Here is one of the odd things about teachers, unions and democracy

Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy is the only Democratic governor in the nation to propose doing away with tenure for all public school teachers and eliminating collective bargaining for teachers in the poorest school districts.  His corporate education reform legislation is widely recognized as the most anti-teacher piece of legislation ever introduced by a Democratic governor.

Yet, the American Federation of Teachers (Connecticut chapter) endorsed Malloy without allowing his challengers to fill out a questionnaire, interview with the AFT Political Action Committee or address the AFT Executive Committee.

By comparison, the Connecticut Education Association held a candidate forum today, allowing teacher attendees to cast an “advisory” ballot that the CEA leadership will take into consideration when they decide whom to endorse in the coming weeks.

However, according to the latest round of campaign finance reports, in addition to the $6.2 million that Connecticut taxpayers gave to pay for Governor Malloy’s re-election campaign via Connecticut’s Public Financing Program;

  • The American Federation of Teachers has used union dues to donate $10,000 to Malloy’s campaign via the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee and $250,000 to support Malloy through the new Political Action Committee, Connecticut Forward PAC, which was created by the Democratic Governors Association (DGA).  The Democratic Governors Association also donated $1.25 million to the Connecticut Forward PAC.

And who are among the larger donors to the Democratic Governors Association?

  • The National Education Association’s Fund for Children’s Public Education!  The same group has also donated $5,000 in to the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee to help with Governor Malloy’s re-election.

The CEA hasn’t even endorsed a candidate and NEA is spending money (donated by teachers to their Political Action Committee) in Connecticut to support the nation’s leading anti-teacher Democratic governor.

It is Ironic, to say the least, that Malloy’s campaign has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from teachers when Malloy has earned the title as the most anti-teacher Democratic governor in the nation.

It makes one wonder – doesn’t it?

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

IT’S ABOUT THE SUBSTANCE (By Ann Policelli Cronin)

In this guest post, educator Ann Policelli Cronin provides a clear-cut explanation of some of the problems with the Common Core.  Now if our elected officials would just take the time to learn the facts, they’d join us in our effort to drop the Common Core and stop the inappropriate, unfair, and expensive Common Core Standardized Testing Scheme.

It’s about the Substance (By Ann Policelli Cronin)

It is mistake to continue with the Common Core in Connecticut. Doing so will gravely diminish the education of all our children.

Interviewed about Governor Malloy’s announcement on June 26th to continue with the Common Core, the Connecticut president of AFT, Melodie Peters, said those in opposition to Common Core are “a handful of folks across the country who have an agenda to undermine that”. Not so.

Five hundred early childhood educators, pediatricians, and professors of child development issued a public statement that the Common Core will be harmful to young children. More than 540 principals in New York State, which implemented Common Core a year ahead of Connecticut, wrote a letter to New York parents, stating the problems with the Common Core and accompanying testing.  More than 130 Catholic college professors have similarly issued a statement in opposition to the Common Core. The National Council of Teachers of English has not endorsed the Common Core.  These groups of professionals do not have a narrow political agenda, as implied by Ms. Peters, nor concern about implementation, which was the sole focus of the Governor’s Task Force. They all are opposed to the very substance of the Common Core.

In contrast to comments by Ms. Peters and others about those who oppose the Common Core, I offer the following multiple-choice test item:

Those who are in favor of the English Language Arts Standards of the Common Core:

A)     Do not have extensive knowledge about cognitive development in children and adolescents.

B)     Have never taught children or adolescents to be thoughtful readers and effective writers.

C)      Have not read the entire 58 pages of small print charts that define the 42 English Language Arts Standards.

D)     All of the above.

I fear D is all too frequently the correct answer. The fact is that no one is qualified to judge the substance of the English Language Arts Standards of the Common Core without having the knowledge and expertise of choices A-C.

Ann Policelli Cronin is a consultant in English education to school districts and schools of education. She has taught middle and high school English, was a district- level administrator for English programs, taught graduate courses in English education, and was assistant director of the Connecticut Writing Project. She was Connecticut Outstanding Teacher of the Year and received national awards for English programs she created and implemented. 

News Flash:  Malloy says call it “ConnecticutCore” and everything will be fine

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” – George Orwell 

Just when we thought Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his band of Common Core proponents couldn’t get any more off-track, Connecticut’s governor held a press conference earlier today in support of the Common Core.

