Malloy majors in fiction at press conference touting commitment to higher education

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“I am not talking about what happened in the past. I am talking about what needs to happen in the future.  (Governor Dannel Malloy 2-12-14)

The CT News Junkie headline reads “Commits To Higher Ed, Hopes Future Governors Will Too.”

Governor Malloy held a press conference at Manchester Community College on Wednesday in which he touted the “major investment” he was making in Connecticut’s institutions of public education.

As the article reports;

“Calling his recently announced higher education investments a good first step, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Wednesday he’s committed to additional funding increases even as he nears the end of his current term as governor.”

This “commitment” comes from the same Governor Malloy who has pushed through the deepest budget cuts in state history at Connecticut’s public colleges and universities.

At UConn, for example, before Malloy became governor, the Connecticut state budget accounted for 33% of the total cost required to operate the University of Connecticut.  Three years into his term and after his record budget cuts at UConn, Connecticut State University and at the State’s Community Colleges, the state now only provides 27.9% of the amount necessary to keep UConn operating.

As a direct result of Malloy’s budget cuts, the burden on students and their families have INCREASED by 17.3% with tuition and fees going up by double digits since Malloy became governor.

In 2010, candidate Dan Malloy promised to make Connecticut’s public college and universities a priority.  Since being sworn in as Dannel Malloy in 2011, Malloy has done exactly the opposite.

The reality is that it is getting harder and harder for middle class families to afford to send their children to college in Connecticut.  Since 2000, the cost of attending UConn has increased 118%.

And no Connecticut governor in living memory has done as much damage to higher education than Malloy.

But in what has now become typical fashion, Malloy failed to let the truth get in the way of a good press opportunity.

According to the CT News Junkie article, Malloy called his new funding initiative;

“Not a bad start” and added, “This is only a down payment, I’ve said it to members of the Regents Board. As this plan becomes further identified, there will in fact be increased investments in this system. That’s why this is really a celebration . . . of what is to come in the future.”

As Malloy put it, “I’m making a personal commitment and I hope future governors will make a personal commitment to make sure that this program continues…I want to be very clear, this is just the beginning of the investments we need to make in this system.”

However, the “new investment” that Malloy is making is based on an incredible budget gimmick and is not an ongoing effort to improve funding at Connecticut’s public colleges and universities.

As the CT Mirror explains, “Malloy is proposing to pay for this initiative using a budget loophole to get around the state’s constitutional spending limits.”

In a related budget story the CT Mirror laid out Malloy’s plan;

“…the $60 million Malloy would provide to cover the operating expenses…rely and the buy-one-get-one-free course for dropouts would come from a “one-time revenue transfer,” according to the administration.

What Malloy has proposed commonly is known in fiscal analyst circles as an “intercept” — a loophole used to move funds off budget and outside the purview of the constitutional spending cap.

After pledging for weeks that his new budget would comply with the cap, Malloy sent lawmakers a $19 billion plan that falls a razor-thin $8 million under the cap — and that’s before the Transform CSCU 2020 initiative is included.

The Democratic governor has been loathe to approve a legal exception to the cap – having criticized his GOP predecessors for frequently going that route. That option also is more complicated, requiring a 60 percent vote of approval in both the House and Senate.

Malloy instead turned to a loophole.

The cap system technically applies only to tax receipts and other revenues assigned to the state budget. Malloy will ask lawmakers to “intercept” $60 million of those revenues – which means that before the money “arrives” in the state treasury, it has been assigned to a new purpose outside of the budget.

Effectively, there would be no difference in how the money is spent in the fiscal year that begins July 1, but the expenditure wouldn’t be counted for spending cap purposes.

Traditionally though, state payments to cover higher education costs have been included within the budget.

Governor Malloy’s entire “commitment” to higher education has been a farce and his latest “commitment” is even more absurd than his previous ones.

Vallas could face residency lawsuit in Illinois – file under you can’t make this ______up…

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Capitol Fax is the media outlet that broke the story this morning that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has selected Paul Vallas to be his running mate.

“* 10:01 am - Gov. Quinn is calling around telling people that he has picked Paul Vallas as his running mate.  Completely unexpected. Stay tuned.”

A little later, Capital Fax added;

“*** UPDATE 4 *** I’m assuming that the governor took a good long look at case histories regarding residency requirements. I doubt he’d want to get caught up in a long, drawn-out suit over this.”

