Bridgeport, Bridgewater Associates, Charter Schools, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Steve Perry Capital Preparatory Magnet School Bridgeport, Charter Schools, Families for Excellent Schools, Inc., Malloy, Ray Dalio, Stefan Pryor, Steve Perry
Surprise, surprise… An out-of-State charter school advocacy group has started an advertising campaign to support the Malloy administration’s decision to give Steve Perry his own privately run, but taxpayer funded, charter school in Bridgeport.
According to a reports from the CT Mirror and Hartford Courant, Families for Excellent Schools, Inc., a charter school advocacy group based in New York, has begun a Connecticut radio advertising campaign in support of the Malloy administration’s decision to approve two new charter schools in Bridgeport.
Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. is running the radio spots to defend Commissioner Stefan Pryor and State Board of Education’s underhanded effort to approve the proposed charter schools. One of the charter schools will be run by the out-of-state Great Oaks charter school chain while the other is Steve Perry’s Capitol Preparatory Harbor school.
The advocacy and lobbying group is also behind the multi-million dollar advertising campaign to undermine New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to make New York City’s public schools a high priority compared to the Bloomberg administration’s approach that diverted tens of millions in public resources away from the public schools and to the city’s privately run charter schools. In New York, the Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. campaign pushed to allow privately run charter schools virtually unlimited and free access to public school space.
The group’s New York advertising campaign is designed to help New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Like Malloy, Cuomo has received more than $100,000 in campaign donations from charter-school supporters in recent months.
Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. was formed by corporate education reform industry allies in 2011 and has recently expanded into Connecticut. Four of the organization’s five founding board members are Wall Street hedge fund executives. The group also shares space in New York City with the New York chapter of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, Inc.
As one would expect, the corporate education reform industry has been dumping millions of dollars into Families for Excellent Schools, Inc.
Among its biggest donors is the Walton Family Foundation (the Wal-Mart Family’s Foundation) which has given the charter school group more than $700,000 in start-up funds. The organization has also received at least $200,000 from the Eli Broad Foundation during that same period.
Here in Connecticut, the Wal-Mart Political Action Committee gave Governor Malloy’s political operation a check for $5,000 and Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad chipped in another $8,000 for Malloy.
One of the other foundations that have given Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. is none other than the Ray Dalio Family Foundation.
As Forbes Magazine explains, Ray Dalio is the “king of the rich hedge fund industry.” Forbes adds that Dalio, “lords over the world’s biggest hedge fund firm, Bridgewater Associates, with about $150 billion in assets.”
Ray Dalio is the individual who was paid $2.3 billion last year.
Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates is the company that Governor Dan Malloy rewarded with more than $120 million in Connecticut taxpayer funded tax breaks in return for moving Bridgewater’s “world headquarters” from Westport to Stamford.
In addition to giving money to the charter school advocacy group now running advertisements in Connecticut, Dalio’s foundation is also a major donor to Teach for America.
For public school teachers, parents and advocates it is becoming even clear is that with the 2014 gubernatorial election less than seven months away, Dannel “Dan” Malloy is using every opportunity to show his unending support for expanding charter schools at the expense of Connecticut’s public schools.
You can also read more about this story at CT Mirror: http://ctmirror.org/up-next-charter-group-that-battled-nyc-mayor-comes-to-ct/
Common Core, General Assembly, Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor Common Core, Connecticut General Assembly, Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor
The Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Field Test of a test means more testing and less learning.
The Common Core test will cost Connecticut’s students and teachers hundreds of hours of lost instructional time.
The Common Core test will cost schools and taxpayers tens of millions in computer and internet upgrades so that students can take the inappropriate computer-based test.
And reports are coming in from around the state that another major problem is undermining our students, teachers and public schools.
As schools divert their computers and internet to the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test of a test, students who take computer related courses are being pushed aside, unable to even complete the courses that require access to those computers.
As everyone but the proponents of the Common Core Smarter Assessment Field Test scheme understand, there are literally dozens of courses that require access to computers.
In addition to classes that teach an array of computer skills, there are a wide variety of business and art classes that require daily access to the computer.
