Breaking News: Hartford’s Clark School Targeted for closure, will be handed over to Achievement First, Inc.

In true corporate education reformer fashion, Hartford’s out-going superintendent of schools is announcing that she will attempt to rush through a proposal to close the John C. Clark, Jr. Elementary & Middle School and hand the facility over to Achievement First, Inc. to run.

Clark School administrators and the Clark School Governance Council were only told of the proposal yesterday, October 24, 2013.

Hartford Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto will be meeting with parents this coming Monday, will explain her proposal to a Hartford Board of Education sub-committee on Tuesday and has announced that she expects the full Board of Education to approve the demise of Clark Elementary and Middle School at its November meeting.

The Clark School’s Panther Paws Pledge is, “I pledge today to do my best. In my life, I will invest. I promise to perform four deeds: Be respectful, be responsible, be caring, and be safe.”

Clearly Superintendent Kishimoto doesn’t subscribe to the same four “deeds” considering closing Clark and handing it over to Achievement First, Inc. is neither respectful nor responsible nor caring nor the right or safe thing to do for Hartford’s public school children

Presently the Clark School has special programming in conjunction The Village For Children and Families, UCONN’s Husky Sports Mentor Program and UCONN’s Read & Raise Program.

Clark was also the recipient of the “Ray of Hope” award for its state-of-the-art computer lab.

However, Hartford Superintendent of Schools Kishimoto, along with a majority on the Hartford Board of Education including Board Chairman Matt Poland and Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra have promised Achievement First, Inc., the large charter school management company another school in Hartford.

Achievement First, Inc. is the charter school management company co-founded by Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor.  Achievement First is widely recognized for its failure to take its fair share of Latino students, its fair share of students who face language barriers and its fair share of students who need special education services.

Earlier this year, Poland, Segarra and the majority of the Hartford Board voted to give Achievement First, Inc. another Hartford school but ducked identifying which school it would be.

Now Kishimoto is announcing that the targeted school will be the Clark school and a rush vote will be taken in just a couple of weeks.

Kishimoto’s plan is to end Clark by phasing out its program and ramping up Achievement First, Inc. #2 to take its place.

Ordering the “Death Penalty” for Clark School will have a devastating impact on the community that utilizes this neighborhood school.

According to records filed with the State Department of Education;

  • More than 95 percent of Clark’s students come from households that are so poor that children qualify for free and reduced lunches.
  • More than 46 percent of Clark’s students are Hispanic, more than one in four come from households where English is not the primary language and at least 15 percent of Clark’s students are not proficient in English.
  • In addition, nearly one in five students at Clark receive special education services

By targeting Clark Elementary and Middle School, Kishimoto, Hartford’s Mayor and the Board of Education are displacing the very type of students that Achievement First, Inc. has been unable or willing to serve.

Check back for additional details as they become available.

Kishimoto signals intent to give Steve Perry a 2nd Hartford school

Despite their consistent failure to educate their fair share of non-English speaking students, students who go home to households in which English isn’t the primary language and students who need special education services,with the approval of the majority of the Hartford Board of Education, Achievement First, Inc. is already moving forward with plans to “open” a second charter school in Hartford.

Now, outgoing superintendent of schools Christina Kishimoto is signalling that she and some members of the Hartford Board of Education may be trying to push through a proposal to give Steve Perry a second school as well.

Today, in a three page letter with a one page chart addressed to “My Hartford Public Schools Family,” Christina M. Kishimoto highlighted her remaining goals as she enters her final year as Hartford’s superintendent.

Among her stated goals is verbiage suggesting that she and the Board of Education intend to engage in “school pairings and shared enrichment opportunities.”

As Kishimoto puts it, she wants to “explore pairing of schools through new governance designs.”

“Pairing schools through new governance designs” is corporate education reform speak for handing over an existing school to a private entity or, more often, closing an existing school, removing the staff and then immediately reopening the building under the “New Management” of a private entity.

In recent weeks there has been an increased buzz that the Hartford Board of Education could take up a resolution, as early as next month, to give Steve Perry control of another Hartford school.

This news comes at a time when there is growing attention to the controversies surrounding Perry and the failures at Capital Prep.

Considering Perry’s recent absenteeism, let alone the other more serious problems at Capital Prep, it would be especially telling if the Hartford Board goes along with Kishimoto’s purported plans for Capital Prep.

