Meet the latest Corporate Education Reform Industry Charlatan “Dr.” Terrence Carter

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Incoming School Chief Called Himself Ph.D. For Years Without An Accredited Doctorate

For more than eight years, “Dr.” Terrence Carter, the incoming New London superintendent of schools and self-described education reform expert, bragged that he had a Ph.D.

At one point, Carter’s bio materials claimed that he had a doctorate from Stanford University.

In another article his doctorate came from a joint program between Stanford and Oxford.

And more recently he claimed his doctorate was from Leslie University.

But it was all a lie.

Interestingly he also claimed that he was hand-picked to be an education reform leader by none-other than the Arne Duncan, President Obama’s anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-Common Core Secretary of Education.

In a breaking news story written by the Hartford Courant’s investigative reporter Jon Lender, we now learn that the incoming New London superintendent of schools is an expert —- an expert at falsifying his resume.

And just watch how the Malloy administration, Commissioner Stefan Pryor, and Special Master Steven Adamowski try to explain this embarrassment.

After reading the Courant article, one thing is clear.

The New London Board of Education is scheduled to vote on “Dr.” Terrence Carter’s lucrative contract on Monday night.

Before that meeting, Malloy and Pryor need to make sure that Carter withdraws his name from consideration.

And if Malloy and Pryor fail to do that, then the New London Board needs to reject Carter and re-open the search.

To actually hire “Dr. Terrance Carter for the post would be to telegraph to every student, teacher, parent and taxpayer in Connecticut that doctoring one’s resume is just the way things are done when it comes to the corporate education reform industry in Connecticut.

The Hartford Courant’s Jon Lender writes,

Terrence P. Carter, the highly touted Chicago education administrator hired to start Aug. 1 as the superintendent of New London‘s troubled school system, recently completed requirements for a doctorate he’s scheduled to receive next month.

“Soon I will be able to be called ‘Doctor’,” he said he recalls telling job interviewers.

But a Courant review of records available in the public domain shows that Carter has called himself “doctor,” or identified himself as a Ph.D, for more than five years prior to his very recent completion of requirements for a doctorate.

The titles show up next to his name more than a dozen times, including a 2008 listing of “Terrence Carter, Ph.D.” on an attendance list for a symposium. He’s called “Dr. Terrence Carter” on IRS documents filed from 2010-2012. He used “Ph.D.” when he reviewed a 2012 book on “Common Core” educational standards.

Those documents don’t indicate where that doctorate came from. Carter said they’re not references to his anticipated doctorate from Lesley University in Massachusetts. Instead, he says he obtained a doctorate in 1996 from an unaccredited school, Lexington University.

When asked about the degree Tuesday, Carter first had told The Courant that he earned a doctorate in theology from Hamersfield University in London. In a phone interview, he said that the doctorate would enable him to “practice in the ministry.”

On Thursday when pressed further on the Hamersfield degree, Carter sent The Courant a printed transcript from Lexington University. The transcript listed no campus address or Internet website for online studies.

A web search turned up a site headed “Lexington University,” which advertises for people to get their degrees at prices of up to several hundred dollars. It’s unclear if that website is connected with the transcript sent by Carter – and he declined to answer more questions.

“I have nothing further to say on this matter,” he wrote late Thursday in response to a follow-up email.

Carter said in his email that Lexington University was “formerly known as Hamersfield University back in the 90s when I attended.” He had said Tuesday he had to be in London for several weeks annually during the three years he was pursuing his doctoral studies at Hamersfield.

The Lexington University transcript said that Carter, now 49, received an A in each of 45 graduate courses on the way to a Ph.D.

The transcript indicates the degree was in Human Resource Management and Organizational Learning, not theology. Many of the course listings related to human resources, organizational leadership and management – and at the time Carter was employed in corporate human resources.

None of the course listings appeared related to theology.

Carter’s situation arises a month after a key figure in Connecticut’s school “turnaround” movement, Michael Sharpe, resigned on June 21 as CEO of the Hartford charter school management group FUSE. His exit followed his admission that he had falsely claimed to have a doctorate.

State and local education officials say that they have verified Carter’s claim to have completed the requirements for Aug. 25 award of a Ph.D in educational studies from Lesley University.

But they never checked into Carter’s use of the title “doctor” and “Ph.D.” in past years, because they say that it didn’t turn up in the national search that a consultant conducted to fill the New London job.

The recruiting consultant, Nebraska-based McPherson & Jacobson, LLC, said in March that it would be “conducting extensive background checks on the candidates.” One of the firm’s team members says that said she did several Google searches on Carter, but failed to turn up even one of the numerous “Dr.” and “Ph.D.” references that the Courant found.

Carter, whose contract in New London will be voted on by the school board Monday, said he didn’t believe it was misleading to have called himself a “doctor.

And it gets worse…

Be sure to go read the entire Hartford Courant article at: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-carter-resume-0716-20140718,0,7548087.story

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Capital Prep’s Steve Perry to headline Koch Brothers’ event

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This coming week, the Charles Koch Institute is sponsoring a forum, “featuring a panel talk with representatives of charter schools and conservative think tanks” at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.

The panel includes none-other-than Steve Perry, the principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut….which is ironically identified as a charter school in the event program.

