1st piece in Truthout – Corporate America Steps Up for Maine’s Right-Wing Gov. Paul LePage

No Comments

Honored to have my 1st article published in the national website Truthout:

Corporate America Steps Up for Maine’s Right-Wing Gov. Paul LePage

http://www.truth-out.org/

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/27389-corporate-america-steps-up-for-maine-s-right-wing-governor-paul-lepage

Vote today, but even more importantly, take action tomorrow for our very future depends on it…

19 Comments

For nearly four years I have written and maintained the Wait, What? Blog as a vehicle to challenge the status quo and try, as best I could, to inform, educate and persuade my fellow citizens to question authority and demand better from those who hold positions of power in and outside of government.

In January of 2011, one of my first posts outlined the primary purpose behind Wait, What? – which was and remains – a belief that we must hold our own (in this case Democrats) to the same standards that we would hold our opponents.

Over the course of 1,761 posts, 26,778 comments and more than 1.5 million visits to this blog, I have tried to remain true to that purpose.

Many people have used their comments to add vitally important information to the discussion, others have simply added their support or observations, and some have vehemently criticized and condemned the content of some articles or the value and intent of the blog itself.

A common refrain has been that by criticizing Malloy and Democrats, among others, I have been siding with the enemy and promoting the success of the Republicans and those who are even more out of step with the needs of our citizens and our society.

As a true believer in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I fundamentally respect everyone’s right to articulate their beliefs.  That said, skimming back over the many blog posts, I will stand my ground and say that I have not wavered from my belief that we must hold our own to the same standards we hold our opponents and that the transgressions and errors that I have consistently sought to challenge deserved the attention and light of day that I have tried to provide.

We know that real change is not easy.  By its very design our government is slow and often cumbersome. While there are sometimes benefits to the notion that a steady pace wins the race, the problems facing our state, country and citizens are growing exponentially and our window of opportunity to change course is closing.

As regular readers of this blog know, a common practice has been to seek out and use a quote that helps to clarify and amplify the points I am working to highlight. With that in mind, I turn once again to one of the greatest Americans in history, Martin Luther King, Jr. who said,

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: ‘Too late.”

King opened that speech by reminding his audience and the world that, “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

I believe that we have reached that time and then some.

There are many battles ahead.

I am not sure to the extent that the Wait, What? blog will be part of the dialogue.  As of today I am putting the blog on “pause” as I tackle some other anti-corporate education reform industry projects and consider various options for restructuring Wait, What?

But I have learned much from this process and assure my readers, both supporters and opponents, that I will continue to do all I can to raise awareness of the problems we face and force the changes we need in order to beat back those who seek to destroy the middle class, create a permanent underclass and continue their efforts to undermine the most basic values that are should be guiding our government and society.

I am but a foot soldier in this larger battle, nothing more. But like all good foot soldiers, I will not be dissuaded for doing all I can to do my part in the effort to create the change we need.

While I recognize that my posts have generated insults, condemnation and even blacklisting from groups and individuals who claim to be the “true” representatives of the people, I honestly believe that I am doing what I can to stand up and speak out about the important issues and challenges we face.

It cannot be compared in any way to what I’ve personally witnessed, for this battle here is minor compared to the truly greater battles that have taken place in our nation’s history, but I can’t help but be reminded by what occurred to Martin Luther King Jr. when he spoke out against the Vietnam War in his famous speech at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967.

In an editorial in the Washington Post two days later, the newspaper wrote that by opposing the Vietnam War and speaking out against our nation’s constant use of war, violence and destruction, King “has done a grave injury to those who are his natural allies … and … an even graver injury to himself.”

The Washington Post added “Many who have listened to him with respect will never again accord him the same confidence. He has diminished his usefulness to his cause, to his country and to his people. And that is a great tragedy.”

Thus has been the message to those who seek to speak the truth and seek to force a true accounting of the problems we face and the solutions our citizens need and deserve.

It has always been that way and it will undoubtedly continue to be that way, but no matter how small our contribution may be to the greater effort, we must never shy away from standing up and speaking out.

