The Beginning of the end for the Charter School Industry in Connecticut

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Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy ushered in the Charter School Industry to Connecticut as part of his corporate education reform initiative in 2012.  As part of his “education reforms,”

  •  Malloy become the only Democratic governor in the nation to propose doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for teachers in so-called “turnaround schools.”
  • Malloy uttered his infamous observation that all teachers had to do was show up for four years and they’d get tenure.
  • In defense of his plans to implement the unfair, inappropriate and expensive Common Core and Common Core testing scheme, Malloy said he didn’t mind teaching to the test as long as the test scores went up.
  • And Malloy handed Connecticut’s State Department of Education over to corporate education reform aficionados like Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Special Master Steven Adamowski, education reform extraordinaire Paul Vallas and the charter school industry.

In the past two and a half years, Connecticut taxpayers have we’ve seen tens of millions of dollars in public funds diverted to feed the monster known as the emerging education reform industry.

Scarce taxpayer resources wasted on the Common Core, the Common Core Test, the unfair teacher evaluation program and for charter schools that fail to meet the most basic standards of accountability.

But over the past few months, the tide has been turning and truth about Malloy, Malloy’s administration, the “education reformers” and the charter schools have been coming out.

The collapse of the Jumoke/FUSE charter school chain was just the beginning – the time has come when the education reformers will finally being held accountable for their actions.

As the Hartford Courant is reporting today in an article entitled, More Federal Subpoenas In Hartford Charter School Probe,

HARTFORD — City and state educators said Monday that they had been served with subpoenas by a federal grand jury examining the expenditure of millions of dollars in public money by the troubled charter school management company FUSE.

The subpoenas were issued Friday to the Hartford Public Schools and the state Department of Education, both of which have had extensive dealings with the state-subsidized FUSE, short for the Family Urban Schools of Excellence.

FUSE was created in 2012 as a management company that used public and private money to take over failing, inner-city public schools and operate them as public charter schools. FUSE’s management agreements with public school systems gave it wide discretion over spending on salaries, rents, curriculum, equipment and other items.

A series of embarrassing disclosures in the past month appears to have crippled FUSE, costing the organization all its management business, worth more than $1 million a year. The closely affiliated Jumoke Academy fired FUSE as manager of its three Hartford charter schools. Schools in Bridgeport and New Haven severed ties with FUSE, and educators in Louisiana, concerned about events in Connecticut, pulled FUSE from a charter school set to open in Baton Rouge next month.

The public is learning the truth and the charter school industry and their public official allies will finally be held accountable for their actions.

You can read the full Hartford Courant story on this developing situation at: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-fuse-0722-20140721,0,3308874.story

New London Board of Education puts off vote on superintendent till Thursday

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The Hartford Courant is reporting the latest news on the “Dr.” Terrence Carter debacle…and while Carter is the Malloy administration’s choice for New London Superintendent of Schools, allegations that he falsified continue to build.

The Hartford Courant story entitled, Vote Off On Incoming School Chief Who Called Himself Ph.D. Without Accredited Doctorate, explains;

The New London school board Monday postponed a vote to approve a contract for Terrence P. Carter as its new schools superintendent after The Courant disclosed that Carter has been calling himself “doctor” and “Ph.D.” for more than five years on the basis of what he’s described as a degree from an “unaccredited” university.

“We had a number of questions,” said Margaret Mary “Peg” Curtin, president of the Board of Education.

She said board members plan to meet in a closed-door session with Carter on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the Science & Technology Magnet High School in New London. After that, she said, the board will meet in a public session, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., to consider approving a contract.

Meanwhile, stories, blogs and jokes about “Dr.” Terrence Carter are popping up across the country as news about “Dr.” Terrence Carter reaches other public education advocates.

Check out the following from public education advocates and bloggers.

George Schmidt. Here a doctor. There a doctor.

Call me Dr. Klonsky, if you please.

Ten minute drawing. CPS central office. Is there a real doctor in the house?

And there are a growing number of news stories as well,

New London school board cancels meeting, delaying vote on new superintendent

Incoming New London superintendent’s references to Ph.D. at issue on eve of contract vote

Without An Accredited Doctorate

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Malloy Administration looks to stick it to public education yet again…

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Proving that there is apparently no bounds to the arrogance and sense of entitlement displayed by Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his administration, the Day newspaper of New London is reporting that,

“The [New London] Board of Education will go forward with its scheduled vote tonight on the contract for newly hired Superintendent Terrence P. Carter despite questions about whether he misrepresented his academic record…”

This news comes despite a scathing investigative story written by Jon Lender of the Hartford Courant on Friday.  In the article entitled, “Incoming School Chief Called Himself Ph.D. For Years Without An Accredited Doctorate,” Lender wrote,

“…a Courant review of records available in the public domain shows that Carter has called himself “doctor,” or identified himself as a Ph.D., for more than five years prior to his very recent completion of requirements for a doctorate.