You can read Kishimoto’s latest communications here:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/178208708/Supt-Letter-to-HPS-Family-Oct-2013 and here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/178208673/2013-14-Improvement-Priorities

Capital Prep’s Steve Perry: Ignorant, a bully or both?

Another school day at Capital Preparatory Magnet School and Principal Steve Perry has returned to his twitter account to spew his derogatory insults and hate speech.

As an example, over the past three weeks, Steve Perry has used his twitter account to attack Diane Ravitch, the country’s leading public education advocate, at least 49 times.  Many of those tweets occurred while he was on duty and being paid by the taxpayers of Hartford and Connecticut.

And most of those attacks included calling or implying that Diane Ravitch and other public education advocates are racists.

It has become increasingly clear that Steve Perry is either extremely ignorant about what defines racism or he is a bully and calling someone names is one of his primary mechanisms for harassing those with whom he disagrees.

Diane Ravitch is no racist.  In fact, the renowned education historian has become one of the most important champions in the historic battle to end the illegal and unconstitutional discrimination that has become so prevalent in our nation.

But more to the point, Steve Perry’s attacks on Diane Ravitch and others are not the product of reasonable people disagreeing on important public policy issues.  Nor are Steve Perry’s outrageous comments the protected speech of one of the leading voices in the corporate education industry.

The truth is that since many of his comments have occurred using public resources and on public time, Steve Perry is in direct violation of the laws and regulations of the City of Hartford and the State of Connecticut.

The Hartford Board of Education’s policies are clear and concise.

Hartford school district staff, of which Perry is one, is prohibited from using city resources to “access, upload, download, store or distribute any personal files, including offensive, obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material.”

Nor can staff use school resources for “Personal gain, commercial solicitation and compensation of any kind.”

The Hartford policy includes a prohibition on “The use of profanity, abusive, impolite, or inappropriate language.”

And that includes, “Harassing phone calls, voice mails, e-mails, and use of social media in violation of the Safe Workplace policy.”

In fact, Hartford’s policy outlaws the “use of social media that interferes with the work of the school district, creates a hostile work environment, harms the goodwill and reputation of the school district, or violates the law, Board policy, and/or school rules;

As the City of Hartford proudly proclaims,   “Harassment of any individual…is unacceptable, is a violation of state and/or federal law and constitutes grounds for disciplinary action.”

Steve Perry’s workplace tweets are in direct violation of those policies and laws.

Yet Perry seems to think that he is above the laws or holds some special status as a result of his work on behalf of corporate education reform.

Earlier this week, while his attention should have been on the 700 plus students in his school, he was tweeting:

“These folks don’t get it, I’M not the school or the movement. We Are Capital Prep & We Are #EDREFORM, stupid. You know you can’t stop us.”

And

“Imagine being so irrelevant & evil that you spend time when you should be looking for a job writing about me. YOUR life would suck.”

I don’t know if he comments about being irrelevant and evil were meant for me or one of the others who have written about Perry’s inappropriate and allegedly illegal use of public resources but those tweets say a lot about just how out of touch Perry is with his obligations to follow the rules, regulations and laws that apply to someone in his position.

It is time for the Hartford Board of Education, its Chairman Matt Poland and Christina Kishimoto, the Hartford Superintendent of Schools, to step up and put an end to Perry’s bullying and discipline him for his gross violations of the rules and laws that he is required to uphold.

The evidence of his actions is easy to find and it grows by the day.

Capital Prep: 33 days into 2nd marking period – Principal Perry MIA

Thy myth and the reality surrounding Steve Perry, “America’s most trusted educator,” continues to come to light.

With its extended year and day academic schedule, Hartford’s Capital Prep Magnet School recently completed the 33rd day of its second marking period.

But regardless of what Steve Perry may have submitted on his time card, the $150,000 plus city employee has missed an extraordinary number of school days.

In fact, if he was a student and missed this many school days he’d be gone or on his way out.

The facts:

Week #1:  During the last week of August, while his students attended classes, Steve Perry was busy at the 2013 Dallas Megafest, where “Bishop T.D. Jakes’ MegaFest Brings Hollywood To Church In Dallas.” (Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzb8n2rHWx8)

Week #2:  Thursday, September 5th, Perry joined his mentor, Michele Rhee, at the Rhee’s Los Angeles “Teacher Town Hall” (Video http://www.teachertownhall.org/teacher_town_hall_los_angeles/)

Week #3: Thursday, September 12th and Steve Perry was with Rhee in Birmingham, Alabama (Video http://www.teachertownhall.org/teacher_town_hall_birmingham/)

Week #4:  Perry is back on the road to join Rhee’s at her Philadelphia event on September 16th (Video http://www.teachertownhall.org/teacher_town_hall_philly/) and then went on to Jackson, Mississippi for a solo appearance on September 19th.

