Starting this year and next, Connecticut public school teachers will be judged, in no small part, by factors beyond their control such as their student’s standardized test results. Some will lose their jobs after two years under Governor Malloy’s “education reform” bill.
But as reported in yesterday’s CT Mirror, “The state’s top attorneys Monday asked a Superior Court judge to dismiss the [CCJEF v. Rell] case and give the education reforms passed by the legislature last year “at least three years” to be implemented.”
Attorney General George Jepsen, with the support of Governor Malloy, moved to destroy the most important school funding case in more than half a century, despite Malloy’s earlier promises to support the case.
And the media coverage of this extraordinary event?
Ah… minimal, at best. As of 7 a.m. on the day after the court hearing:
The Hartford Courant had reported – Nothing.
The CT Mirror has a story entitled, “Malloy’s school reforms may be headed for trial,” Ken Dixon, a reporter for the Connecticut Post and Hearst Media wrote, “Court hears case for, against dismissal,” and the CT Newsjunkie ran “Education Adequacy Case Headed Back To Court” last week.
As the CT Mirror reported, “The Connecticut Supreme Court in 2010 ruled that every child is entitled to an “adequate” education, and sent the case back to the lower court to determine if the state is providing that.”
As mayor of Stamford and candidate for governor, Dan Malloy not only supported the case but was listed as a plaintiff with the CCJEF, the organization which brought the suit against Governor Rell as a way to force the state of Connecticut to face its historic underfunding of public schools in Connecticut.
Now with this extraordinarily important trial scheduled to start in July 2014, four months before the next gubernatorial election, Governor Malloy and Attorney General George Jepsen are trying to get the case dismissed by claiming that Malloy’s “education reforms” do away with the need to deal with the fact that Connecticut underfunds its public schools by as much as $2 billion.
As Ken Dixon explains in his Connecticut Post Story,
“The [CCJEF] coalition is suing to get more aid for struggling schools in Connecticut’s cities, and for a new formula of support that takes municipal wealth into account and shifts the burden of public education from local property taxes. The current system, plaintiffs say, penalizes cities such as Bridgeport that have limited taxable real estate in relation to the needs of their schools.”
Dixon adds that “After the hearing, Dianne Kaplan deVries, project director for the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, said that drastically changing the system for local school funding is important.
‘With political will seemingly always lagging, the only way those resources are going to be made available is for this lawsuit to succeed,’ she said.
Thus, ironically, the state seems to not understand that for the state of Connecticut to win — as well as its school children, communities, colleges, and employers — the state needs to lose this case.’”
As noted repeatedly here at Wait, What? for years Malloy claimed to be a strong supporter of the lawsuit but he suddenly switched his position following the last gubernatorial election.
Starting last year, Attorney General George Jepsen began a more aggressive effort to undermine the suit. With Malloy’s support, Jepsen first moved to try to remove early childhood education from the issues to be covered by the lawsuit and is now he is trying to get the whole case dismissed.
In response to criticisms that Malloy has failed to fulfill his promise on school funding and the CCJEF v. Rell case, his spokesman said, “Through additional funding and reforms in the bill he championed last year, we’re making great strides in improvements to public education.”
Of course, the Malloy administration’s political spin completely overlooks the reality that an extra $50 million a year, funds that are primarily targeted to selected schools, doesn’t begin to resolve the $750 million to $2 billion underfunding problem that leaves Connecticut’s public schools underfunded and disproportionately shifts an unfair burden to local property taxpayers.
You can read more background on the case in the following two Wait, What? blog posts:
- “Jepsen/Malloy move to destroy most important school funding lawsuit in modern times,” Jonathan Pelto, Wait What? Blog, Sept 13, 2013, http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/09/13/jepsenmalloy-move-destroy-important-school-funding-lawsuit-modern-times/
- “The CCJEF v. Rell School Funding Case: The incredible transformation of Malloy and Jepson,” Jonathan Pelto, Wait What? Blog, Sept 16, 2013, http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/09/16/ccjef-v-rell-school-funding-case-incredible-transformation-malloy-jepsen/