The titles show up next to his name more than a dozen times, including a 2008 listing of “Terrence Carter, Ph.D.” on an attendance list for a symposium. He’s called “Dr. Terrence Carter” on IRS documents filed from 2010-2012. He used “Ph.D.” when he reviewed a 2012 book on “Common Core” educational standards.

Those documents don’t indicate where that doctorate came from. Carter said they’re not references to his anticipated doctorate from Lesley University in Massachusetts. Instead, he says he obtained a doctorate in 1996 from an unaccredited school, Lexington University.”

Although faced with undeniable proof that “Dr.” Terrence Carter repeatedly claimed to have a Ph.D. over the past eight years, when he had no such accredited degree, Governor Malloy’s mouthpiece, Special Master Steven Adamowski, is pushing the New London Board of Education for a quick vote to approve “Dr.” Terrence Carter as New London’s next public school superintendent.

Adamowski told the Day,

“It is unfortunate that this information could not be raised or addressed earlier in the process. With that said, the subject matter has been raised at this point and we are confident that the Board will consider all factors when making their further decisions.”

Unfortunate that this information could not be raised or addressed earlier in the process?

As the Hartford Courant reported “Dr.” Terrence Carter has claimed to have a Ph.D. on multiple occasions.

At one point it was reported that his doctorate came from Stanford University.  In another, Carter received his doctorate from a joint program at Stanford University and Oxford University in England.

And yet, at other times, Carter produced a résumé claiming he had or was going to get a Doctorate from Lesley University School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  One version of his resume claimed that the degree was expected in 2013.

Now, as his defense, “Dr.” Terrence Carter is claiming that it is all a big misunderstanding and that he never personally claimed to have a doctorate – it was only others who mistakenly called him “Dr.”

However, new evidence from the State of Illinois indicates that “Dr.” Terrence Carter has personally taken steps to claim that he had acquired a Ph.D. and may have personally benefited, at taxpayer expense, from that faulty claim.

The Family Taxpayer Foundation of Illinois, a nonprofit watchdog group, maintains a Teacher and Administrator Salary Database using information acquired from the Illinois State Board of Education (see http://familytaxpayers.org/ftf/ftf_salaries.php).  The Illinois State Board of Education is responsible for maintaining the certification status for teachers and administrators in that state.

According to the database, Terrence Carter listed his educational status as having a master’s degree in 2006 – 2008, but then changed his status claiming that he had acquired a doctorate.  The database indicates the Terrence Carter said he had a doctorate in 2009 and 2010.

The Illinois Report includes the following;

2006
Name: Carter Terrence P
Salary: $112,164
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 2.0
Degree: Master’s
School Name: BARTON ELEM SCHOOL
District Name: CITY OF CHICAGO SD 299

2007
Name: Carter Terrence P
Salary: $118,856
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 4
Degree: Master’s
School Name: CHICAGO ACADEMY ELEM SCHOOL
District Name: CITY OF CHICAGO SD 299

2008
Name: Carter, Terrence P
Salary: $133,203
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 5
Degree: Master’s
School Name: CATALYST CIRCLE ROCK ELEM SCHOO
District Name: City of Chicago SD 299

2009
Name: Carter, Terrence
Salary: $132,834
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 6
Degree: Doctorate
School Name: Barton Elem School
District Name: City of Chicago SD 299

2010
Name: Carter, Terrence
Salary: $142,128
Position: Elementary Principal
Full/Part Time: Fulltime
Percent Time Employed: 100%
Assignment: Administration
Years Teaching: 7
Degree: Doctorate
School Name: Barton Elem School
District Name: City of Chicago SD 299

Despite the pressure from the Malloy administration, the members of the New London Board of Education need to stand up and do what is right for the students, teachers and taxpayers of New London.

Anything short of rejecting the contract with “Dr.” Terrence Carter and finding a new superintendent with integrity would be to acknowledge that the New London Board believes politics is more important than policy.

For more on the New London Board of Education read the following Wait, What? blogs;

Meet the latest Corporate Education Reform Industry Charlatan “Dr.” Terrence Carter

“Dr.” Terrence Carter – Lexington University:  Order Now, Graduate Today

And the Hartford Courant article at: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-carter-resume-0716-20140718,0,7548087.story

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And from the Wall Street Journal – Spoiler Fears on Left in Connecticut Governor Race

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In a story entitled, Spoiler Fears on Left in Connecticut Governor Race – Jonathan Pelto’s Campaign Poses Risks for Gov. Dannel Malloy, the Wall Street Journal’s Jospeh De Avila writes,

Some Republicans argue a conservative third-party candidate cost GOP nominee Tom Foley the governorship of Connecticut in the 2010 election.

This year, a liberal third-party candidate has emerged, raising questions about the impact on Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s re-election plans for the fall.

Mr. Foley, a Greenwich businessman, is once again the GOP front-runner, leading his opponent in the Republican primary scheduled for Aug. 12. Mr. Malloy is the unchallenged Democratic nominee.

