What the ______?  Debate reveals Malloy’s position on teacher tenure is even worse….

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UPDATED WITH ADDENDUM

The question for Governor Malloy should have been a simple one;

Mr. Malloy, you are the only Democratic governor in the United States who has proposed doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for teachers in the lowest performing (the so called turnaround schools), will you this opportunity to renounce your 2012 tenure proposal and can you tell us exactly what your position is on teacher tenure and collective bargaining?

Sadly (but not surprisingly), the moderator of tonight’s debate, the Norwich Bulletin’s Ray Hackett, DID NOT ask Malloy the pivotal question.

Instead he returned to Malloy’s absurd, insulting and idiotic statement that teachers need only show up for school for four years and they’ll get tenure.

And how did Malloy respond to the question?

The Hartford Courant explains;

“Regarding Malloy’s high-profile remark on teacher tenure in an address in the historic Hall of the House at the state Capitol in Hartford, Malloy said, ‘I should admit that was bad language. It wasn’t about them. It was about tenure. … I shouldn’t have said it. I apologize for saying it.’”

Wait, What?

Democratic Governor Dan Malloy is now saying his statement wasn’t meant to denigrate teachers but was meant to disparage tenure?

As if that is a better position?

Malloy’s explanation, two and a half years later is that “It wasn’t about them. It was about tenure…”

The corporate education reform industry, riding high off a successful anti-teacher tenure lawsuit in California, is targeting the single most important element of academic freedom and working conditions for public school teachers and now the only Democratic governor in the nation to propose doing away with teacher tenure is saying that his abusive language about teachers “Wasn’t about them.  It was about tenure…”

Is there any Democratic leader in Connecticut or anyone in the leadership of the American Federation of Teachers or the Connecticut Education Association or any other union that will stand up and condemn Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s continuing attack on teacher tenure and public school teachers?

ADDENDUM:

Almost as interesting as Malloy’s decision to reiterate his anti-teacher tenure position is the way in which the media decided to cover Malloy’s quote.  Take a “close reading” of the way the media decided to highlight Malloy’s continued verbal assault on teacher tenure.

Hartford Courant:

On Wednesday, Malloy expressed regret at his choice of words, calling it “bad language.”

“It wasn’t about them. It was about tenure,” Malloy said. “I shouldn’t have said it. I apologize for saying it.”

http://www.courant.com/community/norwich/hc-ct-governors-race-debate-foley-malloy-0828-20140827,0,7507329.story

CT Newsjunkie:

Hackett also gave Malloy an opportunity to comment on a statement he made in 2012 that infuriated teachers and caused them to rally against his proposal on the steps of the state Capitol.

“I should admit that that was bad language,” Malloy said regarding his remarks. “It wasn’t actually about them, it was about tenure . . . I shouldn’t have said it. I apologize for saying that.”

http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/malloy_turns_focus_to_foleys_business_record_during_first_debate/

CT Mirror

“I should admit that was bad language,” said Malloy, who was greeted before the debate by rallying unions members, including the president of AFT-Connecticut. “I shouldn’t have said it. I apologize for saying it.”

http://ctmirror.org/in-first-debate-malloy-apologizes-to-teachers-needles-foley/

Pelto requests that teacher tenure and collective bargaining question be asked at gubernatorial debate

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The Norwich Bulletin newspaper is hosting the first gubernatorial debate tonight between Dannel “Dan” Malloy and Tom Foley.

On behalf of the more than 100,000 active and retired teachers, their families and public education advocates, I am publicly requesting that the following question be asked;

Governor Malloy:  You are the only Democratic governor in the United States who has proposed doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for teachers in the lowest performing (the so-called turnaround schools), will you use this opportunity to renounce your 2012 tenure proposal and can you tell us exactly what your position is on teacher tenure and collective bargaining?

Mr. Foley:  Governor Malloy earned the wrath of teachers and public school advocates when he proposed doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for teachers in the lowest performing schools.  Can you tell us whether you would have supported or opposed Governor Malloy’s proposal and what you would do on these two issues if you are elected governor?

