Christina Kishimoto, Hartford, Matt Poland, Mayor Pedro Segarra, Steve Perry Capital Preparatory Magnet School Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Christina Kishimoto, Hartford, Matt Poland, Mayor Pedro Segarra, Steve Perry
Yesterday Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry missed yet another morning of school, choosing instead to continue his unending list of paid speaking engagements. Friday it was off to Massachusetts to be the key-note speaker rather than bother with his full-time job of serving as the head of Capital Prep Magnet School.
Today Perry is off to participate in the Disney Dreamers Academy. No word on who is picking up his travel expenses or whether he is receiving any other compensation for his Disney “work.”
Perry, the union-hater, brags that thanks to his union contract he has banked dozens of paid days off but Hartford Board of Education policy requires that principals get the approval of the superintendent’s office before they take vacation days.
Although Freedom of Information requests have been submitted to Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s office for the signed approval forms that Perry would need to cover his excessive absences , no such documentation has yet to be provided.
As Wait, What? readers know, Perry has been absent nearly 20 percent of time this school.
While the Connecticut State Board of Education and State Department of Education define excessive absences as missing 10 percent of school and state policy requires that steps be taken to address the student’s truancy – apparently neither the Hartford Superintendent of Schools nor the Hartford Board of Education have taken any action to discipline Perry for his policy violations.
Meanwhile, nothing but total silence from Kishimoto and the Hartford Board of Education when it comes to the “investigation” that Hartford Board of Education Chairman, Matt Poland, ordered after Perry threatened to cause some “ head injuries” after the Board of Education failed to approve Perry’s plan to shift management of Capital Prep and SAND elementary school over a new, private company that Perry has created.
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, State Employees Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, State Employees
Late today the Hartford Courant posted a blog item entitled, “Malloy Gets Standing Ovation From State Union Leaders.”
The Courant wrote, “Gov. Dannel Malloy rarely receives any plaudits from Republicans or skeptics of his policies on the state budget and other issues…But he still receives a warm response from the state’s unions – as shown by a standing ovation he received this week at the state Capitol.”
If you opened your window moments later you would have heard half of all rank and file state employees and retirees musing over whether the Hartford Courant was preparing their April 1st edition early while the other half were wondering whether someone had spiked the holiday punch being served at the event.
Adding insult to injury, the Courant categorized the blog as being related to 2014 ELECTION.
Makes one assume that the reporter was also partaking of the punch…
Campaign Finance, Democratic State Central Committee, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Campaign Finance Reform, Democratic State Central Committee, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
Malloy faces more controversy on fundraising strategy as he collects at least $36,000 from Connecticut’s nursing home industry in recent months.
If Governor Malloy thought he could hide campaign donations by running them through the Democratic State Central Committee’s “federal” account, he is learning the hard way that even that route has been discovered.
Thanks to articles by the Hartford Courant’s Jon Lender, the Raising Hale blog and here at Wait, What?, Connecticut voters are learning about Malloy’s on-going efforts to make a mockery of Connecticut’s campaign finance reform efforts.
On top of controversies surrounding Malloy’s fundraising with Northeast Utilities and various state contractors, it is now clear that Malloy has raised at least $36,000 from Connecticut’s nursing home industry in the last few months.
All of these funds were run through the Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account.” Donations directed to the “Federal Account” are reported to the Federal Election Commission rather than the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission making them harder to track.
Of the $36,000 in donations from the nursing home industry to the Democratic State Central Committee’s “Federal Account,” at least $22,000 came from a single nursing home company, Athena Health Care Systems.
Lawrence Santilli, the Founding Partner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Athena Health Care Systems led the way writing a check for $10,000.
In a revealing twist, Santilli and Athena Heath Care were one of the most important sources of campaign contributions for disgraced governor John Rowland. Over Rowland’s various campaigns for governor, Santilli and senior executives in his nursing home company donated well in excess of $60,000 to Rowland.
