New London Board of Education puts off vote on superintendent till Thursday

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The Hartford Courant is reporting the latest news on the “Dr.” Terrence Carter debacle…and while Carter is the Malloy administration’s choice for New London Superintendent of Schools, allegations that he falsified continue to build.

The Hartford Courant story entitled, Vote Off On Incoming School Chief Who Called Himself Ph.D. Without Accredited Doctorate, explains;

The New London school board Monday postponed a vote to approve a contract for Terrence P. Carter as its new schools superintendent after The Courant disclosed that Carter has been calling himself “doctor” and “Ph.D.” for more than five years on the basis of what he’s described as a degree from an “unaccredited” university.

“We had a number of questions,” said Margaret Mary “Peg” Curtin, president of the Board of Education.

She said board members plan to meet in a closed-door session with Carter on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the Science & Technology Magnet High School in New London. After that, she said, the board will meet in a public session, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., to consider approving a contract.

Meanwhile, stories, blogs and jokes about “Dr.” Terrence Carter are popping up across the country as news about “Dr.” Terrence Carter reaches other public education advocates.

Check out the following from public education advocates and bloggers.

George Schmidt. Here a doctor. There a doctor.

Call me Dr. Klonsky, if you please.

Ten minute drawing. CPS central office. Is there a real doctor in the house?

And there are a growing number of news stories as well,

New London school board cancels meeting, delaying vote on new superintendent

Incoming New London superintendent’s references to Ph.D. at issue on eve of contract vote

Without An Accredited Doctorate

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

Commissioner Pryor and entourage are the biggest threat to Malloy’s Re-election…

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Considering Governor Dannel Malloy won the last gubernatorial election with less than 50% of the 1.2 million votes cast and his margin of victory was only 6,404 votes, virtually anything could cost him his re-election dreams.

But forget the Republicans and their propensity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory…

Forget Malloy’s tax increases that have fallen disproportionately on the middle class…

Forget the combined $3.2 billion deficit that Malloy’s budget gimmicks have created for the three years following the next election….

Forget his warped “economic development” strategy that gives multi-million dollar companies scarce public funds that should be going to preserve vital services…

With nearly 500 teachers showing up at a Fairfield County meeting last night to meet with their state legislators we are reminded, yet again, that Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and his entourage of high-priced, out-of-state consultants and personal assistants is the factor most likely to put an end to Malloy’s political career.

Commissioner Pryor, the co-founder of Achievement First, Inc., the large charter school management company has led Governor Malloy’s relentless effort to undermine Connecticut’s teachers, parents and public education system.

It was Governor Malloy, with the help of Pryor and a series of no-bid contracts with out-of-state corporate education reform industry consultants that introduced the most anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-public education bill of any Democratic governor in the country.

And thanks to Malloy and Pryor, the Common Core freight train and the inappropriate Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment testing scheme will end up costing Connecticut taxpayers tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of dollars…while turning Connecticut’s public schools into nothing more than testing factories.

The truth be told; Every day teachers, along with more and more parents of public school students, understand that Malloy was brutally honest when he said that he didn’t mind teaching to the test, as long as the test scores go up!

Add in Malloy and Pryor’s absurd teacher evaluation system, along with Malloy’s failure to properly fund Connecticut’s Education Cost Sharing school funding formula and you have a situation that could easily cost Malloy ten times the number of votes he won by in the 2010 election.

In addition to the millions that Commissioner Pryor has wasted on no-bid contracts and his ongoing effort to divert scarce taxpayer funds to his charter school agenda, the record is clear.

Pryor hired his personal friend, Adam Goldfarb under one job classification and then immediately bumped up his salary and made him chief of staff.  Goldfarb’s educational experience?  Serving on the board of directors of a New Jersey charter school.

