Malloy’s charter school privatization scheme.

Upon watching Malloy’s political appointees in action at the State Board of Education meeting, Sarah Darer Littman concludes,

What we witnessed Wednesday is called “a done deal.” Although both the Courant and the CT Post reported the day before the hearing that Commissioner Stefan Pryor was only going to recommend approving two of proposed charters, once the crowds from Bridgeport and Stamford left, Charles Jaskiewicz asked, “Why are we delaying the opportunity to front-load success? . . . My feeling is all these schools should be approved.” Taylor announced that Pryor just “happened” to have a resolution to approve the two additional schools already prepared.

And thus, the appointed state Board of Education, against the expressed votes of two elected city school boards and with ample evidence of the negative financial impact to the existing public schools in the cities involved, voted to approve these new charter schools.

American democracy is dying and despite their press releases to the contrary, Connecticut Democrats are aiding and abetting its demise as surely as the Republicans who brought the court case of McCutcheon vs. FEC. It will come back to haunt them in November.

As Littman makes clear, public policy has become a commodity to be bought and sold.  Big donors are more than willing to write out the campaign checks and many of our elected and appointed officials are more than happy to do their bidding.

The proof of this corrupt system can be seen right here in Connecticut.

Do take the time to read Sarah Darer Littman’s entire column at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/a_discouraging_day_for_democracy_and_education/

State Board of Education is tone-deaf to needs of the children

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Wendy Lecker, fellow public school advocates and columnist has done it again!

In here latest MUST READ column published in this weekend’s Stamford Advocate and other Hearst media outlets, Wendy shines the light of truth on the Malloy administration’s unrelenting effort to undermine and privatize Connecticut public education system.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his political appointees have pushed their corporate education reform agenda.

While Malloy’s effort has paid off in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to fund his political aspirations, the blood money has come at the cost of our state’s students, teachers, parents and public schools.

As Wendy Lecker writes, the Malloy anti-public education effort was in full-swing this week as the “Connecticut State Board of Education demonstrated how not to make public policy.”

In a piece entitled “State board tone-deaf to needs of the child,” Wendy explains,

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s appointed board trampled local control and democracy by ramming through resolutions that completely disregarded the parents, teachers and communities impacted by their decisions.

Last month, Republican legislators forced a public hearing on legislation calling for a moratorium on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards until the state could assess the implementation’s financial and educational impact.

Ninety-five percent of parents submitting testimony favored a moratorium on the Common Core, as did 91 percent of teachers, 95 percent of citizens not identifying as parents or teachers and 87.5 percent of local elected officials.

Unfazed by the outpouring of concern, the State Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution demanding the immediate implementation of the Common Core and its tests.

In even more arrogant disregard for Connecticut communities, the board approved four new charter schools: Great Oaks Charter and Capital Harbor Prep Charter in Bridgeport, the Booker T. Washington Charter in New Haven and the Stamford Charter School for Excellence in Stamford.

Wendy Lecker adds,

“…the state will divert $85 million dollars over the next few years to charter schools in Bridgeport that serve only 1,600 children. The new charters would drain more than $13 million more from the public schools.

Bridgeport’s board of education and elected parent’s council passed resolutions calling for a moratorium on all charter schools in their city.

These local officials and citizens explained the duty to serve all children in Bridgeport. They noted the flaws in the charter applications, including the serious questions about the companies’ ability to serve students with disabilities or English Language Learners.

Yet the tone-deaf state board voted to force two more charter schools on Bridgeport.

The State Board of Education’s approval of a new charter school in Stamford was equally appalling.

Stamford’s elected board of education voted to oppose the Stamford charter application.

Stamford parents started a petition to oppose the charter school which garnered more than 800 signatures in 48 hours. The Bronx charter school company had a petition up for a month trying to drum up support for the charter, but could only muster 17 signatures.

At the SBE meeting, Stamford officials and parents were united in explaining that Stamford’s integrated schools have closed the achievement gap by double digits in the last seven years. By contrast, the Bronx charter operator has a large and growing achievement gap in its school and offered nothing new to Stamford. In fact, when asked by Stamford’s superintendent why she chose this city, the Bronx operator was unable to respond.

Despite the evidence, the state board voted to give the charter school company more than $4 million for a school of only 392 students while leaving Stamford’s 16,000 public school students underfunded.

Wendy Lecker concludes her column with,

As Bridgeport resident and former NAACP president Carolyn Nah testified, “all children” does not just mean all children in charter schools — it means all public school students. Something is wrong when political appointees in Hartford favor a handful of students, trampling the decisions of democratically elected representatives and parents who are in our schools every day, working to protect the educational interest of every child.