Week #5:  Perry goes off to sunny Ft. Lauderdale for a speech on September 26th.

And that doesn’t even count his September trip to Rochester, New York on September 21st and any other events that haven’t yet come to light.

Not to mention, last Thursday, October 10th, when criticized here at Wait, What? about tweeting during the school day, Perry snapped back “One spent his morning counting my tweets not realizing I was on a plane & on my personal leave. It’s so not about kids for these union thugs.”

On a plane?

Not about the kids?

At least nine trips out-of-state in the first 33 days of Capital Prep’s marking period and Steven Perry is lecturing people about his commitment to the kids?

Parents, teachers and taxpayers in Connecticut should be asking Hartford’s superintendent of schools, Christina Kishimoto and the Hartford Board of Education what they are doing to make sure that “America’s most trusted educator” isn’t wasting the public’s scarce resources.

Connecticut: Where laws are fricking optional (for those who have the right connections)

Question #1:  Must Connecticut teachers and school administrators have state certification?

Answer:  Yes, it is mandatory unless you are Paul Vallas or one of a handful of other politically connected elites.

Question #2:  Must Connecticut teachers and school administrators be evaluated?

Answer:  Yes, it is mandatory unless you are Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto.

The Connecticut license plates claim we are the Constitution State.

The phrase refers to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut which were adopted in 1638 and was our historical commitment to the notion that were the first to recognize that to be free one must be a state or nation where the rule of law rises above the “rule of men.”

And here we are 375 years later and we are witnessing the steady erosion of our historic dedication to that fundamental truth.

Take for example the latest news from Hartford.

Connecticut State Law requires that every local board of education “shall evaluate the performance of the superintendent annually in accordance with guidelines and criteria mutually determined and agreed to by such board and such superintendent.”

The concept is pretty clear – Every year Connecticut communities shall evaluate the performance of their superintendent of schools.

But as a result of special deal between Hartford’s Board of Education Chairman Matt Poland and Hartford’s Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, the leader of Hartford’s school system will go without any evaluation this year AND next.

Meanwhile, starting this year, as a result of Governor Malloy’s new education reform bill, it is mandated that teachers must go through an extensive evaluation process…every year.  And a poor annual review will start that teacher down the path of losing their job.

But what is mandatory for Connecticut’s tens of thousands of teachers is suddenly optional for the highest ranking “educator” in Hartford’s school system who is pulling down $238,000 a year plus benefits.

This latest news comes via a story in this afternoon’s Hartford Courant.  Vanessa De La Torre, a Hartford Courant reporter who covers Hartford, writes;

“The city board of education will not conduct an evaluation of Superintendent Christina Kishimoto for the final two years of her three-year contract…Kishimoto recently asked the board to waive its annual review of her performance for 2012-13 and 2013-14, board Chairman Matthew Poland said. Poland agreed with Kishimoto and notified board members on Monday that the decision was finalized.”

No discussion, no vote, just an agreement between Board Chairman Poland (who is appointed by Hartford’s Mayor) and Superintendent Kishimoto.

The rules in Hartford are clear:  Evaluations for everyone except for the person responsible for actually running the school system.

The Hartford Courant article adds, “Poland said he consulted with one of the city’s lawyers, Assistant Corporation Counsel Melinda Kaufmann, before waiving the superintendent’s evaluations…”

The Courant goes on to explain, “Board Secretary Robert Cotto Jr. said he disagreed with the decision to forgo the annual review and requested his own legal opinion in a letter dated Sept. 23 to Saundra Kee Borges, the city’s corporation counsel.

‘Evaluating employees at least annually is sound practice and wise policy,’ Cotto wrote. “For boards of education, it is also important to evaluate superintendents in order to monitor his or her current work and as a record for future legal or employment considerations.’”

As Robert Cotto Jr. went on to observe, “a lot of people are going to have some problems with the idea that the person who makes the most money in the city is not going to have an evaluation for two years.”

But that is because Mr. Cotto and many other people still think of Connecticut as the Constitution State where the rule of law rises above the rule of men.