And it was Pryor who turned over the State Department of Education’s School Turnaround Office to Morgan Barth.  This is the same Morgan Barth who worked illegally for six years as a teacher and administrator at Pryor’s Achievement First, Inc. Despite a state law requiring all teachers and administrators to hold state certification, Morgan Barth refused to go through process required to be in a Connecticut classroom or principal’s office.   What does Stefan Pryor do?  With six years of illegal teaching and administration under his belt, Pryor puts Barth in charge of the effort to undermine the teachers and schools in Connecticut’s 30 Alliance Districts

And if all of that wasn’t bad enough, Stefan Pryor is Steven Adamowski’s biggest supporter – Adamowski got a $225,000 no-bid contract from the Malloy administration to serve as “Special Master” of Windham and New London.  When the contract period ran out, Pryor gave Adamowski a six-figure state job without posting the position or going through the proper selection process.  And all this time, “Special Master” Adamowski is wreaking havoc with the public schools in two of Connecticut’s poorest communities.

Malloy’s popularity has been in the tank since he was elected.  There are many challenges to his re-election plans, but none more serious or significant than his the way and his Commissioner of Education have treated Connecticut’s teachers, parents and public schools.

“I am in control here” – A day in the life of Special Master Steven Adamowski

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 “As of now, I am in control here, in the White House.” – Alexander Haig, Secretary of the State

It was March 30, 1981 and an assassination attempt sent President Reagan to the hospital.

Secretary of the State Al Haig called a press conference at the White House to announce, “Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State in that order, and should the President decide he wants to transfer the helm to the Vice President, he will do so. He has not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending return of the Vice President and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.”

But of course, Al Haig had his facts wrong since the US Constitution requires that the line of succession is the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and then the Secretary of State.

The Haig moment is often used as a metaphor when someone inappropriately attempts to take power or control.

Just such a moment occurred earlier this week when Governor Malloy’s “Special Master” for New London and Windham, Steven Adamowski, informed the New London Board of Education that he and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor were the ones truly in charge when it came to selecting a new local superintendent of schools for New London.

As reported by The Day newspaper of New London, Peg Curtin, the head of the New London Board of Education explained, “I would like to see the community be involved…”I would just want to make sure everyone is heard.”

The newspaper then goes on to report that, “As a result of the state’s involvement in the city’s school system, Adamowski said, he or the state commissioner of education could review the candidates the board decides to interview and eliminate any they find to be unqualified.”

Adamowski explained, “We will not be in a situation where I or the commissioner is in a position of having to veto something the board wants to do or tell you not to do something…We would like to simply make sure that the depth and quality of the candidates that go before you as finalists is sufficient.”

What?

The Connecticut General Assembly authorized the State Board of Education, in very limited circumstances, to name a “Special Master” to help communities improve their schools.  The Malloy administration has used that authority in two cases – Windham and New London.

In both cases the result has been a disaster.

While the title “Special Master” is absurd and insulting, the law was never intended to create a dictator who would be in position to destroy a community’s right to control its schools.

And yet is exactly what has been happening in the two communities.

Adamowski’s rhetoric is nothing short of an “Al Haig moment” and the citizens of New London and Windham better reach out to their local state senators and representatives to insure this modern-day Al Haig doesn’t get away with claiming powers he does not have.

A perfect example of the problem appears in the very same Day article.  The paper reports, “Adamowski has previously recommended that the new superintendent’s salary be set to a competitive level, that he or she be given a three-year contract and that the renewal of the superintendent’s contract be determined solely by the results of a yet-to-be-adopted performance evaluation tied to performance targets established in the district’s strategic operating plan.”

A superintendent evaluation “determined solely by the results of a yet-to-be-adopted performance evaluation tied to performance targets?

(AKA standardized test scores).

With that approach, New London parents and their local representative must move quickly to take back control of their schools so they can hire a superintendent who has the ability to fulfill all the duties associated with the job.

Because, as every parent, teacher and school board members understands, a superintendent’s job is so much more than improving test scores.

Superintendents are responsible for recruiting and retaining good administrators and teachers, for making sure special education student get the additional help they need and deserve, for developing and implementing effective bi-lingual and English Language Learning Programs, for improving early education opportunities, for reducing bullying and creating safer school climates, for seeking ways to reduce racial isolation, for ensuring scarce resources are well spent and the list goes on and on.

Despite Steven Adamowski’s apparent wish, Connecticut’s “Special Master” Statute was never intended to allow Pryor, Adamowski or anyone else to make decisions that are solely within the purview of the local Board of Education.

