Malloy budget targets most vulnerable among us

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As we know, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy promised that he would not propose or accept any tax increase if he was elected to a second term  and then went ahead and proposed over $900 million in revenue “enhancements” in his budget address this week.

Malloy also used his re-election campaign to promise that he would maintain funding for local cities and towns and would not cut vital services.

On budget day, in the same document he proposed flat funding Connecticut’s Education Cost Sharing education funding formula; he cut about $70 million from a variety of important public education programs that assist local schools as they seek to serve some of Connecticut’s most vulnerable children.

And as if all of that wasn’t revolting enough, Malloy reserved his most drastic and draconian cuts for some of the state’s most important social service programs.

In a powerful and MUST READ commentary piece, Sarah Darer Littman lays out the truth about Malloy’s devastating budget plan in her commentary piece at the CTNewsjunkie;

Governor’s Budget Ignores Evidence, Hits Vulnerable (By Sarah Darer Littman)

Last week, after two years of hearing testimony, the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission issued its draft report.

One hundred and thirty pages of the 198-page report relate to mental health issues, and the importance of building “systems of care that actively foster healthy individuals, families and communities,” particularly in light of research showing that “approximately half of young people qualify for some behavioral health diagnosis by the time they reach 18.”

Yet less than a week later, when Gov. Malloy revealed his biennial budget for 2016-2017, it was as if the Commission had produced an expensive paperweight, for all the attention it received from the administration.

According to an analysis by CT Voices for Children,  the “Children’s Budget” – state government spending that directly benefits young people – makes up only a third of the overall state budget, yet over half (54 percent) of the governor’s proposed cuts come from programs affecting children and families.

That’s before we even get to health care and education.

The Sandy Hook report specifically mentioned the importance making it easier for families to obtain mental health services for young people. Yet the budget reduces funding for the Young Adult Services program by $2.7 million (3.3 percent) and reduces funding for school based health centers by $1 million (8.5 percent).

In the Department of Education, the governor plans to eliminate funding for “lower priority or non-statewide programs” by $ 6.2 million. Here we’re talking about programs such as Leadership, Education, Athletics in Partnership (LEAP); Connecticut PreEngineering Program; Connecticut Writing Project; neighborhood youth centers; Parent Trust; science program for Educational Reform Districts; wrap-around services; Parent Universities; school health coordinator pilot; technical assistance – Regional Cooperation; Bridges to Success; Alternative High School and Adult Reading; and School to Work Opportunities. Not only that,he’s cutting $6.49 million annually for Extended School Building Hours and Summer School components of the Priority School District Grant (i.e. grant program for districts with greatest academic need).

Wrap-around services, longer school days, and enrichment for students, particularly in the more disadvantaged districts, were something Malloy touted when he was selling his education reform package back in 2012. “It’s not as if we don’t know what works,” Malloy said in an article in the New Britain Herald: “wrap-around services, longer school days and longer school years, Saturday enrichment options.”

On top of what Malloy said, there’s over 100 years worth of research on summer learning loss. It disproportionately affects lower-income students whose parents can’t afford to send them to pricey summer camps or other enrichment activities. What’s more, the effects are cumulative, contributing to the achievement gap.

Take the time to read Sarah Darer Littman’s entire commentary piece.

You can find it at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/op-ed_governors_budget_ignores_evidence_hits_vulnerable/

Is your public school student a “failure” – the Common Core SBAC Test says probably yes!

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IMPORTANT:  Parents, teachers, school administrators, elected officials – PLEASE READ

A growing number of Connecticut parents are beginning to understand that in just a few weeks, the state’s public schools will start giving the new Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test.

But the devastating impact of these tests is yet to be fully understood.

Like all standardized tests, the Common Core SBAC discriminates against students who come from poor households, students who are not fluent in the English language and students who have special education needs.

But worse, unlike the traditional Connecticut Master Test which was more or less designed to determine whether students were learning what was being taught at their grade level in Connecticut, the Common Core SBAC test is rigged to determine that the vast majority of Connecticut students are deemed failures because they are not at “goal” level.

First off, the Common Core SBAC exam fails to test students on what they have been learning in Connecticut.  Instead the Common Core SBAC test is seeking to determine if students have reached a level that is about two grade levels above the present curriculum.

Second, and even more troubling, Governor Malloy’s administration approved Common Core SBAC pass/fail “cut scores” that are intentionally set to ensure that as many as six in ten children fail to meet goal in English and as many as seven in ten fail to reach goal in Math.