Please take the time to go read the full column and send it to families and friends by going to: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Lecker-State-board-tone-deaf-to-needs-of-the-5378068.php

 

Opt out movement grows amid Common Core testing disasters

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Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s PR operation says the implementation of the Common Core Smarter Balanced Testing Assessment Test of a Test is going well.

When Governor Malloy’s State Board of Education met this week they had time to adopt a resolution re-committing Connecticut to “immediately implementing” the Common Core but didn’t even bother to discuss the opt out issue or whether Commissioner Pryor had acted inappropriately when he engaged in an extensive campaign to mislead parents into thinking that they didn’t have the right to take their students out of the inappropriate and wasteful Common Core test.

Meanwhile the Stamford Advocate reported that, “While some parents of high school juniors are looking to have their children excused from taking a weeklong standardized test in May, students seem to be taking the imposition of yet another test in stride.”  The news article was referring to the new 7½ hour-long Smarter Balanced Assessment Test of a test that will be burdening most Connecticut students, teachers and classrooms this spring.

But stories are pouring in from around the state that paint a very different picture.

In Cheshire, the Common Core Testing machine came to a halt the other day when the software crashed their internet.

In a town not that far away, a special education teacher wrote about having to watch some of her students with special needs start to cry as they tried to log on and maneuver through the complex on-line test.

Meanwhile, at Trumbull High School more than a third of the junior class had submitted opt out letters and when the Common Core test actually began yesterday morning, only 47 out of 530 students showed up to take the test.

Teachers at two other Connecticut public high schools reported that more than seven in ten of their high school juniors reported that they quickly clicked through the common Core test filling in non-answers or didn’t even bother taking the test after signing in.

Rather than explain the truth to Connecticut’s parents, students and teachers, the Malloy administration has turned ensured that the Common Core Smarter Balanced Test of a test is a nothing more than a complete and utter farce.

Malloy’s new charter schools – 1st up the Booker T. Washington Charter School in New Haven

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Time to review the facts surrounding Malloy’s new charter schools…

Number #1: The Booker T. Washington Charter School.

The Booker T. Washington School may very well be Connecticut’s first foray into using public funds to pay for what appears to be a religiously connected school.  (We’ll pretend for a moment that such a move is not unconstitutional).

According to the charter school application approved by Malloy’s State Board of Education yesterday, there is a rather unseemly and bizarre connection between the Booker T. Washington Charter School, the charter school management company known as Jumoke/FUSE Inc. and the Varick Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

The application begins with the statement,

“The Booker T. Washington Academy is the brainchild of Reverend Eldren D. Morrison, Pastor of Varick Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, New Haven, Connecticut (“Varick Memorial”)

The Governing Board of Directors for the Booker T. Washington Academy includes the following individuals,

  • Reverend Eldren D. Morrison: Founder of Booker T. Washington Academy, Pastor of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church, New Haven, Connecticut and New Haven, Community Leader
  • Jesse Phillips: Chief of Staff to Rev. Morrison at Varick Memorial AME Zion Church, New Haven, CT, and Community Economic Advisor)
  • Stacia Morrison: Academic Assistant, Bridgeport Public Schools and First Lady of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church, New Haven, Connecticut).

And on the next page of the application its states,  “Stacia Morrison is currently a member of the Board of Directors. She intends to apply for a staff position with the Academy and, if hired, will resign from the Board.”

The cost to Connecticut taxpayers to get the Booker T. Washington Charter School up and running over the next five years will exceed $27 million.

In addition, the taxpayers of New Haven will continue to pay for the transportation costs and special education costs of students attending the privately run Booker T. Washington Charter School.

A $27 million dollar public expenditure for the “brainchild” of a church minister and the school’s governing board will include the minister, his assistant and his wife … at least until she gets a  job at the school at which time she will resign her position on the governing board.

Interestingly no one on the State Board of Education even pressed the issue of the association between the school and a church or the notion that the founder’s wife will serve on the Board of Directors until she gets a state-funded job at the school.

For more read Wait, What? Post: Merging Church and State – The Booker T. Washington Charter School

 

The second rather unseemly and bizarre issue is that the new Booker T. Washington Charter School will be run by a charter school management company called the Family Urban Schools of Excellence, Inc.

Just two years ago there was nothing even called FUSE Inc. and now the charter school management company has a senior corporate officer sitting on the Connecticut State Board of Education, was just approved to run its fourth school in Connecticut and it still had time to take over management of a public school 1,500 miles away in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

FUSE Inc. is better known as Jumoke Academy Inc.  Their initial charter school is in Hartford and is called the Jumoke Academy.