As Wait, What? readers are painfully aware, lthough a full-time employee of the Hartford public schools, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, gave Perry permission to open a taxpayer-funded charter school in Bridgeport, despite the fact that there is no money in the budget for the school and the State of Connecticut is facing a $1.4 billion projected deficit next year.

But underfunding magnet and district schools, while dramatically expanding taxpayer funds for charter schools, is nothing new for Malloy, Pryor and the corporate education reform industry.

Meanwhile, Perry has spent the last few years trying to persuade Hartford officials to hand over existing public schools to a  private charter school management company that Perry set  up while serving as a public school principal.

According to the Connecticut Secretary of State, Perry’s company, which uses the same name as the public school he works for, is registered at his home.

However, according to the IRS, Perry’s company is located at the public school where he works, which is a violation of conflict of interest and ethics laws in Connecticut.

Regardless of the apparent irregularities with his private work, the Malloy administration’s decision to give Perry his own charter school will mean that Perry’s company will collect nearly $30 million in taxpayer funds over the next five years, and that doesn’t even count the other costs that will be picked up by the state of Connecticut and the City of Bridgeport.

Steve Perry, of course, is infamous for his November 2013 Twitter diatribe.

After the Hartford Board of Education failed to turn over two public schools to Perry’s private company, he Tweeted

Dr. Steve Perry‏@DrStevePerry
“The only way to lose a fight is to stop fighting. All this did was piss me off. It’s so on. Strap up, there will be head injuries.

While such a comment would get any other public school administrator, teacher or student arrested, fired or suspended, neither the Hartford superintendent of schools nor the Hartford Board of Education took any disciplinary action against Perry for his actions.

Perry is also fond of calling Diane Ravitch, the country’s leading public school advocate, and Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, racists.

In fact, Perry’s bullying and failure to fulfill his administrative duties appropriately have generated a series of pending lawsuits from former employees who allege that they were abused and mistreated by the man who calls himself, “America’s Most Trusted Educator.”

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Connecticut Labor Leader attacks Pelto/Murphy (including on education)

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Yesterday, the Political Director of the Machinists Union posted a commentary piece at My Left Nutmeg (http://www.myleftnutmeg.com/) belittling Ebony Murphy and my effort to give voters an alternative to the Democratic and Republican candidates in this year’s election for governor.

My Left Nutmeg then provided me with the opportunity to respond.

If you don’t read MLN on a regular basis, you should.  The blog is Connecticut’s premier site for learning about, and participating in, the on-going effort to push a liberal/progressive agenda in Connecticut.

The two pieces are also reprinted below, but the Political Director for the Machinists Union lays out his case by making the following claims;

  • “Despite heroic attempts by parents, educators, and well-meaning political leaders, lack of progress in poor people’s education has opened the door to charlatans. The exposure of this element of the crisis has been Jon Pelto’s main issue, although he has offered no solution to the underlying economic gap.” 
  •  “Malloy is trying hard to correct the mistakes he made in education.” 
  • “A Pelto candidacy could usher in a Foley victory, a la Ralph Nader in Florida, 2000. The participants in this quixotic mission may find that they have earned the contempt of the very people they are trying to influence, both for them as people, and for our ideas.
  • These times call for a Center-Left alliance. In an even more dangerous time, Europe in the 1930′s, the left failed to understand this necessity, with disastrous results

 His full commentary piece is as follows.  After you’ve read the two pieces, please feel free to weigh in on this important debate at http://www.myleftnutmeg.com/ and here at Wait, What? 

GUEST POST: Jon Pelto and the challenge to the Connecticut Left

In an effort to have a discussion regarding Jon Pelto and the potential his candidacy could have on the race for governor, Bill Shortell, Political Director Eastern States Conference of Machinists and Carol Lambiase, International Rep, UE, retired, wrote the following guest post.

The biggest trend in US politics today is the growth of the Right: the flood of right-wing big money into elections at every level; right-wing populism in the form of the Tea Party; the broad attack on the unions; the explosion of the reactionary firearms obsession; the proliferation of small white supremacist groups; the domination of neo-cons in the State Dept….all fed by a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. In Europe there is a dangerous reassertion of fascism.

This is not to say that the left is dead, especially in places like Connecticut, but given our defensive posture, we must be carefully strategic in the allocation of our slender resources.

EDUCATION

Lately a key battleground has been the schools. The “achievement gap,” and the absence of a root cause analysis, has opened the door for privatization and teacher-bashing.  It is a fundamental principle that there will be no equality in educational achievement in the face of drastic economic inequality. In Connecticut especially, the contrast between the poverty of the cities and the wealth of the suburbs is shocking.

Despite heroic attempts by parents, educators, and well-meaning political leaders, lack of progress in poor people’s education has opened the door to charlatans. The exposure of this element of the crisis has been Jon Pelto’s main issue, although he has offered no solution to the underlying economic gap. Neither can the governor of a small state, of course. In spite of Dan Malloy’s best efforts, the lingering Great Recession, and the pre-existing desolation of post-industrial cities, is a national, even an international crisis of capitalism.