And if Adamowski claims he has special powers then citizens need to ensure legislators act to protect them from that power grab.

Al Haig’s comments that day in 1981 made him the laughing-stock of the world.

Adamowski’s claim that as “Special Master” he has “super powers” is equally absurd.

Or as the case may be, hey Steven, “you’re doing a heck of a job.”

You can find the latest Day article here:  http://www.theday.com/article/20131206/NWS01/312069954/0/SEARCH

Malloy calls his “educational reform” initiative “part of this grand experiment.”

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In the United States you can’t take medicine unless it has been fully tested and determined to be safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Heck, you can’t even sell or buy genetically modified salmon without it going through a comprehensive independent assessment process.

But for reasons that are extremely hard to comprehend public officials seem perfectly satisfied to upend our public education system and force local schools districts to adopt a one-size fits all corporate education reform industry agenda that is expensive and appears to be extremely ineffective, at best.

In 2012 Governor Malloy introduced the most anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-public education reform agenda of any Democratic governor in the nation.

Two years later, Malloy, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and a cadre of out-of-state consultants, along with people like Paul Vallas and Steven Adamowski, are pushing full steam ahead with their plans to force Connecticut’s school districts to implement very expensive standardized testing and evaluation systems, along with “turnaround programs,” that are untested, unproven and divert scarce resources away from the very instruction programs that are working with the vast majority of students.

Instead of systematically testing targeted strategies and then implementing those that work, Malloy, Pryor and their entourage are experimenting with Connecticut’s students and forcing Connecticut’s taxpayers to pick up the cost.

At yesterday’s grand opening of the Connecticut River Academy Magnet School in East Hartford, Governor Malloy had a moment of incredible honestly or uttered what could only be described as a true Freudian slip.

As reported in the Hartford Courant, Malloy, speaking to a crowd of students, staff and community leaders at the school’s opening told the students that they are “part of this grand experiment that we have underway in the state of Connecticut…”

Malloy added, “This is our gamble, our bet, our investment in your future, that is saying that we want Connecticut to be as successful as it ever was, in fact we want it to be more successful.”

Malloy said, when it comes to Connecticut, “In fact we want it to be more successful…”

Truer words have never been spoken.

But if our government leaders actually meant what they said, and said what they meant, they’d be engaged in a very different form of “education reform,” a reform that was not based on a corporate education reform industry agenda but one that was based on strategies that were properly assessed and deemed appropriate for the students of our state.

As the saying goes, “All students can learn and succeed, but not all on the same day, in the same way.”

We do the right thing when it comes to medicine; we even do it for salmon.

Our children deserve no less.

The man with no teaching experience calls himself “America’s Most Trusted Educator.”

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Connecticut law requires that all public school teachers must hold proper teaching certification in order to be educators.

Yet Steve Perry, the principal of Hartford’s Capital Preparatory Academy promotes himself as “America’s most trusted educator.”  In fact, he often starts his speeches and tweets by saying, “As an educator…”

But Steve Perry has NO TEACHING EXPERIENCE and no state teaching certification.

Like Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas and Special Master, Steven Adamowski, Steve Perry does not even have the state certification required to teach in a Connecticut public school.

Not only wouldn’t these so-called champions of education reform last a day in a classroom, they don’t even have the legal right to serve as a Connecticut teacher.

But despite all their self-promotion, these guys hardly represent the broad array of administrators who are running Connecticut’s schools on a day-to-day basis.

Just take a moment to compare Steve Perry’s qualifications with Hartford’s other magnet school principals:

Capital Preparatory Magnet School:
Principal: Steve Perry
Administrative Certification:  “PROVISIONAL”
Other state certification:
NONE
 
 
Hartford Classical Magnet School
Principal:  James Mott: 
Administrative Certification: “PROFESSIONAL”
Other state certification:
021-LATIN AND CLASSICAL HUMANITIES
015-ENGLISH, GRADES 7 THROUGH 12
110-UNIQUE SUBJECT AREA ENDORSEMENT
 