Like all charter schools in Connecticut, the Jumoke Academy has refused to take its fair share of English language learners or students with special education needs.

With the passage of Governor Malloy’s “education reform” law in 2012, Stefan Pryor used his new-found power to take over Hartford’s Milner Elementary School and give it to Jumoke Academy to manage via a no bid contract.

The agreement was struck so quickly that the state and Jumoke didn’t even have a signed contract until well into the new school year.

The deal was particularly strange since the Jumoke Academy had never had a non-English speaking student in its six-year history and yet was given control of Milner Elementary, a school in which approximately 40 percent of students didn’t speak English or went home to households in which English was not the primary language.

A review of the demographics of the two schools made it clear that Jumoke could not possibly have been the best management company to take over the Hartford neighborhood school.

Percent of Students not fluent in English Milner School Jumoke Academy
2010 25% 0%

 

Percent of Students going home to non-English speaking households Milner School Jumoke Academy
2010 39% 0%

 

Percent of Students with special education needs Milner School Jumoke Academy
2010 11% 4%

 

To facilitate the expansion of his growing charter school company, Jumoke’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Sharpe, set up a holding company called the Family Urban Schools of Excellence, Inc. and named himself the new company’s Chief Executive Officer.

Less than a year later, although the State Department of Education had no data about the level of success Jumoke/FUSE Inc. was having at Hartford’s Milner School, Stefan Pryor and the State Board of Education gave Jumoke/FUSE, Inc. another no-bid contract, this time to take over the Dunbar Elementary School in Bridgeport.

In the meantime, Governor Malloy nominated Andrea Comer, the Chief Operating Officer of Jumoke/FUSE Inc. to serve as a member of the State Board of Education — the very entity responsible for approving charter school applications and holding charter schools accountable.

And now the State Board of Education approved Jumoke/FUSE Inc.’s application to open the Booker T. Washington Charter School in New Haven.

But as tens of millions of public funds are diverted to this lucky company, the most interesting development of all may well be that while Jumoke/FUSE Inc. claims to be focused on operating schools in Connecticut,  their Booker T. Washington application failed to mention that just a few months ago, Jumoke/FUSE Inc. was able to get a contract from the Louisiana Recovery School District in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to take over a school there. [The Louisiana Recovery School District is the state entity that Paul Vallas ran before he made his way to Bridgeport].

Imagine, a charter school management company that has been given two no-bid contracts from the Malloy administration to run public neighborhood schools and still managed to get control of a school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

And although there is no data about how they are doing with their Connecticut schools or what time commitments they have made to their Baton Rouge school, not a single member of Malloy’s State Board of Education asked Jumoke/FUSE Inc. how it was going to have the time to open yet another charter school in Connecticut.

For more read Wait, What? blogs Friends in high places = lots of money! and The Malloy/Pryor Jumoke Charter School Gravy Train.

A very bad day for public education in Connecticut

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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.

Malloy goes all in with charters!

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Today will go down in history as the day Dannel “Dan” Malloy decided to fully align himself with the corporate education reform industry and sell out Connecticut’s public schools once and for all.

Moments ago, Malloy’s State Board of Education approved four new charter schools at a time when Malloy has left Connecticut’s public schools woefully underfunded.

Malloy’s State Board of Education approved the following charter schools,

Jumoke Academy’s Booker T. Washington Academy (New Haven),

Newark’s Great Oaks Charter School (Bridgeport).

Steve Perry’s Capital Prep Harbor School (Bridgeport)

The Bronx/Stamford Charter School for Excellence (Stamford)

As noted, the move makes it absolutely clear that Connecticut Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy is the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic Governor in the United States.

Mark down the date – April 2, 2014.

Today is the day that Governor Malloy made it painfully clear how dangerous he has become to the parents, teachers and public school advocates who fight so hard to support Connecticut’s public education system.

Malloy sells out Public Education

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Led by Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, in a stunning commitment to Malloy’s privatization agenda, the State Board of Education just approved two new charter schools.

Jumoke Academy’s Booker T. Washington Academy (New Haven),

And

Newark’s Great Oaks Charter School (Bridgeport).

The Board is now considering a motion to approve two more charter schools,

Steve Perry’s Capital Prep Harbor School (Bridgeport)

And

The Bronx/Stamford Charter School for Excellence (Stamford)

The move drives home the realization that Connecticut Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy is the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic Governor in the United States.

Mark down the date – April 2, 2014.

Today is the day that Governor Malloy made it painfully clear how dangerous he has become to the parents, teachers and public school advocates who fight so hard to support Connecticut’s public education system.

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