Families for Excellent Schools is the corporate funded, New York based, charter school industry lobbying group that bused in students and parents from as far away as New York City and Boston, last year, to attend a rally in support of Governor Dannel Malloy’s effort to divert even more taxpayer money to Connecticut’s privately owned and operated charter schools.
Over the past year and a half, Families for Excellent Schools – using a variety of aliases – has spent nearly $1.5 million in a record-breaking effort to lobby and persuade Connecticut legislators to support Governor Dannel Malloy’s unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory “education reform” initiatives.
Now, in a dirty and underhanded maneuver, the outside lobby group is targeting Republican State Senator Len Fasano. His crime? Unlike Malloy, Fasano actually supports Connecticut’s real public schools and Connecticut’s public school teachers.
The truth is that Governor Malloy’s 2016 budget proposal includes plans to cut Connecticut’s public schools by approximately $58 million while increasing state aid to his pet-project, the privately owned and operated charter schools.
Thanks to Malloy’s education reform effort, Connecticut taxpayers already subsidize charter school companies to the tune of more than $100 million a year and while Malloy laments the state budget deficit, his budget plan is to actually give charter school even more taxpayer funds even though these companies refuse to educate their fair share of students who need special education services or those who require extra help when it comes to learning the English Language.
State Senator Len Fasano has been calling Malloy out on his irresponsible budget plan.
Fasano has made it clear that public schools should be treated more fairly and that charter schools should not be exempt from the efforts to balance the budget.
Fasano has also been one of the most outspoken leaders in opposition to the Common Core SBAC testing frenzy and is a leading co-sponsor of the legislation prohibiting Common Core SBAC test results from being used as part of Malloy’s ill-conceived and unfair teacher evaluation program.
Paid to promote the Common Core, the Common Core testing and more state aid for charter schools, Fasano’s pro-public education stance is just too much for these charter lobbyists to handle and so they are targeting him.
Of course, beyond the immediate attack on State Senator Fasano is the question of who is really behind these tactics?
According to the official reports filed with the State Ethics Commission, New York’s Families for Excellent Schools has become a major source of income for Malloy’s “former” top aides.
Andrew Doba, who served as Governor Malloy’s Press Secretary before leaving the state payroll to take a PR position with a New York company, has already collected $78,000 from this charter school lobbying front and it appears that he is now collecting $8,500 a month to support Malloy’s education reform proposals and attack Malloy’s opponents.
In addition, since setting up shop in Connecticut, Families for Excellent Schools has handed Roy Occhiogrosso’s company at least $232,350. Occhiogrosso is Malloy’s alter-ego and worked as the governor’s chief adviser during Malloy’s first term in office. The political operative is widely credited with writing Malloy’s 2012 anti-teacher speeches in which Malloy proposed doing away with teacher tenure and observed that he didn’t mind having teachers teach to the test as long as test scores went up.