I close this chapter by thanking all of you who have been part of Wait, What? and my associated activities these past few years.

I look forward to continuing to work with you in the months and years to come.

For as I am especially fond of saying to those who criticize our work, upset now?

Just wait for “We have not yet begun to fight!”

Your thoughts, advice, guidance and suggestions are always welcome,

And thank you for all that you have done, all you are doing and all you have yet to do in the future,

Jonathan Pelto
[email protected]
 

Breaking News: Visconti Drops Out, Endorses Foley

51 Comments

With Malloy and Foley having now spent in excess of $30 million to destroy each other and mislead voters, the crushing weight of the corrupt, entrenched and out-of-touch political system has claimed another victim.  Earlier today, petitioning candidate Joe Visconti has dropped out of the race of governor and endorsed Tom Foley. If you feel comfortable with the major party candidates, I urge you to vote accordingly on Tuesday, Election Day. However, for those who believe we deserve better or want to send a message to the power elite, I invite you to darken in the bubble that says Write-in Candidate for Governor and then write in the name Pelto or Pelto/Murphy.

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone,
you will cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” 
                                                                         — John Quincy Adams

When assessing the last four years and examining the positions taken by Malloy and Foley during this year’s gubernatorial campaign, the truth is that no matter who wins on Tuesday, the burden to do what is right for the people of Connecticut will rest in the hands of a Democratic legislature.  They will either rise to the occasion or they will not. So for those mulling over whom to vote for… If you believe that our elected officials need to stop their unwarranted assault on teachers and the teaching profession, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe the state must derail the Common Core and its unfair, expensive and discriminatory Common Core Standardized Testing Scheme, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe we must push back the corporate education reform industry that seeks to privatize our public schools and replace them with unaccountable charter schools that refuse to educate their fair share of Latinos, students who face language barriers and children who require special education assistance, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe our government must stop coddling the rich and reduce the tax burden on the middle class by requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe our state must put an end to the outrageous use of corporate welfare and stop giving our scarce taxpayer resources to wealthy corporations, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe that those elected to office must settle the critically important CCEJF v. Rell school funding lawsuit and develop a fair and constitutional school funding formula that will end the pressure on local property taxpayers, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe the time has come to demand that those in office must stop using budget gimmicks and adopt a fair, honest and effective state budget that truly reduces the long-term debt that will destroy our children’s opportunities, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you feel that we must rid the political system of tainted campaign money and hold those who have violated the spirit and law of Connecticut’s campaign finance laws accountable for their actions, feel free to write in the name Pelto. If you believe our citizens deserve access to an affordable system of public colleges and universities and you oppose what have been the deepest cuts in history to UConn, CSU and our community colleges over the past four years, feel free to write in the name Pelto. Or if you simply feel that enough is enough and that our political leaders have lost their way, feel free to write in the name Pelto for Governor. Because sometimes standing up and being counted is what is most important. And if you intend to write in the name Pelto, please take a moment over the next 48 hours to urge your friends, families, colleagues and neighbors to do the same.

WRITE- IN V1

 

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

Why Malloy’s (and Foley’s) anti-tax pledge is anti-middle class

3 Comments

In a September 3, 2014 Wait, What? post entitled, Foley and Malloy are just plain wrong on taxes, the blog explained that Malloy and Foley are being fiscally irresponsible with their pledge not to propose raising taxes if they are elected. The article begins with the following;

Although Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy is fond of saying that he inherited a $3.7 billion budget deficit when he was sworn into office in January 2011…The candidate who is sworn in as Governor of Connecticut in January 2015 will be facing a combined budget deficit of at least $4.8 billion over the next three years!   YES – You read that number correctly.  Even after taking into consideration increased revenue from an “improving” economy, Connecticut state government will be $4.8 billion SHORT of what it is needed to maintain the present level of services and meet its present statutory obligations.

As a result of Governor Malloy’s irresponsible borrowing policies, the state MUST increase its debt service payments by at least $672 million dollars over the next three years.  The additional mandatory payments for the state employee and teacher pension and healthcare funds will require an additional $620 million.