You can read more about Malloy’s fundraising problems via the following links:
Courant: http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-money-for-malloy-1204-20131203,0,5220948.story, CT Mirror: https://www.ctmirror.org/story/2013/12/01/nu-execs-shine-brightest-source-cash-connecticuts-democratic-party, Raising Hale Blog: http://www.raisinghale.com/2013/12/02/dot-contractor-gave-connecticut-democrats-weeks-after-selection/, http://www.raisinghale.com/2013/11/22/employees-family-dot-contractor-gave-democratic-party/ and http://www.raisinghale.com/2013/11/22/nu-employees-step-up-giving-conn-democratic-party/
Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding [CCJEF], Education Funding, George Jepsen, Malloy, Stefan Pryor CCJEF v. Rell, Education Funding, George Jepsen, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Stefan Pryor
A Connecticut Superior Court judge has rejected the state’s request to throw out a lawsuit charging that Connecticut has failed to provide enough money to its poorest school districts and that Connecticut must revise its school funding formula because it is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit known as CCJEF v. Rell was brought by the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, a coalition of municipalities, boards of education, unions and other groups. In a statement CCJEF called the court’s most recent action a “a major win” for public school children, adding, “The opinion sets the stage for students of Connecticut to finally get their day in court, nine years after the case was initially filed.”
The case has already been before the Connecticut Supreme Court which ruled three years ago that Connecticut’s school funding formula is unconstitutional and sent the case back to the superior to conduct a full trial and determine what the state must do in order to meet its constitutional duty to provide Connecticut students with an “adequate” education.
With this latest ruling a full trial should finally begin on July 1, 2014.
Not only is the case extremely important because it will force the state to re-do its school funding system, but the lawsuit has significant political ramifications.
Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy was one of the original plaintiffs in the case court aimed at forcing the State of Connecticut to implement an adequate school funding formula.
Candidate Dan Malloy campaigned on a promise to settle the case and help Connecticut’s local property taxpayers by requiring the state to provide more funds for local schools
But Governor Dannel Malloy and Attorney General George Jepsen switched their positions after getting elected and have been working hard to have the case dismissed.
They want the case eliminated despite, as noted above, the fact that the Connecticut Supreme Court has determined that Connecticut’s system of funding its schools is unconstitutional and it was the Supreme Court that sent the case back to the superior court for a full trial on the issue.
But even then Malloy and Jepsen have been trying to prevent the trial that the Connecticut Supreme Court demanded.
As the CT Mirror reported;
“When asking that the case be dismissed, the state’s top attorneys argued earlier this year that such a trial would be premature. The state’s education commissioner told the court that the education reforms that became law in 2012 needed a few years to roll out before the changes they made would be realized.
But the attorneys for the plaintiffs called the reforms championed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy “trivial.” Those reforms to date include the state intervening in 11 low-performing schools, launching new teacher evaluations based on student performance and the state providing more money to struggling districts.”
Now Superior Court Judge Kevin Dubay has thrown out Malloy and Jepsen’s motion to dismiss the case and ordered the trail to go forward.
Judge Dubay wrote, “The extent to which these reforms impact the adequacy of the state’s education system in the context of constitutional standards, however, remains unascertainable at this stage.”
Judge Dubay added, “The plaintiffs should be given an opportunity to prove the allegations set forth in the complaint, specifically that the education system remains unconstitutional in spite of the 2012 reforms.”
The defeat for Malloy and Jepsen is a stunning development considering the two incumbents were trying to get the case dismissed or at least postponed until after the next election cycle.
Now, rather than being able hide from their about-face on the critical issue of school funding, Governor Malloy and Attorney General Jepsen will be facing a court trial on Malloy’s failure to deal with Connecticut’s unconstitutional school funding system right in the middle of the election.
More about the developing story can be found at the CT Mirror: http://www.ctmirror.org/story/2013/12/05/trial-guaranteed-ct-school-funding-and-reforms, CT Post: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Judge-won-t-dismiss-education-funding-lawsuit-5039666.php, Courant: http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-school-lawsuit-1206-20131205,0,7241082.story
Campaign Finance, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Northeast Utilities Campaign Finance, Campaign Finance Reform, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Northeast Utilities
Not long ago Connecticut adopted a landmark campaign finance reform law.