THE DANGER OF TOM FOLEY

Foley enters this crisis masquerading as a moderate, just as did George W, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Does anyone doubt that if elected he would immediately attack the unions, layoff state employees, slash social services, cozy up to the gun lobby, and try to drag Connecticut into the whole Koch-led national right-wing insurgency?

Pelto’s candidacy, and the support  he is getting from the left, is a sign of frustration. We have no strong independent voice, and are rarely able to make policy. Nationally, hamstrung by a Republican majority in the House, the Dems are unable to implement even the narrow jobs program they espouse.

SPOILER?

There is room, even in these dangerous times for 3rd party candidacies. The minority party representation statute has been successfully used by Working Families in the cities. The Dems, who today have a comfortable majority in the General Assembly, cannot complain if 3rd parties run against right-wing legislators. In a safe Congressional district they would not be threatened by a left candidate who runs on, say, Fair Trade. In other times, and with electoral reform, we can envision an even greater role for third parties.

But not in the 2014 Connecticut Governor race. The stakes are too high; the differences in the candidates too stark. If there is a repeat of the tight 2010 race, a Pelto candidacy could usher in a Foley victory, a la Ralph Nader in Florida, 2000. The participants in this quixotic mission may find that they have earned the contempt of the very people they are trying to influence, both for them as people, and for our ideas.

These times call for a Center-Left alliance. In an even more dangerous time, Europe in the 1930′s, the left failed to understand this necessity, with disastrous results. Malloy is trying hard to correct the mistakes he made in education. Let’s not forget all the national pressure there has been for this misguided “ed reform,” including among some inner-city people, who cannot wait for an end to the entire achievement gap to find a path out of joblessness.

This is a period for those of us on the left, to work within mass organizations, like the unions and the Democratic Party. We need to build our numbers and hone our ideology before grasping for a ring as heavy as a governorship.

And my response:

Pelto:  Labor Leaders to the Left:  ‘Shut up and sit down’

In an effort of fairness, Jon Pelto requested to publish a repsonse to today’s guest post…here it is.

While reasonable people can debate whether Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy deserves another four years in office, the discussion about my challenge to Malloy’s policies and his re-election aspirations took another odd turn with the publication of a commentary piece written for the blog, My Left Nutmeg, by the Political Director of the Eastern States Conference of Machinists.

My Left Nutmeg is Connecticut’s premier blog when it comes to presenting a platform for discussions about the ongoing efforts to further a liberal or progressive agenda in Connecticut so it comes as no surprise that Connecticut labor leaders would seek to use the blog to defend Malloy and belittle the challenge being mounted by the Pelto/Murphy 2014 campaign.

What is surprising is that Connecticut labor leaders would use MLN to continue their effort to mislead their members and Connecticut’s progressive community into believing that Malloy’s very likely loss in November will mean that Connecticut will became the next Wisconsin – and that we will see a successful Koch Brothers effort to destroy Connecticut’s collective bargaining laws and undermine the existence of the state’s public employees and public services.

In the piece entitled, JON PELTO AND THE CHALLENGE TO THE CONNECTICUT LEFT, the Machinists’ political director and his colleague write,

“Foley enters this crisis masquerading as a moderate, just as did George W, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Does anyone doubt that if elected he would immediately attack the unions, layoff state employees, slash social services, cozy up to the gun lobby, and try to drag Connecticut into the whole Koch-led national right-wing insurgency?

But of course, the authors fail to reveal that Wisconsin Tea-bag Republican Scott Walker achieved his goals thanks to the support of Tea-bag Republican majorities in both the Wisconsin State Senate and State Assembly.

Scott Walker’s anti-union legislation, known as 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, passed because the ultra-right controlled the Wisconsin State Senate by a margin of 19-14 and the Wisconsin Assembly by a margin of 51 to 45.

The truth is that regardless of who becomes Connecticut’s next governor, as a result of the legislative re-districting of 1990, 2000 and 2010, the Connecticut State Senate and Connecticut House of Representatives will remain safely in the hands of the Democratic Party.

While few really know what a Tom Foley administration would be like, one thing we can be sure of is that an effort to repeal collective bargaining in Connecticut would not receive the legislative support necessary to become law.

We can also safely say that Connecticut has already witnessed a “Wisconsin moment.”

It occurred in February 2011 when Governor Dannel Malloy become the ONLY DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR in the country to propose doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for unionized teachers in so-called “turnaround” schools.

In response to Malloy’s historic, unfair and unwarranted attack on teachers, the Connecticut General Assembly stripped out those two provisions, before unfortunately passing the remainder of Malloy’s inappropriate corporate education reform imitative.

But as if their claim about Connecticut becoming Wisconsin wasn’t misleading enough, the labor leaders use their commentary piece to mock our ongoing effort to push back the corporate education reform industry and re-take control of our system of public education.

The authors claim,

“Despite heroic attempts by parents, educators, and well-meaning political leaders, lack of progress in poor people’s education has opened the door to charlatans. The exposure of this element of the crisis has been Jon Pelto’s main issue, although he has offered no solution to the underlying economic gap.

Offered no solutions?