Gubernatorial Debates:  Ask questions that matter.

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On Wednesday, August, 27th, 2014, the Norwich Bulletin newspaper will host the first of the 2014 gubernatorial debates.  Ray Hackett, the Bulletin’s editorial page editor will moderate the debate.

For reasons that I can’t seem to wrap my head around, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and Republican challenger Tom Foley are the only gubernatorial candidates that have been invited to participate in this 2014 debate, which will take place at the Slater Museum auditorium on the campus of Norwich Free Academy. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Joe Visconti, who has successfully petitioned onto the November ballot, will be prohibited from participating.

In addition, it appears that the only way to attend the debate is to get one of two hundred tickets, half of which have been provided to the Malloy campaign and the half to the Foley campaign.

Although I may not be on the list, hopefully the future gubernatorial debates will include all of the candidates who have qualified to be on the November ballot.

The debates provide a unique opportunity to ask the candidates the difficult questions that voters deserve to have answered.

If I was a participant in the debates, one of the questions that I would have asked the other candidates is the following:

Governor Malloy:  You are the only Democratic Governor in the United States who has proposed doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for teachers in turnaround schools.  While public school advocates and teachers have criticized you for saying a teacher need only show up for four years and they’ll get tenure, but that is a minor complaint compared to your proposal to actually do away with teacher tenure and repeal collective bargaining for a subset of public school teachers.

Mr. Malloy, will you use this moment to renounce your 2012 proposal and can you tell us exactly what is your position on teacher tenure and collective bargaining?

 

Mr. Foley/Mr. Visconti:  Governor Malloy earned the wrath of teachers and public school advocates when he proposed, in 2012, to do away with teacher tenure for all public school teachers and collective bargaining for teachers in the lowest performing schools.  Can you tell us whether you would have supported or opposed Governor Malloy’s proposal to end teacher tenure and limit collective bargaining and what you would do on these two issues if you are elected governor.

If it turns out that I am not on the ballot this year, and therefore cannot participate in the debates, I hope the moderators will ask the candidates these and other important questions.

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

The attack on the fundamental rights of workers continues

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Here in Connecticut we have a Democratic Governor who proposed doing away with teacher tenure, which is the basic due process protection for those who devote their lives to educating, nurturing and supporting our state’s public school children.

In the same piece of legislation, Senate Bill 24, Dannel “Dan’ Malloy also proposed completely doing away with collective bargaining for public school teachers in so-called “turnaround schools.”

No sitting Democratic governor in the United States has ever proposed such an anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-public education initiative.

Thankfully, the Connecticut General Assembly stripped Malloy’s anti-union proposals before passing what was still a terrible bill for Connecticut’s public schools.

Today it is the U.S. Supreme Court’s turn to attack the rights of workers.  In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court issued their opinion in the case of Harris v. Quinn.  Although the case recognized workers’ right to join unions and collectively bargain, the decision will allow some unionized workers who “enjoy the benefits negotiated by their union,” to refrain from paying the dues that helped bring about those benefits.

This latest Supreme Court ruling, along with the recent anti-tenure case in California, and Governor Malloy’s worst in-the-nation anti-teacher, anti-union initiative in 2012 should remind voters that when it comes to protecting the rights of workers few politicians truly say what they mean and mean what they say.

Unlike Governor Malloy, I will fight for – not against – the rights of teachers and others who have the right to collectively bargain.

In addition, unlike Governor Malloy, whether people are unionized or not, I will fight to reduce the tax burden on middle class and working families by requiring that the wealthiest in our state pay their fair share.

People deserve leaders who will roll up their sleeves and work to truly resolve the myriad of problems that face our state and its citizens.

Whether at the national level or here in Connecticut, we’ve learned the hard way what happens when we have elected officials put their own political aspirations ahead of the people they are sworn to represent.

The time has come to have leaders who understand the true meaning and purpose of a representative democracy.