The men fought a close battle four years ago. Mr. Malloy received 49.5% of the vote and Mr. Foley 48.9%, with Mr. Malloy winning by about 6,400 votes. Conservative candidate Thomas Marsh garnered about 17,600 votes, roughly 1.5% of the total—enough to have given the victory to Mr. Foley.

So far this year, Messrs. Malloy and Foley are virtually tied in the polls.

Now, though, Jonathan Pelto has entered the picture. The former state representative and onetime Democratic Party star began submitting petitions earlier this month that would let him mount a third-party general-election bid.

Wall Street Journal

While Mr. Pelto’s campaign faces steep challenges, political observers said if he siphons off even a relatively small number of voters from Mr. Malloy, the governor could be in trouble.

“Malloy has to be concerned,” said Gary Rose, chairman of the Department of Government and Politics at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. “It’s obviously his base that [Mr. Pelto] can eat into.”

Conservative political activist Joe Visconti also is collecting signatures to run as a third-party candidate, although he is even less well known than Mr. Pelto.

Mr. Pelto formed the Education and Democracy Party for his run and has focused his candidacy on a critique of Mr. Malloy’s education policies. He welcomes the possibility that his candidacy could help elect a Republican.

“That would send a very powerful message to Connecticut Democrats and Democrats across the country—that you can’t walk away from these constituents and not have significant repercussions,” said Mr. Pelto, 53 years old. “Democrats across the country will have to recognize that one of the reasons he lost is because he walked away from public education.”

Jon Blair, campaign manager for the Malloy campaign, declined to comment on Mr. Pelto.

Mr. Pelto said he had collected the 7,500 signatures required by the state to get his name on the ballot. He has continued collecting additional signatures as a buffer, in case election officials reject any names in the certification process, which could take weeks.

Mr. Pelto’s criticism of the governor’s educational policies has its roots in a February 2012 speech where Mr. Malloy proposed tightening teacher tenure policies. Mr. Malloy also outlined changes to teacher evaluations and adding charter schools. The state Legislature later passed a compromise education bill.

In June, Mr. Malloy defended his record in a rare public statement addressing Mr. Pelto. He pointed to the state’s expansion of prekindergarten programs this spring and improvement in high-school graduation rates.

“I don’t need to respond to what Jonathan says,” Mr. Malloy said then. “I’m more than happy to have my record in education measured by results.”

The state’s major labor unions are supporting Mr. Malloy. The governor established collective-bargaining rights for personal-care attendants, raised the minimum wage twice and enacted the nation’s first paid-sick leave law, said Lori Pelletier, executive secretary treasurer of Connecticut AFL-CIO.

While labor-union leaders back Mr. Malloy, rank-and-file members are unsatisfied with him, Mr. Pelto said. “Their level of anger is high,” he said.

Some political observers said Mr. Pelto isn’t guaranteed to have an impact on the race. He lacks financial resources and name recognition, and his message is tailored to government employees, said Scott McLean, professor of political science at Quinnipiac University.

Mr. Malloy also has the advantage of being in office this time around.

“It’s just so rare to see an election that close with an incumbent,” Mr. McLean said.

Mr. Pelto was elected to the state House of Representatives at age 23 in 1984 and ran Gary Hart’s presidential primary campaign in Connecticut that year. He also helped run Democratic Gov. William O’Neill’s successful re-election bid in 1986.

His relationship with party leaders eventually turned frosty, though. He was fired in 1992 after six years as state Democrats’ political director. He resigned in 1993 from the House.

Mr. Pelto eventually established a political consulting firm. In 2011, he began writing a blog that has mainly focused on criticism of Mr. Malloy’s education policies.

Mr. Malloy’s supporters said Mr. Pelto’s bid is fueled by personal animosity toward the governor and his circle of advisers.

“I do think he has an ax to grind,” Ms. Pelletier said. “Running for governor is not about revenge.”

Mr. Pelto said his campaign isn’t personal.

“Grow up,” Mr. Pelto said. “Let’s have a debate about the issues.”

For the full article go to: http://online.wsj.com/articles/spoiler-fears-on-left-in-connecticut-governor-race-1405905844

Photo  by Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal

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“Dr.” Terrence Carter – Lexington University:  Order Now, Graduate Today

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The individual known as “Dr.” Terrence Carter – who, thanks to Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor and Special Master Steven Adamowski is scheduled to be hired by the New London Board of Education on Monday told the Hartford Courant that he received his doctorate from “Lexington University.”

As the Hartford Courant’s Jon Lender reports,

On Thursday when pressed further on the Hamersfield degree, Carter sent The Courant a printed transcript from Lexington University. The transcript listed no campus address or Internet website for online studies.

A web search turned up a site headed “Lexington University,” which advertises for people to get their degrees at prices of up to several hundred dollars. It’s unclear if that website is connected with the transcript sent by Carter – and he declined to answer more questions.

“I have nothing further to say on this matter,” he wrote late Thursday in response to a follow-up email.

So where is and what is Lexington University.

Lexington University photo

Could it be this?

http://lexingtonuniversity.com/

As Lexington University’s “website” explains, “What are the Graduation Package Fees?”

