Writing for CT Newsjunkie, Connecticut educator and CT Newsjunkie columnist, Barth Keck, tackles the recent CCJEF ruling. Keck writes;
Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s ruling last week that the state must devise a new formula for funding public schools was not surprising. What was surprising was the wide-ranging scope of his criticism of public schools as well as the exceedingly tight timeframe — 180 days — he gave the state to remedy the problem.
“The extraordinary ruling orders the state to revamp virtually all areas of public education — from the hiring and firing of teachers, to special education services, to education standards for elementary and high school students,” reported the Hartford Courant. “He also criticized the state’s generous reimbursement policy for school construction projects, especially in an age of decreasing enrollment.”
In short, Judge Moukawsher issued a scathing judgment on how Connecticut educates its children. As a public school teacher for the past 25 years, I found much of what he said in a three-hour reading of his 90-page decision insulting.
I do agree, in principle, with the judge’s ruling that “Connecticut is defaulting on its constitutional duty to provide adequate public school opportunities,” particularly since the state’s educational funding formula “allows rich towns to raid money desperately needed by poor towns,” essentially “mak[ing] a mockery of the state’s constitutional duty to provide adequate educational opportunities to all students.”
But Moukawsher’s generalizations about public schools and teachers were glaringly ignorant of the real strides that Connecticut schools — including the ones in “poor towns” — are making.
For example, the judge wrote that the state’s teacher evaluation system is “little more than cotton candy in a rainstorm” since “[s]tate standards are leaving teachers with uselessly perfect evaluations and pay that follows only seniority and degrees instead of reflecting need and good teaching.”
Barth Keck concludes his important commentary piece by observing
In the end, Judge Moukawsher may honestly believe that “schools have to be about teaching children and nothing else,” but he’s sadly mistaken. Clearly, he’s never taught in a Connecticut public school — urban, suburban, or rural — if he thinks teachers do nothing but “teach.” And while his ruling to ensure fairness in school funding is morally correct, his haughty rhetoric castigating Connecticut’s public schools and those who work in them is simply narrow-minded and offensive.
Please take the time to read Barth Keck’s article its entirety on the CTNewsjunkie website at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/op-ed_judge_moukawshers_disconnect/