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

NEWS FLASH: Malloy allied corporate education reformers may bring lawsuit to end teacher tenure in Connecticut

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The nation’s leading public education advocate, Diane Ravitch, is reporting today that,

“Spokespersons for the corporate reform movement hope to launch legal attacks on tenure and seniority in Connecticut, following the example of the Vergara case in California.”

The Vegara case is the one in which a California judge ruled, last week, that California’s teacher tenure law was illegal.

The decision is being appealed, as public school teachers and public school advocates fight to preserve the fundamental due process rights that teachers have in this country.

Earlier today, the national president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, sent out an email earlier saying,

“By attacking the rules that protect and support teachers, the Vergara decision destabilizes public education…While the decision was not unexpected, the rhetoric and lack of a thorough, well-reasoned opinion are disturbing…The judge seems to think teachers are the core of the problem facing public education. We know that teachers hold our schools together, especially in the toughest times.”

Weingarten is right.

As teachers, parents and public school advocates know, the corporate education reform industry has been putting out inaccurate and misleading statements, along with outright lies, to persuade the public that teacher tenure is bad.  Their goal is nothing less than destroying the due process rights that teachers have and deserve.

And as we know, Connecticut has been a prime target for the anti-teacher, anti-public education forces.

In 2012, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy actually proposed doing away with teacher tenure in his “education reform” bill.  The Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly removed Malloy’s anti-tenure provision before passing most of the rest of his initiative.

Although Malloy’s proposal to end tenure failed, we are now learning that the CEO of ConnCAN, the charter school advocacy group, is working to file a lawsuit to end teacher tenure in Connecticut.

When it comes to the corporate education reform industry’s effort, ConnCAN and its leaders have been Malloy’s biggest supporters.

  • ConnCAN led the $6 million dollar lobbying effort to pass Malloy’s education reform bill.  Their overall lobbying campaign was the most expensive effort in state history.
  • Malloy’s 2012 education reform bill not only called for doing away with teacher tenure, but proposed eliminating collective bargaining for teachers in turnaround schools.  When the legislature’s education committee rejected Malloy’s anti-collective bargaining language, ConnCAN issued a statement claiming that allowing teachers to have collective bargaining rights, “will not only make it impossible to enact reforms necessary to boost student performance, but it will likely prevent the most promising local and national leaders from choosing to run a [Commissioner’s] Network school.”
  • ConnCAN, and its related entity which is called A Better Connecticut, also played a leadership role in the $561,000 campaign to eliminate the democratically elected board of education in Bridgeport and replace it with one appointed by the pro-charter school mayor.  The education reforms pour so much money into their  failed campaign to change Bridgeport’s charter that it became the most expensive in Connecticut history.
  • At the start of the 2013 session of the Connecticut General Assembly, ConnCAN paid for a $38,500 poll that was conducted by Malloy’s chief advisor.  The poll claimed that, “There is broad support for continuing education reforms. Connecticut voters are overwhelmingly in favor of continuing the education reforms passed last year…”  The poll was an attempt to stop any efforts to fix the problems with Malloy’s bad education reform bill.
  • In the fall of 2013, ConnCAN’s A Better Connecticut also hired Malloy’s advisor and his political consulting company to campaign for Bridgeport’s Democratic slate of anti-public education candidates for the Bridgeport Board of Education.  Thankfully, the pro-public school candidates, that had the support of the Connecticut Education Association and the Working Families Party, won the Democratic primary and the general election.  Their victory allowed the pro-public education candidates to take control of the Bridgeport Board of Education.
  • ConnCAN has also played an increasingly large role in raising money for Malloy, despite the fact that Malloy is participating in Connecticut’s public financing system and will be getting a taxpayer-funded check for $6.2  million to pay for h is 2014 campaign for governor.
    • ConnCAN’s co-foudner, Jonathan Sackler, held an extremely lucrative fundraiser for the Malloy connected Prosperity for Connecticut PAC the day Malloy’s education reform bill became a public act in 2012.  The fundraiser netted in excess of $40,000 for Malloy’s political operation.
    • In addition, over the past eighteen months, present and former members of ConnCAN’s Board of Directors have also funneled more than $70,000 to Malloy’s political operation via the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee.