Graduation Package Fees are based on degree level:

High School Diploma:
$99.00
*price includes diploma and one official transcript with unlimited lifetime verification

Associate:
$99.00
*price includes diploma and one official transcript with unlimited lifetime verification

Bachelor:
$125.00
*price includes diploma and one official transcript with unlimited lifetime verification

Masters:
$175.00
*price includes diploma and one official transcript with unlimited lifetime verification

Doctorate:
$225.00
*price includes diploma and one official transcript with unlimited lifetime verification

 

So “Dr.” Terrance Carter….

How about coughing up the truth….

Just which Lexington University did you “attend”?

The one that charges $225 for a Doctorate and the “price includes iploma and one official transcript and unlimited lifetime verification —– or was it another Lexington University you attended?

Or maybe you actually did graduate from Stanford as you had claimed earlier?

Or maybe it was Stanford and Oxford?

Or maybe it was Lesley University?

All we know is that you started using Ph.D eight years ago.

For more about this breaking story go to:

Meet the latest Corporate Education Reform Industry Charlatan “Dr.” Terrence Carter

http://jonathanpelto.com/2014/07/18/meet-the-latest-corporate-education-industry-charlatan/

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Meet the latest Corporate Education Reform Industry Charlatan “Dr.” Terrence Carter

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Incoming School Chief Called Himself Ph.D. For Years Without An Accredited Doctorate

For more than eight years, “Dr.” Terrence Carter, the incoming New London superintendent of schools and self-described education reform expert, bragged that he had a Ph.D.

At one point, Carter’s bio materials claimed that he had a doctorate from Stanford University.

In another article his doctorate came from a joint program between Stanford and Oxford.

And more recently he claimed his doctorate was from Leslie University.

But it was all a lie.

Interestingly he also claimed that he was hand-picked to be an education reform leader by none-other than the Arne Duncan, President Obama’s anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-Common Core Secretary of Education.

In a breaking news story written by the Hartford Courant’s investigative reporter Jon Lender, we now learn that the incoming New London superintendent of schools is an expert —- an expert at falsifying his resume.

And just watch how the Malloy administration, Commissioner Stefan Pryor, and Special Master Steven Adamowski try to explain this embarrassment.

After reading the Courant article, one thing is clear.

The New London Board of Education is scheduled to vote on “Dr.” Terrence Carter’s lucrative contract on Monday night.

Before that meeting, Malloy and Pryor need to make sure that Carter withdraws his name from consideration.

And if Malloy and Pryor fail to do that, then the New London Board needs to reject Carter and re-open the search.

To actually hire “Dr. Terrance Carter for the post would be to telegraph to every student, teacher, parent and taxpayer in Connecticut that doctoring one’s resume is just the way things are done when it comes to the corporate education reform industry in Connecticut.

The Hartford Courant’s Jon Lender writes,

Terrence P. Carter, the highly touted Chicago education administrator hired to start Aug. 1 as the superintendent of New London‘s troubled school system, recently completed requirements for a doctorate he’s scheduled to receive next month.

“Soon I will be able to be called ‘Doctor’,” he said he recalls telling job interviewers.

But a Courant review of records available in the public domain shows that Carter has called himself “doctor,” or identified himself as a Ph.D, for more than five years prior to his very recent completion of requirements for a doctorate.

The titles show up next to his name more than a dozen times, including a 2008 listing of “Terrence Carter, Ph.D.” on an attendance list for a symposium. He’s called “Dr. Terrence Carter” on IRS documents filed from 2010-2012. He used “Ph.D.” when he reviewed a 2012 book on “Common Core” educational standards.

Those documents don’t indicate where that doctorate came from. Carter said they’re not references to his anticipated doctorate from Lesley University in Massachusetts. Instead, he says he obtained a doctorate in 1996 from an unaccredited school, Lexington University.

When asked about the degree Tuesday, Carter first had told The Courant that he earned a doctorate in theology from Hamersfield University in London. In a phone interview, he said that the doctorate would enable him to “practice in the ministry.”

On Thursday when pressed further on the Hamersfield degree, Carter sent The Courant a printed transcript from Lexington University. The transcript listed no campus address or Internet website for online studies.

A web search turned up a site headed “Lexington University,” which advertises for people to get their degrees at prices of up to several hundred dollars. It’s unclear if that website is connected with the transcript sent by Carter – and he declined to answer more questions.

“I have nothing further to say on this matter,” he wrote late Thursday in response to a follow-up email.

Carter said in his email that Lexington University was “formerly known as Hamersfield University back in the 90s when I attended.” He had said Tuesday he had to be in London for several weeks annually during the three years he was pursuing his doctoral studies at Hamersfield.

The Lexington University transcript said that Carter, now 49, received an A in each of 45 graduate courses on the way to a Ph.D.

The transcript indicates the degree was in Human Resource Management and Organizational Learning, not theology. Many of the course listings related to human resources, organizational leadership and management – and at the time Carter was employed in corporate human resources.

None of the course listings appeared related to theology.

