Another Malloy mouthpiece explains why we must support Malloy or else

16 Comments

Or, as Mahatma Gandhi’s wisely observed,

First they ignore youthen they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

This time the pro-Malloy message is delivered by Patrick Scully who describes himself as, “a high-profile communications, public relations, media and political consulting professional.”

Scully takes aim at the notion that a broad range of Connecticut voters are actually disgruntled with the prospect of four more years of Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy.

Wait, What? readers may recognize the name because Scully once wrote for the pro-corporate education reform blog called CTEducation180.

At some point, Scully turned the blog over to ConnCAN, the corporate funded pro-charter advocacy group that was part of the $6 million record-breaking lobbying campaign on behalf of Malloy’s “education reform initiative.” The blog ceased functioning in December 2012 with a post attacking fellow pro-education advocate and blogger Wendy Lecker and myself.

Among the gems posted during CTEduation180’s were the following,

  • “Jonathan Pelto, author of the “Wait, What?” blog, continues to ride his train to nowhere.”
  •  “And in cyber-land, all by his lonesome, we have Jonathan Pelto, self-appointed gadfly and blogger extraordinaire of “Wait, What?”
  • “In a recent rambling diatribe on his “Wait, What” blog, anti-education reformer Jon Pelto continued his journey into an alternate universe of conspiracy theories.”
  • You might remember Pelto from his continuing series of blog posts attacking the state’s education commissioner, the governor, the schools chiefs from Windham, Hartford and Bridgeport, and many, many other folks who have made improving Connecticut’s schools their life’s work.
  • “What is Jon Pelto’s problem? He provides no service, offers no solutions, yet feels it’s his place to publish every little conspiracy theory he dreams up…His latest rambling diatribe against Windham Special Master Dr. Steven Adamowski makes no sense, and readers must question Pelto’s motivations.”
  • “The enraged blogger (Pelto) takes on a true leader (Moales)…Blogger Jonathan Pelto has done what appeared to be impossible: He has sunk to a new low.”

Now Pat Scully returns with a blog entitled, Pelto Would Help Elect a Republican Governor if he can Stick it to Malloy.

Scully explains,

News that union stooge Jonathan Pelto might run for governor is not really all that surprising. Pelto will do anything—even help elect a Republican governor—if he can stick it to Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Pelto is teasing out a possible gubernatorial run with the hint that the Working Families Party (WFP) might endorse him. That in and of itself is not significant although the WFP adds important elements to the political discourse in the state. Fortunately, Pelto less than zero chance of becoming governor. But the possibility that a WFP endorsement can pick off votes from Malloy is real.

Pelto’s blog is nothing more than a hate space for Malloy particularly on education reform. Malloy is looking to fix a broken public education system. Pelto is hell-bent on defending the status quo with its deplorable dropout rate and the worst achievement gap in the nation. He flames Malloy every chance he gets and as long as his union people are happy, he’s happy, never mind the students who suffer. Even when a poll shows overwhelming support for Malloy’s reforms, Pelto counters with absolute nonsense.

His argument goes downhill from there, but those of you who want to read it can find it at: http://scullycommunications.com/archives/5131.

So there you have it, the Malloy forces defend Malloy’s indefensible support the corporate education reform agenda including the Common Core, the Common Core Testing scheme and the privatization of public education.

Their message is that we must remain silent because any criticism or challenge to Malloy will lead to a Republican victory.

And they conveniently overlook the myriad of reasons Connecticut citizens might want to vote against Malloy.  A top list of those reasons can be found in my recent post – The growing list of reasons to vote against Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s re-election.

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

46 Comments

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/

Weekend Posts on Gubernatorial Campaign 2014

4 Comments

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.”

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

23 Comments

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/

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world – Nelson Mandela

18 Comments

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. “

Although there are times when changing government requires violent action, here in the United States we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to force change through non-violent means.

Most importantly we have the electoral process and as citizens of the United States we not only have the right, but the obligation to use that powerful tool.

Over the next six months the Connecticut gubernatorial campaign of 2014 will be ramping up.

The question is not whether we need change, but how best to achieve it.

It is time to seriously explore our options.

We can challenge the incumbent for the Democratic nomination, although the power of incumbency could make that route a difficult one.