And that doesn’t even count the minimum increases needed to maintain the most vital state services.

There is absolutely no way to balance Connecticut’s state budget without additional taxes.  The question is not whether we will have tax increases, but who will be providing that additional state revenue.

Furthermore, by pledging not to “raise” taxes at the state level, there will be no meaningful state increase in state aid to municipalities and that will translate into massive increases in local property taxes, as towns face the growing costs of education, public safety and other local services.

While Malloy and Foley can try and claim they won’t raise taxes, by forcing higher local property taxes, the two major party candidates will – in fact – be raising taxes that disproportionately hit middle-income families and small business that are particularly hurt by the way in which Connecticut raises revenue at the local level.

But Malloy and Foley’s “no-tax” pledge is even more unfair than it seems because they are promising to maintain the existing tax system that coddles the rich.

As the non-partisan CT Voices for Children has reported;

  • In Connecticut, wealthy residents pay a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than the rest of us, while families raising children are uniquely hurt by Connecticut’s present tax system.
  • After federal income tax deductions, Connecticut’s wealthiest families pay an average of 5.5% of their income in state and local taxes, while the middle class pay 10.5%, and the poor pay 11% of their income in state and local taxes.
  • In addition, Connecticut is one of only two states that make no adjustment in their income taxes for the cost of raising children.  A family with $60,000 of income with three kids owes the same as the family with $60,000 of income and no kids.  It is a tax policy that is hardly pro-child.

The candidates for governor who have made a “no tax pledge” is not only being fiscally irresponsible, but is sending a loud and clear message to Connecticut’s middle class.   What Malloy and Foley are saying is that not only are they refusing to take responsibility for properly running the state of Connecticut, but they are admitting that they will be leaving Connecticut’s unfair tax structure in place while increasing the burden on local property taxpayers.

As of now, the Democrat and Republican candidates for governor have made a strong case for why they SHOULD NOT BE ELECTED.  Only 3rd Party candidates Joe Visconti (and I) have had the courage and wisdom to admit that the next governor needs to keep all the tools of governance on the table.

It is time for Malloy and Foley to admit their no-tax pledge is bad fiscal policy.

Or worse, while they know that additional taxes will be needed to balance the state budget and reduce the burden on the middle class, they’ve decided to lie rather than tell the truth in an attempt to get elected.

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

Pelto/Murphy Register as Write-In Candidates for 2014

28 Comments

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone,
you will cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” 
                                                                         — John Quincy Adams
 

Over the past few weeks more than two hundred people have written to tell us that they will be writing in the names of Jonathan Pelto for Governor and Ebony Murphy for Lt. Governor on November 4, 2014 – Election Day.

Some undoubtedly have made the decision to write in our names because they believe in our candidacy and our message.  Others want a mechanism to send a message to the powerful and the elite that change is in the air and that they will not be getting that person’s vote this year.

Of course, despite the fact that we were all taught that every vote counts, according to the laws of the State of Connecticut, a write in vote DOES NOT COUNT unless the candidate(s) file an official state form.

Section 9-373a of the Connecticut State Statues reads, “Any person desiring to be a write-in candidate for any state, district or municipal office to be filled at any regular election shall register his candidacy with the Secretary of the State on a form prescribed by the secretary.”

If the “prescribed” form is not filed, the vote will not be counted.

As many of us are becoming painfully aware, in the United States, Democracy is a relative term.

It was former President Lyndon Johnson who said something like,

“A person without a vote is a person without protection.”

So with that in mind, we are hereby filing the appropriate form and inviting the voters of Connecticut to write in our names for Governor and Lt. Governor in this year’s critically important election.

Change is in the air.  We may not have been the ones to knock the gates down, but we have – and will continue – to shake the chains that seal the gates shut so that future candidates will be better positioned to knock them down and thereby allow the People to re-take control of their government and their future.

We thank you for allowing us to be part of this historic effort,

Jonathan Pelto and Ebony Murphy

 

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

To blog or not to blog?

58 Comments

That is the question…

In these difficult times, many of us are grappling with the question – How can one be useful and relevant in what increasingly appears to be a new dystopian age.  (Look up the word dystopian if you don’t know what it means).

