Education Reformer (Dr.) Mr. Terrence Carter loses again

Mr. Terrence Carter, who falsely called himself Dr. Carter arrived from Chicago, with the help of Special Master Steven Adamowski, to “save” the children of New London.  But having  lied about some of the most important aspects of his resume, including the fact that he wasn’t a “Dr.” after all, the New London Board of Education decided not to hire Mr. Carter.  In response, Mr. Carter sued the New London Board of Education.

How dare an elected group of citizens stand in the way of the Corporate Education Reform Industry!

So, in true American fashion, Mr. Carter sued.

And today a Connecticut judge laughed him right out of the courthouse.

Breaking news from the Courant’s Jon Lender and Kathy Megan- Judge Tosses Suit By New London School Chief Candidate, Saying He Misrepresented Credentials.

Terrence P. Carter, the highly touted Chicago educator whose selection as New London schools superintendent was rescinded after revelations that he had made false statements about his background and qualifications, has lost his lawsuit against the city’s board of education and its chairwoman.

Carter last year had sued the New London school board and its chairwoman, Margaret Curtin, alleging that they breached an agreement to hire him. But in a ruling dated Tuesday, New London Superior Court Judge Robert F. Vacchelli granted motions for summary judgment filed by the board and Curtin, throwing out the case in which Carter sought damages in an unspecified amount greater than $15,000.

[…]

The New London board had voted in mid-2014 to appoint Carter – amid widespread praise in the local community and press of Carter’s apparent qualifications to improve the city’s underachieving school system. Top state education officials in the Malloy administration also endorsed his selection publicly. The school board scheduled a vote for July 21, 2014 on an employment contract with Carter – and Carter had put his signature on a proposed agreement.

But the vote was put off after The Courant published a story on its website on July 18, raising questions about his credentials.

“The progress on his employment became derailed when, on July 18, 2014, newspaper articles began appear[ing] in the Hartford Courant…reporting that the plaintiff had been referring to himself as ‘Dr. Terrence Carter’ or ‘Terrence Carter, Ph.D.’ in numerous public or official documents for years when, in fact he had no accredited doctorate,” Vacchelli wrote in his decision.

“The plaintiff reportedly told the reporters that he had a degree from Hamersfield University in London which would permit his practice in the ministry. He provided a college transcript but the transcript was from Lexington University for a degree in Human Resources Management and Organizational Learning. An investigation showed that Lexington University was a proverbial ‘diploma mill’ source, selling degrees for a price of up to several hundred dollars,” Vacchelli wrote. The Day of New London later wrote stories with other disclosures, the judge said.

The school board then commissioned an investigation by its legal counsel, the Hartford firm Shipman & Goodwin. Vacchelli said that the law firm’s report verified information in the newspaper reports and “demonstrated that the plaintiff had frequently held himself as having a doctorate degree, including a Ph.D. in organizational leadership from Stanford University. The [law firm’s] report showed that his cover letter to the board contained many passages that were plagiarized. And it showed he was dishonest in answering questions about his bankruptcy filing history.”

[…]

The judge said that “the evidence was clear and convincing that the plaintiff repeatedly and intentionally misrepresented his educational credentials, work product, criminal history and financial history to get the defendant to hire him as Superintendent of Schools for the City of New London. He deceived the board into taking steps to awarding the contract, until his deceptive conduct was revealed in newspaper stories.”

You can read the whole story at:  http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-terrence-carter-1022-20151021-story.html

If you have an account or create an account with the Day of New London you can read more at:  Terrence Carter’s suit against New London school board and its president is dismissed

Jason Morris for New London Board of Education

Jason Morris, running for the New London Board of Education on the Green Party line, deserves the vote of every person who cares about our children and our public schools.

If the charter school and corporate education reform industry’s unprecedented attack on public education has taught us one thing, it is the importance of having people on local boards of education who will stand up for our children, parents, teachers and public schools.