But that concept seems to be a bit outdated when you consider what is going on when it comes to the certification and evaluation of Connecticut’s school teachers and administrators.

You can read the full Hartford Courant article here:  http://touch.courant.com/#section/2232/article/p2p-77709321/

The consistently wrong path to better schools by Wendy Lecker

Wendy Lecker, the pro-public education advocate and fellow columnist hits it out of the park; again, with a new commentary piece in Stamford Advocate entitled “The consistently wrong path to better Schools.

Improving education achievement in our major cities must be a top priority for all of Connecticut’s citizens.  Access to higher quality public schools is a fundamental American right, and is even guaranteed by Connecticut’s Constitution.  In addition, in the near future, 40% of Connecticut’s entire workforce will be coming from our state’s poorer, urban, Priority School Districts.  Our state’s economic future depends on providing all of our young people with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed.  Finally, the price tag for creating quality schools is not cheap.  Connecticut’s schools are already underfunded and yet Connecticut taxpayers are paying about 80% of the entire educational expenses in cities like Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven.

Education is both the economic and civil rights issue of our time.

Governor Malloy, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, Bridgeport “Superintendent of Schools,” Paul Vallas, “Special Master,” Steven Adamowski and the corporate education reformers claim to have the solution – simply hand our public schools over to private corporations.

The approach being perpetrated by these corporate reformers couldn’t be more wrong and Wendy Lecker’s latest column dives that point home.

Wendy Lecker writes;

“Most people who board the wrong train headed to the wrong destination get off and look for the right train.

But not the educational leadership of Hartford.

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, a protégé of the controversial “reformer” Steven Adamowski, has climbed on the wrong train despite the obvious signs that it will take Hartford in the wrong direction.

In her state of the schools address, Kishimoto highlighted a study conducted for her by University of Connecticut researchers. The study measured, by neighborhood, factors that inhibit the ability to learn, such as child poverty, the percentage of adults without high school or college degrees, crime, health, housing and neighborhood stability, and community assets such as preschool and after-school programs.

Fifty years of research have established that these out-of-school influences account for the majority of differences in student achievement.

In a recent New York Times article, Stanford University’s Sean Reardon summarized his research demonstrating that income inequality is the prime factor in educational disparities. As Professor Reardon noted, schools do not “produce much of the disparity in test scores between high- and low-income students.”

Reardon’s research revealed that the achievement gap between high-income and low-income students has widened in the past three decades largely because income inequality has increased, affluent students arrive to kindergarten better prepared than poor students, and affluent parents spend more on enrichment and tutoring.

Our best chance to reduce academic disparities, then, is to work to reduce economic inequities.

To the extent schools can help, we must give them the capacity to counteract the forces that hinder learning. That means a sufficient number of social workers, school psychologists, health centers, extra academic help and support for children and families, as well as a rich and varied curriculum.

However, rather than address the factors that prevent Hartford’s neediest children from learning, Hartford Superintendent Kishimoto seems intent on taking us in completely the wrong direction, ignoring the evidence she herself requested.

First on Kishimoto’s agenda is expanding the Achievement First charter franchise in Hartford. Achievement First, Inc., already operates a charter school in Hartford and is notorious for failing to serve Hartford’s neediest children. In a city where 43 percent of students come from non-English-speaking homes, only 4.8 percent of Achievement First’s students come from non-English-speaking homes. In Hartford, 18 percent of students are not fluent in English; at Achievement First, 4.8 percent. Thirteen percent of Hartford’s students have disabilities compared with 7.5 percent at Achievement First. Moreover, Achievement First has a 25 percent attrition rate.

Achievement First, a state charter school, is funded directly by the state and is not part of Hartford’s school district. However, Hartford Public Schools must pay for special education services and transportation for Hartford children attending the school. On top of this requirement, Hartford public schools paid $1.5 million dollars for capital improvements on Achievement First’s school building, which the charter uses for free. Additionally, Hartford and Achievement First entered into an agreement whereby the district pays more money to the charter company. This coming year, the district is scheduled to pay Achievement First over $3.2 million.”

Wendy’s assessment the approach being implemented by Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto is harsh but 100% accurate.