Coming off my recent “campaign” for governor, I find this question to be particularly vexing.

In particular, do I continue to use my blog to raise what I perceive to be legitimate issues about the state of our state or do I throw in the towel and move on to something new?

For guidance I sought the advice of the “Common Core Guru.” You can find it under a local bridge, hanging out with three Billy Goats Gruff.  He suggested that I utilize a writing prompt to explore my deepest feelings and emotions about how to proceed.

To explore that path, the Common Core Guru suggested I use the writing prompt, “What I learned on my summer vacation?”

But, truth be told, I remain troubled by this advice because I recognize that, thanks to Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy, Stefan Pryor (Malloy’s Commissioner of Education) and their merry band of corporate education reform industry groupies, that anything I write will be judged – not by humans – but by the Automated Essay Scoring (AES) System that accompanies the unfair, ill-conceived, inappropriate and expensive Common Core Testing Scheme.

As the SBAC Common Core industry has explained,

In 2010, when it was starting to develop the new Common Core exams for its 24 member states (Connecticut being one of them), the group wanted to use machines to grade 100 percent of the writing.

“Our initial estimates were assuming we could do everything by machine, but we’ve changed that,” said Jacqueline King, a director at Smarter Balanced.

Now, 40 percent of the writing section, 40 percent of the written responses in the reading section and 25 percent of the written responses in the math section will be scored by humans.

“The technology hasn’t moved ahead as fast as we thought,” King said.

But still, let’s face it, despite the failure of the technology as we “move forward,” 60% of the tests will still be scored by computers.

And as one expert recently noted,

AES algorithms can be gamed.  That is, a critic of AES can write a nonsensical piece that the AES engine will score with a high score point.  Critics cite this fact as a fatal flaw in AES.  However, to write the “hot mess” that receives a high score, the critic must be fully versed in many of the aspects that make writing strong:  a wide vocabulary, a variety of sentence lengths, a variety of sentence types, use of transitions, grammatical correctness, etc. In other words, an AES can only be tricked by a good writer.

So to trick the computer you have to be a good writer…

Which returns me to the fundamental question, how best should I proceed?

In a blog post about the issue, fellow public education blogger Alice Mercer wrote;

Basically, the programs can judge grammar and usage errors (although I suspect it will lead to a very stilted form of writing that only a computer could love), but it’s not in the position to judge the facts and assertions, or content in an essay.  The only way to do that is to limit students to what “facts” they are using by giving them a list.

And friend and fellow blogger Anthony Cody added,

If this is the “Smarter” test, it seems far less intelligent than a qualified teacher, capable of challenging students with an open-ended question. And if we are sacrificing intelligence, creativity and critical thinking for the sake of the efficiency and standardization provided by a computer, this seems a very poor trade.

All of which leaves one very confused!

Because, if truth be told, as I contemplate continuing my Wait, What? blog or calling it a day, I’m left wondering how relevant a blog could even be in Governor Malloy’s Common Core world?

God knows, along with my readers, that my understanding of grammar and spelling is, at best, limited.

And if the computer is looking for “a wide vocabulary, a variety of sentence lengths, a variety of sentence types, use of transitions [and] grammatical correctness” then maybe the time has come to accept that fact that I should throw in the towel and admit that my notion of right and wrong simply can’t compete against the computer’s understanding of the Common Core and its associated testing scheme.

Finally, in conclusion, let me say that advice from the peanut gallery, let alone my readers, would be welcome.

Oh and by the way, you get an extra point if you know where the term “peanut gallery” comes from.

By the way, if I don’t continue with my blog, Wait, What?, I have to admit that I do have a second blog set up and ready to go.

It will be called, “Failure is an Option.

Meanwhile, I hope you all have had a restful, rejuvenating and safe Labor Day weekend and I wish you well as we head into the remainder of 2014.

Jonathan

An appreciated editorial from the Hartford Courant

7 Comments

While it doesn’t remove the sting of failing to get the 7,500 signatures needed to get on the 2014 gubernatorial ballot, the Hartford Courant has written an editorial that is appreciated and helps illuminate some of the challenges petitioning candidates face.