Sadly, the effort to undermine parents and teachers and turn public schools into little more than testing factories is taking place across the nation, but few communities have been hit has hard as New London, Connecticut.

And when New London students, parents and teachers needed their elected officials to stand up to politically motivated state intervention and privatization interests that its “Special Master” Steven Adamowski pushed, far too often, those officials turned away or worse, supported the disastrous policies that were being proposed.

But in a democracy, people have the ability to stand up and take back their government.

In a few weeks the voters of New London have just such an opportunity.

Jason Morris is one of few candidates in New London with the proven courage and conviction to stand up and make sure New London Public Schools are doing what is right for the community’s children rather than those who seek to profit off of our public schools.

Jason Morris has become an expert on what is wrong with the so-called education reforms that are crippling our schools.  His passion and commitment to make sure that all of New London’s students have access to high quality public education is clear and concise.

After three and a half years of attending Board meetings and working with community groups, he has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience that would rival even a few incumbents seeking re-election to the Board. His intentions are clear that he is committed to implementing Restorative Practices in order to increase student learning time and reduce suspensions; is dedicated to restoring the rightful role of teachers and other school professionals and ensuring developmentally appropriate curriculum is provided in all New London Schools.

And perhaps most importantly, proving his commitment to children and teachers, Jason Morris will fight against the harmful, unfair, inappropriate, and discriminatory standardized testing and replace it with performance-based programs that support students and fairly assess teachers.

Jason Morris has become such a leader on behalf of students, parents, teachers and public schools that he is one of a handful of board of education candidates in the entire country to be endorsed by The Network for Public Education, which is the nation’s leading public education advocacy group.

This year make your vote count.  Make a real difference by voting for candidates who have real integrity, passion, dedication and a commitment to do what is right.

If you are a voter in New London, you have the opportunity to vote for exactly that type of candidate.

His name is Jason Morris and you can find him on the ballot running for a seat on the New London Board of Education on the Green Party line.

With Election Day 2016 around the corner, if you know other Board of Education candidates dedicated to fighting the corporate education reform industry and ensuring the word PUBLIC is put back into public education, please send their information to [email protected]

Stench of Chicago’s Corporate Education Reform Industry scandal wafts as far as Connecticut

This past Tuesday (October 13, 2015) former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, one of the nation’s leading Corporate Education Reform Industry leaders, pleaded guilty for her role in a $23 million kick-back scheme with Gary Solomon and his education reform companies, The SUPES Academy and Synesi Associates.

As part of the plea agreement federal prosecutors told the court that they would drop all but one of the twenty fraud charges listed in Byrd-Bennett’s indictment and that although she faced a maximum of 20 years on each of 20 fraud counts, they would recommend a prison sentence of no more than seven 7 ½ years if she continued to “cooperate with federal investigators.”

Byrd-Bennett has previously served in top management positions with the Cleveland and Detroit public school systems.

As Barbara Byrd-Bennett was pleading guilty for her crimes in Chicago, The Detroit News reported that the FBI was investigating contracts Byrd-Bennett approved when she worked in Detroit;

According to six-month expenditure reports from May and November 2011, DPS paid $1,487,654.08 to Synesi for “Consultant Services/Curriculum/Office of Accountability.”

The report from November 2011 also lists an invoice of $128,698.77 to Synesi as “disapproved.”

The dark cloud of potentially illegal activities casts a long shadow over The Supes Academy, Synesi Associates, and a third company that is owned by Gary Solomon, PROACT Search.

As previously reported, Solomon’s PROACT Search has received a number of contracts in Connecticut.

The superintendent search firm was responsible for getting Garth Harries the superintendent’s job in New Haven and Manuel Rivera the same post in Norwalk.

When the New London Board of Education, with the help of Governor Malloy’s Special Master Steven Adamowski, hired Rivera away from Norwalk in February 2015, the Norwalk Board of Education re-hired PROACT Search and this time they recommend Steven Adamowski for the job.