Such a statement is so absurd, that it doesn’t even deserve a response but I’d urge the labor leaders to take the time to read through the 1,636 Wait, what? posts that I’ve written on these subjects over the past 3 ½ years

Finally, as to whether a “left candidate” has a right to run, the Malloy apologists opine,

“In a safe Congressional district [we would not] be threatened by a left candidate who runs on, say, Fair Trade. In other times, and with electoral reform, we can envision an even greater role for third parties…But not in the 2014 Connecticut Governor race. The stakes are too high; the differences in the candidates too stark. If there is a repeat of the tight 2010 race, a Pelto candidacy could usher in a Foley victory, a la Ralph Nader in Florida, 2000.”

And they conclude their attack on our fundamental right to stand up and speak out by actually writing,

These times call for a Center-Left alliance. In an even more dangerous time, Europe in the 1930′s, the left failed to understand this necessity, with disastrous results. ”

So let us truly understand what these Connecticut’s labor leaders are telling their members and the majority of citizens who oppose Malloy’s re-election.

They appear to be suggesting that my candidacy in opposition of Malloy’s effort to undermine state employees and teachers, destroy public education, coddle the rich, place an unfair tax burden on the middle class and institute a record breaking system of corporate welfare in which scarce public funds are being diverted from vital services to support multi-million dollar corporations is not only inappropriate but nothing short of a precursor to the events that led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the 3rd Reich.

Let no one be mistaken, these are, in fact, dark times.

However, the growing array of people who are willing to stand up and demand change are not the problem.  The problem is that some insiders, including some in leadership positions, remain committed to the notion that the “left” can best serve our nation by shutting up and sitting down.

If there was ever an effective argument for why I decided to create the Education and Democracy Party and run for governor in 2014, the new commentary piece submitted by the leadership of the Machinists Union is that treatise.

Upon reading their piece, one can’t help remember the wise words of Woody Guthrie who wrote, “Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain pen.”

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Connecticut’s Gubernatorial Race Will Be Influenced by Education, Teachers (CT Magazine)

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Connecticut Magazine has posted a new article entitled, “Connecticut’s Gubernatorial Race Will Be Influenced by Education, Teachers.”

As Connecticut Magazine explains,

For the Democratic party, the full-throttled support of teachers’ unions in Connecticut is a given rule—like “I before E, except after C.” But now, when topics such  as Common Core, teacher evaluations, charter schools and the “achievement gap” are added, Gov. Dan Malloy risks becoming that “after C” exception.

Malloy must claw his way to a second term. He is tied with Republican candidate Tom Foley in the most recent (May 9) Quinnipiac University poll of this year’s governor’s race. He barely beat Foley in the 2010 governor’s race, and now faces a challenge from his left flank as former Mansfield state representative Jonathan Pelto is running as a third-party candidate focused almost entirely on the education issue.

The balance could be tipped this year if some of the people who were excited to elect Malloy in 2010 fail to work with as much fervor for him again—or even choose to sit out the election due to his connection to education-reform issues.

Malloy’s relationship with teachers has been occasionally tense and pockmarked with terse exchanges. He’s haunted, for example, by a comment he made to the General Assembly in February 2012. Advocating for tenure reform, Malloy said for teachers to earn tenure, “the only thing you have to do is show up for four years.”

Before that, Malloy appointed Stefan Pryor as the state education commissioner. Pryor, a cofounder of Amistad Academy charter school, has taken heat from teachers’ unions which point out that he has never worked in a capacity as a teacher and lacks teaching credentials. Malloy, like many governors, initially supported all aspects of the federal Common Core public education standards and new teacher evaluation systems based on them. He has since softened his stance on these issues as it became clear that he might lose reelection without the support of teachers. Malloy also supported the installation of known urban-education reformer Paul Vallas as Bridgeport’s superintendent, and then the re-installation of Vallas after a judge’s initial ruling that he did not meet the criteria to be superintendent. Malloy’s backing of Vallas created further friction with the unions. Vallas has since left the district to run for lieutenant governor of Illinois.

[…]

“We do have a respect for each other,” says Mark Waxenberg, executive director of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA), the state’s biggest teachers’ union. “His door is open to us, and over this past year we’ve been able to iron out some of the legislation that may have been well-intentioned and implemented badly.”

[…]

“When teachers think they aren’t being heard, there is going to be frustration, anger, there is going to be anxiety, and frankly, maybe, a lack of a cast of a vote,” says CEA President Sheila Cohen. “They’ll probably go to the polls, the question is who will they vote for? There are a lot of people on that ballot, and (some teachers) could skip a line.”

Malloy’s missteps with teachers offer a natural voter base to Pelto, a liberal firebrand who doesn’t mince words when it comes to characterizing the governor’s positions on education reform.

[…]

On his blog Wait What? and in interviews, Pelto has said Malloy is committed to the “corporate education reform agenda” and criticized the governor for his support in the expansion of charter schools in the state. “We’re not Chicago, Philadelphia,” he said, pointing to places where charter schools have an established foothold. “But there’s something going on in Connecticut that is very different than anything we’ve ever experienced.

[…]

As Malloy courts the support of traditional parts of his political base, including the teachers’ unions and Connecticut’s Working Families Party, whose members have also strongly criticized education reform, he will have to choose whether to further distance himself from organizations such as Families for Excellent Schools (FES), which made a name for itself in New York City when it ran a slick advertising campaign attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio’s opposition to charters. It has been very active in Bridgeport’s education battles.