While the bottom line is that a candidate should never try to be their own campaign manager and the failure to collect a sufficient number of names is mine, and mine alone, the Courant successfully highlights why our democracy would be improved by modernizing the petitioning process.

The single most important thing I heard while spending the last few months campaigning is that Connecticut voters want a broader array of candidates to choose from.

In their editorial entitled, “Pelto Falls Short In Clunky Ballot Petition Process,” the courant writes,

Jonathan Pelto was really looking forward to the gubernatorial debates, to his chance to engage Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and GOP challenger Tom Foley on education and other issues. But to paraphrase Adlai Stevenson, a funny thing happened on the way to the Capitol.

Mr. Pelto, a blogger and former state legislator, failed to get the requisite 7,500 verified signatures of registered voters to qualify as a petitioning candidate for the 2014 governor’s race. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill notified Mr. Pelto Friday afternoon that he had submitted only 4,318 qualified signatures, so his proposed nomination was “disapproved.”

Meanwhile, the other petitioning candidate, former West Hartford councilman Joseph Visconti, did get enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Mr. Pelto concedes that there is no one to blame but the person he sees in the mirror: “We dropped the ball on good campaign structure.” In retrospect, he said he would have run a more centralized campaign operation with more control over the signature-gathering operation — as Mr. Visconti did — and perhaps have started sooner. He was also critical of the process, at one point calling it rigged against petitioning candidates and also cumbersome and inefficient.

Process Is Hard, But Not Impossible

Mr. Visconti’s success suggests the process is navigable, but it is cumbersome. A petitioning candidate has to have separate petitions for each of Connecticut’s 169 towns, and the petitions must be turned in to each town — or sent to the secretary of the state’s office for forwarding to each town — for counting and confirmation.

Mr. Pelto said some town clerks or registrars improperly rejected signatures because the signers failed to include their dates of birth. Though the petition form has a space for birth dates, signers aren’t required to fill it out. He identified some other situations — people using maiden names, people with mailboxes in one town who vote in another, or town clerks failing to check inactive voter lists — where valid signatures may have been rejected.

Mr. Pelto concedes that if all the errors were corrected, he still would not have had enough signatures to qualify. But he maintains that if the threshold is 7,500 names — a number that is reasonable — then a candidate shouldn’t have to send in an extra thousand or two to be sure of qualifying. (Mr. Visconti reportedly submitted more than 10,000 names.) He wondered why the statewide electronic voter database couldn’t be used for a faster and more accurate process.

[…]

As for Mr. Pelto, though some have called him a spoiler or worse, he had every right to run. Third-party candidates rarely win unless they are statewide political figures on the outs with a major party. But they sometimes raise concerns that influence the campaign. Mr. Pelto may have done that with education, his signature issue…

Like any campaign, we had our ups and downs, but among the high points was the fact that while the incumbency parties and political establishment consistently sought to belittle our 3rd party aspirations, Connecticut’s reporters and media outlets worked to level the playing field and provide the 3rd party candidates with appropriate media coverage.

The Hartford Courant’s editorial is appreciated, not only for the fact that that it respected my right to run for office, but that it correctly highlighted some of the problems that limit our democratic system.  While politicians like to claim that they are pro-democracy, we must do a better job ensuring that we really are the democracy that our citizens need and deserve.

You can read the full Hartford Courant editorial at: http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-pelto-comes-up-short-20140829,0,7429710.story

 

Pelto Statement on falling short of the 7,500 signatures needed to get on the ballot

15 Comments

Later today, the Connecticut Secretary of State’s Office is expected to officially announce that the Jonathan Pelto/Ebony Murphy ticket did not collect the 7,500 certified signatures needed to qualify for a position on the 2014 gubernatorial ballot.

On behalf of the Pelto/Murphy campaign, Jonathan Pelto has released the following statement;

“We are, of course, deeply disappointed that we were unable to collect a sufficient number of signatures to qualify as 3rd party candidates for governor and lt. governor.  While we failed to achieve that critical goal, we’re hopeful that our effort has and will continue to spur a more serious discussion about the critically important issues facing Connecticut.