Steven Adamowski has had a long-standing relationship with Gary Solomon and his corporate education reform companies.  Adamowski worked with The Supes Academy for many years and has also been on PROACT Search’s preferred list.

When Steven Adamowski announced his surprise departure as head of the Cincinnati school system in 2002, PROACT Search was hired to find his replacement.  The process garnered national attention as the Cincinnati Enquirer ended up, “suing the school board and its new superintendent over the secretive process by which the superintendent was chosen for the job.  Adamowski’s name was featured prominently in the newspaper’s complaint.

Four years later, in 2006, when PROACT Search put Steven Adamowski on the short-list for the superintendent’s job in Seattle, the move generated searing local criticism (See: The School Board Flunks Google 101 – In rounding up superintendent candidates, it seems no one did their homework. And what about the $63,500 head-hunting firm?)

And PROACT Search’s involvement in Norwalk has also generated controversy.

As the $20 million no-bid contract in Chicago originally came to light, Catalyst Chicago, a local education media outlet in Illinois reported;

In addition, Byrd-Bennett is listed as a senior associate for a superintendent search firm called PROACT Search, in documents dated August 2012—four months after taking the position with CPS [Chicago Public Schools.] PROACT is run by the same individuals who lead Supes: Gary Solomon, the executive director, and Thomas Vranas, the president

[…]

Byrd-Bennett is one of four contacts listed in the proposal for services submitted by PROACT in its bid to do a superintendent search for the Norwalk, Connecticut school district. She has an e-mail address listed in the proposal. When PROACT won the contract, an official for the company was quoted in the local newspaper touting that Byrd-Bennett, who by that time had been named as Chicago’s CEO, was a contractor with the firm.

[…]

However, Byrd-Bennett denies that she ever worked for PROACT and was surprised that her name was used, according to CPS spokeswoman Kelley Quinn. Quinn says the e-mail address [email protected] was “generic.”

At the time, Norwalk Board of Education member Mike Lyons, Steven Adamowski’s biggest local supporter, who now serves as Chairman of the Norwalk Board of Education spoke out in favor of hiring PROACT Search.  A November 12, 2102 Stamford Advocate article reported,

Lyons said the company has three bilingual staff members that will work on the project and hires contractors as well, including Barbara Byrd-Bennett, former superintendent of the Cleveland school system and now CEO of the Chicago school system

“I think we’ve got some really top flight talent that this group can bring in,” Lyons said.

Two years later, when it was time to find yet another superintendent, the Norwalk BoE voted 7-0 to rehire PROACT This time the company’s involvement led to the hiring of Steven Adamowski

In addition to their connection with Gary Solomon’s company, both Garth Harries and Steven Adamowski “graduated” from the Broad Academy, a corporate education reform training camp funded by billionaire Eli Broad, whose foundation is one of the three biggest funders of the Corporate Education Reform Industry.

A fourth Connecticut name with connections to those associated with the Chicago scandal is Christina Kishimoto who became Hartford’s superintendent when Adamowski left the position in 2011.  Kishimoto was Adamowski’s choice for the job, despite Mayor Pedro Segarra’s opposition (or initial opposition).  Like Adamowski, Kishimoto has worked with Gary Solomon’s Supes Academy.

Special Master to free New London’s students, parents and teachers

Hooray, add “emancipation” to the Malloy administration’s achievements!

Proving that election years tend to help some public officials see more clearly, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s Special Master, Steven Adamowski, went before Malloy’s State Board of Education today to announce that as long as New London continued to followed his directives, he would be willing to recommend that the state return full control of New London’s schools to the Board of Education that was democratically elected by the citizens of that community.

According to the Day newspaper of New London,

“Steven J. Adamowski, the special master appointed by the state to oversee the city’s school system, is expected to recommend to the state Board of Education today that the state lift its involvement in New London by July 1, 2015.

‘Giving several caveats that would occur during this school year, that remains my recommendation,’ Adamowski said Tuesday. “One caveat would be that the commissioner feels that this district is continuing to make good progress and another would be having a permanent superintendent in place.”