As a result of that law, candidates running for governor who wanted to participate in the public financing system could not accept donations greater than $100.
For few short years Connecticut’s campaign finance law served as a model for the nation.
When more and more large corporate and private financial contributions were flowing into American political campaigns, Connecticut did the right thing and adopted a system that limited the growing influence of “big money” on politics and public policy.
But then Dannel Malloy got elected and started chopping away at Connecticut’s campaign finance model.
With the help of the Connecticut General Assembly, Connecticut has quickly gone from having one of the best campaign finance systems in the nation to one that borders on being a complete and utter joke, at least as it applies to the gubernatorial election of 2014.
Governor Malloy’s re-election dreams count on millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to pay for his campaign plus millions more in private contributions that he is trying to syphon through the Democratic State Central Committee. The scheme is the result of a loophole that Malloy expanded in order to create a pipeline for large private donations to flow through to his campaign effort.
The change was achieved when Malloy pushed through legislation that doubled the amount of money an individual can give to the state parties, raising the limit to $10,000 per person.
Financial donations to political parties ARE NOT supposed to be “directed” to the benefit of any one candidate but Malloy and his advisors have created a new system in which it is very clear to corporate interests and the rich that if they want to support or reward Governor Malloy they should do so by writing out large checks to the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee.
Under Connecticut’s new system, while Malloy will still need to collect some $100 checks to qualify for his share of public financing dollars, he can and is telling donors to write out checks for up to $10,000 so that he can then use those extra funds to benefit his campaign.
Perhaps the best example of this outrageous strategy can be seen in the recent action taken by the CEO of Northeast Utilities.
As explained in a story written by the Hartford Courant’s investigative reporter, Jon Lender, the head of Northeast Utilities sent out an email in September to top NU executives that they should support Malloy – not by giving him $100 so he could qualify for public financing – but by writing out a check for up to $10,000 and sending it to the Connecticut Democratic Party.
As Lender revealed, Northeast Utilities Chairman and CEO, Thomas J. May’s email read;
“The next gubernatorial election cycle is upon us, and I am asking each of you to join me in financially supporting Connecticut’s Governor Dannel P. Malloy”
May added, “Please make contributions payable to: CT Democratic State Central Committee — Federal,”
The email was sent to 48 NU executives and has resulted in about $50,000 in contributions and counting.
Northeast Utilities and the Connecticut Democratic Party both claim that the fundraising letter was legal.
Maybe, although the directed donation portion of the fundraising solicitation definitely highlights a potential problem for NU, Democratic State Central and Malloy.
But just as important, is the fundraising letter moral or ethical?
And the answer to that is absolutely not.
Regardless of whether it meets the “letter of the law,” the gimmick Malloy and Northeast Utilities has engaged in is not only offensive but violates the spirit of Connecticut’s historic campaign finance reform effort.
Democrats worked hard to pass campaign finance reform law.
Almost every single Democratic member of the Connecticut State Senate and Connecticut House of Representatives campaigned on their vote for the campaign finance reform legislation and pledged to continue to support Connecticut’s premiere campaign finance legislation.
And yet here we are just a few years later and Connecticut’s Democratic governor and Connecticut’s Democratic State Central Committee have managed to turn Connecticut’s campaign finance law into a charade.
Democrats across Connecticut should be outraged that while we talk of good government and a government dedicated to the People rather than to the big donors, we have a Governor who is turning our efforts into a joke.
You can find Jon Lender’s full article here: http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-money-for-malloy-1204-20131203,0,5220948.story
Arne Duncan, Diane Ravitch, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski Arne Duncan, Diane Ravitch, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamoski
Earlier this week, some data about the results of some international standardized test scores were released. Diane Ravitch put them in perspective in a piece published by the Huffington Post. (See: What You Need to Know About the International Test Scores).
But quite frankly, more interesting than the results was the way the corporate education reform industry tried to spin the data to foster the belief that America is failing.
The “education reformers” message continues to be that America’s public education system is failing and the solution is to hand our public school system over to private corporations who will “turnaround” our schools by introducing the miracle of competitive capitalism in the way in which schools are governed and managed.
