Mouthpiece for Malloy & Education Reform industry responds to possible Pelto candidacy

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As we discuss strategies to keep Governor Malloy and his administration from spending four more years undermining teachers, privatizing our public education system and moving Connecticut in the wrong direction, it is clear that we can count on the Malloy political operation and its allies in the corporate education reform industry to reiterate why our state needs new leadership.

As if on cue, a pro-Malloy blogger who works closely with two of Connecticut’s corporate funded education reform industry front groups has weighed in on the discussion that we challenge the incumbent in this year’s gubernatorial election.

Writing for the blog Education Bridgeport, the blogger wrote,

The absurdity of a possible “Jon Pelto for Governor” campaign is eclipsed only by the horror of the possibility.

Jon Pelto, who hasn’t held public office since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, is actually thinking about running for governor against Dannel P. Malloy. Since leaving the state legislature, Pelto has made a career out of being a professional critic. He sits at his computer and tells everybody what they’re doing wrong without ever offering a solution of his own.

The blogger added,

The problem is not that he might win. A meteor might strike, but I’m not worried about that either. The problem is that Pelto can divert votes away from Malloy. Put simply, if Pelto runs for governor, nobody wins.

Pelto is fond of calling our governor “anti-teacher” and “anti-union.” The irony would be abundantly apparent if Malloy loses — should Republicans take back the State Capitol, you’d really see the meaning of the phrases, “anti-teacher” and “anti-union.”

And the blogger closes with,

Pelto should not be ignored. If you ignore a cough and a runny nose, you end up getting sick, and if you ignore Jon Pelto, his influence grows, too, like a virus. Pretty soon you’re laid up in bed and no amount of vitamin C will help you feel better.

Perhaps our governor can instead give Mr. Pelto a job, one for which he is well suited, to divert the blogger’s attention while we all quietly run away.

Perhaps the Ringling Bros. have an opening for a clown?

When it comes to the rhetoric coming from the Malloy side, it is often hard to figure out their underlying strategy.  But one thing is certain.  When looking at Governor Malloy’s record, the message that Connecticut must accept another four years OR ELSE is probably not their strongest argument.

In an effort to give equal time, you can read the blogger’s full post at: http://educationbridgeport.com/

Another MUST READ column – Are Wall Street Values Right for Schools?

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Fellow public school advocate and award-winning columnist Sarah Darer Littman had another “MUST READ” column posted on this past weekend’s CT News junkie website.

Sarah Darer Littman reminded readers that while Governor Malloy and the corporate education reform industry are fond of claiming their reforms are all about the children, the reality is far from that.

Here piece traces the “education reformers” and their on-going effort to bringing Wall Street values to our local public schools.  Her column could also have been entitled, “Beware: Their preoccupation with data is destroying our schools.”

Littman reminds readers that President Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, recently said,

 “Data is an essential ingredient in the school reform agenda. We need to follow the progress of children from preschool to high school and from high school to college and college to career to see whether they are on-track for success . . . I look forward to the day when we can look a child in the eye at the age of eight or nine or 10 and say, ‘You are on track to succeed in colleges and careers.’ . . . Data systems are a vital ingredient of a statewide reform system . . . Data can help us unleash the power of research to advance reform in every school and classroom in America. Data can help us identify the teachers and principals all across America who are producing miracles in the classroom every day . . . Data can help us identify outdated policies and practices that need to change so our children will succeed in school and in the workforce.”

And she added Bill Gates’ comment that,

“Aligning teaching with the common core — and building common data standards — will help us define excellence, measure progress, test new methods, and compare results. Finally, we will apply the tools of science to school reform.”

But then Littman turned to the real experts, the ones who actually understand that value and role of data.

In this case it was the American Statistical Association, one of the nation’s leading academic experts on the role of data and statistics.  The organization recently blasted the education reformers and their failure to recognize the very real problems associated with their junk science.