Take the time to read the whole column at the Stamford Advocate at: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-The-consistently-wrong-path-to-4487142.php#ixzz2SQUbtfw3

The bill? Oh, just hand that over to the Hartford City Official in the far corner, he’ll be paying

I was recently introduced to a blog written by Kevin Brookman called “We the People.”  Brookman created the site as a way to shine the light of truth into the inner-workings of Hartford City Hall.

One look at the blog and you can see why some of Hartford’s political elite should be living in fear of his efforts to inform the taxpayers of Hartford and Connecticut about what is actually going on in the state’s capital city.

Of particular note is his recent acquisition of 257 pages of credit card charges by city officials, using their city credit card.

Although the information is certainly a public record, Hartford officials failed to provide Brookman with the information, despite a Freedom of Information request for the data.  However, he was finally able to acquire the reports by, as he puts it, “alternative means”.

Brookman writes, “After reviewing the reports below, I can see now why the City did not want me to see them. So much for that transparency they keep talking about.”

The reports reveal literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenditures charged to Hartford City Government Credit Cards.

Many of the charges are clearly personal in nature and it isn’t clear whether these high-ranking Hartford city officials are required to reimburse the city for their personal expenditures.

Assuming the expenditures are reimbursed, it is still a stunning portrayal of arrogance that any public official would think to use a public credit card for such expenditures.

And if the expenses are not reimbursed, there should be a whole lot of job openings in Hartford in the coming weeks and at least one multi-passenger bus ferrying former city employees off to various correctional facilities.

One look at the list will paint a far more provocative picture than I ever could.

And as Brookman notes in his blog, “One of the highest paid City employees, Jose Colon Rivas seems to enjoy the finer things in life, running up a hotel bill at a luxury hotel in California. Over $7,400 in the course of 6 days at the Hotel Palomar in West wood LA. “

Here is a link to the credit card report: http://www.scribd.com/doc/134568220/Hartford-Pcard-Report-All-Users.

Feel free to nominate expenditures that deserve follow-up.

My favorite is the dozens of expenditures on Amazon.com.  Maybe part of Malloy’s corporate welfare package for Amazon was an understanding that some key public officials in Hartford would use public funds to buy hundreds of items from Amazon thereby helping the internet giant and funding Connecticut’s growing deficit via Amazon’s new willingness to collect sales tax.

Another “head-scratcher” is the various expenditures for iTunes including $29.97 worth of expenditures that Hartford’s Superintendent of Schools, Christina Kishimoto charged to her City Credit Card.  Maybe she was downloading the audio version of the education reformer’s best seller, “How to Privatize American’s Public Schools.”

But Hartford City Treasurer, Adam Cloud, easily beat out Kishimoto with $51.50 worth of iTunes on his Hartford credit card.

 

And you can find more in Brookman’s blogs, which can be found via the following links: http://wethepeoplehartford.blogspot.com/2013/04/mayor-segarra-get-out-scissors.html?m=0 and http://wethepeoplehartford.blogspot.com/2013/04/city-credit-cards-full-report.html?m=0 and http://wethepeoplehartford.blogspot.com/2013/04/mayor-segarra-time-to-join-aaa.html?m=0

New Policy: Bonuses unless we get caught

According to a Hartford Courant article by written by reporter Vanessa De la Torree, Christina Kishimoto, Hartford’s Superintendent of School, decided to rescind $38,976 in performance bonuses to six of her top deputies earlier this week.  The action came after the Hartford Board of Education announced that it would be discussing the matter at their board meeting.

Apparently the Hartford Board of Education voted, last year, to prohibit performance bonuses for senior staff.

However, Kishimoto had scheduled bonuses for her senior staff.  Just before the board’s most recent meeting, Superintendent Kishimoto responded wrote to the board saying, “I have recently learned that the board is not comfortable with this new language and compensation system…Therefore, I will not be processing the variable pay [bonuses].”

According to the Courant story, Matt Poland, the Chairman of the board said, “The board is happy about her decision to forgo the performance pay for her cabinet.”

This is hardly the first time that bonuses have been used within the Hartford School System.

Former superintendent of schools, Steven Adamwoski, was a big fan and major recipient of bonuses and merit pay.  When he was superintendent, Adamowski would normally demand that he receive performance bonuses based on the job performance rating.  For example, if his performance rating was 75 percent, he would be paid 75 percent of his scheduled bonus.

This is the same practice that got Kishimoto, the present Superintendent into so much trouble in recent weeks.  The pay crisis developed when Kishimoto’s attorneys demanded that she receive 56 percent of her bonus to match the dismal 56 percent job rating that she received from the board.  Eventually Kishimoto announced that although she was entitled to the pay, she would forgo the bonus.

