OMG! Good thing our Education Commissioner is a lawyer and not an educator…

Otherwise known as, “What do you mean we can’t get paid for work provided after our contract end date has occurred, but you promised!”

Today’s “MUST READ” news article comes via CTNewsjunkie and is entitled “Lawsuit: State Still Owes About $235,000 to Education Reform Consultants

As Christine Stuart explains;

“Three education consulting firms sued the state this week claiming the Department of Education failed to pay them in full for their work helping the Malloy administration with its reform efforts in 2012.

Leeds Global Partners, the New York firm that helped reorganize the Education Department “and create policies and procedures that promote student achievement in Connecticut” says it has only been paid half of the $200,000 it was promised by the state, according to the complaint.”

Wait, What? readers may recall the series of posts about how Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, brought in Leeds Global Partners and the other corporate education reform consultants though no-bid contracts to help him write and push through  Malloy’s “education reform” legislation.

Rather than have to deal with the state’s pesky competitive bidding, Pryor and his team simply told the State Education Resource Center (SERC) to hire Pryor’s hand-picked consultants sans any process whatsoever.

The Connecticut Department of Education then transferred money to SERC to pay for the outside consultants plus an extra percentage for SERC to keep for themselves for overhead and coordination.

The group of companies in question had either done work with Pryor when he was working for Newark Mayor Cory Booker or were other education reform associates who had done work in New Jersey. Continue reading “OMG! Good thing our Education Commissioner is a lawyer and not an educator…”

Courant focuses attention on Malloy’s nominee for State Board of Education

The Hartford Courant increased media attention on Andrea Comer, Governor Malloy’s nominee for the Connecticut State Board of Education yesterday with a story entitled, “Teachers Union Opposes Nomination Of Charter School Executive To State Board Of Education.”

Comer, who serves as the Chief Operations Officer of FUSE/Jumoke Inc., the charter school management company that owns the Jumoke Academy and the Jumoke Academy at Milner was nominated by Malloy to fill a spot on the State Board that oversees and approves Connecticut’s charter schools, along with setting policy for Connecticut’s public education system.

Prior to working for FUSE/Jumoke, Inc., Comer worked for more than two years for Achievement First, Inc., the large charter school management company that was co-founded by Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor.

According to the Courant’s education reporter, Kathy Megan;

“Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s nomination of a charter school executive to the state Board of Education has met with a brushfire of opposition from a teachers union.

Earlier this month, Malloy nominated Andrea Comer, 47, chief operating officer for the charter school group FUSE (Family Urban Schools of Excellence), the Hartford organization that manages Jumoke Academy.

“It is extremely disappointing that the governor would appoint a person so into charter schools as she is,” said Andrea Johnson, president of the Hartford Federation of Teachers. “It’s just a slap in the face of every public school teacher. It’s terrible.’

“Once again, it’s the governor acting like the reformer that he’s not. It’s the governor and [State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor] wanting to get more reform people into the public sector.”

Eric Bailey, spokesman for the Connecticut chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said: “We don’t believe that her appointment to the state Board of Education represents the balanced approach necessary to ensure that the children of Connecticut are getting the kind of education they need.”

The best quote in the entire article comes from Governor Malloy’s spokesperson who sent an email to the Courant saying, “We believe the State Board of Education should reflect a diversity of opinion, and Andrea’s experience will add to the board’s diversity…” Continue reading “Courant focuses attention on Malloy’s nominee for State Board of Education”

Malloy’s Nominee for Connecticut’s State Board of Education Makes National Blog

Diane Ravitch, the leading voice of the pro-public education movement in the United States, re-posted yesterday’s Wait, What? blog on one of the controversies surrounding Governor Malloy’s nominee to the Connecticut State Board of Education.

Ravitch wrote;

“Jonathan Pelto reminds us of the national publicity about a homeless woman who was arrested and fined for the crime of enrolling her child in the Norwalk public schools when she was not a resident of that city in Connecticut.

Now Governor Dannell Malloy has nominated a woman to the state board of education even though she was in the same dispute with the Windsor schools a decade ago. But it is okay for her because she is not an indigent woman. In fact, she is the Chief Operations Officer for FUSE/Jumoke, the charter school management company that operates Jumoke Academy.

That makes a big difference”

The full Wait,What? blog can be found at:

The complex issue of stealing public education…Just ask Malloy’s nominee for the State Board of Education

A woman is accused of stealing the cost of her child’s public education.

No, it’s not the story of Tonya McDowell, the Bridgeport woman who was arrested and pled guilty to first-degree larceny in 2011 for stealing $15,686 (the cost of her son’s education) from the Norwalk School District.

In that case, McDowell’s son was kicked out of Norwalk’s Brookside Elementary School in December 2010, when the City of Norwalk realized that McDowell didn’t live in Norwalk.  McDowell, who was homeless at the time, was using her babysitter’s Norwalk address to enroll her son in the local Norwalk school.  In addition to being arrested and convicted of a crime, McDowell’s babysitter was evicted from her public housing for being an accomplice to a crime.

No, this is a different case.

One that relates much more directly to education policy in Connecticut, because the person is waiting for the Connecticut House of Representatives to vote on her nomination to the Connecticut State Board of Education..

In this alleged case of stealing public education, the year was 2002, and the woman had moved from Windsor to Hartford to take a job with Mayor Eddie Perez.

The woman, Andrea Comer, is Governor Malloy’s most recent nominee for the State Board of Education.  Comer presently works as the Chief Operations Officer for FUSE/Jumoke, the charter school management company that operates Jumoke Academy, Jumoke Academy at Milner and is seeking permission to expand its operations into other Hartford schools.

In Comer’s case, despite moving to Hartford, Comer kept her daughter in Windsor’s Sage Park Middle School.  She explained that she didn’t want to disrupt her child’s education.

Comer appealed to the Windsor Board of Education for a waiver from the residency requirement, but they denied her request.  According to a December 2002 Hartford Courant article, Windsor officials told her that “said she could stay in the school system if Comer paid tuition.”

She appealed to the hearing division of the state department of education, but was denied there as well.

She certainly knew the residency rules, but failed to enroll her daughter in a Hartford School despite the fact that she lived in Hartford,

The Windsor Board of Education had enough and sent her a bill for $5,120, the value of the education Windsor taxpayers were paying for someone who wasn’t even a resident.

At the time, Comer told the Courant that she didn’t intend to pay the tuition bill.

The president of the Windsor Board of Education defended their approach saying that residency rules are clear-cut, adding, `it’s not that we don’t feel for the families, but we have to follow the policy.’

There appear to be no media reports about how the issue was finally resolved, but it is interesting that the issue was never raised during Comer’s recent hearing before the General Assembly’s Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee.

The Norwalk case produced hundreds of stories around the nation and led to major rallies and calls for action both for and against those who would steal public education.

Comer’s case produced one story and little to no follow-up.

Of course, in Comer’s case she was an up and coming player in the Hartford political scene.

And just five years earlier, Comer had been a Hartford Courant reporter… Covering, at least in part, the Windsor Schools.