Carter’s situation arises a month after a key figure in Connecticut’s school “turnaround” movement, Michael Sharpe, resigned on June 21 as CEO of the Hartford charter school management group FUSE. His exit followed his admission that he had falsely claimed to have a doctorate.

State and local education officials say that they have verified Carter’s claim to have completed the requirements for Aug. 25 award of a Ph.D in educational studies from Lesley University.

But they never checked into Carter’s use of the title “doctor” and “Ph.D.” in past years, because they say that it didn’t turn up in the national search that a consultant conducted to fill the New London job.

The recruiting consultant, Nebraska-based McPherson & Jacobson, LLC, said in March that it would be “conducting extensive background checks on the candidates.” One of the firm’s team members says that said she did several Google searches on Carter, but failed to turn up even one of the numerous “Dr.” and “Ph.D.” references that the Courant found.

Carter, whose contract in New London will be voted on by the school board Monday, said he didn’t believe it was misleading to have called himself a “doctor.

And it gets worse…

Be sure to go read the entire Hartford Courant article at: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-carter-resume-0716-20140718,0,7548087.story

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Capital Prep’s Steve Perry to headline Koch Brothers’ event

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This coming week, the Charles Koch Institute is sponsoring a forum, “featuring a panel talk with representatives of charter schools and conservative think tanks” at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.

The panel includes none-other-than Steve Perry, the principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut….which is ironically identified as a charter school in the event program.

As Wait, What? readers are painfully aware, lthough a full-time employee of the Hartford public schools, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, gave Perry permission to open a taxpayer-funded charter school in Bridgeport, despite the fact that there is no money in the budget for the school and the State of Connecticut is facing a $1.4 billion projected deficit next year.

But underfunding magnet and district schools, while dramatically expanding taxpayer funds for charter schools, is nothing new for Malloy, Pryor and the corporate education reform industry.

Meanwhile, Perry has spent the last few years trying to persuade Hartford officials to hand over existing public schools to a  private charter school management company that Perry set  up while serving as a public school principal.

According to the Connecticut Secretary of State, Perry’s company, which uses the same name as the public school he works for, is registered at his home.

However, according to the IRS, Perry’s company is located at the public school where he works, which is a violation of conflict of interest and ethics laws in Connecticut.

Regardless of the apparent irregularities with his private work, the Malloy administration’s decision to give Perry his own charter school will mean that Perry’s company will collect nearly $30 million in taxpayer funds over the next five years, and that doesn’t even count the other costs that will be picked up by the state of Connecticut and the City of Bridgeport.

Steve Perry, of course, is infamous for his November 2013 Twitter diatribe.

After the Hartford Board of Education failed to turn over two public schools to Perry’s private company, he Tweeted

Dr. Steve Perry‏@DrStevePerry
“The only way to lose a fight is to stop fighting. All this did was piss me off. It’s so on. Strap up, there will be head injuries.

While such a comment would get any other public school administrator, teacher or student arrested, fired or suspended, neither the Hartford superintendent of schools nor the Hartford Board of Education took any disciplinary action against Perry for his actions.

Perry is also fond of calling Diane Ravitch, the country’s leading public school advocate, and Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, racists.

In fact, Perry’s bullying and failure to fulfill his administrative duties appropriately have generated a series of pending lawsuits from former employees who allege that they were abused and mistreated by the man who calls himself, “America’s Most Trusted Educator.”

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Connecticut Labor Leader attacks Pelto/Murphy (including on education)

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Yesterday, the Political Director of the Machinists Union posted a commentary piece at My Left Nutmeg (http://www.myleftnutmeg.com/) belittling Ebony Murphy and my effort to give voters an alternative to the Democratic and Republican candidates in this year’s election for governor.

My Left Nutmeg then provided me with the opportunity to respond.

If you don’t read MLN on a regular basis, you should.  The blog is Connecticut’s premier site for learning about, and participating in, the on-going effort to push a liberal/progressive agenda in Connecticut.

The two pieces are also reprinted below, but the Political Director for the Machinists Union lays out his case by making the following claims;

  • “Despite heroic attempts by parents, educators, and well-meaning political leaders, lack of progress in poor people’s education has opened the door to charlatans. The exposure of this element of the crisis has been Jon Pelto’s main issue, although he has offered no solution to the underlying economic gap.” 
  •  “Malloy is trying hard to correct the mistakes he made in education.” 
  • “A Pelto candidacy could usher in a Foley victory, a la Ralph Nader in Florida, 2000. The participants in this quixotic mission may find that they have earned the contempt of the very people they are trying to influence, both for them as people, and for our ideas.
  • These times call for a Center-Left alliance. In an even more dangerous time, Europe in the 1930′s, the left failed to understand this necessity, with disastrous results

 His full commentary piece is as follows.  After you’ve read the two pieces, please feel free to weigh in on this important debate at http://www.myleftnutmeg.com/ and here at Wait, What? 