Richard J. Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts
Principal:  Ken O’Brien
Administrative Certification: “PROFESSIONAL”
Other state certification:
165-SPECIAL EDUCATION: COMPREHENSIVE, GRADES K THROUGH 12
110-UNIQUE SUBJECT AREA ENDORSEMENTS
 
Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) 
Principal:  Sally Brigs
Administrative Certification:  “PROFESSIONAL”
Other state certification:
044-PHYSICAL EDUCATION, PRE-K THROUGH GRADE 12 
 
Sport and Medical Sciences Academy (Grades 6-12)
Principal:  John Laverty
Administrative Certification: “PROFESSIONAL”
Other state certification 
001-PRE-K THROUGH GRADE 8
026-HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES, GRADES 7 THROUGH 12 
 
Hartford Journalism and Media Magnet School
Leonard Epps
Administrative Certification:  “PROFESSIONAL”
Other state certification:
026-HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES, GRADES 7 THROUGH 12
 
Breakthrough Magnet School
Principal:  Julie Goldstein
Administrative Certification:  “PROVISIONAL”
Other state certification
044-PHYSICAL EDUCATION, PRE-K THROUGH GRADE 12 

Environmental Sciences Magnet at Mary Hooker
Principal: Peter Dart:
Administrative Certification:  “PROVISIONAL”
Other state certification:
002-PRE-K THROUGH GRADE 6
006-GRADES 4 THROUGH 8
 
Betances Magnet School
Principal:  Melony Brady
Administrative Certification: “PROVISIONAL”
Other state certification:
043-HEALTH, PRE-K THROUGH GRADE 12
044-PHYSICAL EDUCATION, PRE-K THROUGH GRADE 12
 
Montessori Magnet at Moylan School
Principal: Carolyn Havrda
Administrative Certification: “PROVISIONAL”
Other state certification:
001-PRE-K THROUGH GRADE 8
039-SECONDARY SUBJECT
102-REMEDIAL READING AND REMEDIAL LANGUAGE ARTS, GRADES 1 THROUGH 12
 
University High School of Science and Engineering (Grades 9-12)
Principal:  Martin Folan
Administrative Certification: “PROVISIONAL”
Other state certification: 
068-SCHOOL COUNSELOR
229-MATHEMATICS, MIDDLE SCHOOL

And the list goes on and on.

Being an effective school administrator requires real-world teaching experience.

Steven Perry and his ilk have little to none.

Capital Prep Principal and No-Excuse Champion Steve Perry: Too big to follow rules?

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Note:  Steven Adamowski, not Christina Kishimoto was Hartford’s superintendent of schools when Perry was away from his school despite a written rule that prohibited Perry from using vacation or personal days to leave the school unattended.

So did Perry violate the policy of the City of Hartford school board or did Superintendent Steven Adamowski give Perry a special deal.

Every Hartford principal knows that rules when it comes to being at work in the weeks leading up to the Connecticut Mastery Testing…

“FURTHER, NO VACATIONS OR PROFESSIONAL LEAVE WILL BE APPROVED FOR PRINCIPALS DURING THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 22 THROUGH MARCH 22, 2011”

-Hartford Public Schools; The Office of Talent Management 2011-2012
http://talent.hartfordschools.org/index.php/component/content/article/69
 

 The date:         Friday, February 25, 2011

The location:  The University of Virginia
Darden School of Business
Black Business Student Forum
Annual Conference
 
LUNCH KEYNOTE – 1:00 – 2:30 pm
Dr. Perry, CNN Education Correspondent

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISC4bzYtz8Y.

So did Steve Perry violate City of Hartford rules or did Superintendent Steven Adamowski or his side-kick Christina Kishimoto give Perry a special deal?

And in Windham, parents and teachers speak out against Adamowski

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Last week, at a forum sponsored by the Windham Federation of Teachers and the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), parents, teachers and other local Windham residents met with State Senator Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-29) and State Representative Susan Johnson (D-49) to voice their outrage about the way “Special Master,” “Special Deal” Steven Adamowski has been undermining Windham’s schools.

Now the question is what are State Senator Williams and State Representative Johnson going to do about what they heard?

The “Special Master” law that Williams and Johnson sponsored was supposed to give Windham (and later New London) additional state support and resources.