I want to especially thank Ebony Murphy for agreeing to serve as my running-mate, the hundreds of people who helped collect signatures and the thousands of people who signed our petition.  We are also especially grateful to those who provided the campaign with their financial support.

I apologize to all of our supporters for our inability to get onto the ballot, but want to assure them and the citizens of Connecticut that we will continue to stand up and speak out about the problems facing our state and our society and the solutions that will be necessary to ensure a better future of all of our state’s residents.

The petitioning process was an eye opening one.  While requiring candidates to collect 7,500 signatures to qualify for a position on the gubernatorial ballot continues to seem like a reasonable number, the primitive and burdensome laws and archaic system clearly serve as an unfair barrier to those who believe our democratic system would be better served if voters had more choices when they go to vote.

In the coming months we’ll seek to partner with other 3rd parties, their supporters and those who believe in a more open and democratic process so that we can develop and advocate for a legislative package that will reduce the unfair aspects of the petitioning process and create a more open, democratic system of campaigns and elections.

I also want to offer a special thank you to Connecticut’s reporters and media for providing us with fair and extensive coverage of our campaign.

Finally, a special word of congratulations goes out to Joe Visconti, the other 3rd party candidate, who, along with his team of supporters, did a remarkable job collecting the signatures necessary to get on the ballot.  Joe has shown that the People can challenge the incumbency parties and, shake up the establishment.  I wish him continued success as he speaks out on the issues he is so passionate about.”

###

 

 

Highlights and Lowlights of the Pelto/Murphy 2014 campaign continue to grow

7 Comments

Kicked off by yesterday’s Wait, Wait? Blog post, the Hartford Courant’s Chris Keating wrote a news update entitled, “Breaking: Pelto Fears He Will Not Reach 7,500 Signatures To Get On Ballot.”

Keating began his article with the following,

In a potential political boost for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, liberal Democrat Jonathan Pelto told The Hartford Courant on Saturday that he fears he will not reach the necessary threshold to qualify for the gubernatorial ballot in November.

Pelto has threatened to go to court to gain a place on the gubernatorial ballot against Malloy, Republican Tom Foley, and petitioning candidate Joseph Visconti, but Pelto said in an interview that a potential court fight on disputed signatures might be fruitless if he is not close enough to the threshold.

“It’s not looking good,” Pelto said Saturday. “I am increasingly concerned the situation is starting to look grim. It is clear that we submitted far fewer petitions than I had expected. … I may be wrong. But for the first time, I think we may fall short.”

The news article goes on to explore the issues and challenges surrounding what may be our failed effort to qualify for a position on the November gubernatorial ballot.

You can read the original Wait, What? blog here: http://jonathanpelto.com/2014/08/23/youre-rightyou-just-can-make-sht/

And the Hartford Courant story here:  http://courantblogs.com/capitol-watch/breaking-pelto-fears-he-will-not-reach-7500-signatures/

As a candidate for governor over the past few months, I’ve been honored and humbled to hear some amazing complements, along with some pretty harsh insults.

I have to say, after striving to serve as an outspoken supporter of Connecticut public school teachers and state employees over the last four years, in addition my pro-collective bargaining, pro-labor, pro-state employee, pro-teacher voting record when I served as a state legislator more than two decades ago; I was deeply offended when the AFL-CIO refused to allow me to address the delegates at their summer endorsing convention and when the President of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) refused to allow me to fill out a candidate questionnaire, to have an interview with their political action committee or even address their executive committee before they endorsed Governor Malloy.

I was equally stunned, although more hurt than anything else, when the leadership of the Connecticut Education Association prohibited me from collecting signatures outside of their Summer Leadership Conference earlier this month.  Their claim was that allowing me to collect signatures from CEA members would be perceived as an unfair advantage.

Ironically, during the entire campaign, the CEA was the only public or private organization that prohibited me from collecting signatures at an event.

Although all of these situations were real “eye-openers,” they are “water of the dam” and there is no use “crying over spilt milk.”