And then

“*** UPDATE 8 *** I just talked with Rupert Borgsmiller, who chairs the Illinois State Board of Elections.

I asked the chairman what could happen if somehow Vallas was kicked off the ballot due to a residency challenge. Would that “infect” Quinn’s legal viability as a candidate since state law requires them to run together?

Borgsmiller checked with his top lawyer and got back to me. Since this is a new law, he said, “There’s no way to determine an outcome of a scenario (like that).”

So, it’d be up to the courts.”

Wait, What? readers will recall that during the Lopez v. Vallas case, presided over by Judge Barbara Bellis, Paul Vallas stated, under oath, that he was a resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

It was only after repeated questioning from former Judge Carmen Lopez’s attorney, Norm Pattis, that Vallas changed his statement to say that he lived in Bridgeport but voted in Illinois, owned a house in Illinois and had an Illinois driver’s license.

However, as we know, Vallas paid the in-state tuition for his infamous three-credit independent study class that Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, and the State Board of Education tried to claim was a school leadership program.

As every UConn student, parent and alum know, you only pay the in-state tuition rate if you are a resident of Connecticut.

So we’re left with a dilemma.

If Paul Vallas is a resident of Connecticut, he can’t run for the office of Lt. Governor in Illinois.

On the other hand, if he is a resident of Illinois, what the hell was UConn doing charging him the in-state tuition rate.

Maybe the Illinois courts can work this one out…

Maybe Vallas would be willing to pay a supplemental tuition bill to prove he is not a Connecticut resident.

When in doubt, make sh*t up…

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The Hartford Courant editorial writers weighed in on the Paul Vallas debacle today with an editorial entitled, “Why Make It So Hard For Paul Vallas To Help Bridgeport Schools?”

The most cursory review of their position reveals that they either failed to take the time to check the facts or worse, made up their own facts to fit their conclusion.

The Hartford Courant Editorial claimed, “Mr. Vallas may not meet every certification requirement to the letter. But in the larger sense, to say that he is unqualified or ineligible to be superintendent in Bridgeport is a bad joke…The experienced administrator has served 15 years in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans school districts. This record doesn’t qualify him to run Bridgeport’s schools?”

The Courant editorial went on to say “The state’s overly strict certification requirements should be waived by the State Board of Education for someone of Mr. Vallas’ impressive experience or at the very least he should be given plenty of time to meet them…For example, one requirement is attainment of 30 credits in courses related to becoming a superintendent. Those can’t be compiled overnight.”

“Strict certification requirements”?

Mr. Vallas “should be given plenty of time to meet them”?

Whoa there….now let’s try a bit of the truth.

  • The old Connecticut law allowed the Commissioner of Education to waive a superintendent’s need for certification if the person met certain requirements including having served as a certified superintendent in another state. 
  • However, Paul Vallas has NEVER been certified to hold any educational position, including that of superintendent, so in order to ease him into the role of superintendent of schools in Bridgeport the Malloy administration added language to Malloy’s education reform bill that made it far easier for Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education to waive an individual’s need for certification. 
  • That new provision remained part of Malloy’s education reform bill; it passed the Connecticut General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Malloy. 
  • Instead of having to be certified in another state, the Commissioner of Education was given the authority to waive an individual’s need to be certified if they completed a school leadership program at a Connecticut college or university. 
  • The new law took effect on July 1, 2012, but Paul Vallas did not contact the University of Connecticut to inquire about their school leadership program until February 2013, eight months AFTER the law took effect and AFTER the 2013 spring semester had already begun. 
  • It was only then that Vallas learned that he lacked the credentials necessary to enroll in UConn’s school leadership program. 
  • But rather than check to see whether there were other programs that he could qualify for at other colleges or universities, Vallas and a UConn professor developed a three-credit independent study class that, with the help of Commissioner Pryor and the State Board of Education, they passed off as a school leadership program. 
  • A Connecticut Superior Court Judge reviewed the facts and correctly ruled that a three credit course is not a program and Paul Vallas had failed to meet the requirements of the law.  Without the necessary credentials, Vallas could not legally serve as a superintendent and the judge ruled that he needed to leave the position. 

The Hartford Courant complains about Connecticut’s strict certification requirements, but in fact, Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor provided Vallas with an easy alternate route to getting the job if he had only followed the law that Commissioner Pryor and Governor Malloy had written.