To repeat, the Common Core SBAC pass/fail rate is intentionally set to ensure that the vast majority of public school students are deemed failures, and making the situation even more unfair, the Common Core SBAC scheme particularly targets minority students, poor students, children who are not proficient in English and students with disabilities that require special education services.

Although tens of thousands of students participated in last year’s Common Core SBAC “Test of the Test,” Governor Malloy’s administration has refused to release the test results fearing, no doubt, that by informing parents, teachers, elected officials and the public of the results of the unfair Common Core SBAC test, opposition to these inappropriate standardized tests will grow exponentially.

It is unclear exactly what data that they Malloy’s Department of Education has been given by the SBAC organization, but documents available through the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Coalition (SBAC) reveal that data from last year’s massive testing program were available at least as early as December 22, 2014.

A review of the national results of the SBAC data makes it extremely clear why the Malloy administration would want to cover up and keep the Connecticut SBAC results because they clearly show that the Common Core SBAC test is even more discriminatory, unfair and inappropriate than critics ever imagined.

Here is just a quick snapshot of some of the Common Core SBAC results to date.

#1 Fourth Grade Math Scores

Demographic % at goal according to the Connecticut Mastery Test 2011 % at goal according to the Common Core SBAC Test 2014 (National Data)
Girls 66% 36%
Boys 68% 39%
African American 38% 15%
Latino 45% 21%
White 78% 43%
Special Education 36% 13%
ELL/English Language Learners 27% 10%
Free Lunch 41% 22%

 

#2 Fourth Grade Writing/English Language Arts Scores

Demographic % at goal according to the Connecticut Mastery Test 2011 % at goal according to the Common Core SBAC Test 2014 (National Data)
Girls 73% 46%
Boys 59% 36%
African American 42% 24%
Latino 44% 25%
White 76% 48%
Special Education 21% 16%
ELL/English Language Learners 27% 10%
Free Lunch 42% 27%

 

#4 Eighth Grade Math Scores

Demographic % at goal according to the Connecticut Mastery Test 2011 % at goal according to the Common Core SBAC Test 2014 (National Data)
Girls 67% 32%
Boys 66% 33%
African American 37% 16%
Latino 39% 19%
White 79% 40%
Special Education 28% 8%
ELL/English Language Learners 13% 5%
Free Lunch 36% 20%

 

 

#4 Eight Grade Writing/English Language Arts Scores

Demographic % at goal according to the Connecticut Mastery Test 2011 % at goal according to the Common Core SBAC Test 2014 (National Data)
Girls 73% 49%
Boys 58% 34%
African American 40% 23%
Latino 39% 29%
White 76% 49%
Special Education 20% 9%
ELL/English Language Learners 9% 5%
Free Lunch 36% 29%

 

After reviewing this data, parents should take immediate steps to opt their children out of the discriminatory Common Core SBAC test.

And then they should be asking why this data has not been shared with local boards of education and parents.

The time to protect your children from the inappropriate Common Core SBAC testing scam is now!

 

Source of Data

CMT via Connecticut State Department of Education CEDAR

SBAC Field Test Data by Demographic Group, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium 21/22/2014

Dan Malloy’s cut to end all cuts – Bring out your dead (or don’t as the case may be)

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Over the day and half since Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy announced his state budget plan, advocacy groups across the political spectrum have begun to weigh in on the unprecedented list of cuts he has proposed to a broad array of programs and services.

In the coming days and weeks Connecticut residents will learn a lot more about the impact of Governor Malloy’s proposed budget and Connecticut’s General Assembly will have to craft a final budget to vote on and return to the Governor for his signature.

But as the author of Wait, What? let me just take moment to make a personal observation…Perhaps I’ve lost all perspective about what it takes to be a civilized society or maybe I really am nothing but a big spending liberal, but for someone who thought they had seen it all, the following proposed cut in Malloy budget exceeds even my cynical sensibilities or expectations of what to expect from Dan “Dannel” Malloy.

If you look deep, deep inside Governor Malloy’s $40 billion proposed budget you’ll find a cut that ends up leaving one asking….

Really?   Is this how Dan Malloy is seeking to fulfill his duty as Connecticut’s highest ranking elected official?

The budget cut purports save $1.7 million next year and another $1.7 million the year after that.