Besides, to be honest, they have been replaced by two more remarkable reader comments that appear at the end of the aforementioned Hartford Courant article.

While some of the reader comments add perspective to the story, there is Dan who writes, “Did Malloy and/ or his Demon Cronies Pay him off ???”

Followed by Charles who ponders the hundreds of rejected petition signatures asking, “How many wee undocumented immirants?”

I have to say, regardless of whether we do or do not qualify for a position on the ballot, those two comments, along with many of these other experiences. will make the whole episode truly unforgettable.

Oh and just in case there is any doubt – Ah, Dan, the answer is no.

And Charles, if you can describe to me what an “undocumented immigrant” looks like, I’ll try to remember if we saw 900 of them lining up to illegally sign our petitions.

And to Dan and Charles, I urge you to look up the quote that Pogo provided us many years ago.

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

Malloy misleads teachers, parents, public school advocates and taxpayers – again!

10 Comments

Pelto Media Statement in Response to Governor Malloy’s Press Release:  GOV. MALLOY: MILLIONS IN ADDITIONAL FUNDING WILL ASSIST STRUGGLING SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Malloy misleads teachers, parents, public school advocates and taxpayers – again!

Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, just issued a press release that began with the following:

HARTFORD, CT) — Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, today hat Alliance Districts are set to receive a total of $132,901,813 in additional funding for the 2014-15 academic year to help implement academic improvement plans.  To date, 28 of 30 Alliance District Year Three plan amendments have been approved, with the final approvals expected in the coming weeks.

In typical fashion, the Governor and Commissioner of Education have used their announcement as a way to further mislead Connecticut’s teachers, parents, public school advocates and taxpayers.

Malloy claims that his “initiative” is providing Connecticut’s 30 most struggling school districts with another $132 million in state aid, but the truth is that this year’s increase is only about $45 million and that in order to get those funds, school districts were required to accept a series of new mandates and programs aimed at further implementing Malloy’s corporate education reform agenda and diverting scarce public dollars to private companies.

For example, some of the new money is being used to pay for pet projects such as Achievement First, Inc.’s “Residency Program for School Leadership.”

As Connecticut has come to know, Achievement First, Inc. is the charter school management company co-founded by Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor.

And thanks to Malloy and Pryor, Achievement First, Inc. has received more new funding than any other charter school operator in Connecticut.

While most school districts in Connecticut have effectively been flat funded, Achievement First, Inc. has benefited from a massive increase in per pupil funding, more charter school seats, and additional resources from various grants that were once reserved for Connecticut’s real public schools.

And if that windfall wasn’t enough, hidden inside this so-called “new” money for Connecticut’s poorer school districts is yet another special deal for Achievement First, Inc.

Note that in today’s press release, Malloy and Stefan Pryor brag about how 28 or the 30 “Alliance District Year Three Plans” have been approved.

What Malloy and Pryor don’t explain is that in order to get approved, towns were required to include certain education reform initiatives, including forcing Connecticut’s largest school districts to participate in Achievement First, Inc.’s “Residency Program for School Leadership.

As part of the program, Connecticut taxpayers will not only pay Achievement First, Inc., for their “services,” but Connecticut school teachers, paid for by Connecticut taxpayer funds, will be sent to teach in Achievement First schools.  This means that in addition to paying the charter school chain $11,500 per student, paying for all of their transportation costs and all of their special education costs, Achievement First, Inc. will be will be further subsidized thanks to having taxpayer-funded public school teachers working in their privately-run charter schools.

Achievement First, Inc. calls their “Residency Program” a “unique opportunity.”

There is no doubt about that, it is a unique opportunity for Achievement First to get more of our public funds.

When more and more questions are being raised about the lack of oversight of Connecticut’s charter schools, Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor are diverting record amounts of public money to charter schools.

While Malloy claims he is investing another $132 million into Connecticut’s poorest schools, the truth is that Connecticut taxpayers are being forced to waste even more money on Malloy’s failed education reform policies.

All this while our public school students continue to be left without the support they need and deserve.

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

Older Entries