As to the future of the Common Core in Connecticut, Malloy opined,

 “There’s no going back,”

Jonathan Pelto, the Education and Democracy Party candidate for governor, issued a statement (see below) that read,

“His support for the Common Core and its absurd, unfair and costly Common Core testing program is undermining our public education system and wasting scarce public dollars,”

And to that, Melodie Peters, the President of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers responded,

The opposition to the Common Core is a “handful of folks across the country who have an agenda to undermine that.”

You can read more about the Malloy/Pryor Common Core debacle at:

CT Newsjunkie:  Malloy Embraces Common Core, For Better Or For Worse

CT Mirror: Malloy offers ‘Connecticut Core’ as Common Core fix

 

And here is the statement that was issued earlier today;

Jonathan Pelto statement on Governor Malloy’s press conference about his “Educators’ Common Core Implementation Taskforce”

“If Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy says anything short of ‘Commissioner Pryor will be moving on to greener pastures, I am withdrawing Connecticut from the Common Core and we will suspend the Common Core standardized testing program,’ Malloy will be doing nothing more than reaffirming his commitment to the corporate education reform industry and not to the students, parents, teachers, public schools and taxpayers of our state.

“Governor Malloy has earned the title of the most anti-teacher Democratic governor in the nation by proposing to end teacher tenure and repeal collective bargaining for teachers in turnaround schools.  His support for the Common Core and its absurd, unfair and costly Common Core testing program is undermining our public education system and wasting scarce public dollars.  Today we’ll learn if he has finally come to the realization that “his way” is not the right way forward for Connecticut.”

Jonathan Pelto is the gubernatorial candidate for the Education and Democracy Party.

On June 25, 2014 Pelto reiterated his call for Malloy to remove Stefan Pryor as Commissioner of Education.  Pelto all called on Malloy to remove Andrea Comer from the State Board of Education.   Comer is the Chief Operations Officer of the Jumoke Academy/FUSE charter school management company, an entity that has been swamped by the recent revelations about its CEO Michael Sharpe.  You can find Pelto’s call to remove Pryor and Comer at:  Pelto to Malloy – Dump Pryor and Comer now before they do even more damage to public education in Connecticut

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

Statement from Jonathan Pelto on the Connecticut American Federation of Teachers’s LPAC endorsement of Malloy

Statement from Jonathan Pelto, exploring gubernatorial candidate on

American Federation of Teacher’s Connecticut Legislative and Political Action Committee (LPAC) endorsement of Dannel Malloy

 Without providing gubernatorial candidates with any opportunity to fill out a questionnaire or present their case, the members of the American Federation of Teachers’ Connecticut Legislative and Political Action Committee (LPAC) voted last night to endorse Governor Dannel “Dan’ Malloy for re-election.

“I am deeply disturbed that the leadership of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers would deny me, or any other candidate, an opportunity to present our case.  If there is any organization left in America that should be open, fair and transparent it should be a union that represents teachers,” Pelto said.

Pelto added, “The decision to endorse Malloy without an open process is a sad commentary on the state of politics.  Putting aside the work I’ve done to speak out for teachers and their unions over the past two years, and my lifetime commitment to public education, Governor Malloy has proven himself to be the most anti-teacher Democratic governor in the country.  There is not a teacher in Connecticut who has forgotten that Malloy proposed ending teacher tenure and unilaterally repealing collective bargaining for teachers in ‘turnaround schools’ when he put forward his Education Reform initiative.”

“The AFT-CT’s premature endorsement is insulting and inappropriate.  While friends can disagree on even the most important issues, it is shameful that Malloy’s challengers weren’t given the opportunity to make their case to AFT members as to why students, parents, teachers and all of public education would be better off with a new governor,” Pelto concluded.

According to the union’s by-laws, the recommendations by the Legislative and Political Action Committee will now go to the AFT Connecticut Executive Committee for final action.

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

Will the Working Families Party stand up for working families in this year’s election

The Working Families Party is based in New York.  They also have a chapter here in Connecticut.

Dannel “Dan” Malloy only won by 6,000 votes in the last election.  The Working Family Party gave him the victory since the WFP line added more than 26,000 votes to his total.