All of those who are fighting to save our schools should definitely read Sarah Darer Littman’s latest piece which can be found at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/op-ed_are_wall_street_values_right_for_schools/

When you read it, you’ll also find that Littman ended her column with a paragraph worth clipping and saving.  She wrote,

Teaching is a collaborative profession, something that the current administration and the billionaires who guide its actions don’t appear to understand. What’s more, as parents we want our children to receive a well-rounded education that prepares them not just to be “college and career ready” but to be life ready — to develop the critical thinking skills, the creativity, the social skills, and the ability to advocate for themselves that they’ll need as citizens in what’s left of our democracy post-Citizens United and McCutcheon. Perhaps that’s what the billionaires are afraid of?

Taxpayer funds continue to flow to out-of-state companies for Malloy’s “education reform” initiative

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Thanks to Governor Malloy and Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor you can hear the wild cheering from the corporate education reform industry as millions of dollars in taxpayer funds continue to flow to out-of-state companies so that they can come here to tell Connecticut’s  teachers, administrators and public schools how to implement the Common Core and how to “improve.”

A partial list of Malloy’s Education Reform “winners” include;

LearnZillion Inc.
Cost to taxpayers:       $1,513,500

 

Task:  The Washington D.C. company is being paid $1.5 million by the Malloy administration to “Design and deliver professional learning for the implementation of the Common Core Standards (CCSS).”

BloomBloard Inc.
Cost to taxpayers:  $1,238,000

 

Task:  The California company was paid $1.2 million by the Malloy administration to provide “Strategic Initiatives Related to CT Educator Evaluation and Support system.”  The contract, which was funneled through the Connecticut Association of Schools, was supposed to be completed in 2013.  It is unclear whether the contract was extended.

MassInsight Inc.
Cost to taxpayers: $1.8 million and growing

 

Task:  The Massachusetts company is being paid $1.8 million by the Malloy administration to “Develop the state’s turnaround strategy and improve the most struggling schools.”  The contract was supposed to end on January 31, 2014, but on the day AFTER the contract ended, it was officially extended for another year, while doubling in cost.

And meanwhile, as parents and teachers know, Connecticut’s public schools are being turned into Common Core testing factories where the focus has now become preparing students for this inappropriate Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test.

But the “less learning, more testing” mantra shouldn’t come as a surprise since it was Governor Malloy himself who said that he didn’t mind having teachers and schools teach to the test as long as test scores went up.

Weekend Posts on Gubernatorial Campaign 2014

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On Governor Malloy:  Malloy political operation sidesteps Connecticut law limiting contributions from lobbyists.

Limiting the financial influence of lobbyists was one of the most important elements of Connecticut’s post-Rowland campaign finance reforms.

In its final form, Connecticut law states that,

“…lobbyists and their immediate families may make qualifying contributions of up to $100 like any other individual, but only when the legislature is not in session.”

The law means that as candidate for Governor, Malloy could only accept checks for up to $100 from a lobbyist and COULD NOT accept any funds during the legislative session.

But that law didn’t stop Governor Malloy and his political operation from collecting well over $32,000 from Connecticut lobbyists during the past eighteen months.  More than $10,000 of those funds was collected during the legislative session, despite the complete ban on lobbyist donations during that period.

So how did Malloy’s political operation do it?

As noted previously here at Wait, What?, a gigantic loop-hole built into the campaign finance system allows the sitting governor to divert money to one of the Democratic Sate Central Committee’s campaign accounts, even during a legislative session.

This loophole allowed more than 25 of Connecticut’s top lobbyists to sidestep Connecticut law and reward Malloy’s political aspirations with contributions in excess of the $100 limit over the past year and a half.

Even Governor John Rowland’s former chief of staff, who is now a lobbyist, got in on the act by providing the Malloy political operation with a campaign contribution —- right in middle of the 2013 legislative session.

And on a Pelto candidacy for governor:  Saw it on the Internet so it must be true… (No, but…)

After an email exchange [Friday], Neil Vigdor, a leading reporter for the Hearst Media Group, put up a blog post entitled, “Malloy gets “Pelto-ed” from the left?”

As the saying goes, take the story with a grain of salt.  Like much of what we read on the Internet, aspects of the story are true while other elements aren’t quite so accurate.