But in the name of getting students “college and career ready,” Connecticut’s school systems are being forced to commandeer the schools’ computers for the Common Core testing; leaving students without the equipment they literally need to become “college and career ready.”
Business teachers, art teachers, and computer teachers have all written to say that access to their computers has been restricted for weeks at a time. Teachers are being prevented from teaching course content and students are being prevented from completing their coursework.
Teachers report that as computer labs and classrooms with computers have been converted to testing factories, students taking courses that require access to those computers have been sent to the library, cafeteria or hallways to wait for the testing periods to come to an end.
As the end of the school year comes into sight, one school reports that rather than having fifteen class periods to work on their semester projects and prepare for their required presentations, students will have less than half that number.
Another school is reporting that as result of the Common Core testing frenzy, business and graphic art students have been prohibited from using their classroom computers for more than a month during the spring Common Core testing period.
As a result of the massive standardized testing program, students are losing out.
College and career skills are NOT being developed, knowledge is NOT being acquired, and precious opportunities ARE being lost.
The Common Core testing debacle is truly undermining our public schools and the students they serve.
It leaves parents, teachers and taxpayers asking… Why won’t Governor Malloy, his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, or the General Assembly stand up, step forward and put an end to this travesty.
Bronx Charter School for Excellence, Charter Schools, Malloy, School Funding/ECS, Stamford, State Board of Education, Stefan Pryor Bronx Charter School for Excellence, Charter Schools, Corporate Education Reform Industry, Malloy, Stamford, Stefan Pryor
Malloy administration gives Bronx charter school chain a green-light to “save” Stamford.
The Malloy administration’s extraordinary efforts to increase the number of charter schools and privatize even more of the state’s public education system took a giant leap forward at the last State Board of Education meeting.
In a farce that included Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, just happening to have a written resolution approving four new charters rather than the promised two, the corporate education reform industry drive to undermine Connecticut’s public schools surged forward.
Malloy’s “hometown” of Stamford was one of the latest victims in the inappropriate and under-handed strategy that has been displayed by Commissioner Pryor and the State Board of Education.
When it comes to “education reform” the Malloy administration’s watchwords seems to be, “grab the candy before you are thrown out of the shop.”
The following piece was written by Stamford Board of Education members Jackie Heftman and Polly Rauh. It was first published in last Friday’s Stamford Advocate.
Democracy loses in charter school fight
On April 2, we went to a show trial in Hartford. Actually it was a meeting of the State Board of Education (SBOE). Sitting in the audience and later watching it on CT-N, we were reminded of the trials held in places with authoritarian dictatorships, where the outcome is decided long before the meeting begins.
The resolution that the SBOE was considering was for one more state charter school in New Haven and Bridgeport. The public agenda listed a discussion item of an additional charter school in Stamford and one more for Bridgeport. We were there to speak in opposition to another state charter school in Stamford. The Stamford Board of Education had passed a resolution at its March meeting not supporting the charter school application.
The SBOE approved the two charters in New Haven and Bridgeport, and then Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor magically produced a resolution for approval of another charter school in Bridgeport and Stamford. Both were unanimously approved. Indeed a sad day for democracy in Connecticut.
Some of the things that were put on the record were simply wrong and some were outright lies, and they should not go undisputed. If Stamford is going to be dragged into a fight over a charter school, we should begin with an understanding of the facts.
Pryor was adamant that the funding for charter schools is a separate stream of money and does not take funding away from the traditional public schools. In fact he proudly asserted that more money has been allocated to the Alliance Districts. Alliance Districts are the 30 lowest performing districts in the state. Stamford, New Haven and Bridgeport are Alliance Districts. For Stamford the allocated amount is less than $3 million dollars which is less than 1 percent of our budget. Is he kidding? What is there to be proud of? That money will get eaten up in additional transportation and special education costs for the new charter school.
The money that comes to cities and towns to help fund public schools is based on an Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula which is grossly underfunded to the tune of almost $700 million dollars this year.
[A Wait, What? note to readers: According to the CCEJF school funding lawsuit and other experts, Connecticut’s school funding formula is actually $1.5 to $2 billion underfunded leaving an unfair and disproportionate burden on local property tax payers and severely limiting resource in many Connecticut school districts].