Second, the Hartford Courant complains that Vallas should have been given more time.  Vallas, Pryor, Malloy and all of those involved in the effort to keep Vallas in place were keenly aware that Vallas needed to complete a school leadership program during his one year probationary period.  He could have done that work at any number of Connecticut colleges and universities.  But instead of starting that work in July or August or September or October or November or January, he only contacted UConn in February and then only began his studies in March.

The Hartford Courant editorial ends by saying, “Mr. Vallas’ promising appointment shouldn’t be strangled in red tape.”

The truth is that the only thing strangling Paul Vallas was his arrogance and unwillingness to abide by a Connecticut law that was specifically written to make it easier for him to hold the post of superintendent in the State of Connecticut.

Instead of condoning such incompetence, the Hartford Courant should be celebrating the fact that we are a state of laws and no one, not even Paul Vallas or Commissioner Pryor or Governor Malloy are above the law.

To read the full Hartford Courant editorial go to: http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-vallas-bridgeport-school-superintendent-trav-20130722,0,7496626.story

Closing arguments end trial against Paul Vallas, Judge to rule by Friday

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Following an incredible day of testimony on Monday, lawyers in the trial seeking Paul Vallas’ removal as Bridgeport’s superintendent of schools brought the trial to an end yesterday with their closing arguments.

The differences in approach, style and substance could not have been clearer.

The lawyer for Paul Vallas and the City of Bridgeport sought to rationalize the special treatment Paul Vallas has received; telling the court that it was perfectly appropriate that Vallas only took a three-credit UConn independent study course to meet his legal requirement to complete a school leadership program before Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, could waive Vallas’ need for state certification to hold the position.

Alternatively, Norm Pattis, the attorney for former Connecticut superior court judge Carmen Lopez, who brought the suit against Vallas, pointed out that Malloy, Pryor, Vallas and the majority of the Bridgeport Board of Education have repeatedly cut corners in their never ending attempt to put and keep Paul Vallas in the position of running Bridgeport’s Schools, despite his failure to meet the most basic statutory requirements.

The message from the beginning of this case has been consistent.  Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor added language to Malloy’s “education reform” bill that allowed Pryor to waive Vallas’ certification requirement IF Paul Vallas successfully completed a one-year probationary period and successfully completed a school leadership program at a Connecticut public or private college or university.

Despite the fact that the law took effect on July 1, 2012, Paul Vallas did not begin looking into attending a program until February 2013.  After learning that he lacked the credentials to be accepted to UConn’s Executive Leadership Program, a 13-month, $25,000 program that provides the educational background necessary to get Connecticut’s 093 superintendents certification, Vallas and his UConn advisor concocted a three-credit independent study.

Upon Pryor’s recommendation, the State Board of Education approved a resolution calling the course a “school leadership program” in mid-April and 90 days later Vallas “completed” the course.

The majority on the Bridgeport Board of Education then requested Pryor to use that news to waive Vallas’ certification requirement, which Pryor did, and this past Monday the Board voted to make Vallas Bridgeport’s “permanent” superintendent.

While Paul Vallas “completed” the three-credit course, the record indicates that he never applied to the University of Connecticut, was never accepted into the University of Connecticut, never enrolled in the University of Connecticut and never paid any of the mandatory fees required for attending the University of Connecticut.

While the concept that an individual could become a permanent superintendent of schools by taking one three-credit course is absurd.  Unless, of course, you are Governor Malloy, Commissioner Pryor or Paul Vallas and proceed as if the law is something that only applies to others.

Although other media outlets did not cover the trail, you can read the CT Post coverage here:  http://www.ctpost.com/default/article/Drive-by-schools-chief-gets-an-A-4619498.php and http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Schools-chief-has-a-job-for-now-4621290.php

On Monday, in a story entitled “Drive-by-schools chief gets and A”, the Connecticut Post’s Daniel Tepfer wrote, “Acting school superintendent Paul Vallas got an “A” in a UConn course that he designed and was allowed to complete in time for him to be certified for the job, according to testimony Monday.

And this was after he was handpicked as superintendent by the head of the state’s education department, who testified that Vallas is a friend.”