What the story does represent is the growing concern that many of us have about Governor Malloy’s record over the past four years and his extraordinary failure on a number of fronts.

A direct challenge, either as a Democrat or as a third-party, independent Democratic is just one of many options for those of us who truly believe that another four years of a Malloy administration would be disastrous for a variety of reasons – one of those reasons being our on-going effort to push back the corporate education reform industry and the pressing need to retake control of our public schools.

So….let me be perfectly clear, I am not a candidate for governor (at this time).

The Hearst Media Group blog post begins with the following;

Just when the denizens of Connecticut thought the debate over Common Core was caustic.

Now there’s this.

Jonathan Pelto, a relentless opponent of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education agenda and former state representative, is entertaining a run for the state’s highest office, Hearst Connecticut Newspapers has learned.

The 53-year-old from Storrs, who has expended significant bandwith on his “progressive” blog and on Facebook railing against Malloy, could run either as a Democrat or a third party candidate, a person familiar with Pelto’s thinking told the newspaper.

“We are looking at a variety of options,” Pelto told Hearst by email Friday afternoon.

A campaign spokesman for Malloy, who is considered by political pundits to be vulnerable in the midterm elections this November, declined to comment on the prospect of a Pelto candidacy.

On his blog, “Wait What?” Pelto penned an April 13 entry titled “the growing list of reasons to vote against Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s re-election.”

“Malloy’s “education reform” legislation has earned him the title of the most anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-charter school Democratic governor in the nation.”

Malloy political operation sidesteps Connecticut law limiting contributions from lobbyists.

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Limiting the financial influence of lobbyists was one of the most important elements of Connecticut’s post-Rowland campaign finance reforms.

In its final form, Connecticut law states that,

“…lobbyists and their immediate families may make qualifying contributions of up to $100 like any other individual, but only when the legislature is not in session.”

The law means that as candidate for Governor, Malloy could only accept checks for up to $100 from a lobbyist and COULD NOT accept any funds during the legislative session.

But that law didn’t stop Governor Malloy and his political operation from collecting well over $32,000 from Connecticut lobbyists during the past eighteen months.  More than $10,000 of those funds was collected during the legislative session, despite the complete ban on lobbyist donations during that period.

So how did Malloy’s political operation do it?

As noted previously here at Wait, What?, a gigantic loop-hole built into the campaign finance system allows the sitting governor to divert money to one of the Democratic Sate Central Committee’s campaign accounts, even during a legislative session.

This loophole allowed more than 25 of Connecticut’s top lobbyists to sidestep Connecticut law and reward Malloy’s political aspirations with contributions in excess of the $100 limit over the past year and a half.

Even Governor John Rowland’s former chief of staff, who is now a lobbyist, got in on the act by providing the Malloy political operation with a campaign contribution —- right in middle of the 2013 legislative session.

 

Saw it on the Internet so it must be true… (No, but…)

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After an email exchange earlier today, Neil Vigdor, a leading reporter for the Hearst Media Group, put up a blog post entitled, “Malloy gets “Pelto-ed” from the left?”

As the saying goes, take the story with a grain of salt.  Like much of what we read on the Internet, aspects of the story are true while other elements aren’t quite so accurate.

What the story does represent is the growing concern that many of us have about Governor Malloy’s record over the past four years and his extraordinary failure on a number of fronts.

A direct challenge, either as a Democrat or as a third-party, independent Democratic is just one of many options for those of us who truly believe that another four years of a Malloy administration would be disastrous for a variety of reasons – one of those reasons being our on-going effort to push back the corporate education reform industry and the pressing need to retake control of our public schools.

So….let me be perfectly clear, I am not a candidate for governor (at this time).

The Hearst Media Group blog post begins with the following;

Just when the denizens of Connecticut thought the debate over Common Core was caustic.

Now there’s this.

Jonathan Pelto, a relentless opponent of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education agenda and former state representative, is entertaining a run for the state’s highest office, Hearst Connecticut Newspapers has learned.