Instead, “Special Master” Steven Adamowski has spent millions of dollars in state and local funds to push his corporate education reform industry agenda on the unsuspecting students, parents, teachers and citizens of Windham and New London.

Adamowski’s dictatorial and autocratic approach has angered parents, demoralized teachers, stunned local officials and left the schools in those two communities in chaos.

One of the most serious complaints has been Adamowski’s complete unwillingness to include parents, teachers and local officials in the decision making process.

Adamowski has repeatedly failed to follow Connecticut laws concerning the role of local school governance councils.

In Windham, Special Master Adamowski has completely mishandled the Windham Middle School “Turnaround” process.  After months of work by a committee made up of local parents, teachers and administrators, Adamowski hijacked the process and demolished the locally grown plan by threatening Windham that it would not get state funds unless his proposals were substituted for the ones approved by the local committee.

When the committee balked at Adamowski’ effort, the Special Master, with the help and support of Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, threated to reject the plan leaving Windham without the funds it needed.

At the forum, Senator Williams and Representative Johnson also heard about Adamowski’s on-going efforts to reduce or eliminate bilingual and English Language Learner programs in Windham.

Both Windham and New London have seen an influx of families who use a language other than English as their primary language.  Rather than rise to meet that challenge, Steven Adamowski has been forcing policy changes that teachers say are having a profoundly negative impact on students who need extra help to succeed in school.

Adamowski’s long list of failings has been well documented over the past two years.

What has also been well documented are the issues related to the way he has spent state funds.

Adamowski has spent upwards toward $2 million, almost all of it without utilizing appropriate competitive bidding processes.

Numerous consultants and companies that he has done business with in the past have benefited from his largess.

But nobody has benefited more than Adamowski himself.

During the past two years, Adamowski has collected a total salary of $450,000 plus full medical and dental insurance for both himself and his wife.

The state has also paid for his professional and general liability insurance plus a stipend to pay for his life and disability insurance policies.

In addition to his taxpayer-funded salary and benefit package, Adamowski was given 25 days of vacation time per year, 15 days of paid sick time per year and 3 days of paid personal time per year.  Overall this means that in addition to all the paid holidays, Adamowski was able to use or accrue nearly nine weeks of paid time off each year…that is four and half months of paid time over during the contract period.

And to top things off, just this past August, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor made Steven Adamowski a state employee.  The move was made before the State Board of Education had even decided whether to continue the Special Master’s role and the job Adamowski was given was never posted nor did he have to go through any process to get the position.

At last week’s AFT forum, State Senator Williams and State Representative Johnson heard about all these issues and more.

But to reiterate the obvious, the question is now what are these legislators going to do to stop Adamowski from doing even more damage to their community’s schools.

Will Bridgeport’s teacher negotiations be another chapter in Malloy’s Waterloo?

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Many school teachers have already decided that they won’t be voting for Governor Malloy if he runs again…

And those who have yet to make up their minds may join their colleagues in voting against Malloy as they watch Malloy’s allies scapegoat teachers in the upcoming Bridgeport teacher contract negotiations.

As the Connecticut Post recently explained, “Talks to change what Mayor Bill Finch and school board Chairman Kenneth Moales Jr. have called the worst teacher’s contract” have begun in Bridgeport.

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Bridgeport Board of Education Chairman Kenneth Moales Jr. and Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools Paul Vallas have all been leading voices for Governor Malloy, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and the rest of the corporate education reform industry in Connecticut.

Outrageous, insulting and irresponsible rhetoric has been one of their primary weapons.

Every school teacher in Connecticut recalls Governor Malloy’s comment that teachers need only show up for four years to get tenure and few will forget that it was Malloy who said that he didn’t mind requiring teachers to teach to the test as long as test scores went up.

As Wait, What? readers know, Finch and Moales have had their own share of incredible statements.

Calling the present Bridgeport contract the “worst teacher’s contract” is just one more example.

Meanwhile, both Finch and Moales have ducked the fact that they are violating Connecticut state law by allowing the City of Bridgeport to fail to meet Connecticut’s minimum budget expenditure law.