Finally, in what may will recognize as the most bizarre twist of all, while teachers and public education advocates all across Connecticut fight to save teacher tenure and collective bargaining, the American Federation of Teacher’s state chapter, the AFT-CT, endorsed Dannel Malloy last week without ever allowing me to meet with their political action committee or their executive committee.

Instead, the  AFT-CT Executive Committee threw their support behind the only Democratic governor in the nation who PROPOSED doing away with teacher tenure AND repealing collective bargaining rights for selected teachers.

And now, where Malloy left off, his allies at ConnCAN are carrying on with that agenda.

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

Don’t be fooled – Governor Malloy proposed doing away with teacher tenure

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Last week a California superior court judge ruled that California’s state’s teacher tenure law was illegal.

Public school advocates, teachers and teacher unions across the nation condemned the judge’s ruling as unfair, inappropriate and little more than a propaganda piece for the billionaires who are funding the corporate education reform industry’s attack on public education in the United States.

In response to the ruling that seeks to destroy the teacher tenure and due process law in California, the National Education Association wrote,

“California Superior Court judge today sided with Silicon Valley multimillionaire David Welch and his ultra-rich cronies in the meritless lawsuit of Vergara v. State of California. The lawsuit was brought by deep-pocketed corporate special interests intent on driving a corporate agenda geared toward privatizing public education and attacking educators.”

And American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten added,

“It’s surprising that the court, which used its bully pulpit when it came to criticizing teacher protections, did not spend one second discussing funding inequities, school segregation, high poverty or any other out-of-school or in-school factors that are proven to affect student achievement and our children.”

But let us not forget that on February 8, 2012, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy, a Democrat, used his State of the State speech to eliminate teacher tenure as part of his corporate education reform industry initiative.

That day, on the fundamental issue of teacher tenure, academic freedom and the right of teachers to have due process, Malloy said,

“In today’s system basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years.  Do that, and tenure is yours.”

Following that speech, Malloy introduced his education reform bill that became known as Senate Bill 24.

Malloy’s proposed bill eliminated tenure and replaced it with a complex system that left teachers at the mercy of losing their jobs every 30 months.

As shocking as it was that a Democratic governor would propose ending teacher tenure, Malloy became the only Democratic Governor in the nation to propose unilaterally repealing collective bargaining rights for some public school teachers —- in Malloy’s case, his bill proposed ending collective bargaining rights for teachers in turnaround schools.

What makes this tenure debate particularly incredible here in Connecticut is that while the national president of the American Federation of Teachers was standing up for teachers and condemning the California anti-tenure ruling last week, the Connecticut Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers was endorsing the only Democrat governor in the country who proposed doing away with tenure and repealing collective bargaining rights for teachers.

As reported in the media late this week, the AFT-CT endorsed Malloy last Thursday night.  Melodie Peters, the AFT-Connecticut President explained,

“Our executive committee has spoken…Last night’s vote is the final step in our democratic process for considering candidates for statewide office. It follows a long-established policy of providing a voice for our diverse, large membership through their local unions.”

AFT-CT President Peters’ comment is an odd one to be sure, considering that the AFT-CT refused to allow me – a pro-teacher, pro-union, pro-public education 3rd party candidate running for governor – to even submit a candidate questionnaire, be interviewed by the AFT-CT endorsing committee or address the AFT-CT Executive Committee before they voted.

Upon receiving the AFT-CT endorsement, Malloy’s campaign released a statement yesterday that read,

“AFT’s support is a testament to the progress we are making together in education, health care and public services….I firmly believe that teachers, health care professionals, and all workers should have the right to collectively bargain — for good wages and benefits, due process and a voice at work.”

So let’s put the truth out there for all to see.

The governor who proposed doing away with tenure (the very system that ensures that public school teachers have due process) and who actually proposed eliminating the right for some public school teachers to collectively bargain, is now claiming that he “firmly believes” in the very rights he proposed taking away.