But there seems to be money to fund state charter schools. Between Fiscal Year 2013 and Fiscal Year 2015, $233 million has been set aside to fund state charter schools. That money could have been added to the ECS stream bringing it closer to what the formula requires.
The second sad occurrence that afternoon was when Charlene Reid, head of the state charter school that wants to open here, told the SBOE that in her meetings with Stamford BOE members over the past couple of months it was suggested that because she was black she was incapable of writing the application. She also said she was accused of being a racist because she wants to open a segregated school and had experienced “micro aggression” during her time in Stamford.
We have neither met Ms. Reid nor been asked to attend a meeting with her and could find only one board member who did meet with her. No one who spoke at the public hearing in Stamford maligned Ms. Reid. Our opposition to the charter school has never been personal. She also said parents were “petrified” to publicly state their support, but when parents had the opportunity to speak at the SBOE meeting, where there is obvious support for charter schools, no one spoke. No one from Stamford said they wanted this option for their children. In fact Stamford Parent Teacher Council members came to the SBOE meeting with more than 700 petition signatures in opposition to the charter school.
Ms. Reid accused unnamed Stamford officials of having no plan to address inequities and only wanting to ignore the problem. That flies in the face of our Alliance District Improvement Plan, approved by the SBOE, which directly addresses the closing of the achievement gap. In fact in the past six years the achievement gap in the Stamford Public Schools has been reduced by 13.5 percent. Ms. Reid says the Bronx Charter School for Excellence has closed the achievement gap for all subgroups. The achievement gap is the difference between the standardized test scores for White students vs. Black and Hispanic students.
Her claim that the gap has been closed at her school is meaningless when there are no white students attending. She can claim that she has boosted the achievement of her students, but she can’t claim she has closed the achievement gap. She also belittled Stamford Superintendent Winifred Hamilton’s commitment to diversity in spite of the fact that our schools are balanced to within 10 percent of the district average, 31 percent of our administrators are minorities and we are constantly working to increase our minority teaching staff. It is obvious that she hasn’t visited any of our schools. Ms. Reid told the SBOE that she is looking forward to a collaborative relationship with SPS and our superintendent! Really?
Ms. Reid acknowledged that her school in the Bronx is 100 percent minority and 85 percent economically disadvantaged and this is the model she would bring to Stamford. If for no other reasons, we oppose this charter school coming to Stamford.
We care about all public school students receiving a high quality education in a diverse setting of students of all colors and socioeconomic backgrounds. All Stamford students deserve no less.
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
The growing list of reasons to vote against Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s re-election
- Malloy’s “education reform” legislation has earned him the title of the most anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-charter school Democratic governor in the nation. Malloy’s decision to hand Connecticut’s public education system over to Charter School advocate, now Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor has ushered in an unprecedented attack on teachers, students, parents, local school districts and the professionalism of the State Department of Education. As long as Pryor and his allies are running the State Department of Education, Malloy deserves to lose.
- As if Malloy’s corporate education reform industry agenda wasn’t bad enough, the Governor and his administration has displayed the height of arrogance and dishonesty in his flip flopping about Connecticut’s inadequate school funding formula. Although Dan Malloy ran on a platform of confronting Connecticut’s unfair and inappropriate school funding system and settling the historic CCEJF School funding lawsuit, Malloy has not only used his power to try and dismiss the vital lawsuit, but has implemented policies that place an even greater financial burden on Connecticut’s local property taxpayers when it comes to funding public schools.
- As governor, Malloy has also instituted the largest budget cuts in state history to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities. Malloy’s unwillingness to fund public higher education has translated into massive tuition increase, which in turn, disproportionately hurt working and middle-income families.
- At the same time, under the guise of “shared sacrifice,” Malloy pushed through tax policies that also unfairly targeted middle income families while coddling the wealthy. Those making more than $1 million a year saw absolutely NO INCREASE in their income tax rates while middle income families were hit with higher incomes tax rates and a reduction in their property tax credit. Taxpayers were also confronted with a variety of new and expanded tax increases, most of which place the greatest burden on middle income families. Malloy’s tax program also included the largest gas tax increase in Connecticut history and, incredibly, the revenues collected from that higher gas tax wasn’t even used to pay for programs to improve Connecticut’s transportation systems.
