Christina Kishimoto, Clark Elementary School, Hartford, Malloy, Mayor Pedro Segarra, Morgan Barth, Stefan Pryor Andrew Ferguson, Christina Kishimoto, Clark Elementary School, Malloy, Mayor Pedro Segarra, Morgan Barth, Stefan Pryor
Clark Elementary School’s parents, teachers and community have a right to know what is really going on behind the scenes in the ongoing effort to stifle parental involvement and hand Clark over to an out-of-state charter school company.
The corporate education reform industry has targeted Clark, but who exactly is pushing these unfair, discriminatory proposals that seek to take over the school, fire all the teachers and hand control of the school over to those who have no understanding of the community?
It is time to find out,
Pursuant to the Connecticut Freedom of Information act, the proponents of this Clark takeover need to produce any and all memos, documents, notes, emails and attachments that have been sent, received or produced over the last 60 days and relate to the Clark Elementary School.
If elected and appointed officials won’t do the right thing for the Clark community then at least the community deserves to know the deals that have been cut behind the scenes.
This Freedom of Information request will cover Stefan Pryor, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Morgan Barth, Pryor “Turnaround Director” and Andrew Ferguson, Pryor and Barth’s point person on the effort to destroy Clark.
In addition FOI requests are being submitted for the same information from Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and Hartford Portfolio Director Oliver Barton.
Clark should refuse to engage in further discussion until these materials are handed over.
The request for these documents are being submitted today, it will be noteworthy to see if Malloy administration and the City of Hartford fulfill their legal duty and hand over the requested information in a timely fashion.
Charter Schools, Christina Kishimoto, Clark Elementary School, Hartford, Malloy, Morgan Barth, Stefan Pryor Charter Schools, Clark Elementary School, Malloy, Morgan Barth, Stefan Pryor
The battle for control of Hartford’s Clark Elementary School has become a case study in how the corporate education reform industry works.
On one side are the heroic parents and teachers who are working tirelessly to save and improve one of Hartford’s local neighborhood schools.
On the other side is the money, greed and arrogance that drives the corporate education reform industry.
The effort to run over the will of the local community and hand Clark Elementary School over to a charter school management company is being led by Stefan Pryor, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, and Morgan Barth, Pryor’s “Turnaround Director,” who illegally worked as a teacher and administrator for Achievement First, Inc before being appointed to his present position by Pryor.
As Wait, What? readers know, Stefan Pryor co-founded Achievement First, Inc. and Achievement First, Inc. has received more money from the Malloy administration than any other charter school operator.
With the help of Hartford’s out-going superintendent, Christina Kishimoto, Pryor and his band of education reformers tried to work a deal to close Clark Elementary School and hand the school and all of its taxpayer funds over to Achievement First, Inc.
Clark Parents and teachers fought back and derailed to the effort to give the school to Achievement First, Inc.
As the following links reveal, Stefan Pryor and Morgan Barth then concocted a plan to hand Clark Elementary School over to a large Washington D.C. charter school company called Friendship Charter Schools.
The only thing standing in their way was a state law requiring that parents, teachers and the local community had to play a role in selecting a “turnaround” model and there was little interest in a Washington D.C. charter school company that had virtually no experience running schools with a large Latino population, a significant number of English Language Learners and a large special education population.
But now, according to sources close to Pryor and Barth, rather than work with the local community to identify a turnaround model that is actually appropriate for Hartford’s Clark Elementary, Malloy’s State Department of Education is telling the parents, teachers and local community that they must accept the charter option or the school will receive no additional funds or support mandated under the Commissioner’s Network Program.
The arrogance being displayed by Malloy’s appointees is truly breathtaking. Never in a million years would these bullies treat White, suburban communities they way they are treating a community made of African Americans, Latinos and other Americans of color.
State Department of Education sources confirm that Stefan Pryor and Morgan Barth are giving the Clark School community an ultimatum.
Their choice – go with one of our hand-picked charter schools or get nothing.
The racism and discrimination against the Clark School community is nothing short of criminal
But if members of the Connecticut General Assembly don’t intervene, the Malloy administration will get away with destroying another urban neighborhood school.
For background, here are some of the previous Wait, What? posts on Clark Elementary School.