The tidbit about Adamowski’s dedication to finding a permanent superintendent may well be one of the funniest developments of the whole Special Master charade.

The Day newspaper goes on to report that, “Adamowski called choosing a new superintendent the ‘most important decision for the future of New London schools.”

As Wait, What? readers know, pushed by Malloy’s Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and Special Master Steven Adamowski, the New London Board of Education was about to hire the man formally known as “Dr.” Terrence Carter before the Hartford Courant’s Jon Lender (and the New London Day) published a series of scathing investigative reports revealing that Carter did not have the various academic doctorates that he claimed that he had, that he “plagiarized sections of his job application,” and that he mislead the board of education on a variety of other issues.

Now, weeks later, in a modern lesson on the Malloy administration’s dedication to “revisionist history,” the Day newspaper added that, “Though Pryor interviewed Carter and gave the city his blessing, Carter was not pre-approved by his office.”

It is a s statement that would be hard to defend considering the written correspondence and actions taken by Pryor and his staff.

But regardless, with less than five weeks to go until the election, it is good to hear that the Malloy administration has decided that it is time to announce that they will eventually recognize the democratic rights of New London ‘s voters and return control of New London’s schools to the people who were actually elected to oversee them.

Of course, let’s remember…Freedom isn’t Free… And New London’s elected officials must still meet those various and somewhat vague “caveats” before Malloy’s Special Master will actually FREE the students, parents and teachers from his authoritarian grip.

A portion of the Day’s coverage can be found at: http://www.theday.com/article/20141001/NWS01/141009975/1047/NWS

Hey Look – “Dr.” Terrence Carter – went to Columbia Teachers College too…

The famous, infamous, hilarious and just plain absurd controversy surrounding Terrence Carter, the proposed new superintendent of schools in New London, just keeps getting worse and worse.

According to various resumes, articles, websites and bios, “Dr.” Terrence Carter received his Ph. D. from Stanford University, from Stanford and Oxford Universities, from Leslely University and from a university outside of the United States.

But the apparent truth is that Mr. Terrence Carter got his ‘doctorate’ from a notorious diploma mill called Lexington University – and if it is the same diploma mill that has received national news coverage – it is the one whose website explains – “Order Now, Graduate Today”

Lexington University photo

 

But in the latest twist, it turns out that “Dr.” Terrence Carter’s educational achievements even go beyond the institutions reported by the Hartford Courant.

In an article about his experience at Barton Elementary School in Chicago, the Chicago Catalyst, a Illinois-based media outlet wrote,

“Carter also brought in a reading and writing curriculum he learned about while enrolled in Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City. (Carter was a teacher before joining the corporate world.) He also launched a before-school reading program to help youngsters who are behind and emphasizes professional development.”

Terrence Carter went to Columbia?

Wonder why that isn’t on his resume….

You can find the full Chicago article at:  Principals get creative within the bounds of district bureaucracy

Malloy Administration looks to stick it to public education yet again…

Proving that there is apparently no bounds to the arrogance and sense of entitlement displayed by Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his administration, the Day newspaper of New London is reporting that,

“The [New London] Board of Education will go forward with its scheduled vote tonight on the contract for newly hired Superintendent Terrence P. Carter despite questions about whether he misrepresented his academic record…”

This news comes despite a scathing investigative story written by Jon Lender of the Hartford Courant on Friday.  In the article entitled, “Incoming School Chief Called Himself Ph.D. For Years Without An Accredited Doctorate,” Lender wrote,

“…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.”

Although faced with undeniable proof that “Dr.” Terrence Carter repeatedly claimed to have a Ph.D. over the past eight years, when he had no such accredited degree, Governor Malloy’s mouthpiece, Special Master Steven Adamowski, is pushing the New London Board of Education for a quick vote to approve “Dr.” Terrence Carter as New London’s next public school superintendent.