- When it comes to the issue of economic development, Malloy’s rhetoric about creating jobs has been little more than a cover for a massive corporate welfare program that gave hundreds of millions of dollars to extremely profitable companies. Billion dollar companies literally walked away with hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds. Making matters worse, Malloy charged his corporate give-a-way program to the state’s credit card meaning taxpayers will not only be picking up the entire cost of those corporate welfare checks but are now going to have to pay tens of millions more in interest to pay for Malloy’s irresponsible borrowing.
- The growth of government secrecy, the loss of public accountability, and the inappropriate role of campaign contributions donated from state contractors and lobbyists may well be the Malloy administration’s worst “accomplishment.” As a result of Malloy successful efforts to limit the powers and resources of the State Ethics Commission, the State Freedom of Information Commission and the State Elections Enforcement Commission, and create new loopholes in Connecticut’s campaign finance laws, Malloy will go down in history as the governor who turned back the clock on openness, accountability and the public’s right to know what its elected and appointed government officials are doing.
- Furthermore, despite running on a platform in honest budgeting, the Malloy administration has made constant use of budget gimmicks and the inappropriate use of one-time revenues. Malloy’s failure to be honest about Connecticut’s state budgets will leave the taxpayers of Connecticut with $1 billion budget deficit in each of the three years following the election.
- And while teachers and Connecticut’s public schools have borne the brunt of Malloy’s attacks over the past two years, few will forgot his 2011 war on state employees. His disrespect and unfair treatment of state employees continues to this day with his unwillingness to provide agencies with adequate staffing. While state employees stepped up and did their fair share to help solve Connecticut’s budget crisis, Malloy’s contempt has not only undermined state employees and state agencies, but has resulted in a system in which Connecticut taxpayers are paying more while getting less.
Sadly, this is but a partial list.
Feel free add or expand as warranted…
Education Reform, Malloy, Teacher Evaluations Corporate Education Reform Industry, Malloy, Teacher Evaluations
In her latest blog post, Diane Ravitch, the nation’s leading public education advocate provides us with yet another reminder about why politicians like Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy should should be ashamed of what he has done to our public school teachers and our public schools…
Florida Teacher Donates $400 Bonus to NPE to Fight VAM and Ither Failed Reforms!
Kim Cook, a first-grade teacher in Florida, received a bonus of $400. She donated it to the Network for Public Education to fight the failed ideas of corporate reform, which prevail in her state.
She is the second teacher to donate their bonus to NPE to fight fake reforms that demean teachers and distort education. Not long ago, Kevin Strang, an instrumental music teacher from Florida, donated his $800 bonus, awarded because he teaches in a school that was rated A.
On behalf of NPE, we thank Kim and Kevin. We hope other teachers will follow their lead. We pledge to fight for you and to advance the day when non-educators and politicians stop meddling with your work and let you teach.
I asked Kim to tell me why she decided to do this. This was her reply:
“Yes, I donated $400. I am a first grade teacher in Alachua County, Florida. I was inspired by Kevin Strang’s donation last month. I, too, received bonus money, not because I work at an “A” school, but because my school’s grade went from a “D” to a “C.”
“Here’s the catch: I don’t teach at the school that determines my school’s grade. I teach at Irby Elementary School in Alachua, Florida, which only serves grades K-2. My school’s grade is determined by students at the grade 3-5 school up the road.
“I have only been working at Irby Elementary for three years, so I have never met–never even passed in the hall–the fourth and fifth grade students whose FCAT scores determined my school’s grade. Even if I had, I completely disagree with high-stakes testing and tying teachers’ bonuses, salaries, and evaluations to those scores. I am donating my bonus money to NPE because I am fighting the failed policies of education “reformers” in every way that I can. Thank you for providing me an avenue through which to do that!