Adding, “But Vallas lacked a state leadership certificate to serve as a superintendent, a certificate that at the time could only be obtained by completing a 13-month course at UConn. On April 15, the state Board of Education approved an abbreviated program — essentially an independent study under the supervision of Villanova — for Vallas to take instead. He recently completed that.”

The story added, “Villanova [Vallas’ UConn advisor] said Vallas was overqualified and did not have the time to take the 13-month course the university offers for aspiring school superintendents. So he proposed an independent study that would last 13 weeks and involve seminars and classwork. Vallas submitted six papers and met with Villanova twice for about four hours.

And on March 30, the day Vallas submitted his last two assignments, after just eight weeks, Villanova notified Vallas he had passed the course.”

Yesterday, the Connecticut Post had an article entitled Schools Chief has a job — for now, which  began, “One day after the city’s Board of Education voted to make Paul Vallas permanent superintendent of schools, a judge is deciding whether he is qualified for the job.

Although the board rushed through a vote Monday night making Vallas official, state Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis said Tuesday that she will issue her decision within the week following the conclusion of the civil trial before her.

City activist and retired judge Carmen Lopez is suing Vallas, claiming he is not qualified to run the school system of the state’s largest city.

Vallas, who never took a graduate education course, was appointed last year by state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor to the $234,000 job. Pryor testified he is friends with Vallas and was impressed with Vallas’ work at other school districts, including his work in New Orleans.”

The Connecticut Post story wrapped up with, “Norman Pattis, who argued that the course Vallas took did not satisfy the law, which clearly states superintendent candidates must have completed a leadership program…He pointed out that the dean of UConn’s school of education had testified the course Vallas took was not a university program…”He (Pryor) took a course and transformed it into a program so that a friend could stay in Connecticut. The evidence before you cries of a mockery,” Pattis said.”

With the trial completed, we will know soon whether that mockery is allowed to stand.

Right on schedule: Pryor waives certification requirement for Vallas

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The story of arrogance, entitlement and deceit continues to play out here in Connecticut.

First Governor Malloy and his administration tried to illegally take over the Bridgeport School System.

Although Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled the action was illegal and ordered the state to return control of Bridgeport Schools back to the people of Bridgeport, Malloy’s illegally-appointed Board of Education hired Paul Vallas to serve as Bridgeport’s Acting Superintendent of Schools.

To this day, Paul Vallas likes to say that it was Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, who was the one who recruited Vallas to Connecticut.

But the problem was that Paul Vallas lacked (and continues to lack) the legal credentials to serve as a superintendent of schools in Connecticut.

On more than one occasion, Paul Vallas whined that requiring him to be certified in order to run Bridgeport’s schools was like requiring Michael Jordan to be certified to coach basketball.  (It remains a particularly funny and telling comment considering that Michael Jordan would need to be certified to coach basketball at a Connecticut school).

In any case, in order to get around the law, Governor Malloy proposed language as part of his “education reform” bill that allowed Commissioner Pryor to waive Vallas’ need for certification if Vallas successfully completed a one year probationary period AND successfully completed “a school leadership program, approved by the State Board of Education, offered at a public or private institution of higher education in the state.”

Earlier this spring, in order to fulfill this education requirement, Vallas went to UConn to apply for UConn’s respected Executive Leadership Program, a 13-month, $25,000 intensive education program that provides students with the background necessary to get their Connecticut superintendent’s certification.

But Vallas couldn’t get into the program since, among other things, he didn’t have the required 15 graduate credits beyond his Master’s Degree.  In fact, Vallas didn’t have any credits past his Master’s Degree.

So somehow, miraculously, the 13-month, $25,000 program morphed into a 3 credit, $3,000 independent study.  Despite it being the middle of the semester; Vallas started his “course.”

A month later, the State Board of Education “approved” the student leadership program, as required by the statute, but rather than approving UConn’s Executive Leadership Program, it approved the independent study “program” that Vallas was enrolled in…calling it a school leadership program.

When all was said and done, less than ninety days after Vallas started his “program,” he completed his class and his UConn advisor announced that he was good to go.

Then on June 14, 2013, Kenneth Moales, Jr. the embattled chairman of Bridgeport’s Board of Education wrote to Commissioner Pryor informing him that Vallas had completed his probationary period and education leadership program and asking Malloy’s appointee to waive Vallas’ need for certification.