Breaking News: Hartford’s Clark School Targeted for closure, will be handed over to Achievement First, Inc. (10/25/13)
Real Hartford Blog examines “bait and switch” with Clark School and Achievement First Inc. (10/28/13)
(Updated) Superintendent Kishimoto’s “end justified the means” form of a School Redesign Analysis (10/29/13)
Update on the effort to destroy the Clark Elementary School in Hartford (11/30/13)
Hartford’s Clark School parents, teachers and community fight back! (10/31/13)
Hartford’s Clark Elementary School Community says “NO” to takeover (11/11/13)
NEWS FLASH: Pryor reportedly giving Hartford’s Clark Elementary School to Washington D.C. Charter School Chain (2/10/14)
Corporate Education Reform Industry targets students, parents and teachers of Clark Elementary School (2/13/14)
Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor Common Core, Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor
A number of public school districts across Connecticut have informed parents or teachers that parents do not have a right to opt their children out of the Connecticut Mastery Test or the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Field Test.
Administrators who have communicated this information to parents or teachers are either misinformed or are part of the Malloy administration’s calculated attempt to mislead and intimidate parents into believing that they don’t have the fundamental right to refuse to have their children participate in these tests.
As to issue number one, the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Field Test is a test of a test and despite the misleading statements coming from Commissioner Pryor’s operation, the test of a test not a “Mastery Test” as defined under Connecticut law and the statute in question does not apply. (See Connecticut State Statute Sec.10-14n).
While the state may be able to argue that next year’s Common Core SBAC test is a Mastery Test under the law, by its own definition, this year’s test is not a Master Test and the state has no authority to tell parents that they may not opt their students out of the Common Core SBAC test.
Second, for those towns giving the CMT/CAPT Mastery Test and for those attempting to claim that the Common Core SBAC test of a test is a mastery test, the State Department of Education already made the policy clear in a December 2013 memo to superintendents in which it stated,
[IF] “Parent writes back to the district a letter explaining that they have read and understood the district’s letter, but insist that the child not be tested.”
[THEN] “In these cases, the district generally does not test the student and the student is counted as “absent” (for purposes of testing)…”
School administrators who are telling parents or teachers that parents may not refuse the test are out of line.
There are even reports that school administrators are instructing, threatening or disciplining teachers who are providing parents with the correct information about their rights when it comes to opting their children out of the standardized testing frenzy.
A school administrator engaged in any such activities would be in violation of the Connecticut Code of Professional Responsibility for School Administrators which clearly lays out how school administrators are to interact with teachers, students and families.
In order to identify districts and administrators who may be engaged in activities that violate their Code of Professional Responsibility or potentially are even violating the law, we are collecting copies of any communication, correspondence or emails that parents or teachers have received from school administrators about the opt-out issue.
Please email any communications to [email protected]
All names will be removed to ensure confidentiality but the information will be used to inform parents about how certain communities are handing this important issue and, where appropriate, the information may be used to file complaints against administrators who are failing to properly perform their duties.
Again, if you have any communications between school administrators and parents or school administrators and teachers, please email them to [email protected] or contact me so that I can give you a fax number or address to send the information.
Thank you very much,
Common Core, George Jepsen, Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor Common Core, George Jepsen, Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor
Connecticut parents have a right to opt their children out of the standardized tests!
Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, knows that is the truth but has chosen to engage in a strategy to intimidate and mislead Connecticut’s parents of public school students.
Governor Malloy must immediately put an end to this travesty or Attorney General George Jepsen should step in and perform that task.
Last December, Stefan Pryor sent out a memo to superintendents explaining how they were to intimidate parents into thinking that they did not have the right to opt their children out of the inappropriate and unfair standardized testing program.
The memo noted that Connecticut State Statute 10-14n reads,: “Each student enrolled…in any public school shall annually take a statewide mastery examination,” but the memo also admitted that there were no provisions in the law to punish a parent or their child if a parents decided that they did not want their student to take the standardized tests.
The memo concluded;
[IF] “Parent writes back to the district a letter explaining that they have read and understood the district’s letter, but insist that the child not be tested.”
[THEN] “In these cases, the district generally does not test the student and the student is counted as “absent” (for purposes of testing)…”
Furthermore, Pryor and his legal team have to recognize that the because the Common Core Smarter Balanced Field Test is nothing but a test of a test it doesn’t even qualify as a “Mastery Test” under the provisions of 10-14n and the Commissioner has absolutely no legal authority to force parents to make children take the test of a test.