“Here is some background information on me. I am the Florida teacher that received an unsatisfactory evaluation based on students I had never taught at the same time I was named my school’s teacher of the year. My story made it into Valerie Strauss’ The Answer Sheet.
I am also the lead plaintiff in Florida Education Association/NEA’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of VAM.
With deep appreciation and respect,
In Florida, as in Connecticut, politicians have tied teacher evaluation programs to standardized test scores and inappropriate and fault assessment schemes.
Take a moment to read the Florida teacher’s story because it is system that is pretty similar to one Governor Malloy pushed through here in Connecticut. In fact, a strong argument could be made that the Connecticut’s system is even worse.
Here’s the crazy story of Kim Cook, a teacher at Irby Elementary, a K-2 school which feeds into Alachua Elementary, for grades 3-5, just down the road in Alachua, Fla. She was recently chosen by the teachers at her school as their Teacher of the Year.
Her plight stems back to last spring when the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 736, which mandates that 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation must be based on student scores on the state’s standardized tests, a method known as the value-added model, or VAM. It is essentially a formula that supposedly tells how much “value” a teacher has added to a student’s test score. Assessment experts say it is a terrible way to evaluate teachers but it has still been adopted by many states with the support of the Obama administration.
Since Cook’s school only goes through second grade, her school district is using the FCAT scores from the third graders at Alachua Elementary School to determine the VAM score for every teacher at her school.
Alachua Elementary School did not do well in 2011-12 evaluations that just came out; it received a D. Under the VAM model, the state awarded that school — and Cook’s school, by default — 10 points out of 100 for their D.
In this school district, there are three components to teacher evaluations:
1. A lesson study worth 20 percent. In the lesson study, small groups of teachers work together to create an exemplary lesson, observe one of the teachers implement it, critique the teacher’s performance and discuss improvement.
2. Principal appraisal worth 40 percent of overall score.
3. VAM data (scores from the standardized Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores for elementary schools) worth 40 percent of the overall score.
Cook received full points on her lesson study: 100 x .20 (20%) = 20 points
Cook received an 88/100 from her former principal: 88/100 x .40 (40%) = 35.2 points
On VAM data — points awarded by the state for the FCAT scores at Alachua Elementary School: 10/100 x .40 (40%) = 4 points
Total points that she received: 59.2 (Unsatisfactory)
This is her second year at Irby Elementary, where she teaches first grade. She never taught a single student who took the FCAT at Alachua Elementary last spring. The same will hold true for this year’s evaluation; 40 percent of her appraisal will be based on the scores of students she has never taught.
The Florida Education Association’s Web site says:
Every teacher will be evaluated using the new evaluation criteria and student learning growth. Veteran teachers must demonstrate Highly Effective or Effective performance; if they are rated unsatisfactory two consecutive or two out of three years, they will be placed on an annual contract then, if there is no improvement, terminated.
Here’s what Cook wrote to me in an e-mail:
I have almost 25 years of experience as a teacher. I JUST got my 2011-2012 evaluation on Friday. There is a real possibility that I will receive an unsatisfactory evaluation for this school year. I may go up to “needs improvement”, but either way, my job is in jeopardy.
Last month, the faculty and staff at my school voted for me as Irby Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year. I am so honored to have been chosen. I work with an amazing group of teachers. They are the most hardworking and talented group of women I have had the privilege to know. Yet every single teacher at my school received an evaluation of “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” because of this insane system that the Republican state legislators and Gov. [Rick] Scott dreamed up at the beckoning of Jeb Bush and ALEC [American Legislative Exchange Council]. My colleagues and I deserve better than this.”
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Minimum Wage, Wal-Mart Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Minimum Wage, Wal-Mart
If you’ve been getting Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s recent campaign emails you know that the incumbent Governor is using his recent support for a higher minimum wage to raise money for his re-election campaign.
What doesn’t show up in those emails is the fact that the Malloy campaign operation accepted a $5,000 check, last October, from WAL-MART STORES INC. PAC FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT.
The check was deposited into one of the Democratic State Central Committee’s checking account on October 9, 2013. This is the account Malloy and his campaign are using to side-step Connecticut law that restricts candidates from accepting political action committee money if they are participating in Connecticut’s public financing system.