We could run on a third party-line, thereby providing a vehicle for all voters to stand up for real change while more easily assuring the incumbent’s loss.

Or we could take no action and watch as a Republican win, which could lead to our state in even worse condition.

The failings are many, they go far beyond the incumbent’s effort to undermine and destroy public education.

But education policy is one of the strongest factors behind the need to reclaim our government.

To celebrate the 4th and the task ahead, I provide readers with the following quotes to use as we seek the best path forward;

“A liberal education is at the heart of a civil society, and at the heart of a liberal education is the act of teaching.” – A. Bartlett Giamatti

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The 2014 gubernatorial campaign provides us with the much needed opportunity to recapture our government and rededicate it to the ideals, principles and programs that our residents need and deserve.” – Jonathan Pelto

Comparing Wait, What? to CTEducation180…Now that is just going too far…

21 Comments

Call it a Father’s Day perogative, but I’m going to take a moment away from my on-going effort to educate, persuade and mobilize through “perceptive and acerbic” observations about Connecticut Government and Politics.

Normally I don’t respond to personal attacks or ill-informed commentaries that are leveled against my own commentaries.

Truth be told, I’ve always believed in Voltaire’s famous quote which goes, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  In fact, I even believe in the more direct version of his statement which can be found in a letter he wrote on February 6, 1770, and reads, “Monsieur l’abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”

That said, I do feel moved to respond to the observations contained in an Op. Ed. written by Terry Cowgill and published today on the CTNewsjunkie site.  The piece, “Dueling Blogs: Don’t Leave Education to the Experts,” opines about my blog, Wait, What? , claiming that I “inveigh” and my writing is “polemic.”  He even goes so far as to suggest that my opposition to the reforms being sponsored by the corporate funded education-industrial complex means that I “prefer the system the way it is.”

Now, I’m certainly open to criticism.  For example, I most definitely fall down on the job when it comes to proofreading and punctuation and my failings related to properly spelling are somewhat legendary.  Heck, I’ll even plead the Fifth when comes to the possibility that I “inveigh” from time to time or that my writing could be considered “polemic” now and then.

But to suggest that I support “the system” are fighting words…

Or worse, to compare my blog to CTEducation180, a mouth-piece of ConnCAN, the charter school advocacy organization that is connected to Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s Achievement First charter school management company, well that is going too far.

Before I go on, let me quote from Mr. Cowgill’s recent piece in case my readers haven’t had a chance to read his piece.  After noting the rise of blogs, he writes, “Here in Connecticut, the phenomenon has been most visible lately in the arena of education, where former Democratic state representative Jonathan Pelto inveighs against Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and anyone who carries the mantle of “education reform.” Pelto’s blog, “Wait, What?” is a must-read for diehard public education advocates who, for obvious reasons, prefer the system the way it is.”

Cowgill adds “Pelto’s ceaseless attacks have enraged reformers who have complained that his propaganda was going unanswered. Enter PR guru and political analyst Patrick Scully, a former communications director for the state Senate Democrats. In an effort to confront Pelto last year, Scully started writing in response on his Hanging Shad blog, and also wrote for a time for the pro-reformist blog, CTEducation180, which is operated by ConnCAN. Between the two blogs, Scully devoted a great deal of real estate to deconstructing Pelto’s polemics. He stopped writing for CTEducation180 in March.”

Now, first let me say that I’d like to believe that my blog, Wait, What? represents a growing form of advocacy journalism.  I am but a foot solider in a broader effort to fill the gap that has resulted from the de-evolution of the so-called mass media.  My blog and I are dedicated to investigating and reporting on the truth, so that citizens across the political spectrum have the information they need and deserve to make informed decisions.  I definitely don’t hide my philosophical orientation, but the purpose of my blog and its work is to report the facts, as I see them, along with my political commentary and observations.

I’ll leave to others the task of comparing me to “PR guru and political analyst Patrick Scully,” but to compare Wait, What? to the drivel posted on CTEducation180 is beyond insulting.

CTEducation180 is a blog written by ConnCAN staff.  Cowgill says Scully stopped writing in March, but for months now the posts have apparently been authored by someone named Michael.  Although a couple of weeks ago, ConnCAN went back and removed Michael’s name from all of the posts.