Following yesterday’s post entitled, “Stefan Pryor says his rules trump parental rights.” a reader commented:
Background: There is no opt-out language in state or federal law governing assessment. Sec.10-14n of the Connecticut Education Laws states that “Each student enrolled…in any public school shall annually take a statewide mastery examination.”
In terms of the reporting of results from the SB-FT, please note the following:
Connecticut’s Field Test Flexibility waives the CSDE and local districts from the requirement of providing individual student reports regarding achievement on the SB-FT to parents, teachers, and principals.
But wait, how can this be when the law requires that according to Sec. 10-14n of the Connecticut Education Laws that…
[(e) Student] (d) The scores on each component of the [state-wide tenth grade] mastery examination for each tenth or eleventh grade student may be included on the permanent record and transcript of each such student who takes such examination. [provided, for a] For each tenth or eleventh grade student who meets or exceeds the statewide mastery goal level on any component of the [state-wide tenth grade] mastery examination, a certification of having met or exceeded such goal level shall be made on the permanent record and the transcript of each such student and such student shall be issued a certificate of mastery for such component. Each tenth or eleventh grade student who fails to meet the mastery goal level on each component of said mastery examination may annually take or retake each such component at its regular administration until such student scores at or above each such state-wide mastery goal level or such student graduates or reaches age twenty-one.
So does this mean they have to score the assessments even though the commissioner says they don’t? I’m confused, which part of the law are we supposed to follow? Oh wait, there won’t be any reports. I’m good with that, but there damn well better be an indication on my daughter’s transcript and permanent record as to whether or not my daughter met mastery on this “statewide mastery examination” as the law requires.
Commissioner Pryor, answer me this one simple question. Is this (the SBAC), or is this not the the “official statewide mastery examination”?
The Wait, What? reader makes the point better than I ever could.
Pryor and his corporate education reform industry allies are making a mockery of Connecticut law and are engaged in a disgusting campaign to that is designed to intimidate and mislead Connecticut parents.
Unfortunately, as we’ve learned the hard way, Governor Malloy is unwilling to put the interests of parents and students above his efforts to undermine teachers and public schools.
Malloy’s failure to act means the burden shifts to Attorney General George Jepsen to protect the rights of parents and their children.
If he refuses to act unilaterally, Connecticut allows one of the four top leaders in the Connecticut General Assembly to request a legal opinion from Jepsen. [Connecticut General Statute 3-125 authorizes the Attorney General to issue formal opinions to leaders of the General Assembly and the heads of any state agency, state board or commission].
Senate President Don Williams, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney or House Minority Leader Larry Cafero are in in a unique position to stand up and demand the truth now that it has become clear that that Governor and Commissioner of Education are failing to properly implement Connecticut law.
Link to Pryor’s new memo: Pryor’s March memo
Link to Pryor’s earlier memo: Pryor’s December memo
Barak Obama, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Malloy, Minimum Wage, President Obama
Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States….
President Obama will fly to Connecticut today as part of his campaign to promote a $10.10 minimum wage. Glued to his side will be Governor Dannel Malloy, whom the President will call a champion in the effort to promote a fairer minimum wage.
This is the same Governor Malloy who failed to support a modest increase in the minimum wage just two years ago.
In January 2012, key Democratic members of the Connecticut Legislature, with strong support from Connecticut’s unions, proposed raising the minimum wage from $8.25 to $9.00 an hour on July 1, 2013 and then to a rate of $9.75 on July 1, 2014.
Governor Malloy was quick to throw cold water on the plan telling reporters, “I’m not slamming any doors. I’m not saying ‘No’ but I’ll watch the debate and perhaps reach a conclusion subsequently.”
Malloy’s pronouncement that he would “reach a conclusion subsequently” was a death sentence for the legislation and without the Governor’s support the business community, with the help of the Republicans and some Democrats, easily killed the proposal.
A year later, in February 2013, Legislators tried again to push legislation increasing the minimum wage and again Governor Malloy failed to step forward to support the proposal. However this time, late in the legislative session when it was clear that Democrats would pass the bill away, Malloy did a 180 and announced that he would support a “compromise” on a minimum wage increase.
With the 2014 election year in sight, Malloy’s transformation on the issue was nearly complete.