Taking $5,000 in blood money from the Wal-Mart PAC is in stark contrast to Malloy’s orchestrated “campaign photo op.” a few weeks ago. As CT Mirror reported on March 26, 2014,
With partisan votes on a pocketbook issue that the White House and Connecticut Democrats hope will mobilize voters this fall, the General Assembly voted Wednesday for legislation that would raise the state’s $8.70 minimum wage to $10.10 by January 2017.
The bill, which was approved 21-14 in the Senate and 87-54 in the House, became an instant political talking point for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and President Obama. Malloy is to sign the bill Thursday evening at Cafe Beauregard, the New Britain restaurant where Obama dined before a minimum-wage rally three weeks ago.
“I am proud that Connecticut is once again a leader on an issue of national importance. Increasing the minimum wage is not just good for workers, it’s also good for business,” said Malloy, a first-term Democrat facing re-election.
And in an email the Malloy campaign sent out yesterday, Malloy writes,
“Together, we have created new private sector jobs and we became the first state in the nation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. The progress we’ve made for the people of Connecticut has been great, but there is more to do. We cannot afford to turn back now!
To win, we need to hit certain fundraising benchmarks and the next one is to raise $20,000 by midnight on Monday. Your gift goes directly toward helping us qualify for public financing. Chip in $5 or more right now >>
There is still so much more work to do if we’re going to secure Connecticut’s future.
I am counting on you to help me qualify for public financing. Then the fundraising emails stop and we move on to the next phase of our campaign: grassroots organizing.
In other words, all is well… donations from Connecticut voters who support the minimum wage in one pocket, a check for $5,000 from Wal-Mart in the other.
Campaign Finance, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Campaign Finance Reform, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
By participating in Connecticut’s public financing system, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy will receive $6,500,400 in public funds to pay for his 2014 re-election effort…. Yes, that number is Six Million, Five Hundred Thousand, Four Hundred Dollars.
As readers know, public campaign finance systems were designed to take “big money” out of politics.
By agreeing to be part of the public finance program, candidates agreed that they would NOT ACCEPT campaign contributions from political action committees, corporations or large donors.
Following the scandal that sent former Governor John Rowland to prison, Connecticut adopted the nation’s premier campaign finance system.
However, in 2013 at the request of Governor Malloy, the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly intentionally undermined Connecticut’s public finance system by creating a series of loopholes that will allow Malloy to take the $6.5 million dollars in public funds yet still participate allow him to benefit from a “shadow campaign” in which millions of dollars are funneled through political committees to benefit Malloy’s re-election aspirations.
At the time, Republican State Senator Michael McLachlan and others warned their colleagues of the consequences of undermining Connecticut’s campaign system, but legislators went ahead and did Malloy’s bidding.
Malloy’s scheme to double-dip campaign funds was laid out in a What, What? post entitled, “Campaign Finance Reform Malloy Style: NU CEO says support Malloy by giving to the Connecticut Democratic Party.”
And now the fruits of Malloy’s efforts are coming to fruition.
As reported in yesterday’s Wait, What? post, “Corporate Education Reform Industry pours money into Malloy campaign operation,” Team Malloy has raised approximately $2.5 million into one of the Connecticut Democratic Party’s accounts and that doesn’t even count the money that is being laundered through other party or political action committees.
So who are writing the big checks for Malloy’s shadow campaign operation?
Here is just a partial list,
|Political Action Committee
|Bank of America PAC
|Praxair Inc. PAC
|Webster Bank PAC
|United Healthcare PAC
|Phoenix Companies PAC
|Walt Disney Productions PAC
|Coventa Energy PAC
|Dominion Energy PAC
|GHC Ancillary Corp PAC
|Purdue Pharma PAC
|Boehringer Ingelheim PAC
|National Confectioners PAC
|Pitney Bowes PAC
|Northeast Utilities PAC
And the list goes on and on and on….