And next up is the AFL-CIO State Convention on Monday.  Although Republican Tom Foley and Democrat Dannel Malloy are both scheduled to speak, multiple requests to allow me to address the delegates have gone unanswered and, at this point, it appears that, as was the case with the AFT-CT, as the gubernatorial candidate for the Education and Democracy Party, I will be prevented from making my case to those who determine which candidates they will endorse on behalf of their rank and file members.

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

CT Democratic legislative leaders block a public hearing on Common Core and Common Core Test

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Rather than hold a full, traditional public hearing in which any citizen could come and speak out about the implementation of the Common Core and its corresponding unfair and inappropriate Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment testing scheme, it now appears that the Connecticut General Assembly’s Democratic leaders will do nothing more than hold a meeting on these issues with a group of invited guests.

Over the last week, the General Assembly’s Education Committee has held two meetings to select what legislative proposals will have public hearings.  At the Education Committee’s meeting on February 10, the Committee raised 23 bills for a regular public hearing.  Today the Education Committee raised an additional 8 bills for a public hearing.

A vote was not taken to hold a public hearing on any proposals related to the Common Core, the Common Core Smarter Balanced Testing program or revisions to the unfair teacher evaluation program.

If the Democratic leadership does not change its position, Connecticut residents would be blocked from being heard on the single most important issues facing public education in the state.

Why the Democratic leadership would take such an inappropriate position is not clear.

Maybe Democrats believe that the Common Core is a federally mandated program and therefore public input at the state level is unimportant?

Or maybe they don’t want to be bothering with sit through a long hearing on the Common Core and the Common Core test when they have no intent to change the state’s policies on this issue?

Or maybe they think that the best strategy is to duck the issue and hope it all blows over before this November’s election?

Or maybe Governor Malloy, Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor or representatives of the Malloy Administration have ordered legislative leaders not to allow a debate on the issue?

But none of those explanations serve as a remotely reasonable excuse to prevent a public hearing on the Common Core, the Common Core testing or the warped teacher evaluation system.

And, of course, it didn’t take long for the Republicans to take advantage if the Democrat’s arrogance or misstep.

Earlier today, House Republican Leader Larry Cafero put out a press release calling upon Democrats, “to stage a full public hearing in the Education Committee on the controversial Common Core curriculum and teacher evaluation standards that have caused upheaval in state public schools.”

In a strongly worded letter to the Democratic Chairs of the Education Committee, the Republican House Leader wrote;

“We have heard from thousands of educators and parents outside the legislature on these matters. As lawmakers and their elected officials, we owe the public the chance to address these issues in a formal setting within the General Assembly,’’

Cafero opened fire on the Democrats asking, “…after lawmakers have been deluged from the public, not a single bill regarding Common Core or teacher evaluations was raised by the Education Committee.”

Carfero concluded his letter with;

“This is exactly why teachers, administrators, parents and their children find themselves in the situation they are in now: Common Core was adopted outside of the legislative process which meant that too many voices were left out of the debate…”

In the face of the Republican’s criticism, it is hard to understand what the Democrats could possibly say to explain their behavior and strategy.

For the record, here are the bills that the Education Committee has decided are worthy of a public hearing.

On 2/10/14 the Education Committee raised 23 bills for a public hearing including;

1. AAC Minor Revisions to the Education Statutes
2. AAC the Recommendations by the Legislative Commissioners for Technical Revisions to the Education Statutes
3. AAC Authorization of State Grant Commitments for School Building Projects
4. AAC Education Issues
5. AAC State Education Resource Center
6. AAC Uniform Regional School Calendar
7. AAC Education Mandate Relief
8. AAC the Technical High School System
9. AAC the Minimum Budget Requirement
10. AAC Boards of Education
11. AAC the Academic Achievement Gap
12. AAC Special Education
13. AAC Magnet Schools
14. AAC School Safety
15. AAC Chronic Absenteeism
16. AAC the Storage and Administration of Epinephrine at Public Schools and Public Institutions of Higher Education
17. AAC Collaboration Between Boards of Education and School Resource Officers
18. AAC Social Media Education
19. AAC Teen Dating Violence
20. AAC Access to Quality Pre-K for Children in the Care of the Department of Children and Families
IV. PREVIOUSLY RAISED GOVERNORS BILLS
21. HB 5043 – AA Implementing the Budget Recommendations of the Governor Concerning Education
22. SB 025 – AA Establishing the Office of Early Childhood
23. SB 026 – AA Expanding Opportunities for Early Childhood Education