(Remembering that conservative corporate champion Rupert Murdoch called American’s public education system a $500 billion market)
The corporate reform spin was exemplified by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who, upon the release of the results, tweeted,
“The bad news from #OECDPISA: US is running in place while other countries lap us. Good news: We’re laying the right foundation to improve.” (Arne Duncan)
Diane Ravitch responded on her blog which is posted at www.dianeravitch.net.
This is very sad. If PISA shows anything, it is that the policies of the Bush-Obama administrations have not reached their one singular goal: higher test scores.
NCLB was signed into law on January 8, 2002. Since that time, every public school in the nation has followed the same federally-mandated prescription. It doesn’t work.
A reporter asked me last night whether the US performance over the past half century shows that no reforms work. I disagreed strongly. There was never any nationwide school reform that affected every school and every district until NCLB. Only since 2002 have we had a single federal policy. Before we had different districts adopting different programs and reforms, as they chose. PISA shows that the past decade of annual testing of basic skills in grades 3-8 failed. No other country in the world tests every child every year. No other country places as much value on test scores as we do. No other country fires principals and teachers and closes schools based on test scores.
Arne’s tweet is like a basketball coach who tells his team to use the same game plan again and again and again. It fails every time. Yet he says we must stick to his game plan anyway.
It makes no sense. We need a game changer. We need reduced class sizes for the students who struggle. We need bilingual teachers for English learners. We need experienced teachers but we are losing them. We need medical care for the students who never get a check-up. We need pre-K to help kids get a good start. We need after school programs and summer programs. We need healthy communities and healthy families and healthy children.
We need a national commitment to the well-being of all our children. Our children are our society’s future. We must treat them as our own.
It must really annoy Duncan and the other corporate education reformers when Diane Ravitch and the other truth-tellers provide the public with information about what is really going on.
But of course, as we know from our experience here in Connecticut, education reformers like Governor Malloy, Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Special Master Steven Adamowski and their supporters don’t let something like the truth get in the way of their public policy agenda.
Achievement First/ConnCAN, Campaign Finance, Democratic State Central Committee, Education Reform, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Achievement First Inc., Democratic State Central Committee, Education Reform, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
The evidence continues to surface…
Since Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly changed the law to allow individuals to donate larger amounts of money to the respective State political parties, the funds have been flowing in to the Democratic State Central Committee courtesy of those who do business with the state or want to “impact” public policy in Connecticut.
According to the most recent State Elections Enforcement Commission and Federal Election Commission reports on file, the pipeline to the State Democrats from people doing business with the state or trying to influence legislation has increased dramatically over the past few months.
First came four checks totaling $30,000 from major players in the corporate education reform industry including at least two members of the Achievement First, Inc. Board of Directors. Achievement First, Inc. is the large charter school management company co-founded by Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor. (See Wait, What? post: Malloy/Democrats make mockery of Connecticut’s once prominent role in campaign finance reform)
Then came the news that “Eight donors affiliated with HAKS Engineers – a company paid millions a year by the state Department of Transportation – contributed $45,000 to the Connecticut Democratic Party last month.” (See Wait, What? post: Meanwhile…..John Rowland? No Dannel Malloy and the Raising Hale Blog post: “Employees, family of DOT contractor gave $45,000 to Conn. Democratic Party last month”
And now comes yet another example in which, “A husband, wife and son each wrote $10,000 checks to the Connecticut Democratic Party weeks after learning the Department of Transportation selected their company for a $500 million Stamford redevelopment project.”
As fellow investigative reporter and blogger, Zachary Janowski, explains in a post entitled, “DOT contractor gave $30,000 to Connecticut Democrats weeks after selection,” The state will provide $35 million for parking garages near the city’s train station, while the preferred developer, the joint venture Stamford Manhattan Development Ventures, will finance the rest of the “transit-oriented development” project.
The development, to be called Station Place, is expected to include office space, a hotel and residential units amounting to 1 million square feet, according to the Stamford Advocate.”