The language describing the budget cut can be found within the budget of the Department of Social Services and its reads as follow,

  • Reduce Burial Benefit Provided Under the State Administered General Assistance Program

By explanation the text adds,

“DSS provides up to $1,800 for funeral and burial expenses of indigent persons who pass away without ability to pay for the cost of a funeral and burial…This proposal reduces the SAGA burial benefit to $1,000, which is more in line with surrounding states.”

My first response can’t or shouldn’t be printed in a publicly accessible blog.

My second was a feeling of bewilderment that Governor Malloy and his budget director, Ben Barnes, would explain away this cut by saying that the reduced burial benefit of $1,000 is “more in line with surrounding states.”  [Wait, What?]

And my third reaction was to take to the Internet only to discover the following;

A cremation service in New Haven advertises that it will take care of the task for $1,275.  But that of course doesn’t include any flowers, a certified copy of the Death Certificate, a “residential death requiring an extra man,” mailing of ashes within the United States, scattering of ashes, pacemaker removal, notice of death to the newspaper or a private one hour viewing, let alone any burial plot or tomb stone.

Another Connecticut company provides a package for $1,495 but that package “does not include a service or an urn.”  Nor does it cover the costs of disposal of the ashes, the burial plot, tomb stone etc.

While another nearby company promotes a basic package for only $975  which includes, “the removal of remains from place of death, transportation to crematory, cremation container, sanitary care of deceased, storage of remains for mandatory 48 hour waiting period or until cremation can take place.  They state that memorial urns are extra and go for $105 and up.  Price does not include burial plot, tomb stone, etc.

And yet another firm, whose cost is well in excess of $1,000, will actually throw in the obituary for free, but explains that, “We will hold the ashes for up to 10 business days for the family to pick up between Monday – Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 up,” but adds that, “after 10 days, there is a holding fee of $85/month or portion thereof.”

Now, it can certainly be said that restraining extravagant government spending is an important and laudable goal but Dan Malloy’s proposal seems more in line with the legendary Ebeneezer Scrooge was once observed,

“If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Author’s End-note:

I mean really Dan?  A fellow Connecticut citizen falls on hard times an dies and your budget proposal is to cut the allocation for funeral and burial expenses of indigent persons who pass away without ability to pay for the cost of a funeral and burial from $1,800 to $1,000?

All in order to save $1.7 million a year in a two year, $40 billion budget?

This being the 21st Century in the state with the highest per capita income in the United States.

Really?

The Biggest Winner in Malloy’s Budget – Charter Schools

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Let’s hear it for turning over our scarce public funds to the Corporate Education Reform Industry!

While Governor Dannel Malloy proposes to cut funding for Connecticut’s public schools, he miraculously finds that extra money needed to open four new privately-owned, but taxpayer-funded, charter schools.

Steve Perry, the out-going principal of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford has undoubtedly popped the champagne cork and is drooling at the prospect of collecting more than $10 million in “management fees” over the next five years when his private company opens Capital Prep Harbor Charter School in Bridgeport.

And the out-of-state company that plans to replicate its Bronx based charter school in Stamford must be equally as happy.

True the Bridgeport and Stamford Boards of Education had strongly opposed both charter schools and asked the Malloy administration NOT to approve them, but the “local control is crap” governor went ahead and funded the two charter schools anyway.

Malloy is so incredibly committed to the privatization of Connecticut’s public schools that he even added funding for two more charter schools despite the fact that there are no additional, approved charter school proposals even in the pipeline.

In total Malloy is proposing to add nearly 2,000 more seats for the charter school industry in Connecticut….more seats despite the fact that charter schools remain completely unaccountable for the way they use or misuse their public funds.

And as for Malloy’s budget speech covering up the biggest cuts to public education in history, Malloy said,

“We must maintain our commitment to funding public education. While other states may choose to balance their budgets on the backs of public schools, Connecticut will not,” Malloy told legislators during his budget address. “I will not sign a budget that is balanced on the backs of our towns or our public schools.”

George Orwell and Franz Kafka would be proud!

[Of course, since the Common Core frowns on so-called fiction, our children won’t even be learning about how books like 1984 and The Trial foretold the coming of the political environment that is sweeping across our nation.]

Read it and Weep – Malloy’s budget – More money for charter schools, less money for public schools

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Governor Malloy took to the “main stage” today to outline his proposed state budget for the next two years.