On the last day of December 2013, Malloy held a State Capitol press conference to brag about the extraordinarily positive impact Connecticut’s new minimum wage law would have when it takes effect at midnight that night.
“As the clock strikes 12 in this state, many people … will actually lift themselves out of poverty,” Malloy said during a press event and rally.
Malloy was referring to the mandated .45 cent an hour increase in the State’s minimum wage that will be taking effect.
However, as some may know, the federal poverty level for a family of three in Connecticut is about $18,400. For the 70,000 to 90,000 Connecticut residents living on minimum wage, a full-time job only brings in $17,160 per year.
Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman joined Malloy in “celebrating” the raise in the minimum wage. It would, according to Wyman, mean Connecticut’s minimum wage workers would make an extra $18 hours a week as long as they don’t miss a single hour of work.
That increase translates into an extra $936 a year — leaving most minimum wage families still living below the poverty line.
But many politicians believe that electoral success can be achieved through rhetoric and hyperbole…
And the President of the United States is coming to Connecticut to try to bolster Malloy’s political re-election dreams.
You can read more about Malloy’s transformation on the minimum wage in these two Wait, What? blog posts,
It’s an election year and Governor Malloy is now for raising the minimum wage
Governor Malloy: Blessed are the Poor
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Quinnipiac Polling Institute, State Politics Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Quinnipiac Polling Institute, State Politics
The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute released its latest poll today.
While the Malloy political operatives will claim that the poll shows him leading the unknown Republican candidates and is tied with former gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, the data provides a harsh assessment of Malloy’s standing with the Connecticut electorate.
Despite Governor Malloy’s numerous proposals to “buy-back” support from key voting constituencies, Governor Malloy’s level of support has not improved over the past year and he clearly faces significant barriers should he attempt to run for re-election this year.
According to the new Quinnipiac Polling Institute survey, Malloy does not garner more than 44 percent of the vote against any Republican candidate and his overall favorability rating remains at a dismal level of 46 percent.
An incumbent’s favorability rating is one of the most important indicators of upcoming electoral success.
According to this new Quinnipiac Poll, Malloy’s favorability has not improved at all since the last Q-Poll which was done in June 2013 when his favorability rating was also 46 percent.
What should be of even more concern to Malloy’s political operation is his level of support among key voting groups that Malloy would need to win..
According to the poll,
Another key question that campaign experts study is the one that asks, “Do you feel that Dannel Malloy deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?” According to the Q-poll,
And to make matters significantly worse for Malloy, six in ten voters are dissatisfied with the way things are going in Connecticut.
As political activists know, polls are only a “snapshot” of voter attitudes at the time the poll is taken. Things can and do change in the course of an election. The Malloy operation will certainly try to spin the poll as good news but the truth is that the Quinnipiac Poll reveals that Malloy has completely failed to build up support despite his campaign year effort to use state budget initiatives to persuade voters to give him enough votes so that he can reach the 50 percent level that he needs to win in a head to head race for governor.
While the results of the Q-poll are interesting unto themselves, those who have studied the Connecticut political landscape for years will notice something that is even more interesting.
This Quinnipiac Poll was released on March 4th, weeks after Malloy started his “campaign” to win back key constituencies.
In 1789 it was Benjamin Franklin who said, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
But here in Connecticut there has been one other constant. At the beginning of each gubernatorial election year, the Quinnipiac University’s Polling Institute has conducted a Connecticut poll to measure the level of support of the incumbent governor and examine the status of the upcoming gubernatorial campaign.
Since the Quinnipiac poll started, there have been four gubernatorial election cycles. Q-Polls were released on,
February 18, 1998
February 14, 2002
January 12, 2006
January 21, 2010
But this year, the Quinnipiac Poll wasn’t conducted until much later, well after the incumbent governor has a chance to announce his election year initiatives in an attempt to improve his standing.
It is almost as if Quinnipiac University made a calculated decision to delay their regular Connecticut political poll long enough to give Malloy a chance to improve his numbers.
But when the Quinnipiac Polling Institute’s Director was asked about the timing today, he responded by saying that it is their policy not to discuss the timing of their polls.
Maybe it is just a coincidence that this year’s Q-Poll was conducted weeks after Malloy begin his efforts to push up his ratings higher.
Common Core, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor Common Core, Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor
A last Friday’s Democrat’s informational “non-public” hearing on the Common Core and the Common Core Smarter Balanced Field Test, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, couldn’t even manage to tell the truth about this year’s Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Field Test. called SBAC.