The contributions were made to the Connecticut Democratic Party’s “Federal Account” on July 1, 2013. The company’s owner also gave an additional $2,000 to the Connecticut Democratic Party’s “State Account” this year and also donated to the Prosperity for Connecticut Political Action Committee, a separate Malloy-affiliated entity that has held 15 fundraisers since Malloy took office. (Three of those fundraisers were held in Washington D.C., three in New York City and the rest in Connecticut).
The most successful Prosperity for Connecticut PAC fundraiser was the one targeted for supporters of the corporate education reform industry and held at the home of Jonathan Sackler the day Malloy’s education reform initiative became a Public Act. The fundraising event brought in more than $40,000 and that amount DOES NOT include the $10,000 checks Sacker and his wife sent directly to the Democratic State Central Committee this year. Sackler is a member of the Achievement First, Inc. Board of Directors, the ConnCAN Board of Directors and is the leading force behind 50-CAN, a national education reform advocacy group.
You can read more about the pipeline between state contractors and the Democratic Party at http://www.raisinghale.com
Alliance Districts, Malloy, Mass Insight company, Morgan Barth, Stefan Pryor Alliance Districts, Malloy, Morgan Barth, Stefan Pryor
That unbelievable question is what Morgan Barth; Malloy’s School Turnaround Director at the State Department of Education (and former Achievement First Inc. administrator) is asking Connecticut’s Alliance School Districts.
Are you implementing your plan with fidelity…?
At the direction of Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, the State Department of Education has managed to put together a “Turnaround Office” with virtually no teaching experience, no Connecticut experience and no real understanding of the challenges facing public education in Connecticut.
Instead of providing the real support Connecticut’s Alliance School Districts need, they are burdening districts with more paperwork; more data collection and absurd, even idiotic questions…like are you implementing your plan with fidelity?
Fidelity? It must be one of those fancy corporate education reform terms, because in the real world fidelity means:
fi·del·i·ty: faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support. “He sought only the strictest fidelity to justice” Synonyms: loyalty, allegiance, obedience;
Over the past 18 months, Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, co-founder of Achievement First, Inc. (the large charter school Management Company) and corporate education reform aficionado, has moved out all the professional expertise from the State Department of Education’s office that is responsible for what used to be called Priority School Districts but are now called Alliance Districts.
Instead of trained professionals with Connecticut experience, Pryor has handed the operation over to a former Achievement First, Inc. administrator Morgan Barth who managed to spend a number of years illegally teaching at a Achievement First school despite his lack of proper state certification.
Much of the rest of Pryor’s “turnaround” team is made up of young paid non-Connecticut consultants who are funded through a $1 million contract with an out-of-state company.
MassInsight, the out-of-state consulting company, “won” the one year contract after its CEO came to Connecticut to speak in favor of Malloy’s education reform legislation.
Despite having little to no experience, the Commissioner and Governor committed $1 million in taxpayer funds to this out-of-state company ignoring the fact that the State Department of Education already had experienced staff who knew the school districts in Connecticut, understood the issues and were already making a positive impact.
Furthermore, any additional help that might have been needed could easily have been acquired from Connecticut’s regional service centers such as CREC, EastCONN, Project Learn, Etc.
But no, wasting precious public funds has been the hallmark of this administration and the State Department of Education has been a prime example.
The Malloy administration has consistently opted for more privatization and delegating decisions to more people who don’t come from Connecticut, don’t understand Connecticut and will be headed off to new consulting opportunities as soon as they arise.
In fact, in less than a year, more than half the MassInsight consultants have already left to be replaced by even less experienced people.
Now, virtually every day, Alliance Districts are reporting that the Malloy/Pryor bureaucracy of consultants is making more and more absurd demands.
Just last week an Alliance District administrator was sent the following…
“In response to some questions the Turnaround Office has received about the data dashboard section (first worksheet) of the AD Implementation Tracker, I wanted to share some additional information with you to assist you in your efforts to complete this portion. The data dashboard is intended to support conversations about district-wide and school-level performance over time based on leading and lagging indicators. We understand that districts calculate these numbers slightly differently and are not asking you to reinvent the wheel. While we recognize that districts report this information to the CSDE at the end of the year, we are asking for several key data points more frequently and in real time to support data-driven decision-making in Alliance Districts and identified schools.”