GUEST POST: Jon Pelto and the challenge to the Connecticut Left

In an effort to have a discussion regarding Jon Pelto and the potential his candidacy could have on the race for governor, Bill Shortell, Political Director Eastern States Conference of Machinists and Carol Lambiase, International Rep, UE, retired, wrote the following guest post.

The biggest trend in US politics today is the growth of the Right: the flood of right-wing big money into elections at every level; right-wing populism in the form of the Tea Party; the broad attack on the unions; the explosion of the reactionary firearms obsession; the proliferation of small white supremacist groups; the domination of neo-cons in the State Dept….all fed by a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. In Europe there is a dangerous reassertion of fascism.

This is not to say that the left is dead, especially in places like Connecticut, but given our defensive posture, we must be carefully strategic in the allocation of our slender resources.

EDUCATION

Lately a key battleground has been the schools. The “achievement gap,” and the absence of a root cause analysis, has opened the door for privatization and teacher-bashing.  It is a fundamental principle that there will be no equality in educational achievement in the face of drastic economic inequality. In Connecticut especially, the contrast between the poverty of the cities and the wealth of the suburbs is shocking.

Despite heroic attempts by parents, educators, and well-meaning political leaders, lack of progress in poor people’s education has opened the door to charlatans. The exposure of this element of the crisis has been Jon Pelto’s main issue, although he has offered no solution to the underlying economic gap. Neither can the governor of a small state, of course. In spite of Dan Malloy’s best efforts, the lingering Great Recession, and the pre-existing desolation of post-industrial cities, is a national, even an international crisis of capitalism.

THE DANGER OF TOM FOLEY

Foley enters this crisis masquerading as a moderate, just as did George W, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Does anyone doubt that if elected he would immediately attack the unions, layoff state employees, slash social services, cozy up to the gun lobby, and try to drag Connecticut into the whole Koch-led national right-wing insurgency?

Pelto’s candidacy, and the support  he is getting from the left, is a sign of frustration. We have no strong independent voice, and are rarely able to make policy. Nationally, hamstrung by a Republican majority in the House, the Dems are unable to implement even the narrow jobs program they espouse.

SPOILER?

There is room, even in these dangerous times for 3rd party candidacies. The minority party representation statute has been successfully used by Working Families in the cities. The Dems, who today have a comfortable majority in the General Assembly, cannot complain if 3rd parties run against right-wing legislators. In a safe Congressional district they would not be threatened by a left candidate who runs on, say, Fair Trade. In other times, and with electoral reform, we can envision an even greater role for third parties.

But not in the 2014 Connecticut Governor race. The stakes are too high; the differences in the candidates too stark. If there is a repeat of the tight 2010 race, a Pelto candidacy could usher in a Foley victory, a la Ralph Nader in Florida, 2000. The participants in this quixotic mission may find that they have earned the contempt of the very people they are trying to influence, both for them as people, and for our ideas.

These times call for a Center-Left alliance. In an even more dangerous time, Europe in the 1930′s, the left failed to understand this necessity, with disastrous results. Malloy is trying hard to correct the mistakes he made in education. Let’s not forget all the national pressure there has been for this misguided “ed reform,” including among some inner-city people, who cannot wait for an end to the entire achievement gap to find a path out of joblessness.

This is a period for those of us on the left, to work within mass organizations, like the unions and the Democratic Party. We need to build our numbers and hone our ideology before grasping for a ring as heavy as a governorship.

And my response:

Pelto:  Labor Leaders to the Left:  ‘Shut up and sit down’

In an effort of fairness, Jon Pelto requested to publish a repsonse to today’s guest post…here it is.

While reasonable people can debate whether Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy deserves another four years in office, the discussion about my challenge to Malloy’s policies and his re-election aspirations took another odd turn with the publication of a commentary piece written for the blog, My Left Nutmeg, by the Political Director of the Eastern States Conference of Machinists.

My Left Nutmeg is Connecticut’s premier blog when it comes to presenting a platform for discussions about the ongoing efforts to further a liberal or progressive agenda in Connecticut so it comes as no surprise that Connecticut labor leaders would seek to use the blog to defend Malloy and belittle the challenge being mounted by the Pelto/Murphy 2014 campaign.

What is surprising is that Connecticut labor leaders would use MLN to continue their effort to mislead their members and Connecticut’s progressive community into believing that Malloy’s very likely loss in November will mean that Connecticut will became the next Wisconsin – and that we will see a successful Koch Brothers effort to destroy Connecticut’s collective bargaining laws and undermine the existence of the state’s public employees and public services.

In the piece entitled, JON PELTO AND THE CHALLENGE TO THE CONNECTICUT LEFT, the Machinists’ political director and his colleague write,

“Foley enters this crisis masquerading as a moderate, just as did George W, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Does anyone doubt that if elected he would immediately attack the unions, layoff state employees, slash social services, cozy up to the gun lobby, and try to drag Connecticut into the whole Koch-led national right-wing insurgency?

But of course, the authors fail to reveal that Wisconsin Tea-bag Republican Scott Walker achieved his goals thanks to the support of Tea-bag Republican majorities in both the Wisconsin State Senate and State Assembly.