The 53-year-old from Storrs, who has expended significant bandwith on his “progressive” blog and on Facebook railing against Malloy, could run either as a Democrat or a third party candidate, a person familiar with Pelto’s thinking told the newspaper.

“We are looking at a variety of options,” Pelto told Hearst by email Friday afternoon.

A campaign spokesman for Malloy, who is considered by political pundits to be vulnerable in the midterm elections this November, declined to comment on the prospect of a Pelto candidacy.

On his blog, “Wait What?” Pelto penned an April 13 entry titled “the growing list of reasons to vote against Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s re-election.”

“Malloy’s “education reform” legislation has earned him the title of the most anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-charter school Democratic governor in the nation.”

For those who enjoy the nuances associated with politics, you can read the Hearst Media Group blog post at: http://blog.ctnews.com/politics/2014/04/18/malloy-gets-pelto-ed-from-the-left/

Malloy administration recruits “Dream Team” to sell Common Core to Connecticut teachers

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The Malloy administration is implementing a new Common Core PR extravaganza.

Initially Malloy and his team wanted to run a $1 million Connecticut taxpayer funded pro-Common Core advertising campaign.

But when a political firestorm forced them to back down, the Malloy team came up with a different publicly funded campaign to sell the Common Core.  This time the brainchild is from an out-of-state company hired by Commissioner Stefan Pryor to manage the effort.

The company hired to lead Connecticut to the Common Core Promised Land is called Learnzillion.com.

Learnzillon.com will train teachers on how to persuade their fellow teachers to better appreciate the Common Core and become proficient at utilizing the Common Core to prepare students from kindergarten to high school to become “college and career ready.”

According to Learnzillion, the Common Core Dream Team is;

 “…a group of extraordinary teachers from around the country. They represent district, charter, and private schools, and bring with them a diversity of experiences and backgrounds. This group is united in their goal to develop themselves and each other, through a collaborative process of creating, curating, and sharing high-quality resources for use with students.

But being on the Dream Team is about more than creating great content—it’s about being a member of a vibrant and enthusiastic community of educators who are eager to help others and hopeful about the future.

We’re currently recruiting talented teachers of math and ELA in grades 2-12 to join the 2014 Dream Team. Dream Team members are selected through a highly competitive application process. We’re looking for teachers who are not only content-area experts, but also those who are eager to share and collaborate with others, hungry for feedback, and excited about growing their leadership skills.”

Dream Team members will be trained and then paid to bring the Common Core to Connecticut’s public schools.

In this case, 97 Connecticut public school teachers have been recruited.

In addition to the taxpayer funds, LearnZillion has been raising funds on Wall Street.  According to Techcrunch.com, just a year ago, “To help it scale and continue to add content to its free resource, [LearnZillion announced] that it has raised $7 million in Series A financing.”

According to the company, “Teachers and parents can get access to the LearnZillion platform for free, while schools and districts are required to subscribe to a paid, enterprise-level plan, which gives them access to premium professional development content, teaching insights and analytics, among other things.” 

So Learnzillion is collecting money from the state taxpayers so it can train public school teachers to better appreciate the Common Core.  Then company, in turn, can then cash in by getting school districts to subscribe to a “paid, enterprise-level plan” to access their information paid for my Wall Street investors.

And what gives Learnzillon.com the skills to take on this herculean task?

Just take look at the classroom experience the company’s Board of Directors brings to the effort…

  • Robert J. Hutter is a Managing Partner of Learn Capital. Rob is chairman of Edmodo, a leading social learning network for K12, and he also serves on the boards of several Learn Capital portfolio companies including Schooltube, BloomBoard, MobLab, and LearnZillion. Rob was co-founder of Edusoft (acquired by Houghton-Mifflin). 