More to the point I’d argue that comparing the two blogs is, at best, comparing apples and oranges. Wait, What? is dedicated to telling the truth.  CTEducation180 is dedicated to attacking those of us who are telling the truth.

As evidence, I’ll simply cut and paste a few of the recent things that have appeared on the ConnCAN blog More

Wait, What? It’s December 31, 2012?

1 Comment

“Every New Year is the direct Descendant, isn’t it, of a long line of proven criminals? – Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

Maybe it is me, but I am never quite sure what Ogden Nash was referring to half the time.

That said, here we are; at the end to another year… and it’s time to post an observation (with apologies for any typos).

Following the unimaginable horror and despair that enveloped us the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre, it remains difficult to know how to move forward, let alone look back on 2012.

The notion of “fiscal cliffs” and “deficit mitigation bills” seem almost minor in scale and yet somehow a fitting portrayal of life, as we know it, in our “modern, advanced capitalist” world.

I mean, in the face of an impending fiscal catastrophe, we are left to watch the outrageous activities of some of our Nation’s “leaders.”  They leave me with the indelible imagine of the little child sitting with his hands over his eyes, singing out… “You can’t see me.”

And meanwhile, right here at home in Connecticut, a Democratic legislature adopts a Deficit Mitigation Bill that no self-respecting Democrat should have ever voted for.

But it is…as the saying goes…par for the course.

According to a study by Credit Suisse Research, when it comes to the gap between the haves and have-nots, the United States is quickly becoming the most economically unequal country in the world.  As the report concluded, “Among countries with at least a quarter-million adults, only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon are more unequal.”

Meanwhile, the richest 10 percent of Americans own 93 percent of the non-home wealth in this country.

Way back in the 2000s, “only” about 66% of all income went to the richest 1%.  But good news for the rich, in the first year following the recent “Great Recession,” the Levy Economics Institute, at Bard College, found that more than 90% of all new income went to the richest 1%.

None of this should come as a surprise.  Leading up the Great Depression, the top ten percent of Americas received about 45 percent of the income. In 2010, the top 10 percent’s share reached a record-breaking 47.9 percent.

Put another way, from 1983 to 2010, “the share of total wealth in the U.S. held by the richest 10 percent of American households increased from 68.2 percent to 76.7 percent” …while the other 90 percent of the population got poorer.

Not to be confused by the facts, the media continues to report on the rising stock market, as if the daily numbers are sure to help every American.  They someone forget to mention that the “60% of the lowest earning American’s own just .2% of all non-home equity (i.e. stocks)

And to personalize the whole picture, according to Standard & Poor’s, the CEOs of the top 500 companies earned 380 times more than the average American worker.  The difference is a not so small change from 1965 when the average CEO earned 20 times more than the average American worker.

Not long ago, Bill Moyers was asked to address the state of the American Economy.

To drive a key point home, Moyers spoke of Connecticut resident Ray Dalio, who is not only one of America’s richest men, but founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund.

Of course, readers of Wait, What? know Dalio and his hedge fund.  It was only a few months ago that Governor Malloy decided to give Dalio $115,000,000 (that is $115 million) in public funds this year to persuade him to move his business from one Connecticut town to Stamford.

As Moyer’s writes, Dalio “earned between two and three billion dollars in 2011 and wound up #55 on the Forbes 400 list. The New Yorker reports that he is a philosopher at heart. He claims to have figured out not only how the economic machine works but how the principles of natural selection – “the survival of the fittest” – apply to business. He has even produced a collection of maxims to explain, as he puts it, how “almost everything is like a machine. Nature is a machine. The family is a machine. The life cycle is a machine.” To succeed in this kind of world, he wrote in one essay, you need to “Be a hyena. Attack the wildebeest.”

With that Dalio wrote, “When a pack of hyenas takes down a young wildebeest, is that good or evil? At face value that might not be ‘good’ because it seems cruel, and the poor wildebeest suffers and dies. Some people might even say that the hyenas are evil. Yet this type of apparently ‘cruel’ behavior exists throughout the animal kingdom. Like death itself, it is integral to the enormously complex and efficient system that has worked for as long as there has been life. It is good for both the hyenas who are operating in their self-interest and the interest of the greater system of the wildebeest, because killing and eating the wildebeest fosters evolution (i.e., the natural process of improvement.) In fact, if you changed anything about the way that dynamic works, the overall outcome would be worse…Like the hyenas attacking the wildebeest, successful people might not even know if or how their pursuit of self-interest helps society, but it typically does…”

Moreover, he concludes: “How much money people have earned is a rough measure of how much they gave society what it wanted.”