Adamowski told the Day,

“It is unfortunate that this information could not be raised or addressed earlier in the process. With that said, the subject matter has been raised at this point and we are confident that the Board will consider all factors when making their further decisions.”

Unfortunate that this information could not be raised or addressed earlier in the process?

As the Hartford Courant reported “Dr.” Terrence Carter has claimed to have a Ph.D. on multiple occasions.

At one point it was reported that his doctorate came from Stanford University.  In another, Carter received his doctorate from a joint program at Stanford University and Oxford University in England.

And yet, at other times, Carter produced a résumé claiming he had or was going to get a Doctorate from Lesley University School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  One version of his resume claimed that the degree was expected in 2013.

Now, as his defense, “Dr.” Terrence Carter is claiming that it is all a big misunderstanding and that he never personally claimed to have a doctorate – it was only others who mistakenly called him “Dr.”

However, new evidence from the State of Illinois indicates that “Dr.” Terrence Carter has personally taken steps to claim that he had acquired a Ph.D. and may have personally benefited, at taxpayer expense, from that faulty claim.

The Family Taxpayer Foundation of Illinois, a nonprofit watchdog group, maintains a Teacher and Administrator Salary Database using information acquired from the Illinois State Board of Education (see http://familytaxpayers.org/ftf/ftf_salaries.php).  The Illinois State Board of Education is responsible for maintaining the certification status for teachers and administrators in that state.

According to the database, Terrence Carter listed his educational status as having a master’s degree in 2006 – 2008, but then changed his status claiming that he had acquired a doctorate.  The database indicates the Terrence Carter said he had a doctorate in 2009 and 2010.

The Illinois Report includes the following;

2006
Name: Carter Terrence P
Salary: $112,164
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 2.0
Degree: Master’s
School Name: BARTON ELEM SCHOOL
District Name: CITY OF CHICAGO SD 299

2007
Name: Carter Terrence P
Salary: $118,856
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 4
Degree: Master’s
School Name: CHICAGO ACADEMY ELEM SCHOOL
District Name: CITY OF CHICAGO SD 299

2008
Name: Carter, Terrence P
Salary: $133,203
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 5
Degree: Master’s
School Name: CATALYST CIRCLE ROCK ELEM SCHOO
District Name: City of Chicago SD 299

2009
Name: Carter, Terrence
Salary: $132,834
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 6
Degree: Doctorate
School Name: Barton Elem School
District Name: City of Chicago SD 299

2010
Name: Carter, Terrence
Salary: $142,128
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 7
Degree: Doctorate
School Name: Barton Elem School
District Name: City of Chicago SD 299

Despite the pressure from the Malloy administration, the members of the New London Board of Education need to stand up and do what is right for the students, teachers and taxpayers of New London.

Anything short of rejecting the contract with “Dr.” Terrence Carter and finding a new superintendent with integrity would be to acknowledge that the New London Board believes politics is more important than policy.

For more on the New London Board of Education read the following Wait, What? blogs;

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

“Dr.” Terrence Carter – Lexington University:  Order Now, Graduate Today

And the 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

A parent speaks out about Teach For America

There is a lot in corporate education “reform” that astonishes, but perhaps nothing is so astonishing as the strategic deployment of TFA. It’s counter-intuitive that untrained recent graduates will fare better in the classroom than seasoned teachers. And the reason that this notion feels counter-intuitive is quite simple: its contrary to common sense and cool reason. With rare exceptions, there is no way at all that a person with 5 weeks training can take commanding control of the classroom and lead the students with equanimity.

I have known young people who went into TFA, and while I thought highly of them as individuals, I did not think that they were prepared to do a better job of teaching than someone with professional training. There is a reason we have EDUCATION PROGRAMS. Yesterday, we took teaching seriously: we saw it as a profession, a vocation, which makes great demands on its practitioners. We understood that it was no small thing to get up in front of children and then ask them to follow you. But today we–meaning “they”!!–have completely trivialized teaching. They have decided that teaching is just like brushing your teeth or driving your car: just about anyone can do it!