  • Commissioner Pryor not only retained the services of Learnzillion.com but Hutter’s Learn Capital Portfolio Company, BloomBoard, also snagged a lucrative Connecticut contract. 
  • Mark Jacobsen has advised companies and entrepreneurs for over 25 years. According to his website, “He loves working closely with entrepreneurs and helping them build their companies.” Mark was a co-founder of O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures in 2005. Mark is currently a board member of AMEE, Betabrand, CollabNet, Planet Labs, Fast.ly, LocalDirt, LearnZillion, OpenSignal, O’Reilly Media, Path Intelligence and SeeClickFix. 
  • Andrew Klingenstein has over 15 years of experience investing in and providing legal and business assistance to start-up companies in the DC area.  For many years, he was a principal and co-founder of Fairfax Partners, a Virginia-based venture capital firm specializing in IT and healthcare companies. 
  • Peter Moran currently focuses on Digital Health (Augmedix, Covered, Rayvio) and Tech Enabled Education (LearnZillion). Over the past 15 years, he led DCM into new sectors including interactive Gaming (Trion Worlds), altering Consumer Experience (FreedomPop, Slice), and a diverse array of Enabling Technology including novel energy storage solutions (Enovix), companies focused on improving energy efficiency via LED lighting (Bridgelux), and next gen semiconductors (Analogix). 
  • Joanne Weiss recently resigned her position as United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s Chief Staff.  She was in charge of Race to the Top Funding. Before joining the Department of Education, Weiss was Partner and Chief Operating Officer at NewSchools Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy firm.   Prior to her work at NewSchools, Weiss was Chief Executive Officer of Claria Corporation, “an e-services recruiting firm that helped emerging-growth companies build their teams quickly and well. 

The whole scam is a dream come true for the corporate education reform industry and they have Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and Commissioner Stefan Pryor to thank for the business opportunity.

Check back for  more about Malloy’s use of taxpayer funds to persuade us that the Common Core is the “solution” and the array of out-of-state consultants the Malloy administration has hired to “educate” us about the benefits of the Common Core.

Corporate Education Reform Industry group starts radio campaign in support of new charter schools

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Surprise, surprise… An out-of-State charter school advocacy group has started an advertising campaign to support the Malloy administration’s decision to give Steve Perry his own privately run, but taxpayer funded, charter school in Bridgeport.

According to a reports from the CT Mirror and Hartford Courant, Families for Excellent Schools, Inc., a charter school advocacy group based in New York, has begun a Connecticut radio advertising campaign in support of the Malloy administration’s decision to approve two new charter schools in Bridgeport.

Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. is running the radio spots to defend Commissioner Stefan Pryor and State Board of Education’s underhanded effort to approve the proposed charter schools.  One of the charter schools will be run by the out-of-state Great Oaks charter school chain while the other is Steve Perry’s Capitol Preparatory Harbor school.

The advocacy and lobbying group is also behind the multi-million dollar advertising campaign to undermine New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to make New York City’s public schools a high priority compared to the Bloomberg administration’s approach that diverted tens of millions in public resources away from the public schools and to the city’s privately run charter schools. In New York, the Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. campaign pushed to allow privately run charter schools virtually unlimited and free access to public school space.    

The group’s New York advertising campaign is designed to help New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Like Malloy, Cuomo has received more than $100,000 in campaign donations from charter-school supporters in recent months.

Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. was formed by corporate education reform industry allies in 2011 and has recently expanded into Connecticut. Four of the organization’s five founding board members are Wall Street hedge fund executives.  The group also shares space in New York City with the New York chapter of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, Inc.

As one would expect, the corporate education reform industry has been dumping millions of dollars into Families for Excellent Schools, Inc.

Among its biggest donors is the Walton Family Foundation (the Wal-Mart Family’s Foundation) which has given the charter school group more than $700,000 in start-up funds.  The organization has also received at least $200,000 from the Eli Broad Foundation during that same period.

Here in Connecticut, the Wal-Mart Political Action Committee gave Governor Malloy’s political operation a check for $5,000 and Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad chipped in another $8,000 for Malloy.  

One of the other foundations that have given Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. is none other than the Ray Dalio Family Foundation.

As Forbes Magazine explains, Ray Dalio is the “king of the rich hedge fund industry.”  Forbes adds that Dalio, “lords over the world’s biggest hedge fund firm, Bridgewater Associates, with about $150 billion in assets.”