Well, Connecticut’s Democratic legislators may have decided to balance the state’s $415 million dollar deficit on the back of many of Connecticut’s most vulnerable citizens, along with those attending public institutions of higher education, but at least we gave Dalio the $115 million he wanted to remain a Connecticut.

Lest we forget, in his day, the Great Greek thinker, Plutarch, (ca. 46-120 CE), observed that, “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”

In any case, all of this brings us back to the notion that on December 31, one is supposed to look back at the highlights of the year.

And traditionally, it is necessary to pick our one or two things that truly summarize the year that was.

It would certainly be tempting to give the “man of the year” award to someone like Dalio.  When all is said and done, he did manage to get $115 million in publically funded corporate welfare at a time when vital services were being cut, but all things considered, I think there is an even more worthy candidate.

My vote for the man who best represents 2012 —- in fact – let us call him the epitome of 2012 is Capt. Francesco Schettino.

Captain Schettino?

Why yes, Captain Francesco Schettino.

Perhaps we should have realized it was an omen of things to come, but in January 2012, as Captain of the Costa Concordia, Schettino managed to get himself charged with causing a shipwreck, engaging in manslaughter and abandoning the ship worth hundreds of millions of dollars – before all passengers were evacuated.

According to published reports, the Costa Concordia ran aground that fateful January day with roughly 4,200 people on the Costa Concordia, 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members.

Less than half an hour after the accident, the Captain ordered dinner, but then, when the magnitude of the disaster became clear, he abandoned the ship.

With only a dozen or so dead, the Captain’s brother-in-law defended him in an Italian newspaper later that same week saying that the Captain, “managed to avoid a tragedy — it could have been worse,” and when asked about the fact that the captain had abandoned ship, the brother-in-law said, “”He was not running away, he came down (from the ship) to survey the damage.”

Meanwhile, the company that owned the ship issued a statement saying that Costa Cruises, “complies very strictly with all safety regulations and our personnel are committed, first and foremost, to guest safety and security…All crew members are trained in basic safety and emergency management, and their skills are tested periodically by Coast Guard authorities…”

It would have been an impressive statement had CNN not reported that, “Survivors of the wreck, however, described crew members who appeared overwhelmed, ‘There wasn’t anybody to help you,’ said passenger Vivian Safer. ‘I mean, the passengers were loading the lifeboats by themselves.’”

So, in the spirit of the Season, I urge all my readers to lift the glasses in a toast….

Here is to Captain Schettino, Billionaire Ray Dalio, the Washington politicians sitting around thinking that by covering their eyes we can’t see them, and the politicians here at home that decided that rather than ask millionaires to pay their fair share in income taxes, it was smarter and better to cut essential services.

Or…As Oprah Winfrey said, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

Peace to one and all… At a time when we must all redouble our work for Peace…

2 Comments

Friends,

In all times, but especially in these troubled times, we must never forget the essential words of Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), the great philosopher who helped lay the ground work for the Enlightenment;

“Peace is not an absence of war; it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.”  - Baruch Spinoza

In this season of hope, whether you are celebrating the Wiccan holiday of Yule, or the festival of light celebrated in Judaism,  Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism or any of the other faiths and beliefs that create our patchwork of humanity –

May peace come to you and yours.

I hope you find yourself surrounded by family and friends, enjoying a safe, healthy and joyous time.

Jonathan

Washington Post runs Pelto/Lecker School Funding Commentary piece from Hartford Courant

3 Comments

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/11/25/how-grossly-underfunded-are-public-schools/

It is common to hear school reformers say that money isn’t a real issue in improving schools. Here’s a piece that says otherwise. It was written by Wendy Lecker, parent of three children in Stamford, Connecticut’s public schools, and Jonathan Pelto, a former member of the Connecticut House of Representatives who now provides commentary on politics and public policy at his blog,“Wait, What?” This appeared in the Hartford Courant.