TFA is insidious for a number of reasons. It’s an integral part of the corporate plan to de-professionalize teachers and to bring them under strict management control. Professionalism is anathema to the corporate types because professionals have too much workplace autonomy. We can’t have that in our brave new schools of “accountability.” Professionals typically form unions. And this is the real value of TFA for the “reformers”: it allows management to go around union contracts by using “contract labor”–i.e., the TFA cohort. And it will always be true that people on short term contracts are more vulnerable, more pliable and less invested in their place of employment. In short, TFA gives management a considerable degree of “flexibility.”

And TFA is not the best option for students. As Jon Pelto says, there are many unemployed teachers in Connecticut. If Hartford BOE has money to spend, it should spend it on real teachers for the benefit of the children. TFA is not only part of union busting, it is also, sad to say, an engine for increasing the ghettoization of the ghetto. When TFA went to New Orleans, thousands of public school teachers were laid off, many of them people of color, whose middle class jobs were crucial for the stability of certain neighborhoods. When these people lost their jobs, the impact on their communities must have been terrible. I’m sure the same thing will happen in Hartford, albeit on a much smaller scale. But Hartford needs every good job that it currently has, as the city’s economy is anything but promising.

Superintendent Kishimoto (in league with Stefan Pryor) is wreaking havoc on Hartford’s future. She is taking from the needy to give to those who are already glutted. TFA is a rich organization, backed by powerful wealthy people; it does not need a penny of public money. If they want to send “brilliant young people” to the poorest school districts, let them pay for it!

One hopes that some of the young people recruited to TFA will wake up and see the light. I understand that many have good intentions, but they have to realize that they are being used. I told one person I know who was in TFA that she should immediately disabuse herself of the idea that she was going to “save poor kids in the ghetto.” What could she know as someone who grew up with wealth what it is was like to live in a distressed community like Hartford? TFA encourages their “bright young things” to think of themselves as “game changers.” In my view, this is little else than an incitement to willful innocence or disgusting arrogance. And what is more, when the TFA “teacher” has a hard time of it and is forced to revise her “idealism,” it is easy to see that she might become bitter and cynical–hardly the attitudes you want in a leader of children…

I always say if TFA is so great then send them to the wealthy districts like Avon and Farmington, and the veteran teachers in those communities can come and teach in places like Hartford and Windham. Of course, I am well aware this would never happen!

“I am in control here” – A day in the life of Special Master Steven Adamowski

 “As of now, I am in control here, in the White House.” – Alexander Haig, Secretary of the State

It was March 30, 1981 and an assassination attempt sent President Reagan to the hospital.

Secretary of the State Al Haig called a press conference at the White House to announce, “Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State in that order, and should the President decide he wants to transfer the helm to the Vice President, he will do so. He has not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending return of the Vice President and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.”

But of course, Al Haig had his facts wrong since the US Constitution requires that the line of succession is the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and then the Secretary of State.

The Haig moment is often used as a metaphor when someone inappropriately attempts to take power or control.

Just such a moment occurred earlier this week when Governor Malloy’s “Special Master” for New London and Windham, Steven Adamowski, informed the New London Board of Education that he and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor were the ones truly in charge when it came to selecting a new local superintendent of schools for New London.

As reported by The Day newspaper of New London, Peg Curtin, the head of the New London Board of Education explained, “I would like to see the community be involved…”I would just want to make sure everyone is heard.”

The newspaper then goes on to report that, “As a result of the state’s involvement in the city’s school system, Adamowski said, he or the state commissioner of education could review the candidates the board decides to interview and eliminate any they find to be unqualified.”

Adamowski explained, “We will not be in a situation where I or the commissioner is in a position of having to veto something the board wants to do or tell you not to do something…We would like to simply make sure that the depth and quality of the candidates that go before you as finalists is sufficient.”

What?

The Connecticut General Assembly authorized the State Board of Education, in very limited circumstances, to name a “Special Master” to help communities improve their schools.  The Malloy administration has used that authority in two cases – Windham and New London.