Ray Dalio is the individual who was paid $2.3 billion last year.

Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates is the company that Governor Dan Malloy rewarded with more than $120 million in Connecticut taxpayer funded tax breaks in return for moving Bridgewater’s “world headquarters” from Westport to Stamford.

In addition to giving money to the charter school advocacy group now running advertisements in Connecticut, Dalio’s foundation is also a major donor to Teach for America.

For public school teachers, parents and advocates it is becoming even clear is that with the 2014 gubernatorial election less than seven months away, Dannel “Dan” Malloy is using every opportunity to show his unending support for expanding charter schools at the expense of Connecticut’s public schools.

You can also read more about this story at CT Mirror: http://ctmirror.org/up-next-charter-group-that-battled-nyc-mayor-comes-to-ct/

Even more students lose as the “cost” of the Common Core Testing grows

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The Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Field Test of a test means more testing and less learning.

The Common Core test will cost Connecticut’s students and teachers hundreds of hours of lost instructional time.

The Common Core test will cost schools and taxpayers tens of millions in computer and internet upgrades so that students can take the inappropriate computer-based test.

And reports are coming in from around the state that another major problem is undermining our students, teachers and public schools.

As schools divert their computers and internet to the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test of a test, students who take computer related courses are being pushed aside, unable to even complete the courses that require access to those computers.

As everyone but the proponents of the Common Core Smarter Assessment Field Test scheme understand, there are literally dozens of courses that require access to computers.

In addition to classes that teach an array of computer skills, there are a wide variety of business and art classes that require daily access to the computer.

But in the name of getting students “college and career ready,” Connecticut’s school systems are being forced to commandeer the schools’ computers for the Common Core testing; leaving students without the equipment they literally need to become “college and career ready.”

Business teachers, art teachers, and computer teachers have all written to say that access to their computers has been restricted for weeks at a time.  Teachers are being prevented from teaching course content and students are being prevented from completing their coursework.

Teachers report that as computer labs and classrooms with computers have been converted to testing factories, students taking courses that require access to those computers have been sent to the library, cafeteria or hallways to wait for the testing periods to come to an end.

As the end of the school year comes into sight, one school reports that rather than having fifteen class periods to work on their semester projects and prepare for their required presentations, students will have less than half that number.

Another school is reporting that as result of the Common Core testing frenzy, business and graphic art students have been prohibited from using their classroom computers for more than a month during the spring Common Core testing period.

As a result of the massive standardized testing program, students are losing out.

College and career skills are NOT being developed, knowledge is NOT being acquired, and precious opportunities ARE being lost.

The Common Core testing debacle is truly undermining our public schools and the students they serve.

It leaves parents, teachers and taxpayers asking… Why won’t Governor Malloy, his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, or the General Assembly stand up, step forward and put an end to this travesty.

Malloy’s public school privatization effort hits Stamford

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Malloy administration gives Bronx charter school chain a green-light to “save” Stamford.

The Malloy administration’s extraordinary efforts to increase the number of charter schools and privatize even more of the state’s public education system took a giant leap forward at the last State Board of Education meeting.

In a farce that included Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, just happening to have a written resolution approving four new charters rather than the promised two, the corporate education reform industry drive to undermine Connecticut’s public schools surged forward.

Malloy’s “hometown” of Stamford was one of the latest victims in the inappropriate and under-handed strategy that has been displayed by Commissioner Pryor and the State Board of Education.

When it comes to “education reform” the Malloy administration’s watchwords seems to be, “grab the candy before you are thrown out of the shop.”

The following piece was written by Stamford Board of Education members Jackie Heftman and Polly Rauh.  It was first published in last Friday’s Stamford Advocate.

Democracy loses in charter school fight

On April 2, we went to a show trial in Hartford. Actually it was a meeting of the State Board of Education (SBOE). Sitting in the audience and later watching it on CT-N, we were reminded of the trials held in places with authoritarian dictatorships, where the outcome is decided long before the meeting begins.