Hidden inside his $40 billion plan is what may very well be Dan Malloy’s most profound statement of principle since becoming governor of Connecticut.

Although Malloy’s initial budget documents cover up some of the details, it appears that Malloy’s proposed state budget increases public funding for Connecticut’s charter school industry by approximately $37 million over the next two years.  If true, thanks to the governor’s largess and extraordinary loyalty to Connecticut’s charter schools, these privately-run, but publicly-funded corporate entities will be wallowing in an increase in funding that is well in excess of a 33 percent by the second year of this proposed biennial budget.

At the same time, Malloy actually froze Connecticut’s Educational Cost Sharing school funding formula meaning that any inflationary increases and program enhancements that take place in any Connecticut public school will come on the backs of Connecticut’s local property taxpayers.

Without significant increases in local property taxes, most of Connecticut’s public schools will be forced to reduce programs and even lay off teachers during the coming school year.

But as incredible as it is that he failed to provide any additional funding to the state’s school funding formula, is that Malloy went even further and cut record amounts of money from Connecticut’s other educational program…all while showering Connecticut’s charter schools with additional public funds.

In total, Malloy intends to cut nearly $70 million from educational programs that directly impact Connecticut’s public school children.

Malloy’s cuts include the following;

Eliminate Funding for Extended School Building Hours and Summer School Components of the Priority School District Grant – Malloy cuts $6,494,451 for each of the next two years

Eliminate Funding for “Lower Priority” Education Programs – Malloy cuts $6,202,175 for each of the next two years

Eliminate Funding for Healthy Foods Initiative –Malloy cuts $4,806,300 for each of the next two years

Reduce State Funding for Commissioner’s Network Schools – Malloy cuts $4,700,000 for each of the next two years

Eliminate State Funding for Non-Sheff Interdistrict Cooperation Programs –Malloy cuts $4,576,591 for each of the next two years

Limits on Magnet School Expansion and Funding – Malloy cuts $1,926,693 next year and $6,949,043 the following year

Reduce Funding for Youth Service Bureaus and Eliminate Youth Service Bureau Enhancements – Malloy cuts $1,309,568 for each of the next two years

Eliminate Funding for Certain Education Programs – Malloy cuts $1,262,000 for each of the next two years. Particular cuts include certain Adult Education programs, Interdistrict Cooperation programs, after School Programs, summer school pilot programs and the K-3 Reading Assessment Pilot program.

While Malloy’s truly anti-public education budget plan will come as a shock to Connecticut’s parents and taxpayers, it is Connecticut’s public school teachers that must truly be reeling from the news.

Both the American Federation of Teachers and the Connecticut Education Association endorsed Malloy’s re-election campaign and urged teachers to cast their votes for the so-called Democrat.

The Connecticut Education Association leadership actually overturned their own endorsement committee that had previously recommended that the CEA refuse to endorse either gubernatorial candidate, after meeting with both Malloy and Foley.

The American Federation of Teachers went even further.  Not only did the AFT leadership at the national and state level endorse and campaign with Malloy, but the AFT donated more than $600,000 to Malloy’s re-election operation.

 

Dan “Read My Lips” Malloy goes with $900 million plus in new revenue…

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During his campaign for re-election, Governor Dannel Malloy told Connecticut’s voters that there was no state budget deficit this year … [Despite the fact that a sea of nearly $250 million in red ink appeared after Election Day.]

And Malloy’s most consistent and outlandish claim was that he would not propose or accept any new taxes if the citizens of Connecticut re-elected him to a second term.

But in this morning’s exclusive CT Mirror story on the new state budget plan that Governor Malloy will be proposing later today, we learn that the Governor will call for more than $900 million in new revenue over the biennium, of which about $500 million of that amount will come about by repealing pre-election tax breaks that Malloy proposed and signed into law during the past two years.  Malloy is also apparently reneging on the tax cuts he said he would institute if re-elected.

CT Mirror Reports;

“The biennial budget Gov. Dannel P. Malloy intends to propose today would erase a two-year, $2.5 billion shortfall with $1.6 billion in spending cuts and $900 million in additional revenue, an attempt to say he is equitably spreading pain while keeping a pledge not to raise taxes.”

Malloy, a Democrat re-elected last fall, is proposing a three-pronged approach to his second fiscal crisis in four years: deep spending cuts, combined with additional revenue raised by deferring promised tax cuts and boosting tax receipts without changing rates.