Pryor is not only the Commissioner of Education and a Yale educated lawyer but by accepting the position of Commissioner of Education he accepted the responsibility and legal duty to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. when it came to Connecticut’s education laws.
However, when he came face to face with that duty last Friday he failed.
Earlier today a Wait, What? blog examined what Pryor said at last Friday’s Education Committee’s “hearing.” After reading the blog post, friend and fellow pro-education blogger Lee Barrios of Louisiana posted a comment questioned the accuracy of one of Pryor’s claims.
According to media accounts, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education told the General Assembly’s Education Committee that the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment “test of the test” was required under federal law.
But in his smoke and mirrors answer he managed to overlook the truth and skip the most important and relevant issues surrounding that topic.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the national entity responsible for developing the test, explains the legal status of the test of the test right on their website.
As the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium explains,
“Each Smarter Balanced state individually determined how schools and students would be selected to take the Field Test. In some states, only a representative sample of students will participate—10 percent of student s for each subject area. In others, the Field Test will be administered more broadly.”
The federal government didn’t mandate that nearly all of Connecticut”s 550,000 students must suffer through this Common Core test of the test, it was Governor Malloy’s political appointees who decided to turn our children into guinea pigs for the corporate education reform industry.
There are just over 550,000 public school students in Connecticut. The Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment was looking for about 10 percent to take the practice exam. But the Malloy administration said they knew better and students in all but about a dozen districts will spend big chunks of March, April, May and June taking tests rather than learning.
It is certainly odd that Connecticut’s Commissioner failed to tell legislators the truth about this important point.
Equally important, as a lawyer Pryor knows that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Field Test of a test is not a legal mastery test under Connecticut law. This means that Connecticut’s Public Schools ARE NOT REQUIRED TO GIVE THE TEST.
Finally, as Pryor knows because he was the one who authorized the memo to superintendents on how to lie and mislead parents into thinking they can’t opt their children out of standardized tests, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN THE LAW that allows the state or school districts to punish parents and children who fail to take the test.
Wait, What? has said it before and will say it again and again…. As long as Stefan Pryor and his corporate education reform industry thugs are overseeing public education in Connecticut, Malloy will not come close to garnering the votes necessary to win re-election.
Charter Schools, Common Core, General Assembly, Larry Cafero, Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Standardized Testing, Stefan Pryor, Teacher Evaluations Common Core, Larry Cafero, Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor
Many parents, teachers, public school advocates and taxpayers are asking whether the Connecticut General Assembly will hold a real public hearing on the Common Core , the Common Core testing fiasco, and the flawed teacher evaluation system?
The answer is … yeah, sort of, maybe… it depends on what you call a real public hearing.
When Governor Malloy introduced the most anti-teacher, anti-union, pro-charter school ,corporate education reform industry bill of any Democratic governor in the nation, the Connecticut General Assembly blindly jumped on the train.
With Malloy’s signature, Senate Bill 458 became Public Act 12-116 and Malloy, his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, and their allies were off and running in their effort to undermine public education in Connecticut.
Malloy’s “education reform” bill is the driving force behind the Common Core testing scheme and the unfair and inappropriate teacher evaluation system — a legislative package that passed the Connecticut House of Representatives 149-0.
Not a single legislator, Democratic or Republican was willing to stand up for the students, parents, teachers or public schools in Connecticut.
The vote in the State Senate was 28-7. Of the 13 Republicans who voted, seven voted with the Governor and the Democrats and six voted against the bill.
For two years, teachers and public school advocates have been warning elected and appointed officials about the impending disaster that will be caused by the rollout of the Common Core, the Common Core testing scheme and the teacher evaluation program.
But Connecticut’s “see no evil, hear no evil” elected officials remained silent.
That was until this year when, thanks to the outcry from teachers and parents, elected officials starting waking up.
The strategy being displayed by the Malloy administration and Democratic legislative leaders remained one dedicated to staying the course.
On the other hand, Republicans realized they had a great political opportunity on their hands and despite the fact that most of them voted for Malloy’s “education reforms,” they called for a public hearing on the Common Core and introduced bills to slow the process down.
Led by House Minority Leader Larry Cafero, the Republicans used a petitioning process to force the Democrats to hold a public hearing on the Common Core, the outrageous testing and the unfair teacher evaluation system.