The resolution that the SBOE was considering was for one more state charter school in New Haven and Bridgeport. The public agenda listed a discussion item of an additional charter school in Stamford and one more for Bridgeport. We were there to speak in opposition to another state charter school in Stamford. The Stamford Board of Education had passed a resolution at its March meeting not supporting the charter school application.

The SBOE approved the two charters in New Haven and Bridgeport, and then Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor magically produced a resolution for approval of another charter school in Bridgeport and Stamford. Both were unanimously approved. Indeed a sad day for democracy in Connecticut.

Some of the things that were put on the record were simply wrong and some were outright lies, and they should not go undisputed. If Stamford is going to be dragged into a fight over a charter school, we should begin with an understanding of the facts.

Pryor was adamant that the funding for charter schools is a separate stream of money and does not take funding away from the traditional public schools. In fact he proudly asserted that more money has been allocated to the Alliance Districts. Alliance Districts are the 30 lowest performing districts in the state. Stamford, New Haven and Bridgeport are Alliance Districts. For Stamford the allocated amount is less than $3 million dollars which is less than 1 percent of our budget. Is he kidding? What is there to be proud of? That money will get eaten up in additional transportation and special education costs for the new charter school.

The money that comes to cities and towns to help fund public schools is based on an Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula which is grossly underfunded to the tune of almost $700 million dollars this year.

[A Wait, What? note to readers:  According to the CCEJF school funding lawsuit and other experts, Connecticut’s school funding formula is actually $1.5 to $2 billion underfunded leaving an unfair and disproportionate burden on local property tax payers and severely limiting resource in many Connecticut school districts].

But there seems to be money to fund state charter schools. Between Fiscal Year 2013 and Fiscal Year 2015, $233 million has been set aside to fund state charter schools. That money could have been added to the ECS stream bringing it closer to what the formula requires.

The second sad occurrence that afternoon was when Charlene Reid, head of the state charter school that wants to open here, told the SBOE that in her meetings with Stamford BOE members over the past couple of months it was suggested that because she was black she was incapable of writing the application. She also said she was accused of being a racist because she wants to open a segregated school and had experienced “micro aggression” during her time in Stamford.

We have neither met Ms. Reid nor been asked to attend a meeting with her and could find only one board member who did meet with her. No one who spoke at the public hearing in Stamford maligned Ms. Reid. Our opposition to the charter school has never been personal. She also said parents were “petrified” to publicly state their support, but when parents had the opportunity to speak at the SBOE meeting, where there is obvious support for charter schools, no one spoke. No one from Stamford said they wanted this option for their children. In fact Stamford Parent Teacher Council members came to the SBOE meeting with more than 700 petition signatures in opposition to the charter school.

Ms. Reid accused unnamed Stamford officials of having no plan to address inequities and only wanting to ignore the problem. That flies in the face of our Alliance District Improvement Plan, approved by the SBOE, which directly addresses the closing of the achievement gap. In fact in the past six years the achievement gap in the Stamford Public Schools has been reduced by 13.5 percent. Ms. Reid says the Bronx Charter School for Excellence has closed the achievement gap for all subgroups. The achievement gap is the difference between the standardized test scores for White students vs. Black and Hispanic students.

Her claim that the gap has been closed at her school is meaningless when there are no white students attending. She can claim that she has boosted the achievement of her students, but she can’t claim she has closed the achievement gap. She also belittled Stamford Superintendent Winifred Hamilton’s commitment to diversity in spite of the fact that our schools are balanced to within 10 percent of the district average, 31 percent of our administrators are minorities and we are constantly working to increase our minority teaching staff. It is obvious that she hasn’t visited any of our schools. Ms. Reid told the SBOE that she is looking forward to a collaborative relationship with SPS and our superintendent! Really?

Ms. Reid acknowledged that her school in the Bronx is 100 percent minority and 85 percent economically disadvantaged and this is the model she would bring to Stamford. If for no other reasons, we oppose this charter school coming to Stamford.

We care about all public school students receiving a high quality education in a diverse setting of students of all colors and socioeconomic backgrounds. All Stamford students deserve no less.

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