In both cases the result has been a disaster.

While the title “Special Master” is absurd and insulting, the law was never intended to create a dictator who would be in position to destroy a community’s right to control its schools.

And yet is exactly what has been happening in the two communities.

Adamowski’s rhetoric is nothing short of an “Al Haig moment” and the citizens of New London and Windham better reach out to their local state senators and representatives to insure this modern-day Al Haig doesn’t get away with claiming powers he does not have.

A perfect example of the problem appears in the very same Day article.  The paper reports, “Adamowski has previously recommended that the new superintendent’s salary be set to a competitive level, that he or she be given a three-year contract and that the renewal of the superintendent’s contract be determined solely by the results of a yet-to-be-adopted performance evaluation tied to performance targets established in the district’s strategic operating plan.”

A superintendent evaluation “determined solely by the results of a yet-to-be-adopted performance evaluation tied to performance targets?

(AKA standardized test scores).

With that approach, New London parents and their local representative must move quickly to take back control of their schools so they can hire a superintendent who has the ability to fulfill all the duties associated with the job.

Because, as every parent, teacher and school board members understands, a superintendent’s job is so much more than improving test scores.

Superintendents are responsible for recruiting and retaining good administrators and teachers, for making sure special education student get the additional help they need and deserve, for developing and implementing effective bi-lingual and English Language Learning Programs, for improving early education opportunities, for reducing bullying and creating safer school climates, for seeking ways to reduce racial isolation, for ensuring scarce resources are well spent and the list goes on and on.

Despite Steven Adamowski’s apparent wish, Connecticut’s “Special Master” Statute was never intended to allow Pryor, Adamowski or anyone else to make decisions that are solely within the purview of the local Board of Education.

And if Adamowski claims he has special powers then citizens need to ensure legislators act to protect them from that power grab.

Al Haig’s comments that day in 1981 made him the laughing-stock of the world.

Adamowski’s claim that as “Special Master” he has “super powers” is equally absurd.

Or as the case may be, hey Steven, “you’re doing a heck of a job.”

You can find the latest Day article here:  http://www.theday.com/article/20131206/NWS01/312069954/0/SEARCH

And in Windham, parents and teachers speak out against Adamowski

Last week, at a forum sponsored by the Windham Federation of Teachers and the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), parents, teachers and other local Windham residents met with State Senator Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-29) and State Representative Susan Johnson (D-49) to voice their outrage about the way “Special Master,” “Special Deal” Steven Adamowski has been undermining Windham’s schools.

Now the question is what are State Senator Williams and State Representative Johnson going to do about what they heard?

The “Special Master” law that Williams and Johnson sponsored was supposed to give Windham (and later New London) additional state support and resources.

Instead, “Special Master” Steven Adamowski has spent millions of dollars in state and local funds to push his corporate education reform industry agenda on the unsuspecting students, parents, teachers and citizens of Windham and New London.

Adamowski’s dictatorial and autocratic approach has angered parents, demoralized teachers, stunned local officials and left the schools in those two communities in chaos.

One of the most serious complaints has been Adamowski’s complete unwillingness to include parents, teachers and local officials in the decision making process.

Adamowski has repeatedly failed to follow Connecticut laws concerning the role of local school governance councils.

In Windham, Special Master Adamowski has completely mishandled the Windham Middle School “Turnaround” process.  After months of work by a committee made up of local parents, teachers and administrators, Adamowski hijacked the process and demolished the locally grown plan by threatening Windham that it would not get state funds unless his proposals were substituted for the ones approved by the local committee.

When the committee balked at Adamowski’ effort, the Special Master, with the help and support of Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, threated to reject the plan leaving Windham without the funds it needed.

At the forum, Senator Williams and Representative Johnson also heard about Adamowski’s on-going efforts to reduce or eliminate bilingual and English Language Learner programs in Windham.