“We expect at some point to make an endorsement—we’re checking in with members constantly. For now, there’s no question Governor Malloy has been a tremendous advocate for kids and families, and I believe our members recognize that,“ FES cofounder and CEO Jeremiah Kittredge said in a statement.

But that kind of endorsement could do more harm than good for Malloy’s reelection hopes if it risks driving teachers’ union members to Pelto.

FES backed Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s controversial referendum to change the governance of the Bridgeport school board. It was a move opposed by the Working Families Party and Pelto.

In 2010, Malloy did not win enough votes on the Democratic Party line alone—but combined with the votes he took as the Working Family Party’s cross-endorsed candidate, he narrowly beat Foley.

The Working Families endorsement has yet to be determined, but the party has openly expressed nervousness about Malloy’s positions on charter schools. “We have been pretty concerned ourselves with the governor’s education agenda,” said Lindsay Farrell, executive director of the Working Families Party.

To read the entire Connecticut Magazine piece go to: http://www.connecticutmag.com/Blog/Connecticut-Politics/July-2014/Connecticuts-Gubernatorial-Race-Will-Be-Influenced-by-Education-Teachers/

Pelto calls on Malloy Administration to reverse course on unfair health care policies

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Pelto calls on Malloy Administration to reverse course on unfair health care policies

As recently reported in the Connecticut media, the Malloy administration is developing a new “State innovation Model (SIM) that would negatively impact the availability of care for hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents. Education and Democracy Party candidate for governor, Jonathan Pelto is calling on the Malloy Administration to halt their plans to implement this flawed healthcare payment and delivery model.

“Yet again, the Malloy administration is playing games with the healthcare of Connecticut residents” Pelto said. “Working behind closed doors and without proper public and legislative review, the Malloy administration is attempting to roll out a new, and untested, State Innovation Model (SIM) that could adversely impact thousands of unsuspecting Connecticut citizens and the healthcare providers who treat them. The Malloy Administration’s new plan is nothing short of a return to the failed ‘managed Medicaid system’ that was tried and rejected because it hurt some of Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents and cost the state more rather than saving taxpayers’ money.”

The SIM  plan seeks to cut costs by attempting to limit unnecessary tests and other forms of “over-treatment.”  Advocates for low-income residents have said that this type of extraneous testing and treatment might be a concern for people with private insurance, but people on Medicaid often struggle to receive even limited access to specialists and general care.

Healthcare advocacy organizations also have expressed also concerns about the fact that the proposed Medicaid changes were so rushed to meet the federal grant deadline that they have not been adequately were developed so recently that they haven’t been properly evaluated and have called for additional study before being used for 200,000 Connecticut residents.

“We are in an era of unprecedented changes in our health care system, instead of rushing to sneak in something that will clearly jeopardize access to the care people needs and deserve, the Malloy administration should stop playing games, put a halt to the new State innovation Model (SIM), and ensure that citizens, advocates and the legislature play a more active role in reviewing and modifying this plan before it is put into place,” Pelto concluded.

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Why students leave high school (By Wendy Lecker)

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Wendy Lecker’s latest commentary piece for the Stamford Advocate and Hearst Media Group pushes aside the rhetoric coming from the corporate education reform industry and its allies like Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor.

Instead Lecker lays out the real issues about graduation rates and why high school students leave school.  It is another “Must Read” piece and the complete article can be found at:  Lecker: Why students leave high school.

Wendy Lecker writes;

Graduation rates, one barometer of a state’s or nation’s success in educating its children, are great fodder for political recriminations and grandiose claims. Pundits and politicians manipulate numbers to disparage public schools or claim victory in some reform they champion. However, serious conversations about the humans behind the numbers are rarely the subject of media attention.

A recent report attempted to look beyond statistics and explore the reasons teens disengage from school. Researchers at America’s Promise Alliance interviewed more than 200 adolescents in 16 high-poverty urban communities across the country, and surveyed more than 3,000 teens in diverse communities across all 50 states. The resulting report, “Don’t Call them Dropouts,” provides insights into why students leave high school.

The researchers found a cluster of factors causing students to interrupt their education. The majority experienced three or more “toxic” factors in their lives, including: homelessness, violence, an incarcerated parent, the need to care for or economically support a parent or siblings, frequent school transfers, foster care, personal or family health traumas, and living in unsafe environments. Many of the teens experienced one stressor too many, causing them to leave school behind. Compounding these traumas, students spoke of feeling unseen at school. Those who returned to school often were encouraged to do so by a caring adult. For many, a personal connection is what brought them back to or kept them in school.

It is striking that most of the factors affecting a student’s decision to leave school occur outside school. These students are forced to deal with life experiences no teen should have to endure. Society does not provide the institutions to mitigate the stress in these students’ lives. That responsibility falls on schools. Thus, it is essential that schools be given the tools to help at-risk teens overcome these outside obstacles to learning. Those tools include academic and social supports, and opportunities for students to find connections and relevance. Since the research shows that dropping out is a long-term process, these resources need to be present in school from the early years.