The concept of “merit pay” is also part of the broader contracts that the Hartford Board of Education has with teachers and administrators.  Earlier this fall, more than $2 million in bonuses were paid out to school employees based on how well their schools performed.

Linking bonus pay to student and school performance remains one of the most popular and controversial elements of “education reform” efforts, since it sets up a system where there are significant financial incentives to manipulate test scores.

More on this story can be found at: http://articles.courant.com/2012-10-18/community/hc-hartford-school-bonuses-20121018_1_superintendent-christina-kishimoto-bonus-request-bonuses

Malloy visits Jumoke Academy at Milner today

Long before Governor Malloy’s “education reform” bill passed, the Malloy Administration, Hartford Superintendent of Schools Christina Kishimoto and the Jumoke Academy had been scheming to hand over Hartford’s Thurman Milner School to the Jumoke Academy.

Along with the transfer of the school comes millions and millions of public funds.

At noon today, October 19, 2012, Governor Malloy will be visiting the Jumoke Academy at Milner.  The report is that the Governor, along with Stefan Pryor, his Commissioner of Education, will be visiting each of the “Commissioner’s Network Schools to engage with key stakeholders around the progress of the turnaround plan.”

Of all the absurd and devastating elements of Malloy’s education reform and privatization activities, none is more outrageous than what has occurred to the students, parents and teachers of the Milner School.

Months after this process began, money is being funneled to the Jumoke Academy and yet there is no contract or memorandum of agreement between the State of Connecticut, the City of Hartford and the Jumoke Academy to ensure that Jumoke fulfills its obligations to Milner’s students and their families.

Connecticut law forbids the transfer of state funds without some type of contract, yet millions of dollars are being provided to the Family Urban Schools of Excellence, the company that runs the Jumoke Academy.

Yet no bid process took place.

No sole-source contract slipped through.

No Memorandum of Understanding was developed and signed to ensure taxpayer funds are being spent properly.

Here at Wait, What? we’ve reviewed the facts about Milner and Jumoke a number of times.

The proposal that Commissioner Pryor, the State Board of Education and the City of Hartford used as the basis for their plan to give the Milner School to Jumoke began with the following statement;

Hartford Public Schools proposes to partner with Jumoke Academy, beginning with the upcoming 2012-13 academic year, to replicate systematically at Milner Elementary the comprehensive education strategy developed and implemented successfully at Jumoke Academy…Jumoke’ s comprehensive approach has proven remarkably successful in educating PK-Grade 8 students whose circumstances closely mirror those of the children who currently attend Milner.

Public officials handed the Milner School over to the Jumoke Academy because, they say, Jumoke is succeeding with students “whose circumstances closely mirror those of the children who currently attend Milner.”

As we’ve noted before, that statement is an outright lie.

The student body at Jumoke and Milner DO NOT “closely mirror” each other, and there is no indication that Jumoke is prepared or capable of transferring its “education philosophy” to a school whose student body is very different.

The Commissioner and every one of those officials know that the three factors that influence test scores the most are poverty, language barriers and the number of students who have disabilities that require special education services.

Milner is a school in which 1 in 4 students are not fluent in English, 40 percent of students go home to households that don’t speak English and more than 1 in 10 students require special education services.

Instead of working with people who are experts in these key areas, the State and City have given Milner to a company that has NO experience educating Latino students and virtually no experience helping students who need special education services.

Here are the facts:

Percent of students who are not fluent in English:

Jumoke:           0% not fluent in English

Milner:             25% of the students are not fluent in English

Percent of students who go home to households in which English is not the spoken language:

Jumoke            0%

Milner              40% go home to households where English is not spoken.

Percent of students who require special education services:

Jumoke            2% require special education services

Milner              11% require special education services

Even worse, for years, public officials have underfunded the educational program at the Milner School.

But when it was announced that Jumoke, a private company was taking over the school, the City of Hartford “found” $2 million and Congressman John Larson recently announced a grant for another $100,000.

The actions taken by the Governor, the Commissioner and Hartford’s Superintendent are beyond insulting.

They have completely and totally failed to address the fact that although 25 percent of Milner’s students are not fluent in English and 40 percent come from homes where English is not the spoken language; the Jumoke Academy has NEVER accepted any Latino students and HAS NO experience with bilingual education or working with parents who aren’t fluent in English.