And Bridgeport’s failure to allocate sufficient funds for its public schools is not only hurting the quality of education for Bridgeport’s children but will cost Bridgeport taxpayers millions unless Finch can get Malloy, Pryor and the Connecticut General Assembly to exempt them from having to follow the laws that apply to every other Connecticut community.

But instead of dealing with the financial crisis that they are creating, Finch and the other Malloy supporters in Bridgeport are going to try to create a diversion by making the teachers, the Bridgeport Education Association and the teacher’s contract the “big issue” of the year.

As the Connecticut Post article reveals, when Finch presented his budget to the newspaper, “Finch said he was planning to count on Vallas to radically change the current teacher’s union contract.”

Finch told the Connecticut Post, “I am working very closely with Vallas. He’s never seen a contract as bad as this…We need major concessions in that contract and we are prepared to go to whatever extent to get them.”

  • Worst contract Vallas has ever seen?
  • “We need major concessions in that contract and we are prepared to go to whatever extent to get them.”

School teachers across Connecticut recognize that this hyperbole is so absurd that it actually makes it very clear just what these education reform industry representatives are actually pushing.

As the 2014 gubernatorial election approaches, let no one fool themselves.

Governor Malloy has aligned himself with Stefan Pryor, Bill Finch, Kenneth Moales, Paul Vallas and Steven Adamowski and these individuals are engaged in an all-out war to blame teachers and undermine teacher’s collective bargaining rights.

There is simply no doubt that Governor Malloy’s education reform bill was the most anti-teacher, anti-union “reform bill” introduced by any Democratic governor in the nation.

That same mentality is driving Finch, Moales and Vallas in Bridgeport.

The political reality is that as a result of these developments, Bridgeport’s teacher contract negotiations could very well be the nail in Malloy’s political coffin, if it hasn’t already been nailed shut.

Child Abuse in the form of the “No Excuses” education model

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The new Jumoke Academy at Dunbar (AKA The Paul Dunbar School, A FUSE Family Urban Schools of Excellence) recently posted job announcements that it was looking for four new teachers.

Putting aside why Jumoke, the charter school management company that was hired to take over and run the Dunbar elementary school is looking for four new teachers, over a month into the new school year, the job posting announces that the charter school company wants educators who will “sweat the small stuff” and are committed to “embracing the challenges facing urban schools with a mantra of ‘No Excuses’ and a willingness to do ‘Whatever it takes.’”

In this case, the phrase “sweat the small stuff” is a euphemism that explains that anyone unwilling to implement Jumoke’s “get tough, ”No Excuses” education model need not apply.

The “No Excuses” approach to education has become a rallying cry for the corporate education reform industry.

Many parents, teachers and proponents of schools, education and learning might mistakenly think the term “no excuses” describes the obligation society, government, schools and parents have to ensuring that every child in America gets a quality education.

But the term “No Excuses” is really a placeholder for a militaristic, highly disciplined, autocratic system in which children are forced to understand that discipline, conformity and following rules is the fundamental cornerstone that leads to academic achievement.

The adherents of the “No Excuse” model believe that the best route to creating safe, healthy and productive school environments is to ensure that children don’t deviate from the rules and that the price of non-compliance is punishments that are so disproportionate that the children  learn to comply or leave the school for good.

The fact that we are dealing with children or that the United States is constitutionally bound to the principle of individualism rather than fascism or collectivism is nothing more than a concept to be overlooked.

Most “No Excuses” schools actually lose more than half their students along the way.

At the Harlem Success Academy Charter Schools, CEO Eva Moskowitz has created a system in which, “New students are initiated at ‘kindergarten boot camp,’ where they get drilled for two weeks on how to behave in the “zero noise” corridors (straight lines, mouths shut, arms at one’s sides).”

Achievement First, Inc., the charter school management company that was co-founded by Stefan Pryor and owns and operates charter schools in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island utilizes the draconian techniques of excessive school suspensions and a “re-orientation” room.

As we learned earlier is year, “The incidence of suspension of kindergartners and first graders at Achievement First Hartford Academy last year was an estimated nine times the rate in Hartford public schools.