Yet many of the schools in these communities are under-funded and cannot provide those resources. This lack of resources is at issue in Connecticut’s school funding case, CCJEF v. Rell. The needy Connecticut districts at issue in the case do not have adequate remedial support, social workers, guidance counselors, psychologists, security staff, electives, clubs, sports, AP courses, reasonable class size and other resources to provide at-risk students with the individual connection they need.

Giving schools the necessary resources produces tangible results. A recent review of school finance reform across the United States, conducted for the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that increasing school funding by 20 percent increased the likelihood of graduation in poor students by 23 percent. During full implementation of its school finance reform, New Jersey virtually closed the graduation gap between white and African-American males. Money matters in education, especially to the most at-risk children.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy would tell us that Connecticut’s graduation rate increased some, so there is no need to fund our neediest schools adequately. However, as Trinity College‘s Robert Cotto has pointed out, the State Department of Education refuses to release data that would allow anyone to verify these claims. Moreover, the state has pushed policies like credit recovery and online courses, which allow for manipulation of credit and grades to provide diplomas when it is doubtful that the students really learned. In Hartford, because of a merit pay system favored by the state, the district inflated grades, allowing students to pass by merely bumping them up to get passing grades. These methods of “graduating” students do not provide the resources at-risk teens need to succeed. They are merely window-dressing.

The CCJEF trial, scheduled to start this fall, will no doubt force the state to face the deprivations of at-risk teens and the schools trying to serve them. But it shouldn’t take a costly lawsuit to spur our elected officials to do the right thing for our children. Our children deserve a governor and legislature that give our schools with the resources they need to provide every child with a quality education.

Again, the full article can be found at:  http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Lecker-Why-students-leave-high-school-5616013.php

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Charter Advocates Give New Meaning To ‘Chutzpah’ (by Sarah Darer Littman)

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Charter Advocates Give New Meaning To ‘Chutzpah’ (CT Newsjunkie)

Sarah Darer Littman, pro-public school advocate, award winning columnist and parent has written one of the most powerful commentary pieces about the state of the state when it comes to the Charter School Industry and how the Malloy administration has allowed tens of millions in taxpayer funds to be diverted to people and companies that are literally felons, liars and cheats.

If there is one article to read about Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and the rise of the corporate education reform movement in Connecticut, this is the one.

Sarah Darer Littman writes,

The traditional definition of chutzpah  is someone who kills his mother and father and then claims being an orphan as a mitigating circumstance.

I’ve been reminded of this word constantly as the FUSE/Jumoke charter scandal unfolded over the last two weeks.

L’Affaire Sharpe has been quite astonishing, because as a mere mortal, not a Crony of Dan Malloy or part of the Charter Chicanery Circus, I underwent more due diligence than Sharpe to become a creative writing instructor for an after-school program at one of the local elementary schools for the non-hefty fee of a few hundred bucks.

To teach this Afters program, run by the Cos Cob Elementary School PTA, I had to undergo a criminal background check.

Last year, when I was hired as an adjunct in the MFA program at WCSU (and we know how well adjuncts are paid), before my appointment was confirmed I underwent another criminal background check, and also had to have my transcript sent from the institution where I’d received my Masters Degree. Funnily enough, it was New York University, the educational establishment where Michael Sharpe received his fictional doctorate.

Yet the members of the state Board of Education, all appointed or re-appointed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, required no such due diligence before forking over $53 million of our taxpayer dollars to “Doctor” Sharpe’s organization. Just to make things even cozier, Gov. Malloy appointed FUSE’s chief operating officer, Andrea Comer, to the state Board of Education. Comer resigned earlier this week, in order to avoid being a “distraction.” I’m afraid it’s a little too late for that.”

Every word of Sarah Darer Littman’s CTNewsjunkie commentary piece paints the ugly story surrounding Governor Malloy, his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, Pryor’s hand-picked employees and high-paid consultants and the State Board of Education.

In addition, Littman traces the relationship to no-nothing policy makers who have allowed scarce public resources to be squandered on the make-a-fast-buck industry that has been the foundation of Malloy’s education reform effort.

As you read Littman’s piece, remember that these are the same people who have forced the Common Core on our children, promoted the absurd, unfair and expensive Common Core testing scheme and the equally absurd, unfair and wasteful new teacher evaluation program.

No amount of political spin coming from Malloy or his education reform industry allies will disguise the fact that by introducing a bill to do away with teacher tenure and repeal collective bargaining rights for teachers in “turnaround schools,” Malloy became the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic governor in the nation.

As Sarah Darer Littman concludes,

“I guess no one in Hartford was watching the cookie jar — too much cronyism and not enough good government.”

You can find this MUST READ piece at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/op-ed_charter_advocates_give_new_meaning_to_chutzpah/

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

WARNING: The assault on Connecticut’s Hospitals – Here come the for-profit hospital operators

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For decades, even centuries, Connecticut’s regional non-profit hospitals have been one of its greatest assets.  Emergency rooms, maternity programs, and access to local, high-quality hospital care have made our communities better, safer and healthier places to live and raise a family.

While improvements to the quality of care and the reduction of hospital medical errors have become a major concern across the nation, the notion of local, non-profit, comprehensive hospitals are the healthcare and economic backbone of many Connecticut communities.

But Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s unprecedented cuts to Connecticut’s non-profit hospitals and his outrageous support for the for-profit hospital industry is already leading to the worst possible outcome.