[…]

With a proposal that relies on $900 million in new revenue, Malloy can expect a vigorous debate over what constitutes a tax increase. According to administration officials, the budget creates no new taxes, nor does it raise rates, but it generates additional revenue by restricting tax credits, eliminating exemptions and making other tax rule changes.

Malloy campaigned on a pledge not to raise taxes and to deliver more than half a billion dollars in tax cuts over the next two fiscal years.

The governor’s plan bolsters net revenues by more than $900 million over the next two years combined. It does deliver a promised sales tax exemption for over-the-counter medications, worth about $29 million.

More on Malloy’s State Budget as it becomes available later in the day.

Malloy on Corporate Education Reform Agenda – “stay the course” “even if [policies] aren’t that popular”

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NBC Connecticut political reporter Max Reiss sat down with Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy for an interview today about Malloy’s budget speech tomorrow.  It will be televised during this evening’s news.

Following the interview, the NBC reporter Tweeted;

On education, @GovMalloyOffice said he plans to “stay the course” with policies & most funding “even if some aren’t that popular right now.”

Okay Teachers Unions – American Federation of Teachers – CT Chapter and Connecticut Education Association – now would be a good time to explain how you “took him to the woodshed” and got him to change his massive anti-teacher, pro-charter school, pro-Common Core Testing, anti-public school agenda in return for your endorsement and help getting him the votes he needed to win re-election last November.

A Democratic Governor stays “all in” with the corporate education reform industry despite endorsements from the AFT and NEA affiliates in the state!  Samuel Gompers, John Lewis, Eugene Debs, Walter Reuther and many others are rolling over in their graves.

Ya know that “no tax pledge” I made during the campaign, well I lied! – Surprise

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So it’s finally official….

During last year’s gubernatorial campaign Governor Dannel “Read My Lips” Malloy repeated over and over again that he would not propose or accept any tax increases if the voters of Connecticut elected him to a second term in office.

[See 5/6/14 Wait, What Posts – Malloy’s “NO TAX” pledge will send Connecticut into the abyss or 9/3/14 Foley and Malloy are just plain wrong on taxes]

Of course, with the state of Connecticut facing a significant and growing budget deficit this year and a projected shortfall of at least $1.3 billion in next year’s state budget, the claim was never anything other than a hoax.

But hoax or not, Malloy not only stuck to his “no-tax” campaign promise but claimed that there wasn’t even a state budget deficit this year nor would there be a state budget deficit next year.

Well yesterday, the luster surrounding his absurd “no tax” pledge came off as Malloy confirmed that in his state budget address tomorrow he would be proposing to repeal the state law that eliminates the sales tax exemption on clothing costing less than $50, a law that he signed last spring and was scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2015.

Malloy told reporters, “There is a reality (that) this is a tough budget.  No one is sugar coating that.”

According to media reports, Malloy is still insisting that he is not raising taxes – although in the real world – if you propose a bill that requires Connecticut consumers to pay a 6.35 percent sales tax rate on clothing costing less than $50 — when they would not have done so without that proposal – it is called raising taxes.

But Malloy’s retort is that although consumers will actually have to pay the sales tax on clothing – starting July 1, 2015 – when they would not have otherwise been required to do so – the sales tax rate will drop from 6.35 percent to 6.20 percent on Nov. 1 2015 and will drop again to 5.95 percent on April of 2017, more than two years from now.

According to Keith Phaneuf at the CT Mirror,

“The governor tried to emphasize Monday that his focus on tax relief right now, given the limited resources available to him, “has to be middle-class-centric.”

But last May, when nonpartisan analysts were projecting the same post-election fiscal woes that they are reporting now, the governor was adamant that no taxes would rise after the election.

“I gave at the office,” he quipped, implying that the $1.8 billion in tax hikes he signed to close a big deficit in 2011 were sufficient.

As Phaneuf observes in his latest article, what’s changed?

“Since next year’s projected deficit – $1.3 billion – is the same as it was when Malloy took his no-tax-hike pledge…”

What has changed?

Well, Malloy got himself re-elected and now reality is starting to set in for the Governor and the people of Connecticut..

You can read more at; http://ctmirror.org/2015/02/16/malloy-coy-on-whether-his-plans-add-up-to-a-tax-increase/

Parents, Teachers and Taxpayers – Beware the Achievement First Inc. Money Grab in New Haven

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[This is the first in a series of articles about Achievement First Inc.’s proposed New Haven Elm City Imagine School]

Aka – The Charter School Industry’s step by step dismantling of public education in Connecticut.