Achievement First/ConnCAN, Campaign Finance, Democratic State Central Committee, Democrats for Education Reform, Education Reform, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Jonathan Sackler, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Steve Mandel Achievement First Inc., ConnCAN, Corporate Education Reform Industry, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy is the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic governor in the nation…And to see how appreciative the corporate education reform industry is, one need only look at Malloy’s campaign fundraising program which has already raised more than $100,000 from the anti-public education industry.
As a participant in Connecticut’s public financing system, candidate Malloy is only supposed to rely on the taxpayer dollars that he will receive as a qualified candidate for governor. But thanks to a gigantic loophole in the law, the Malloy political operation has been raising money for the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee in order to augment the millions in public funds he will get to pay his campaign expenses.
By the end of February 2014, Malloy’s fundraising program had already collected more than $2.4 million into just one of the two accounts managed by the Connecticut Democratic Party.
Not surprisingly, Malloy has turned to the corporate funded pro-charter school, anti-teacher, anti-public education forces to help him raise record amounts of money.
The infamous Democrats for Education Reform, an anti-public education political action committee based in Washington D.C., has already provided Malloy with a check for $5,000.
Jonathan Sackler and his wife have donated a total of $36,000 to Malloy’s operation in just the past six months. Sackler is the one who helped Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, create and expand Achievement First Inc., the large charter school management company. Sackler was also a co-founder of the Connecticut charter school advocacy group ConnCAN and went on to create the national charter school advocacy group called 50 CAN. When Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch tried to eliminate the democratically-elected board of education in that city, he turned to Sackler for a last-minute campaign donation of $50,000 to help pay for what proved to be his failed effort to undermine democracy.
Another nationally-recognized corporate education reform advocate to pour money into Malloy’s campaign is billionaire Stephen Mandel Jr. Mandel, who was behind the creation of the corporate-funded education reform advocacy group, Excel Bridgeport, Inc., has already written two $10,000 checks for Malloy’s political activities.
Los Angeles, anti-public education billionaire Eli Broad has also gotten in on the act donating $8,000 to Malloy so far in this campaign cycle. Broad’s foundation is one of the three major national foundations funding the corporate education reform effort across the country.
And Sackler isn’t the only member of Achievement First Inc. and ConnCAN’s Board of Directors to have ponied up for Malloy.
To date, board members of these two Connecticut-based education reform groups have donated well in excess of $50,000 to Malloy’s political aspirations and that doesn’t even count another $50,000 that these same people dumped into another political action committee affiliated with Malloy.
So much for campaign contribution limits…and with Election Day still seven months away, we can be sure that Malloy will continue to cash in on his anti-public education agenda.
Ann Cronin, Common Core, Malloy, Standardized Testing, Stefan Pryor Ann Cronin, Common Core, Malloy, Standardized Testing, Stefan Pryor
Ann Policelli Cronin is a consultant in English education for school districts and university schools of education. She has taught middle and high school English, was a district-level administrator for English, taught university courses in English education, and was assistant director of the Connecticut Writing Project. She was Connecticut Outstanding English Teacher of the Year and has received national awards for middle and high school curricula she designed and implemented.
In a powerful commentary piece posted on the CT Mirror website and entitled, “When we buy something, we should get what we pay for,” Ann Cronin begins by laying out the harsh reality that faces our public schools. She writes,
We, as U.S. taxpayers, spent $350 million for standardized tests to assess if students are mastering Common Core standards, and we are spending millions more at the state level to implement that testing. What we have been asked to buy is that teaching those standards and assessing them will make our students “college and career ready.”
But who knows? We need a warranty so we can return the standards and tests and get a new education for our children if they don’t work.
“Readiness for college and careers” will be measured by standardized tests given in Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11. As a parent, good standardized test scores were not what I asked of my children’s public schools. Instead, I asked that their teachers tap into my children’s love of learning, motivate them to want to learn more, and help them to grow in both their knowledge and their skills in building their own knowledge.
Standardized tests give a very limited picture of a student, limited by the goals of the test-makers. What seems much more important, even in terms of college and careers, is that children enjoy a stimulating and challenging year in school and have ideas and skills in June they didn’t have in September, rather than receive a high score on a standardized test.