The out-of-state consultants at the State Department of Education went on to say;
“Math/Reading Achievement: We recognize that districts are administering different tests and the data coming from these tests may not line up exactly to the dashboard’s quarterly reporting structure. For example, if your district administers a trimester-based test, simply report the test results three times a year at the end of the quarter in which the test is administered. If the test does not generate a school-wide average, please pick a representative grade to report. In the header where you enter the name of the math/reading assessment, please simply state that grade level(s) reported.
Also, you can pull information for the ED114 tab of the Implementation Tracker from the CSDE’s online grants management system. We suggest using November 15, 2013 as the end date for reporting expenditures for Quarter 1. (However if 10/31 is the end of the quarter in your district you may use that date.)”
The Alliance District administrator reported that these types of requests come in every week and are often than diametrically opposed to previous requests sent by the State Department of Education’s Turnaround Office.
Week after week, month after month, the outside consultants disrupt the efforts to “turnaround” districts by demanding more and more “data” for some new software program they’ve purchased.
But hey…we’re only paying these out-of-state consultants a million dollars of our taxpayer money so maybe we deserve the “B” team.
If there is one constant in Malloy’s “education reform” initiative it is ongoing effort to put an end to jobs for Connecticut residents in order to “free-up” funds to hire outside consultants and companies.
First came the millions Pryor gave away in no-bid contracts when he arrived in Connecticut. Almost all of those went to companies he had done business with in other states.
Then came the contracts with companies like MassInsight.
A Better Connecticut Education Reform Lobbying Group, Connecticut Education Assocation, Education Reform, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy A Better Connecticut, American Enterprise Institute, Connecticut Education Assocation, Education Reform, Malloy
As readers are aware, Governor Dannel Malloy traveled to Washington D.C. yesterday to speak to the right-wing, neoconservative American Enterprise Institute. His speech was entitled, “School reform dos and don’ts: Lessons from Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy.”
As originally proposed, Malloy’s “education reform” initiative was the most anti-teacher, anti-union education reform legislation proposed by any Democratic governor in the nation. Even after the proposal was modified by the Connecticut General Assembly is still held out as a prime example of the corporate education reform industry’s obsession with more standardized testing and inappropriate teacher evaluation programs that utilize standardized test results.
What as most noteworthy about the Malloy’s speech to the American Enterprise Institute was that while taking full credit for the legislation he tried to re-position himself for the 2014 gubernatorial election by praising teachers rather than playing his traditional role of criticizing and demeaning them.
As the CT Mirror reported yesterday, in his speech to the American Enterprise Institute, “the governor acknowledged that he could have been more delicate when introducing his proposals…’I’ve probably used the wrong language more than once. I know I have,’ he said, routinely pointing out how important teacher buy-in is to the success of the initiative.”
Apparently his remarks were supposed to appease teachers who might still be upset that in Malloy’s major education speech in 2012, he called for doing away with tenure while saying, “In today’s (public education) system, basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.”
Malloy infamously added, later that year, his observation that he didn’t mind teaching to the test as long as the test scores went up.”
But despite a carefully written script yesterday, Malloy’s real personality and opinions couldn’t stay hidden for long.
During the question and answer period following Malloy’s talk, Jennifer Alexander, the CEO of ConnCAN and co-founder of A Better Connecticut, the corporate education reform lobbying group, tossed Malloy a soft-ball question about the town meetings Malloy held around the state to promote his education reform initiative in 2012.
Readers will recall that A Better Connecticut, ConnCAN and other corporate education industry organizations have spent a record $6 million and counting lobbying in support of Malloy’s education reform initiative to date, including more than $2 million in television advertisements thanking Malloy for his “leadership.”
In response to a question from ConnCAN’s CEO, Malloy talked about how people were mad and how he stood up to the angry teachers and led the way forward for the General Assembly.
Malloy summarized the situation saying he was needed because “folks [were] spending a lot of money to try and defeat an organized effort at school reform….”
It was another great truly another great Dannel Malloy moment.