And today, 2/19/14, the Education Committee raised 8 more bills for a public hearing including;

 1. AAC Alternative Schools
2. AA Establishing a Task Force to Study Paraprofessional Staffing and Pay Equity
3. AAC Student Privacy and the Administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
4. AAC the Availability of an Online Study Skills Curriculum
5. AAC School Readiness Funding
6. AAC State Funding for Education and the Budgets of Boards of Education
7. AAC Student Internships
8. AAC Local and State Charter School Accountability and Transparency

Hartford Courant Editorial Sticks to “Don’t Confuse me with the Facts” Approach.

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No matter how much the downsizing and corporatization of the Hartford Courant undermines the image it once had, I will never stop believing that it the Courant is OUR newspaper and, as such, has earned the right to continue to be known as Connecticut’s “paper of record.”

That’s why I find it so painful, frustrating and sad when they write editorials that lack an underpinning of facts.  I understand the desire to pander to the powers that be; sitting governors and corporate leaders, but when the Hartford Courant simply re-prints their propaganda without addressing the most basic truths it further undermines the paper’s credibility and reputation.

Yesterday, our Hartford Courant’s editorial demanded that above all else, the “Governor should insist on tying evaluations to consequences.”  [http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-malloy-should-hold-the-line-on-school-reform-20120418,0,2203043.story]

The Courant writes that “Mr. Malloy first proposed to tie a new system for evaluating teachers to certification. That lit a firestorm of teacher union resentment and opposition. But evaluations have to have consequences in a teacher’s world, as they do in just about everybody’s workplace. Evaluations have to be tied to something, whether certification or the granting of tenure or pay.

Although I can hardly speak for teachers or their unions, I feel very comfortable speaking to what I have learned as I’ve monitored the impact of public policies on public education for nearly four decades or so.  To my knowledge, no reasonable person opposes the concept of evaluations being used as the tool to keep good teachers, identify those teachers who need extra help and get rid of those who are not up to the challenges of successfully leading a classroom.

To suggest that Dan Malloy is the only one who believes that proper evaluation must be part of the teacher selection, retention and dismissal process is to simplify the argument to the point that the Courant squanders its opportunity to be a constructive addition to the debate.

To my knowledge the question is not one that is necessarily related to tenure or even certification.  A teacher who has a problem in an inner city classroom where students are speaking five different languages may not have that same problem in a homogeneous, suburban classroom just as the opposite could be true as well.

Let us all be honest.  The issue is not that the only way to proceed is to tie evaluation to tenure or certification, but to use it as part of a reasonable, efficient and effective system to get teachers additional training or remove them from that classroom setting.

And so, with that truth, the question is not whether there should be extensive evaluation procedures but what should be part of that evaluation process.

As the Courant knows, Dan Malloy and the “education reformers” have put an inordinate weight on the role of standardized testing (i.e. his comment that he supports teaching to the test so the test scores go up).

Now, the Courant is very familiar with the issue of CMT test scores because it regularly applauded Steven Adamowski, the former Hartford Superintendent of Schools, for his success in improving test scores.

It was only after the fact that we learned that the controversial administrator was able to improve CMT scores by moving, at least in part, significant numbers of low performing children from the CMTs to an alternative MAS test.

I recently found a PowerPoint presentation that Mr. Adamowski used at various national conferences in which he took credit for the “spectacular” increase in mastery test scores in Hartford, Connecticut.