This Wednesday, February 18, 2015, Governor Malloy will play his hand as to whether he will insert taxpayer funds into next year’s state budget in order to fund Steve Perry’s dream of opening a privately-owned, but publicly-funded charter school in Bridgeport.  An out-of-state company is also counting on Malloy to come through with the cash needed to expand their charter school chain into Stamford, Connecticut.

Both charter school applications were vehemently opposed by the Bridgeport and Stamford Boards of Education.

However, despite that opposition from the local officials responsible for education policy and despite the fact that Connecticut doesn’t even fund its existing public schools adequately and the fact that the State of Connecticut is facing a massive $1.4 billion projected budget deficit next year, Governor Malloy’s former Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, and Malloy’s political appointees on the State Board of Education approved four new charter school proposals last spring.

Initial funding for two of the four applications was included in this year’s state budget, New Haven’s Booker T. Washington charter school and yet another charter school for Bridgeport.

Now the charter school industry is counting on Malloy to divert even more scarce public funds away from the state’s public schools so that Steve Perry can start pulling in a $2.5 million management fee from a charter school in Bridgeport and the out-of-state company can open up a revenue stream from a new charter school in Stamford.

While most public education advocates are focused on the Malloy administration’s ongoing attempt to privatize public education via policies at the state level, the politically connected Achievement First Inc. Charter School chain is using a completely different approach as it seeks to pull off a deal in New Haven that would shift existing funds away from New Haven’s public schools and into the coffers of the Achievement First operation.

Of course, Achievement First Inc. is the charter school chain founded by Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s former commissioner of education.

Achievement First Inc. is also the charter school chain that gets the lion’s share of the $100 million in public funds that are already diverted to charter schools in Connecticut.

Achievement First’s latest gambit is called the Elm City Imagine School.  Achievement First already owns and operates the following taxpayer-funded New Haven Charter Schools;

Amistad Academy Elementary School

Amistad Academy Middle School

Amistad Academy High School

Elm City College Preparatory Elementary School

Elm City College Preparatory Middle School

Achievement First Inc. also owns charter schools in Hartford, New Haven, New York City and Rhode Island.

With the New Haven proposal, Achievement First, Inc. is attempting to side-step the entire state charter school authorization process.  They are trying to use a mechanism whereby state and local taxpayer funds would be allocated by the New Haven Board of Education directly to Achievement First’s new “experimental school.”

The only hurdle that Achievement First Inc. needs to overcome is getting the approval of the New Haven Board of Education…and it appears that they are well on the way to do just that as early as their February 23, 2015 meeting.

The New Haven Board has scheduled a second and final public hearing on the proposal tomorrow, Tuesday 2/17 at 5:30, nicely timed to take place during school vacation.

The New Haven Board of Education is not democratically elected by the citizens of New Haven.  It is one of the only boards of education in Connecticut to be appointed by the mayor of the community.

In this case, the New Haven Board of Education is appointed by Mayor Toni Harp – who, thanks to an earlier sweetheart deal – happens to sit on the Achievement First Inc. Board of Directors for the Amistad Academy schools.

Another member of the New Haven Board of Education is Alex Johnston who is the former CEO of ConnCAN.  Johnston now, “develops and implements strategies for philanthropists on education reform advocacy and political initiatives.”

ConnCAN is the charter school advocacy group that is not only associated with Achievement First Inc. but it is the entity that led the record-breaking $6 million dollar lobbying campaign in support of Malloy’s 2012 Corporate Education Reform Initiative.

ConnCAN is also the charter school advocacy group that recently held a rally on the New Haven Green to “save kids trapped in local failing public schools.

And ConnCAN is the charter school advocacy group that was created by Jonathan Sackler, who is the multi-millionaire who played such a pivotal role in helping Stefan Pryor with the creation of Achievement First Inc.

Sackler now serves on the Board of Directors for Achievement First Inc.  and the Board of Directors for ConnCAN

Most recently, Sackler and his family were the largest contributors to Malloy’s re-election effort, pumping well over $100,000 into the various committees that paid for the Governor’s campaign activities.

Achievement First’s Elm City Imagine

Achievement First’s Elm City Imagine (designed to become a K-4 school) will be Achievement First Inc.’s initial foray into the “Greenfield” model. The model designed with the help of the inventor of the computer mouse.”