When teachers, parents and public school advocates came out to public meetings to speak out on behalf of public education, Malloy says that they were part of a group of “folks” who were “spending a lot of money to try and defeat” education reform.
But there he was – speaking at the ultra-right wing American Enterprise Institute and happily taking a question from the paid lobbyist whose organization has led the most expensive lobbying campaign in state history.
Tucked into the safety of a right-wing “think tank,” the Malloy we have come to know couldn’t resist the opportunity to attack teachers and their unions while accepting the accolades of the corporate education reform industry.
That said, not everyone who watched Malloy’s performance came away with the same reaction.
While you can read my take on the Malloy speech by reading the Wait, What? post entitled “Malloy tells right-wing American Enterprise Institute he is the “education governor”, you may also want to read what the Connecticut Education Association posted to their blog yesterday.
While both blogs report on Malloy’s speech at the American Enterprise Institute, the different interpretations of same event is rather extraordinary.
From the 12/2/2013 CEA Blog: Malloy on Teachers & School Reform
Governor Dannel P. Malloy told a national audience today that teacher concerns about the rapid pace of change in Connecticut public education are real, adding that “we’re going to get through it.”
The governor called teachers “good, hard-working people.” Malloy said, “I probably used the wrong language more than once. I know I have. It’s not because I don’t appreciate what teachers do.”
Malloy’s comments came in an interview this afternoon at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
Malloy talked about the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that are being implemented and new CCSS tests—so-called Smarter Balanced Assessments that could be linked to teacher evaluations down the road. According to Malloy, teachers are ready, but that doesn’t mean they are not scared. “Far better a carrot than a stick,” he said.
Apparently referring to Connecticut’s new teacher evaluation system, Malloy said “the vast majority of Connecticut teachers are doing a great job,” and they will be recognized for this. Malloy said he’s taken steps to make the magnitude of education reform easier on public schools. Connecticut school districts have flexibility on two fronts: administering just one test to students during this school year—the Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced Assessments or the CMT and CAPT—and giving local school districts the power to decide whether or not to include that test data in teachers’ evaluations.
Malloy took questions from an AEI audience, including one about the legislative battle over Connecticut school reform. Referring to his role, he made a number of comments, including that somebody had to be the leader, somebody had to bring the discussion to communities, and that somebody had to emphasize we needed to change direction in public education.
Malloy said “I had to fly in the face of traditional Democratic constituencies.” He added that reform cannot be accomplished top down. He called it a combination of leadership, getting buy-in, and staying at it year after year.
You can see Malloy’s performance at the American Enterprise Institute here: http://www.aei.org/events/2013/12/02/school-reform-dos-and-donts-lessons-from-connecticut-governor-dannel-malloy/
Bridgeport, Democratic Party, Democratic State Central Committee, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Nancy DiNardo Bridgeport, Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee, Democratic Party, Malloy, Mayor Bill Finch, Nancy DiNardo
Over the last few months the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee has been raising money that purportedly would be used to help Democratic candidates beat Republican candidates.
But as Wait, What? readers know from earlier posts, Governor Malloy, Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee syphoned over more than $37,000 in a failed attempt to beat back a Democratic challenge slate in Bridgeport that did not support Paul Vallas or Governor Malloy and Mayor Bill Finch’s corporate education reform agenda.
Rather than use contributions to the State Party as promised, DiNardo and/or the Democratic State Central Committee authorized the expenditure of nearly forty thousand dollars in an effort to tip the scales in favor of Mayor Finch’s Democratic slate.
In the process the Connecticut Democratic Party also appears to have violated a number of campaign finance laws.
Months after the issue came to light, neither Governor Malloy, Chair DiNardo nor the State Central Committee have explained how it is possible that donations raised to help Democrats beat Republicans was spent instead on Democrats trying to beat Democrats.
According to the party rules, “the Democratic State Central Committee is the governing body of the Connecticut Democratic Party between conventions. It is authorized and empowered to take such action and render such decisions as may be necessary to carry out fully and adequately the decisions and instructions of the convention and to promote the aims and principles of the Democratic Party at the national, state and local levels…Members of the Democratic State Central Committee shall work to promote harmony among all people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, language, religion or sexual orientation.”