By Wendy Lecker and Jonathan Pelto

“The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities just issued a report concluding that Connecticut’s public schools are grossly under-funded and calling for meaningful reform of Connecticut’s school funding system.

Pulling no punches, the report acknowledges that school finance reform cannot be done on the cheap and that significantly more funding is needed in order to provide all students with a quality education.

As the report declared, “the State should not sacrifice the futures of another generation of school children waiting for the courts to tell them — yet again — to meet its state constitutional funding responsibilities.”

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) estimates $763 million in underfunding, representing only the gap between current funding and fully funding the Education Cost Sharing formula as it stands now. However, that formula is flawed and does not reflect the true cost of education in Connecticut. In fact, as part of its recommendations, CCM calls for an “education adequacy cost study” to assess the actual cost of education, including all the factors affecting this cost. Doing so increases the number beyond $1 billion.

CCM’s clarity of vision derives from the experience of its members:  the municipalities that deal on a daily basis with escalating education costs and inadequate funding.  Because of the state’s underfunding of public schools, Connecticut’s cities and towns, especially its poorer communities, are forced to deprive their own schools of needed resources.

The result is that children and teachers must endure large classes, insufficient textbooks, computers and other learning tools, buildings in disrepair, slashing of teaching positions, and the elimination of programs and courses.

In Connecticut and around the country, courts have consistently ruled that underfunded schools amount to constitutional violations of children’s right to an education.

In New York, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Washington and many other states, courts have determined that there is “a causal connection between the poor performance of … students and the low funding provided their schools.“

Unlike the modern corporate education reformers, rather than vilify teachers and educational experts, courts value their firsthand knowledge of school conditions, their effects on learning, and the resources needed to give all students an equal opportunity to learn.

When shown evidence of conditions in actual schools, courts consistently find what CCM contends – without adequate funding, schools cannot provide an adequate education.”

The rest of the Washington Post column here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/11/25/how-grossly-underfunded-are-public-schools/

And you can find the original Hartford Courant piece here:  http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/hc-op-pelto-lecker-connecticut-schools-underfunded-20121123,0,6000165.story

CT Taxpayers invest in “Hot App” company, will the Wait, What? Blog be next?

3 Comments

An 18-month old company, incorporated in Delaware, with an office in Westport, but its chief financial officer and chief operations officers in California, landed $750,000 in Connecticut taxpayer funding this week, thanks to Connecticut Innovations, a quasi-state agency that works to support the Connecticut economy by investing public funds in private companies.

deets, inc., who has had no sales to date, is developing a “productivity App” that, “facilities message sharing for a specific group of workers, parents of Little League players or other small groups, getting them information cleanly and quickly. It also provides smooth contact synchronization.”

A version of the App is now available at the Apple App Store.  According to an article written by the Hartford Courant’s Mara Lee, “The writers of the free app, which has nearly 10,000 users since its launch in August, are hoping to capitalize on the “’anti-social sentiment that’s out there.’”

The company plans to use the new funding to hire 5 employees in Connecticut.

In addition to the Apple version of the app, deets reports that an Android version will be out in January and the plan, according to the Courant, will be to “launch paid versions for businesses. The businesses could use deets to send messages to customers or to help teams communicate internally.”

The news that scarce public funds are being given to a company with limited connections to Connecticut, but who are engaged in an effort to break into a growth field, led Jonathan Pelto, whose blog, Wait, What? seeks to bring transparency and accountability to the Malloy Administration and Connecticut State Government, in general, to consider submitting an application for funding.

“We are definitely considering submitting an application to one of these agencies,” Pelto said, “Attempting to bring transparency to the Malloy Administration is definitely a growth market and we’ve literally had hundreds of thousands of visits to Wait What?,” Pelto noted.

“While our sales have been limited to date, with $750,000 we’d hire, not five, but at least ten Connecticut residents to be researchers and writers, and with that, we’re convinced we could turn the blog into a money-making venture over the next two years,” added Pelto.

However, when asked whether he or his Blog, Wait, What? might be blacklisted from getting state aid, Pelto failed to return multiple phone calls, and referred any further questions to his lawyers.

For the Courant Story see:  http://www.courant.com/business/hc-ci-deets-inc-relocation-20121113,0,281750.story

Older Entries