Achievement First Inc. is also using public funds to insert the “Greenfield Model” into its Elm City College Prep Middle School.

Among the many controversies associated with this new proposal is that Achievement First Inc. has successfully prevented the unionization of its schools and is now looking to use even more public funds to hire employees who would have no collective bargaining rights.

Achievement First Inc. is also notorious for relying on Teach For America recruits in an effort to promote the churning of staff to keep expenses down and limit the likelihood of unionization.

Alex Johnston, the former ConnCAN CEO who and member of the New Haven Board of Education is quoted as saying

“We need statewide policies that allow educational innovations like Teach for America or Dacia’s schools [The Achievement First Inc. Charter School chain] to spread far and wide.”

[Article Update at 3pm 2/16/15 – Johnston has announced the due to the conflict of interest he will not be voting on application, although it doesn’t change much considering the political dynamics surrounding the project.]

Of course, Achievement First Inc. also made national news when it was reported that their “zero-tolerance” discipline policies led to an extraordinary number of kindergartners being suspended.

Check back for the next installment of this series.

You can also read more about the Achievement First Inc. plan via the following New Haven Independent articles;

Teachers, Parents Organize Against Charter Deal

The School Of The Future Gets A Dry Run
Teachers Union Prez Pens “Imagine” Critique
Charter Plans Detailed; Parents Weigh In
Elm City Imagine Sparks Debate
NHPS, AF Team Up On Experimental School
Elm City Charter Eyed For Futuristic “Conversion”
City’s Charter Network Hires San Francisco Firm To Design The K-8 Public School Of The Future

 

News Flash: Malloy reneges on sales clothing exemption commitment to pay for tiny cut in sales tax

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Updated – see new CT Mirror story

A Wait, What? moment if there every was one…

Nine months ago, Governor Malloy signed a bill into law that exempting clothing costing less than $50 from the state sales tax starting on July 1, 2015.  Throughout his recent campaign for re-election he promised over and over again that the his tax cuts would remain in law despite Connecticut’s budget deficits.

But today, everything changed…. And just wait till you see how he is trying to cover up his action…

Today Governor Malloy took to WFSB-TV’s Face The State to announce that later this week, when he presents his budget plan to a joint session of the Connecticut General Assembly on how to solve next year’s projected $1.4 billion budget deficit, he will be proposing a reduction in Connecticut’s sales tax from its current rate of 6.35 percent to 6.20 percent starting on November 1, 2015 (a quarter way through the coming fiscal year) and then to 5.95 percent in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Without ever telling WFSB Face the State host Dennis House how the sales tax cut would actually be paid for, Malloy had the gall to proclaim, “I think it’s a way to give some relief to the middle class as the economy keeps improving.”

What Malloy failed to explain was the he is “finding the money” for this minor cut by reneging on the cloth tax exemption that is already in law and scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2015.

So let’s all understand just what Governor Dannel Malloy is proposing.

Malloy is saying he will make a microscopic cut in the sales taxes while at the same time repealing a law that he signed that eliminates the sales tax on clothing and he saying that his proposal is designed to “give some relief to the middle class”

The CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf was the only news outlet to figure out Malloy’s incredible bait and switch tactic noting that the,

“[Clothing Tax Break] scheduled to start this July under legislation Malloy signed last May – would save consumers $145 million next year,” while “Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he will propose lowering Connecticut’s sales tax rate this week, while eliminating a partial exemption on clothing to produce a net tax revenue increase of $68 million in the next fiscal year.”

To reiterate, Malloy told TV viewers that he was LOWERING the sales tax rate to levels not seen since 1971, but the way he is doing it by reneging on a promise – that he signed into law – that would have provided for a $50 sales tax exemption on clothing – a change that was supposed to take place in less than five months.

According to Phaneuf,

“Mark Bergman, his spokesman, released limited revenue numbers after the broadcast and confirmed that the primary change would be the elimination of a partial sales tax exemption on clothing.”

Bergman said the governor’s proposed changes would yield a net sales tax revenue increase of $68….”

You can read more of the ugly details at http://ctmirror.org/2015/02/15/malloy-would-cut-sales-tax-rate-but-broaden-its-reach/

Updated CT Mirror story - http://ctmirror.org/2015/02/15/malloy-would-cut-sales-tax-rate-but-broaden-its-reach/

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