One chart informed the audience that Hartford was able to increase the percentage of 3rd graders who achieved “goal” in Reading by 4.2 percent in just one year.  However, nowhere did he explain that the number of third graders taking the CMT Reading test dropped by 5.9 percent because he moved the low performing students from the CMT to the MAS.

In fourth Grade Mathematics, Adamowski bragged that the percentage of students who achieved goal grew by 3.9 percent but failed to mention that 5.9 percent of low performing fourth graders stopped taking the CMT test in Mathematics.

And the list went on and on.

Ironic to note that in two different studies there was an extraordinary statistical correlation between the percentage of low scoring students that were moved out of the CMT and the proportional increase in CMT scores,.  In fact, if the ratio of a one percent drop in participation led to a .6 percent increase in the number of T students who reached scores it is possible that the entire change in Hartford, or at least, the vast majority of change, was due exclusively to the bait and switch technique of moving low performing students out of the CMTs.

If this is what occurred, should Adamowski get a bonus for figuring out how to “beat the system” or do the individual teachers get bonuses and get to keep their jobs because they suddenly had “extraordinary” success in improving test scores?

Meanwhile, we know that one of the single biggest factors in influencing CMT scores are language barriers.

As the Courant knows, 40 percent of Hartford students go home to households that do not use English as their primary language.  However, equally true is that these third and fourth grade non-English speaking or non-English proficient students being taught science and math in English and then tested in English – despite a significant number who don’t speak English are very unlikely to be getting help with their English language homework in science and mathematics when they live in homes that don’t use English.

The result of this “designed to fail” to fail approach is that English speaking 5th grade students who take the Science CMT score at goal at  62.1% compared to 9.5% or of the non-English speaking students scoring at goal on the 5th grade Science CMT.

Imagine being taught science and math in a language you don’t know and then being tested in science in math in a language you don’t understand.

Now, we know that there are hundreds of millions of Spanish speaking people around the world are proficient in science and math, so we can be pretty damn sure that problem is not genetic but the way in which we are infusing language barriers into the teaching of science and math.

When the education reformers talk about using evaluations in the process of determining which teachers stay or go, they always talk about using CMT test scores to measure as a measure of effectiveness.   To date, some of the reformers in Connecticut want standardized test scores to account for 28 percent of the teacher’s evaluation, while others want test scores to account for about 40 percent of the evaluation.

If there is a newspaper editorial board in the entire country that should recognize the complexity of this issue is well documented, it is the Hartford Courant.  This is one of the places where the issue is well documented and the most profound.

The fact is, Connecticut’s great newspaper does a tremendous disservice to its readers, our state and the quality of the “Education Reform” debate when it says something as naïve as the “Governor should insist on tying evaluations to consequences.”

Despite the claims of the “reformers”, no one is suggesting that we stick with the status quo.  However, the Courant editorial board should be especially sensitive to the fact that there are people out there who have figured out how to game the system, while there are significant challenges facing those who are trying to teach math and science – in English – to non-English speaking students who must then turn around and take standardized tests on those subjects in a language in which they are not proficient.

Do you really believe that is the best way to evaluate teachers?

Or do you think there should be a comprehensive evaluation system used to get help for those teachers who can benefit from additional instruction while moving out those who can’t get the job done?

When the Courant resorts to the simplest of rhetoric we all suffer.

Legislators…What Ever You Do – DON’T READ THE BILL!

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“Okay, no more questions?  Good…let’s vote”

In the coming days we’ll hear Governor Malloy ramp up his rhetoric about the need to vote and vote quickly on his “Education Reform” bill.

Malloy’s exclusive focus on trying to make people believe that Senate Bill 24 is only about modifying teacher tenure and the evaluation system for teachers seems to be working.

His biggest concern has got to be that legislators, the media and the public will actually read the 163 page bill.

While it is true that the bill includes significant changes to Connecticut’s teacher tenure and evaluation laws, there are still many people – including many legislators – who apparently don’t know or don’t understand the ramifications of some of the other incredible policy changes that have been packed deep into Malloy’s bill.