As the Connecticut Newsjunkie story reported on February 26, 2014 in an article entitled, “GOP Use Parliamentary Rule To Get Public Hearing On Common Core,” the Connecticut General Assembly’s House Republicans used a rarely utilized technique to force a public hearing on some bills related to the implementation of the Common Core.
The CT Newsjunkie wrote,
House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero appeared behind the podium and made his own announcement. Cafero said House Republicans had used a legislative petition process to force the Education Committee to hold a public hearing on two bills, including one to impose a moratorium on the implementation of Common Core.
Cafero said the chairs of the Education Committee had indicated they did not plan to hold any public hearings this year on bills pertaining to the Common Core and instead had opted to have an informational hearing on the subject. He said Republicans collected enough signatures from lawmakers to force a public hearing on the bills under legislative rules.
“We have circulated a petition which has been signed by 51 House Republican members which was filed moments ago with the House Clerk office which will force a public hearing on the two bills in question,” he said.
Cafero said lawmakers “have heard horror story after horror story about the inability for boards of education, teachers to prepare themselves” for the Common Core implementation. The other bill would codify changes made by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration last month to delay the implementation of elements of the state’s teacher guidelines.
“Those two bills now, by Joint Rule 11, will be having a public hearing. The scheduling of that hearing will be up to the chairs, but the issue as to whether or not there will be a public hearing is no longer an issue,” he said.
Cafero said it was “unacceptable” to have no public hearing on an issue impacting parents, students, and teachers.
The legislative rule that Cafero used is called the “PETITION FOR PREPARATION OF BILLS OR RESOLUTIONS.”
According to the rule, if a petition is signed by at least fifty-one members of the House or at least twelve members of the Senate, a committee “shall hold a public hearing on the bill.”
But the chairs of the committee still have the power to schedule the timing of that public hearing.
In this case that means that the Democratic leaders could hold the public hearing during the day when most parents and teachers would be unable to attend.
If the Democrats were serious about providing Connecticut citizens with the right to be heard on this critical issue they would hold a hearing in the late afternoon and evening.
To date, the Democrats have yet to announce their plans about the public hearing that the Republicans have forced to be held.
In some ways, equally important is the reality that all the petition process requires is a public hearing.
The Education Committee doesn’t even have to discuss or vote on the bill following the public hearing. In fact, Democrats on the committee could prevent a vote from even being taken on the Republican bills..
There is a petition process for forcing the committee to vote, but that requires a full majority in the House or Senate to sign yet another petition.
Considering Malloy and his corporate education reform advocates don’t want the Common Core testing and teacher evaluation issues to even be discussed in public, it will take a lot to convince Democratic rank and file legislators that they should put their constituents ahead of Malloy’s politics.
Common Core, Connecticut General Assembly, Democratic Legislators, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Morgan Barth, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski Common Core, Democratic Legislators, Malloy, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Stefan Pryor
The development and implementation of the Common Core and its related Common Core testing scam is one of the most important issues facing American public education.
The Common Core was developed in relative secrecy and forced upon the states by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Some of the people who developed the Common Core Standards were even required to sign documents swearing not to speak about the process.
The vehicle used to pull off this education disaster was the National Governors Association and a series of other organizations that were paid by the corporate education reform industry, along with hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds, that were funneled to private consulting companies to “develop” the standards and tests, while pushing their own profit-making efforts to sell more computers, new software, textbooks, and consulting opportunities.
After all, it was media mogul Rupert Murdoch who said that the America’s K-12 public education system was an $500 billion untapped market.
And support for the growing corporate education reform industry came from Democrats and Republicans alike.
In Connecticut, for example, it was Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy who introduced the most anti-teacher, anti-union, pro-charter school education reform bill of any Democratic governor in the nation. The bill not only passed, but it passed with overwhelming support from both Democratic and Republican legislators.
But after two years, when teacher’s concerns were finally being heard and more and more parents were speaking up, legislative attention returned to this vital issue.
The Democratic leadership decided to hold a sham “informational session” made up of pro-Common Core advocates. In response, the Republicans, finally seeing the political advantage in speaking up, used a little utilized parliamentary procedure to force a traditional public hearing on some of their bills related to slowing down the implementation of the Common Core.
The Democrat’s farce hearing took place on Friday, February 28th.