Scott Walker’s anti-union legislation, known as 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, passed because the ultra-right controlled the Wisconsin State Senate by a margin of 19-14 and the Wisconsin Assembly by a margin of 51 to 45.

The truth is that regardless of who becomes Connecticut’s next governor, as a result of the legislative re-districting of 1990, 2000 and 2010, the Connecticut State Senate and Connecticut House of Representatives will remain safely in the hands of the Democratic Party.

While few really know what a Tom Foley administration would be like, one thing we can be sure of is that an effort to repeal collective bargaining in Connecticut would not receive the legislative support necessary to become law.

We can also safely say that Connecticut has already witnessed a “Wisconsin moment.”

It occurred in February 2011 when Governor Dannel Malloy become the ONLY DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR in the country to propose doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for unionized teachers in so-called “turnaround” schools.

In response to Malloy’s historic, unfair and unwarranted attack on teachers, the Connecticut General Assembly stripped out those two provisions, before unfortunately passing the remainder of Malloy’s inappropriate corporate education reform imitative.

But as if their claim about Connecticut becoming Wisconsin wasn’t misleading enough, the labor leaders use their commentary piece to mock our ongoing effort to push back the corporate education reform industry and re-take control of our system of public education.

The authors claim,

“Despite heroic attempts by parents, educators, and well-meaning political leaders, lack of progress in poor people’s education has opened the door to charlatans. The exposure of this element of the crisis has been Jon Pelto’s main issue, although he has offered no solution to the underlying economic gap.

Offered no solutions?

Such a statement is so absurd, that it doesn’t even deserve a response but I’d urge the labor leaders to take the time to read through the 1,636 Wait, what? posts that I’ve written on these subjects over the past 3 ½ years

Finally, as to whether a “left candidate” has a right to run, the Malloy apologists opine,

“In a safe Congressional district [we would not] be threatened by a left candidate who runs on, say, Fair Trade. In other times, and with electoral reform, we can envision an even greater role for third parties…But not in the 2014 Connecticut Governor race. The stakes are too high; the differences in the candidates too stark. If there is a repeat of the tight 2010 race, a Pelto candidacy could usher in a Foley victory, a la Ralph Nader in Florida, 2000.”

And they conclude their attack on our fundamental right to stand up and speak out by actually writing,

These times call for a Center-Left alliance. In an even more dangerous time, Europe in the 1930′s, the left failed to understand this necessity, with disastrous results. ”

So let us truly understand what these Connecticut’s labor leaders are telling their members and the majority of citizens who oppose Malloy’s re-election.

They appear to be suggesting that my candidacy in opposition of Malloy’s effort to undermine state employees and teachers, destroy public education, coddle the rich, place an unfair tax burden on the middle class and institute a record breaking system of corporate welfare in which scarce public funds are being diverted from vital services to support multi-million dollar corporations is not only inappropriate but nothing short of a precursor to the events that led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the 3rd Reich.

Let no one be mistaken, these are, in fact, dark times.

However, the growing array of people who are willing to stand up and demand change are not the problem.  The problem is that some insiders, including some in leadership positions, remain committed to the notion that the “left” can best serve our nation by shutting up and sitting down.

If there was ever an effective argument for why I decided to create the Education and Democracy Party and run for governor in 2014, the new commentary piece submitted by the leadership of the Machinists Union is that treatise.

Upon reading their piece, one can’t help remember the wise words of Woody Guthrie who wrote, “Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain pen.”

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

Connecticut’s Gubernatorial Race Will Be Influenced by Education, Teachers (CT Magazine)

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Connecticut Magazine has posted a new article entitled, “Connecticut’s Gubernatorial Race Will Be Influenced by Education, Teachers.”

As Connecticut Magazine explains,

For the Democratic party, the full-throttled support of teachers’ unions in Connecticut is a given rule—like “I before E, except after C.” But now, when topics such  as Common Core, teacher evaluations, charter schools and the “achievement gap” are added, Gov. Dan Malloy risks becoming that “after C” exception.

Malloy must claw his way to a second term. He is tied with Republican candidate Tom Foley in the most recent (May 9) Quinnipiac University poll of this year’s governor’s race. He barely beat Foley in the 2010 governor’s race, and now faces a challenge from his left flank as former Mansfield state representative Jonathan Pelto is running as a third-party candidate focused almost entirely on the education issue.

The balance could be tipped this year if some of the people who were excited to elect Malloy in 2010 fail to work with as much fervor for him again—or even choose to sit out the election due to his connection to education-reform issues.

Malloy’s relationship with teachers has been occasionally tense and pockmarked with terse exchanges. He’s haunted, for example, by a comment he made to the General Assembly in February 2012. Advocating for tenure reform, Malloy said for teachers to earn tenure, “the only thing you have to do is show up for four years.”