The Democratic State Central Committee is made up of two representatives, one man and one woman, elected from each senatorial district in the state for a term of two year.
In addition to its annual Jefferson, Jackson, Bailey Dinner that raises significant funds, the Connecticut Democratic State Party raises small contributions.
In recent months you may have received emails reading:
“We have to fight back with help from our grassroots donors like you. While you’re getting ready for Black Friday, don’t forget to add the Connecticut Democratic Party to your to-do list. Can you chip in $10 before Black Friday? Together, we can continue to support our candidates who stand up for Connecticut’s middle class.”
Or “Our children are vitally important to Connecticut’s future. That’s why Connecticut Democrats are standing behind programs and services that keep kids happy, healthy and on the path to success. With your support, we can keep making progress. Will you invest $10 in Connecticut’s kids? “
Or one from Governor Malloy that read, “By making a minimum $5 contribution right now, you allow the Party to help campaigns organize more efficiently, use campaign tools more strategically and contact even more voters between now and Election Day.”
But despite the constant claims that donations would be used to beat Republicans, recent campaign finance reports reveal that Governor Malloy, Chair Nancy DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee diverted significant amounts of money to try and influence the Democratic candidate selection process for Bridgeport’s recent board of education primary and election.
According to reports filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission;
The Democratic State Central Committee gave the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee $20,000 to pay for canvassers the day before the Democratic Primary. Those canvassers were used to turn out Democrats to vote for the pro-Finch Democratic slate and against the anti-Paul Vallas, pro-public education challenge slate of Democrats.
The Democratic State Central Committee also paid for all three direct mail pieces that were sent out in support of the pro-Finch endorsed Democratic slate.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission report reveals that the Connecticut Democratic Party paid for the following expenses related to the Pro-Finch Democratic slate’s losing campaign against the challenge Democratic slate:
- $9,471.44 Direct Mail created by March3Media, Portland, Maine
- $3,911.21 Direct Mail created by March3Media, Portland, Maine
- $4,735.72 Direct Mail created by March3Media, Portland, Maine
In addition, the Connecticut Democratic Party also made the following expenditures that may or may not have been related to the Democratic Primary. If they were related, but not properly reported, that would be yet another campaign finance violation.
- $7,500 Global Strategies, Inc. (Roy Occhiogrosso)
- $5,000 Global Strategies, Inc. (Roy Occhiogrosso)
- $1,000 Global Strategies, Inc. (Roy Occhiogrosso)
Missing completely from the Democratic State Central Committee’s campaign finance report is the expenditure for a public opinion poll that was done by or on behalf of the Bridgeport Democratic Party.
And equally serious is the lack of any reported expenditure for Ohlsen research, a Democratic opposition research company from Oregon that was hired to dig up dirt about the members of the Democratic challenge slate and their supporters. The work was definitely done, however, since information about members of the challenge slate and their supporters were secretly distributed to reporters in the days leading up to the primary and the election… although reporters didn’t print any of that information at the time. It is not clear who paid for Ohlsen Research’s contract but the company has worked closely with Global Strategies Inc. in the past.
As the dust settles what is clear is that that Connecticut Democratic Party paid for nearly all of the expenses incurred by the Pro-Finch Democratic slate and that the Connecticut Democratic Party appears to have violated state law by failing to report expenditures for postage, polling and opposition research.
What isn’t clear is if the funds were authorized and why donors to the Connecticut Democratic Party haven’t been told that their contributions were immorally and unethically used in an expensive, but losing effort to stop a pro-public education slate of Democrats.
Neither Governor Malloy nor Democratic State Chairman Nancy DiNardo has explained why or how they diverted tens of thousands of dollars in state party funds to support the Finch candidates in the Bridgeport Democratic Primary.
In fact, it is not even clear whether the Democratic State Central Committee even authorized the unprecedented expenditure of Party funds or if Malloy and DiNardo simply took the Party’s money to spend as they pleased.
It is time for Malloy, DiNardo and the Democratic State Central Committee to come clean.