The two most amazing developments were the lack of media coverage and the Malloy administration’s ability to keep their heads in the sand in the face of the disastrous impact of their policies.
For those who want to feel that emotion that allows one to laugh and cry at the same time you can watch the recording of the hearing by going to CT-N’s video on demand entitled, “Education Committee Informational Forum on Common Core State Standards.”
Warning: The level of misleading statements and lies is enough to cause dangerous increases in blood pressure.
But equally disturbing is that the sham hearing received such limited media coverage. In fact, most of Connecticut’s media outlets simply failed to cover it all together thereby leaving Connecticut citizens uniformed about the way in which the Malloy administration and the Democrats are trying to duck this important issue.
The best coverage of the hearing can be found in the Connecticut Post which wrote,
HARTFORD — Defenders of moving ahead with the Common Core learning standards spent four hours Friday explaining the controversial learning program and the test that goes with it before the Legislature’s Education Committee.
The invitation-only forum came after Republicans have forced public hearings on the matter. Those hearings have not yet to be scheduled.
Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, joined by Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, which helped draft the standards, told the committee and a large audience that the road to fully implement Common Core in all classrooms may be a rocky one, but the state is headed in the right direction.
[Note: Pryor is a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers.]
The CT Post story includes Commissioner Pryor who said,
“Our youngsters are arriving at college unprepared for college. That is a problem,” he said. “We must aim for higher standards … Common Core goes about the teaching and learning process in the right way.”
[Note: Connecticut's schools are incredibly successful. As a result of poverty, language barriers and insufficient support for students who have special education needs, Connecticut has a significant achievement gap between suburban and urban schools that must be addressed, but to suggest that "our youngsters are arriving at college unprepared" is the statement of a liar or a fool.]
The CT Post highlighted the rhetoric coming from the Council of Chief State School Officers and other groups that are being paid to sell the Common Core and the Common Core testing adding,
Minnich, who has been traveling the country in defense of the standards — Thursday he was in Missouri — said none of the 45 states that have signed onto the standards were forced to do so, and 73 percent of teachers support a more challenging curriculum.
“It is surprising to me that it is controversial,” he said.
The new standards, adopted in Connecticut in 2010 and now being fully implemented across the state, teach reading and math in a deeper way and in a different order than in the past. Most districts in the state have agreed to try out the new test that goes along with the standards this spring instead of the traditional Connecticut Mastery Test.
Results of the new test won’t “count”; still many are fearful that students, teachers and schools have not had enough time and training in the new system and will be labeled as failures when students perform poorly on the test. They also said time was being wasted.
Pryor said the “test of the test” is required under federal law. He also argued that the standards are not a curriculum and do not dictate what needs to be taught in the classroom.
“But how flexible is Common Core if there is a test tied to it?” state Rep. Noreen Kokoruda, R-Madison, asked.
Minnich said the standards merely say, for instance, that third-graders will learn about multiplication and division and gain an understanding of fractions. How that is taught is up to the teacher.
Minnich maintained states ARE not under pressure to adopt the standards.
States that didn’t adopt the standards could not win federal Race to the Top dollars, Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, pointed out.
Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, questioned the fairness of expecting students taught one way for so long to adjust in one year to a new set of standards.
Meanwhile, Rep. Gail Lavielle, also R-Wilton, wondered who decided the new standards are higher than what was already in place.
Minnich said national experts vetted the standards, and there are early indications in Kentucky and Tennessee, which have been using Common Core the longest, that student achievement is going in the right direction.
Rep. Mitch Bolinsky, R-Newtown, said it is not the new, higher standards that bother him, but the way they have been implemented. He characterized the rollout as “crummy.”
The state now has a new website, training efforts and a committee to work on ironing out the problems, Pryor said.
From start to finish the Malloy administration’s arrogant, top-down approach on education reform has been a disaster. Malloy has failed on many fronts, but Stefan Pryor and his side-kicks like Paul Vallas, Steven Adamowski and Morgan Barth are on track to ensure Malloy is unelectable.
One would think that after two years of being told about the damage they are doing they’d change course. But when it comes to issues like this, Malloy and his inner circle are tone deaf….or worse.