Both Windham and New London have seen an influx of families who use a language other than English as their primary language.  Rather than rise to meet that challenge, Steven Adamowski has been forcing policy changes that teachers say are having a profoundly negative impact on students who need extra help to succeed in school.

Adamowski’s long list of failings has been well documented over the past two years.

What has also been well documented are the issues related to the way he has spent state funds.

Adamowski has spent upwards toward $2 million, almost all of it without utilizing appropriate competitive bidding processes.

Numerous consultants and companies that he has done business with in the past have benefited from his largess.

But nobody has benefited more than Adamowski himself.

During the past two years, Adamowski has collected a total salary of $450,000 plus full medical and dental insurance for both himself and his wife.

The state has also paid for his professional and general liability insurance plus a stipend to pay for his life and disability insurance policies.

In addition to his taxpayer-funded salary and benefit package, Adamowski was given 25 days of vacation time per year, 15 days of paid sick time per year and 3 days of paid personal time per year.  Overall this means that in addition to all the paid holidays, Adamowski was able to use or accrue nearly nine weeks of paid time off each year…that is four and half months of paid time over during the contract period.

And to top things off, just this past August, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor made Steven Adamowski a state employee.  The move was made before the State Board of Education had even decided whether to continue the Special Master’s role and the job Adamowski was given was never posted nor did he have to go through any process to get the position.

At last week’s AFT forum, State Senator Williams and State Representative Johnson heard about all these issues and more.

But to reiterate the obvious, the question is now what are these legislators going to do to stop Adamowski from doing even more damage to their community’s schools.

Senator Williams/Representative Johnson: Windham’s children, parents, teachers and taxpayers deserve better

[A long but important post] Tomorrow, (Oct 2nd)  State Senator Don Williams and State Representative Susan Johnson are scheduled to meet with their constituents about the damage “Special Master”, “Special Deal” Steven Adamowski is doing to their community.

The children, parents, teacher and taxpayers of New London deserve a similar meeting with their elected officials.

No matter how well intentioned the effort to install a “Special Master” for Windham and New London may have been, legislators should recognize that Steven Adamowski has undermined the fundamental rights of those two communities while significantly damaging the local school systems in the name of corporate education reform.

With virtually no over-sight or appropriate checks and balances, Steven Adamowski has collected more than $500,000 in salary and benefits over the past twenty-four months and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds on no-bid contracts with people and companies he has worked with in the past.

Rather than step in to stop Adamowski’s abuses, state officials, led by the Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, have provided Adamowski with cover.

The latest, and most egregious of these actions was to give Adamowski a six-figure state job before the State Board of Education even voted to extend Adamowski’s role as “Special Master”

Adamowski’s unsupervised expenditures should have been enough to convince legislators to repeal the Special Master legislation.  But sadly, Adamowski’s damage goes far beyond how he has expended public funds.

“Special Deal” Adamowski has earned that name over and over again;  the time has come for Connecticut’s elected officials, and especially Windham’s state legislators to put an end to Adamowski’s reign of abuse.

As State Senator Don Williams and State Representative Susan Johnson review the facts, they should pay special attention to the following issues;

  • The role of “Special Master” was intended to augment local control by administrators, teachers, parents and taxpayers.  It was never intended to destroy the rights of local citizens to run their schools.  In the United States, no one, especially in the Constitution State, deserves to be treated like second class citizen but that is exactly what has happened in Windham (and New London).  When it comes to setting public policy and the use of public funds, Adamowski has consistently undermined the right of self-governance and has conducted himself in an autocratic and dictatorial fashion.
  • Legislators may have believed the Special Master legislation was a mechanism to get more attention and financial support for their district’s schools, but the process has become a tool for Governor Malloy, Commissioner Stefan Pryor and Steven Adamowski to push their politically driven corporate education reform agenda.  Windham’s students, parents and teachers have become guinea pigs in a failed education reform experiment that undermines the role of teachers, privatizes local education and seeks to pigeon-hole students into pre-determined categories and outcomes.