Before that, Malloy appointed Stefan Pryor as the state education commissioner. Pryor, a cofounder of Amistad Academy charter school, has taken heat from teachers’ unions which point out that he has never worked in a capacity as a teacher and lacks teaching credentials. Malloy, like many governors, initially supported all aspects of the federal Common Core public education standards and new teacher evaluation systems based on them. He has since softened his stance on these issues as it became clear that he might lose reelection without the support of teachers. Malloy also supported the installation of known urban-education reformer Paul Vallas as Bridgeport’s superintendent, and then the re-installation of Vallas after a judge’s initial ruling that he did not meet the criteria to be superintendent. Malloy’s backing of Vallas created further friction with the unions. Vallas has since left the district to run for lieutenant governor of Illinois.

[…]

“We do have a respect for each other,” says Mark Waxenberg, executive director of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA), the state’s biggest teachers’ union. “His door is open to us, and over this past year we’ve been able to iron out some of the legislation that may have been well-intentioned and implemented badly.”

[…]

“When teachers think they aren’t being heard, there is going to be frustration, anger, there is going to be anxiety, and frankly, maybe, a lack of a cast of a vote,” says CEA President Sheila Cohen. “They’ll probably go to the polls, the question is who will they vote for? There are a lot of people on that ballot, and (some teachers) could skip a line.”

Malloy’s missteps with teachers offer a natural voter base to Pelto, a liberal firebrand who doesn’t mince words when it comes to characterizing the governor’s positions on education reform.

[…]

On his blog Wait What? and in interviews, Pelto has said Malloy is committed to the “corporate education reform agenda” and criticized the governor for his support in the expansion of charter schools in the state. “We’re not Chicago, Philadelphia,” he said, pointing to places where charter schools have an established foothold. “But there’s something going on in Connecticut that is very different than anything we’ve ever experienced.

[…]

As Malloy courts the support of traditional parts of his political base, including the teachers’ unions and Connecticut’s Working Families Party, whose members have also strongly criticized education reform, he will have to choose whether to further distance himself from organizations such as Families for Excellent Schools (FES), which made a name for itself in New York City when it ran a slick advertising campaign attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio’s opposition to charters. It has been very active in Bridgeport’s education battles.

“We expect at some point to make an endorsement—we’re checking in with members constantly. For now, there’s no question Governor Malloy has been a tremendous advocate for kids and families, and I believe our members recognize that,“ FES cofounder and CEO Jeremiah Kittredge said in a statement.

But that kind of endorsement could do more harm than good for Malloy’s reelection hopes if it risks driving teachers’ union members to Pelto.

FES backed Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s controversial referendum to change the governance of the Bridgeport school board. It was a move opposed by the Working Families Party and Pelto.

In 2010, Malloy did not win enough votes on the Democratic Party line alone—but combined with the votes he took as the Working Family Party’s cross-endorsed candidate, he narrowly beat Foley.

The Working Families endorsement has yet to be determined, but the party has openly expressed nervousness about Malloy’s positions on charter schools. “We have been pretty concerned ourselves with the governor’s education agenda,” said Lindsay Farrell, executive director of the Working Families Party.

To read the entire Connecticut Magazine piece go to: http://www.connecticutmag.com/Blog/Connecticut-Politics/July-2014/Connecticuts-Gubernatorial-Race-Will-Be-Influenced-by-Education-Teachers/

Pelto calls on Malloy Administration to reverse course on unfair health care policies

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Pelto calls on Malloy Administration to reverse course on unfair health care policies

As recently reported in the Connecticut media, the Malloy administration is developing a new “State innovation Model (SIM) that would negatively impact the availability of care for hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents. Education and Democracy Party candidate for governor, Jonathan Pelto is calling on the Malloy Administration to halt their plans to implement this flawed healthcare payment and delivery model.

“Yet again, the Malloy administration is playing games with the healthcare of Connecticut residents” Pelto said. “Working behind closed doors and without proper public and legislative review, the Malloy administration is attempting to roll out a new, and untested, State Innovation Model (SIM) that could adversely impact thousands of unsuspecting Connecticut citizens and the healthcare providers who treat them. The Malloy Administration’s new plan is nothing short of a return to the failed ‘managed Medicaid system’ that was tried and rejected because it hurt some of Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents and cost the state more rather than saving taxpayers’ money.”

The SIM  plan seeks to cut costs by attempting to limit unnecessary tests and other forms of “over-treatment.”  Advocates for low-income residents have said that this type of extraneous testing and treatment might be a concern for people with private insurance, but people on Medicaid often struggle to receive even limited access to specialists and general care.

Healthcare advocacy organizations also have expressed also concerns about the fact that the proposed Medicaid changes were so rushed to meet the federal grant deadline that they have not been adequately were developed so recently that they haven’t been properly evaluated and have called for additional study before being used for 200,000 Connecticut residents.

“We are in an era of unprecedented changes in our health care system, instead of rushing to sneak in something that will clearly jeopardize access to the care people needs and deserve, the Malloy administration should stop playing games, put a halt to the new State innovation Model (SIM), and ensure that citizens, advocates and the legislature play a more active role in reviewing and modifying this plan before it is put into place,” Pelto concluded.

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

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