The same situation exists when it comes to students needing special education services.

Yet there is no contract or agreement that lays out how Jumoke is going to address these vitally important students.

So, if anyone happens to see Governor Malloy or Commissioner Pryor;

Ask them;

How are you legally paying Jumoke and where are the legal documents that ensure the students are getting the services they need and the taxpayers are getting what we’re paying for.

The poster child for Education Reform’s fraudulent performance evaluation movement

Updated with link to the Hartford Courant story quoted in this post.  Please see the story by the Courant’s Vanessa De La Torre for additional information about this issue.  http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-hartford-superintendent-bonus-1013-20121012,0,6303782.storyco

The poster child for Education Reform’s fraudulent performance evaluation movement

The story of how Hartford’s Superintendent of Schools Christina Kishimoto got a poor performance evaluation, yet got her raise AND still wanted her performance bonus.

Teacher Evaluations are the key to “Education Reform, at least according to Governor Malloy, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor and the “education reformers.”

Last February, Governor Malloy defined the issue when he said that the right to teach, the right to be an educational professional, must be “earned and re-earned.”

Turning to Connecticut’s educators he said, you must “continue to prove your effectiveness…”

These education reformers really seem to believe that the problem facing urban schools is not primarily the level of poverty, language barriers or the significant number of students who require special education services, but the “quality” of the teachers.

The reformers claim that a simple, across the board, teacher evaluation system will allow them to identify which educators are good, and should be allowed to continue their work, and which are bad, and should be let go.  Performance evaluations they say, will close the achievement gap between wealthy school districts and poor school districts.

When the dust settled on Malloy’s education reform effort this year, Connecticut had adopted an evaluation system in which “student performance,” as measured by test scores, would count for 45 percent of a teacher’s evaluation; observation of teacher skills would count for 40 percent; peer and parent feedback would be worth 10 percent; and the last 5 percent would be based on how well the entire school was doing academically.

Then last week we saw, yet again, the education reformers’ double standard.

When reality arrives, the truth comes out.  Education reformers believe that concepts like evaluations and standards should apply to everyone but themselves.

This latest example comes from Hartford’s Superintendent of Schools, Christina Kishimoto.

As a result of her contract with the Hartford Board of Education, 40 percent of Kishimoto’s “evaluation” is based on quantitative measures such as student test scores and 60% is based on qualitative measures.

When the Hartford Board of Education released Kishimoto’s evaluation about three weeks ago, she received 10.3 points out of a possible 20 points for the qualitative measures and 30.91 points of a possible 60 points on the quantitative measures.

Her total evaluation rating was a disastrous 56 percent and the Board of Education announced that no performance bonus was in order, although her salary for this year had already been raised from $205,000 to $231,000.

But last week, despite her unsatisfactory performance evaluation, Kishimoto’s lawyers wrote a letter to the Hartford Board of Education demanding that she be given $15,450 in bonus compensation.  According to her attorneys, when the percentages were calculated, the Superintendent deserved $6,180 of $12,000 for the qualitative measures and $9,270 of $18,000 for the quantitative factors.

In response, the Chairman of the Hartford Board of Education reported that the board was “incredulous” that Kishimoto thought she deserved a bonus, considering she had already received a pay raise and her evaluation was so poor.

The uproar was immediate and by Saturday, Superintendent Kishimoto was backing away from her demand for bonus paying.

She said that although she was entitled to the bonus compensation under her contract, “In light of reporting today on communication between the board of education and my attorneys … I will not seek a bonus for my performance over the past year.”

This time, the Board of Education Chairman responded saying, “I just want to say that Dr. Kishimoto has made the right decision…Now we can, together, move forward in the business of reform for the benefit of our children.”

As if we didn’t already know the truth, the message is clear.

Education reformers believe that performance evaluations are the key to improving educational achievement, and those who fail to receive good performance evaluations should lose their jobs.

However, when the concept is applied to one of their own; when an “education reformer” gets a performance evaluation of 56 percent, an F by any standard, it’s a whole different story.

Not only should they be allowed to keep their jobs and get a pay raise, but their lawyers are going to show up demanding that their 56 percent performance evaluation rating should be rewarded with 56 percent of their performance bonus compensation.

Talk about a double standard…

For more information see http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-hartford-superintendent-bonus-1013-20121012,0,6303782.story