The truth is that over the past two years, the Malloy administration has cut hospital funding by over $400 million and these cuts have led to layoffs and reduced services at numerous Connecticut hospitals.

The cuts have also left a number of smaller hospitals teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

But worst of all, while undermining the funding of Connecticut’s non-profit hospitals, Malloy has also quietly opened the door and ushered in the for-profit hospital industry to our state.

Take the dire fiscal problems facing many hospitals, introduce the “profit motive,” and we’ll now be seeing the type of healthcare system that Malloy’s policies have created.

As recently reported by Connecticut media outlets, the for-profit Tenet Healthcare Corporation is already moving to purchase St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, as well as, Waterbury’s other hospital.  Those of us in Eastern Connecticut know that Tenet is also making a play for hospitals east of the river.

For those who don’t know, Tenet Healthcare Corporation is the $12 billion national hospital operator that employs over 100,000 people and brags that they are, “a leading healthcare services company, through its subsidiaries operates 79 hospitals, 193 outpatient centers and Conifer Health Solutions, a leader in business process solutions for healthcare providers serving more than 700 hospital and other clients nationwide.”

As Tenant arrives in Connecticut, residents should be aware of the following information provided by Wikipedia,

  • In 2003, Tenet sold or closed 14 hospitals and closed more than 20 facilities in 2004 to achieve its financial performance goals.  Also in 2004, Tenet also moved its headquarters from Santa Barbara, CA to Dallas, TX.
  • In June 2006, Tenet agreed to pay $725 million in cash and give up $175 million in Medicare payments for a total of $900 million in fees to resolve claims it defrauded the federal government for over-billing Medicare claims.
  • In 2007, Tenet appointed former Florida governor Jeb Bush to its board of directors to improve its reputation.
  • In December 2011, the non-partisan organization Public Campaign criticized Tenet Healthcare for spending $3.43 million on lobbying and not paying any taxes during 2008-2010, instead getting $48 million in tax rebates, despite making a profit of $415 million, and increasing executive pay by 19% to $24 million in 2010 for its top 5 executives.
  • In April 2012, Tenet agreed to pay $42.75 million to resolve allegations that it improperly billed Medicare between 2005 and 2007.  

And the list goes on and on…

But as the CT Mirror reported earlier this week in an article entitled, St. Mary’s Hospital to be acquired by Tenet

St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury announced plans Tuesday to be acquired by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corporation, a national for-profit hospital chain that’s already in the process of purchasing hospitals in Bristol, Vernon, Manchester and Waterbury.

St. Mary’s had been considering corporate suitors for several years. A previous deal to join forces with a different for-profit company and Waterbury Hospital fell apart two years ago over concerns about providing reproductive services and the rules St. Mary’s operates under as a Catholic hospital.

Although Tenet is also in the process of acquiring Waterbury Hospital, the deal announced Tuesday would leave each hospital in the city separate. Both would convert from nonprofit to for-profit.

[…]

Legislation passed this yearcrafted with Tenet’s other pending transactions in mind, changed state law to make it easier for non-profit hospitals to convert to for-profits.

So the when it comes to Connecticut’s hospitals, Malloy’s legacy is (1) record cuts and (2) making it easier for for-profit hospital chains to gobble up Connecticut’s hospitals.

Hardly the policies that Connecticut needs or deserves.

And why would Malloy push such detrimental policies on Connecticut?

One need only check out the Tenant Healthcare Corporation’s “corporate policies” which include the following:

We believe that it is important to participate in political, legislative and regulatory processes on issues that affect Tenet’s business and community interests, and are committed to doing so in a way that is consistent with our values, our legal obligations, and our Standards of Conduct…

Charter School company collapse continues

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Andrea Comer, the former COO of Jumoke/FUSE charter school company has resigned her position on the State Board of Education, while the Bridgeport Board of Education prepares to end ties with Jumoke/FUSE, the charter school company that was given a lucrative no-bid contract to run Bridgeport’s Dunbar Elementary School thanks to Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor and Paul Vallas, the ousted former head of Bridgeport’s Schools.

Despite the obvious conflict of interest, Malloy appointed Comer to the State Board of Education in the spring of 2013.  Wait, What? readers may recall the series of posts about Comer, Malloy and his inappropriate decision to put the charter school executive on the State Board of Education.

News of Comer’s resignation came late today following today’s State Board of Education meeting.

The following statement was released by the Pelto/Murphy 2014 campaign following the announcement:

Statement of Jonathan Pelto, Candidate for Governor, Education and Democracy Party, On the resignation of Andrea Comer from the Connecticut State Board of Education

“The fact is that Governor Dannel ‘Dan’ Malloy should never have put Andrea Comer, the Chief Operating Officer of the Jumoke/FUSE charter school management company, on the State Board of Education in the first place.  In April 2013, I wrote that the decision to nominate and confirm a high-ranking charter school executive to Connecticut’s education policy board was yet another attack on Connecticut’s school teachers, the teacher unions, and the 99% of students who attend public district schools.