You can read the complete CT Post article at: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Common-Core-standards-defended-5277595.php
Board of Regents, Connecticut General Assembly, Education Reform, Malloy Board of Regents, Connecticut General Assembly, Malloy
No really…. A Connecticut law passed in 2012 made it illegal for Connecticut public colleges to provide non-credit remedial courses starting in 2014.
Long time Wait, What? readers may remember the discussion on the blog.
Led by Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and the Democratic controlled General Assembly, Connecticut adopted a corporate education reform initiatives aimed at ensuring that all students were “college and career ready,” while at the same time passed legislation that prohibits public colleges and universities from providing non-credit remedial courses.
Among other things, it was sold as a way to reduce the state budget.
The irony, of course, goes without saying.
The same individuals who were willing undermine Connecticut’s public education system by pushing the Common Core, the Common Core testing frenzy and the unfair teacher evaluation system all in an effort to prepare children for college were reducing the budgets for Connecticut’s public colleges and universities by record amounts.
But by prohibiting public colleges from providing courses for students who needed extra help, Malloy et. al. could simply remove a significant cost those colleges were facing.
The issues has remained in the background until now, when students, their families and the public are finally learning about this incredibly bad policy.
As the New Haven Register recently wrote,
About 10,000 incoming freshmen at state colleges enroll in no-credit remedial courses across the state every year. This year, that number will drop to zero.
The courses will no longer be offered at state colleges once Public Act 12-40 goes into effect this fall semester.
Signed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2012, the act requires colleges to abandon lower-level, no-credit remedial courses and embed support into entry-level courses or a college-readiness program.
High school graduates who do not place into entry-level courses by way of adequate SAT scores or college entry exams will be out of luck.
The urgency of the act going into effect this year has sparked strong reactions from state legislators, community colleges and high school educators.
Strong reaction from state legislators?
Who by the way passed the bill, after heavy lobbying from the Malloy administration and over the objections of the House Chair of the Education Committee who made it very clear what the ramifications of the legislation would be.
Instead of taking the non-credit remedial courses, students are expected to turn to local public schools and community based adult education programs. The original argument was that this would save the state and students money.
But due to an insufficient number of programs, many students who were college bound will be discovering college, even Connecticut’s community colleges, are beyond reach.
Welcome to the Malloy Administration’s definition of college and career ready.
And the problems will be evident across the state of Connecticut.
As the New Haven Register goes on to report,
“At Northwestern Community College in Winsted, Dean of Academic and Student Affairs Patricia Bouffard said she anticipates there will be students who fall below the level of remediation community colleges can now offer. Based on test scores from fall 2013, about 15 percent of entering students at NCC would not have been eligible for remedial courses if the requirements were already in place.”
While Northwestern serves a significantly smaller population than Gateway [Community College in New Haven] — about 1,700 students — Bouffard said about the same percentage of students fall into the developmental level.”
The college is in the process of developing appropriate programs in reaction to the legislation but doesn’t yet have a partnership with nearby high schools. Bouffard said the college is in the second run of an 11-week, college-math proficiency program offered to students who are below the remedial course.
The program is computer-based with faculty in attendance. Bouffard said English is a little more difficult in terms of developing a computer-based program.
Opponents of the corporate education reform industry will recognize the pattern. Set standards that limit a cohort of students and then buy more technology and software to deal with the problem.
In Connecticut, this policy will mean that some of the students who need the most hands-on help will be provided programs that require them to “learn” what they need to know by sitting in front of a computer.
The New Haven Register article quotes State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, who was just elected to the Connecticut State Senate in a Special Election.
Holder-Winfield’s comments represent the thinking of many legislators who voted in favor of the original proposal. The New Haven Register story explains that Holder-Winfield said that we was not, “’a fan of doing away with remedial courses’ but understood the logic behind it: ‘Many of our young people who go to college don’t graduate within the four to six years that we would think is normal.”
The New Haven Register reports that “Holder-Winfield understood that the bill would be rolled out and then legislators would determine if they were doing what was needed. Now, he said he isn’t sure it worked the way it was intended to work.” He concluded, ”I’m a fan of taking another look at what we have done and maybe pulling back off it. I don’t think that that was the solution.”
There are legislative proposals to modify Malloy’s plan to end non-credit remedial courses at Connecticut’s public colleges.
Check back for updates.
You can also read the New Haven Register article here: http://www.nhregister.com/social-affairs/20140222/concern-grows-as-connecticut-colleges-to-drop-no-credit-remedial-courses