Although their endorsement process for the 2014 election for governor here in Connecticut has barely begun, some claim that Work Families Party leadership has already committed their endorsement to Malloy despite the fact that he has consistently failed on a number of Working Family Party priorities.

In New York, the Working Family Party’s strategy and process has appeared far more open and up for grabs.

A recent public opinion poll showed Andrew Cuomo skating to victory unless the Working Families Party put up a candidate who offered voters a better choice, in which case much of Cuomo’s lead was projected to disappear.

The WFP issue has received significant media coverage in New York.

Two days ago, the nation’s leading education advocate, Diane Ravitch announced that she will not be a candidate for governor on behalf of the Working Families Party, due in part to her recent health issues.

Diane Ravitch, who has generously posted blogs about my possible candidacy for governor here in Connecticut, did add;

“I hope that WFP mounts a vigorous campaign, especially on the issue of education, pointing out that the Cuomo administration has tolerated highly inequitable funding, limited the ability of districts to tax themselves to meet their needs, and shown preference for charter schools–which enroll 3% of the state’s children–over public schools. Our children are our future.”

Yesterday, word spread that the potential nominee for the Working Families Party might be a Fordham Law School professor and expert on government ethics named Zephyr Teachout.

Sounding what will be a familiar message for Connecticut voters, Zephyr Teachout released the following statement about her effort to win the Working Families Party nomination in New York.

“I’m seeking the WFP nomination because New Yorkers deserve an economy and democracy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected. The system is rigged for the rich and powerful, and as part of that broken system, Andrew Cuomo isn’t going to fix it. People’s voices aren’t being heard, Cuomo not only failed to do anything real to prevent wealthy and corporate donors from buying our politicians, but proposed severe cuts in education funding while giving massive tax breaks to bankers and billionaires. I am strong supporter of public education, a democracy responsive to our voices, and an economy grounded in good jobs and many small businesses, not a few powerful corporations.”

But New York Governor Mario Cuomo is striking back.  As Diane Ravitch explained on her blog later in the day yesterday,

Governor Cuomo is trying to persuade other statewide candidates to refuse the Working Families Party endorsement if they choose an independent to run against him. His goal is to punish the party if it does not endorse him.

There is a battle going on for the future of the Democratic Party. Will it be a progressive party, or will it vie with Republicans to hold the line on taxes and budgets? Will it fight for public education or for privatization?

And now comes late word from a New York City blogger who reports that NYSUT and UFT President Mulgrew has pushed, twisted arms and may have practically secured the WFP nomination for governor for Governor Cuomo.  The blogger writes,

Never mind that the entire Governor Andy [Cuomo] agenda has been to bend over for the moneyed interests of the state. Never mind that upstate New York is still an economic wasteland. Never mind that the “Children’s Lobbyist” cares only about 3% of the students of New York State (those who attend charter schools)…Never mind that if the WFP does nominate Governor Andy they are contradicting all they believe in and will probably have to change their name.

Worse is the behind the scenes machination of Mulgrew, and at his behest and control NYSUT, and the manipulation and dirty dealing on behalf of Governor Andy!

Where is the consultation with the rank and file? Where is the transparency behind this decision to get Governor Andy [Cuomo] the nomination?

We all know what Mulgrew’s response will be.

“At least we will have a seat at the table.”

Big whoop! A seat at the table mean nothing if every time one goes to sit down it is pulled out from under.

If this latest rumor is true, it is certainly an interesting statement about the labor leaders who represent teachers because the UFT (United Federation of Teachers) is the New York City chapter of the AFT (American Federation of Teachers).

In Connecticut, the same union is called the AFT-Connecticut.

Considering Andrew Cuomo is either the worst Democratic governor in the nation when it comes to public education issues (or the second worst if we put Dannel Malloy in the top spot), it is sad and ironic if the New York City union that represents teachers is helping deliver the Working Families Party endorsement to an enemy of teachers and public education.

It would be like the leaders of the AFT-CT trying to help deliver the Working Families Party endorsement to Dannel Malloy…Or as we like to say, Wait, What?

We’ll just have to see what happens here in Connecticut as the Working Family Party’s endorsement process continues.

At that point we’ll know whether the Working Families Party is willing to stand up for working families.

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