As recently as three weeks ago, I wrote a blog entitled, ‘Pelto to Malloy: Dump Pryor and Comer now before they do even more damage to public education in Connecticut.’  Comer’s departure is an important step, but Connecticut’s public schools students, parents, teachers and citizens will not have the Department of Education they deserve until Malloy, Pryor and the remaining members of the State Board of Education are gone, as well.”

###

Meanwhile, as the Hartford Courant is reporting;

In another blow to a Hartford charter school group, Bridgeport Interim Superintendent Frances Rabinowitz said Wednesday she intends to end the district’s partnership with FUSE.

Rabinowitz will present the plan to the Bridgeport board of education on Thursday evening. State Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, who was a supporter of FUSE until recently, said he agreed with the action.

FUSE had a state-funded role managing Dunbar Elementary School in Bridgeport.

The announcement comes a week after published reports that FUSE, which also manages the heavily state-financed Jumoke Academy charter schools in Hartford, had employed a registered sex offender at Dunbar despite a management agreement stating that “no employee of Jumoke who will work at Dunbar or who will work directly with Dunbar students is listed on any Sex Offender Registry.”

“Recent revelations regarding FUSE have given rise to significant concerns regarding the organization’s ability to continue working with Dunbar,” Pryor and Rabinowitz said in a joint statement. “Teachers, students and parents have demonstrated commendable resolve to turn around Dunbar. They deserve a partner who will be able to provide the attention and support necessary for the work that lies ahead.”

Rabinowitz had told The Courant that FUSE failed to inform her of the employee’s criminal record, which included drug convictions, until last week and that she was “incredibly concerned.”

Rabinowitz questioned whether the embattled charter organization, also known as Family Urban Schools of Excellence, should continue running Dunbar School under a year-old arrangement through the state Commissioner’s Network, a reform initiative that gives millions in extra funding to struggling schools that implement a three- to 5-year “turnaround” plan.

You can read more about this breaking story at: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-fuse-bridgeport-school-0710-20140709,0,2832863.story

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Why won’t UConn simply tell the truth?

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According to today’s Hartford Courant, the University of Connecticut has returned the public stage, again, to claim that no taxpayer or student funds were used to pay for Hillary Clinton’s $251,000 speaking fee, for Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s trip to Switzerland and China or for the 7,000 square foot house that the UConn Foundation bought in West Hartford for UConn’s President to use when she didn’t want to drive all the way back to Storrs.

Instead of simply telling the truth and admitting the UConn’s leadership decided, for whatever reason, to help subsidize those expenses, UConn has chosen to lie – again – about how UConn uses the UConn Foundation to funnel public funds to selected activities.

In a Hartford Courant article entitled, UConn Insists: No Taxpayer, Tuition Dollars Funded Hillary – Independent Candidate Pelto Maintains: It’s Not True, the Courant explains;

The University of Connecticut reasserted its position Tuesday that neither taxpayer dollars nor student tuition money were used to pay Hillary Clinton’s $251,250 speaker’s fee.

Nor, the university insists, was taxpayer or tuition money used to pay for a $660,000 12-room house in Hartford’s West End or for the governor’s economic development trips to Davos, Switzerland and China two years ago.

“I think it’s helpful for everyone to have the full information,” Stephanie Reitz, UConn spokeswoman said Tuesday.

But as the Courant also reported,

Pelto maintained Tuesday that it’s “just untrue” that there aren’t taxpayer and tuition dollars involved in paying for an event such as Clinton’s speech. “That money is part of the inherent subsidy of a project like that,” Pelto said.

He said the same is true for “unrestricted” foundation funds spent on other events, such as Malloy’s travel. “The state and the students are paying the foundation to raise money for the university,” Pelto said.

Such events are “to one degree or another subsidized by the public and by these students,” Pelto said, adding that instead of covering Malloy’s travels, the funds could have gone toward a program for students.

You can read UConn’s almost painful effort to spin the story by reading the full Hartford Courant article at:  http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-uconn-foundation-money-0709-20140708,0,2285597.story

The truth is that UConn has transferred about $86 million in taxpayer and student funds to the UConn Foundation over the past ten years.  Those dollars were used to pay the UConn Foundation’s overhead including staff, benefits and related development costs.

UConn uses this funding technique to make the UConn Foundation look more successful than it actually is.  For example, according to their most recent financial statement, the UConn Foundation spent about $11 million to raise $40 million.

By transferring about $9 million from UConn’s Operating Fund to the UConn Foundation to pay for most of their development costs, the Foundation does not have to tap into the $40 million it raised to pay for its own expenses.

The downside of this tactic is that by paying for the UConn Foundation’s operating costs with public funds,  UConn loses the right to claim that the Foundation’s activities are totally private or that those activities are “only paid for with private resources.”

It is not a hard concept to grasp and certainly something UConn should not be lying about.

The truth is that for good or for bad, the public and students are subsidizing the UConn Foundation – this year – to the tune of about $9 million dollars and that $9 million dollars could have been used to expand programs at the University of Connecticut or used to reduce UConn’s decision to raise tuition by 6.5%.

The reality is that the public subsidy of the UConn Foundation means that the public and students ARE helping to cover the costs associated with the UConn Foundation’s $251,000 payment to Hilary Clinton, Malloy’s trips to Switzerland and China, the President’s new house in West Hartford and all the other things that the Foundation spends money on.

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

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