Here is a quick refresher on the ones we’ve discussed to date:

Section 7:  Money for Charter Schools at the Expense of Urban Schools:

Malloy’s proposal is to give Connecticut’s charter schools an increase of $2,600 per student, $1,000 of which will be funds that are presently going to Connecticut’s lowest performing, poorest and predominantly most minority school districts.

The result will be that funding for the average charter school student will go up by $2,600 while the funding for the students in the 30 poorest school districts will only go up by $150 per student.

The biggest winner of all will be Achievement First Inc., the large charter school management company that Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor helped create and manage for the past 8 years before he resigned to become Malloy’s point person on education reform.

Achievement First, a company that educates less than 3,000 students receive more NEW money than the entire Hartford School System, New Haven School System or Bridgeport School System.

Section 8:  Start Up Grants for Charter Schools/Limiting Collective Bargaining:

Meanwhile, as many school districts continue to lay-off teachers and cut vital programs, Section 8 of Malloy’s bill provides a NEW grant program for NEW charter schools.  Malloy’s bill provides these new charter schools with a $500,000 start-up grant, $3,000 per student grants and, for the first time in Connecticut, language limiting collective bargaining rights for teachers in these new charters.

Section 11:  Penalize Small Districts:

Malloy’s “Education Reform” bill will penalize and take education funding away from school districts that have less than 1,000 students.

While small, neighborhood elementary schools are not only allowed but encouraged for urban and suburban districts, Malloy’s bill will force small towns to regionalize their elementary schools or face losing their state education funding.

Section 18:  Commissioner’s Network – taking over 25 low performing schools – while attempting to reverse the Bridgeport Supreme Court Decision:

One of the most amazing sections of the entire bill is Section 18 which gives the gives the Commissioner of Education the authority to unilaterally take over up to 25 Connecticut schools.

He can manage these schools himself or delegate the control of the schools to some 3rd party, including a private entity.

The “Commissioner’s Network” schools would be exempt from Connecticut laws concerning the use of consultants, competitive bidding and purchasing.  All teachers in these schools would be laid off and although they can re-apply for their jobs, Connecticut’s collective bargaining laws WILL NOT apply in “Commissioner’s Network” schools.

And as if the language on the “Commissioner’s Network” schools was not shocking enough, Section 18 also includes the language attempting to legalize the state of Connecticut’s illegal attempt to take over the Bridgeport School System.  The bill’s language says that if the state did do something illegal, that action is no longer illegal.

At the same time, the bill quietly removes the requirement that the state must help train and support local school boards before it can unilaterally un-elect elected officials.  With that nuisance out-of-the-way, it will be easier for Malloy’s Department of Education to simply disband local boards of education in towns that they want to take over. More

O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive! – Sir Walter Scott

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ConnCAN CEO Patrick Riccards (Photo courtesy of New Haven Independent)

The ConnCAN approach – Don’t let the truth get in your way…

Last week, ConnCAN, the pro-charter school and “education reform” advocacy group was trumpeting the results of a survey that they had conducted of Connecticut teachers.

The problem is that ConnCAN’s report on their own survey is nothing short of a lie – and yet these are the people who are saying that Connecticut’s legislators should vote for the “education reforms” that they are proposing.

The anti-tenure reformers claimed that their survey proved that (1) “More than four out of five Connecticut public school educators say schools and districts ought to be able to dismiss teachers and administrators with a documented history of poor performance.”  And (2) “Nearly 60 percent say educators should be promoted and receive tenure based on their success with increasing student achievement growth.”

After reading their press release and related PR about their survey an observer would be left to believe that Connecticut educators support the positions being put forward by ConnCAN and Governor Malloy.

But not surprisingly, in this day and age of being loose with the facts and misrepresenting the results to get the headline, their own data doesn’t back up the claims they are making.

In fact there isn’t even a question that would allow ConnCAN to intellectually claim that “nearly 60 percent say educators should be promoted and receive tenure based on their success with increasing student achievement growth.”

How ConnCAN makes that claim reveals much about their level of honesty.

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