This standardized test of “college and career readiness” is particularly inappropriate and unreliable because not one teacher was involved in setting the learning goals. Of the 29 writers of those goals, called Common Core standards, 27 were employees of testing companies. People who know how to test but not how to teach decided exactly what our children need to be “ready” for and how they demonstrate that “readiness” each year, kindergarten through high school.
And Cronin concludes with,
But we in Connecticut are still buying the idea that learning can be measured by standardized tests. The cost is high – not just in money but also in the education our children are not receiving. As Carol Burris, an award-winning high school principal who first supported the Common Core but changed her mind after a year of implementation and testing in New York, said:
Eventually all of it will fail. But your child will not get another chance to be a third grader. We are on our way with the Common Core to creating a generation of students who will despise school before they get to college, ready or not. Our country and our children deserve better. (The Washington Post, April 7, 2013)
There is no warranty for the Common Core and its testing. Let’s look the governor, the commissioner of education and the State Board of Education in the eye and say: No Sale.
This MUST READ article can be found in its entirety at: http://ctmirror.org/op-ed-buyers-beware-of-common-core/
Charter Schools, CT Voices for Children, Magnet Schools, Malloy, Robert Cotto Jr. Charter Schools, Connecticut Voices for Children, Malloy, Robert Cotto Jr.
Connecticut Voices for Children, the New-Haven based, nationally recognized policy research organization has issued a major new report entitled, “Choice Watch: Diversity and Access in Connecticut’s School Choice Programs.”
The CT Voices report is the most extensive, independent study that has been conducted about the performance of charter schools, magnet schools and other school choices options in Connecticut.
While the entire report is a “MUST READ” for those following the “school choice” debate, it is an especially important addition to the debate for those concerned about the Malloy administration’s commitment to expanding the number of charter schools in Connecticut and their on-going privatization efforts to turn public schools over to private charter school operators.
Among the key findings from the CT Voices study is that Connecticut’s Charter Schools are more segregated, systematically discriminate against Latinos and English Language Learners and fail to recruit, retain and serve their fair share of students who require special education services.
As the CT Voices study concludes,
Charter schools are typically hypersegregated by race/ethnicity and, in Connecticut’s four largest cities, actually offer students, on average, a learning environment that is more or equally segregated by race and ethnicity than local public schools.
Although Charter Schools serve just over 1% of the public school students in Connecticut, these privately run, publically funded schools have been receiving additional funds at a far greater rate than traditional public schools.
Governor Malloy and his administration are engaged in an unprecedented effort to increase the number of charter schools operating in the state.
However, the new CT Voices report re-confirms that when it comes to equity and fairness, the rush to divert public resources away from public schools and to charter schools is taking Connecticut in exactly the wrong direction when it comes to reducing racial isolation and providing quality services to students with special needs and those who require additional English language programs.
For example, according to the new report,
In 2011-12, a majority of magnet schools and technical schools were “integrated,” as measured by the standard set forth in the 2008 settlement agreement of the landmark Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation case: a school with a student body composed of between 25% and 75% minority students…In contrast, only 18% of charter schools met the Sheff standard. The majority of charter schools were instead “hypersegregated,” with a student body composed of more than 90% minority students…”
The failure of charter schools to provide equal opportunity to students is even starker when it comes to their unwillingness to serve bi-lingual students, students who need additional English language services or students with special education needs.
When it comes to educating English Language Learners, the new study finds that 76% of all charter schools have substantially lower enrollment of ELL students then the community they are supposed to be serving.
The failure of charter schools to serve students with special education needs is equally troubling. Although state law requires that Charter Schools “attract, enroll, and retain” children with disabilities, the report found that many charter schools are simply failing to fulfill this legal requirement.
The new report from Connecticut Voices for Children also sheds a powerful light on Connecticut’s magnet schools and the state’s technical high school system.
You can find the full CT Voices report here: http://www.ctvoices.org/sites/default/files/edu14choicewatchfull.pdf
You can also find a New Haven Independent news article about the report here: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/ct_voices_for_children_report/
And a CT News Junkie report about the report here: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/report_claims_choice_schools_are_hyper-segregated/