Put another way, an estimated 11.7 percent of kindergartners and first-graders at Achievement First Hartford Academy were suspended last year an average of 5.4 times each. In the Hartford public school system, 3.3 percent of kindergartners and first-graders were suspended an average of 2.1 times.”

At the time, Achievement First’s Dean of School Culture told the Hartford Courant that they instituted, “a very high bar for the conduct of our students and that’s because we’ve made a promise to our scholars and our families that we are going to prepare them for college.”

It figures it would take someone with the title of “dean of school culture” to come up with a phrase that brings together kindergartners, a high bar of conduct and preparing them for college.

At these “No Excuses” schools, the strategies to force conformity follow the children all the way through their primary and secondary education.  At Achievement First’s Hartford high school, “Rolling one’s eyes at a teacher will get a freshman sent to the school’s Reorientation Room where…’they get the extra culture they need.’”

As parents and children at Bridgeport’s “new” Dunbar School will come to find out, the discipline policies at the schools run by FUSE/Jumoke are similar in scope to those used by Achievement First, Inc.  Jumoke also relies on the suspensions and a “reorientation” room, although at Jumoke it apparently goes by a different name.

Even the most casual observer will recognize that the “No Excuses” education model drifts into the realm of what reasonable people would call child abuse.

Perhaps the most disturbing point of all is that while people like Governor Malloy, Commissioner Pryor, Paul Vallas and Steven Adamowski tout the “No Excuses” model, not one of them would ever suggest that such a model be used in Connecticut’s suburban communities.

It is quite a commentary that here we are in the 21st century and  we’ve got “mainstream” political leaders who promote policies that are essentially child abuse….as long as those policies only apply to children who are attending urban schools that serve our minority and poor students.

Achievement First’s Teacher Certification Violations lead right into State Department of Education

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Achievement First – Bridgeport Academy is among Connecticut’s worst offenders when it comes to charter schools that fail to provide students with properly certified teachers.

According to the records filed with the State Department of Education, of the 59 teachers working at Achievement First – Bridgeport last year, 21 (36 percent) did not have Connecticut certification or were teaching outside of their certification parameters.

Among the list of non-certified personnel at Achievement First – Bridgeport Academy was Morgan Barth.  Barth was recently named by Commissioner Stefan Pryor to be the Director of the State Department of Education’s Turnaround Office, the entity that is assigned to overseeing state support for Connecticut 30 Alliance Districts.

It is incredibly telling that Stefan Pryor, the co-founder of Achievement First, couldn’t find anyone more capable of managing the Malloy administration’s ongoing effort to “help” the state’s thirty poorest school districts than someone whose only experience was at Achievement First, Inc.

It’s even more telling that the Malloy administration, who can’t stop belittling and undermining teachers chose to hire someone who has never held state certification despite a state law requiring them to do so.

According to his resume, Morgan Barth was a “founding teacher” at Achievement First – Elm City Preparatory Academy in New Haven from August 2004 to June 2008 and then went on to serve as a principal there and then as principal at the Achievement First – Bridgeport Academy Middle School.

But in direct violation of state law, Morgan Barth apparently never held Connecticut state certification to be a teacher or an administrator.

On July 1, 2010 a new state law took effect that allowed charter schools to use up to 30% non-certified teachers and administrators, although Connecticut’s regular district public schools were still required to have 100 percent of their staff certified.

Despite that law, Achievement First Inc. has consistently had more than 30 percent of their staff non-certified.

And that 2010 law doesn’t erase the fact that it appears Morgan Barth was illegally teaching and serving as a principal for at least 6 years.

There are over 45,000 public school teachers who meet Connecticut’s certification law and nearly as many retired teachers who met the law when they were teachers.

Add in at least 8,000 plus school administrators (except Paul Vallas and Steven Adamowski) who also have proper state certification.

But despite more than 50,000 certified teachers and administrators, Governor Malloy and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor chose to put Connecticut’s “Alliance Districts” in the hands of an individual who has consistently failed to do what is legally required of Connecticut’s real public school teachers and administrators.

The arrogance and sense of entitlement that surrounds the corporate education reform movement is not unlike the arrogance and sense of entitlement that surrounds the clowns in Washington who are purposely tanking our federal government and our economy.

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