Today we learn that Commissioner Pryor has responded in a letter back to Kenneth Moales Jr. saying, “I am pleased to grant this waiver of Mr. Vallas’s certification to serve as superintendent.”

Despite a lawsuit pending on the issue of whether Vallas did or did not meet the his legal duties as they relate to his responsibility to complete an Education Leadership Program at a public or private institution of higher education in Connecticut, Pryor writes, “…as indicated in the materials you attached to your letter to me, as of May 30, 2013, Mr. Vallas successfully completed an SBE-approved school leadership program at the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education.

So there you have it…

Every other Connecticut superintendent of schools is certified, but Pryor has now waived Vallas’ need to be certified.

And while tens of thousands of Connecticut residents have spent hundreds of millions of their hard-earned money and years of their lives working their way through the University of Connecticut to earn their certification to work in Connecticut schools, thanks to Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor, Paul Vallas will continue to collect his $234,000 a year at his part-time job as Bridgeport’s superintendent of school, sans any certification.

Meanwhile, big congratulations to all the UConn Alumni out there who worked and paid for their education… (suckers)

UConn Becomes “Mail Order” Degree School for the “Special Elite” (Part I)

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Did you pay to go to UConn?  Are you still paying?

You aren’t alone.  This year there are 17,528 undergraduates at the Storrs campus with another 4,773 undergraduates at regional campuses.  Then add in the 7,955 graduate and professional degree students.

The total cost of tuition and fees for an in-state undergraduate is just over $22,500 a year.  The cost for an out of state student is just over $40,000.  A graduate degree could cost you $100,000 or more.

Well over 50 percent of the money to fund UConn comes from students and their parents with about 25 percent coming from taxpayers.  In total, the University of Connecticut budget is about $1.1 billion.  Student Tuition and fees account for $533 million, the State of Connecticut adds $293 million and the rest comes from grants, contracts, gifts, sales and services.

Attending UConn isn’t cheap…and the cost is rising more rapidly thanks in part to the fact that Governor Malloy made the deepest cuts in state history to UConn and Connecticut’s other public colleges and universities.

But have no fear… If you’re one of the “special ones” you don’t have to deal the costs that “normal” people have to deal with.

For example, meet Paul Vallas, Bridgeport’s “Superintendent of Schools.”  He was the CEO of the Chicago School System and ran the Philadelphia and New Orleans School Systems after those schools were taken-over by their respective states.  Almost two years ago, at the request of Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, Paul Vallas was hired to run the Bridgeport Schools where he makes $234,000 a year, despite the fact that he also runs his own consulting company called The Vallas Group.

The problem is Paul Vallas didn’t have the necessary certification to serve as a school superintendent in Connecticut so the Connecticut General Assembly passed a special law allowing Education Commissioner Pryor to waive Vallas’ certification requirements if he completed an Educational Leadership Program at a Connecticut College or University.

Part-way through the year’s spring Semester, Vallas enrolled in the University of Connecticut’s Education Leadership Program, despite the fact that he didn’t have the necessary 15 graduate credits past his masters.  But Paul Vallas is special and apparently he didn’t have to go through the application process that normal people have to go through.

Furthermore, while “normal” people who are enrolled in UConn’s Educational Leadership Program have to take five graduate courses and an internship, Vallas was allowed to take one independent study in lieu of the program.  Instead of the 13 months “normal” people take to get their credentials, Paul Vallas got his letter of completion after less than 100 days of work.

Adding insult to injury, despite the fact that he is not a Connecticut resident, UConn allowed him to pay the in-state rate for that one course he took.

So whereas a “normal” person would have to pay $25,000 plus to complete UConn’s Educational leadership Program, Paul Vallas paid $3,000.

Now we know the benefit of being one of the “special elite.”

Surprise, Surprise… State Board of Education approves “special school leadership program” for Vallas

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Paul Vallas doesn’t have the credentials necessary to be a superintendent of schools in the State of Connecticut.

Governor Malloy’s “education reform” law included language that would allow Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, to waive Vallas’ certification requirements IF Vallas successfully completed his one year probationary period and completed a school leadership program at a Connecticut institution of higher education.

Last month, the Bridgeport Board of Education voted 5 to 3 to give Vallas a three year contract as Superintendent of Schools in Bridgeport, despite the fact that he had not completed his probationary period or even begun an education leadership program.  Soon after he announced that he had enrolled at UConn and would be done by the end of the semester.

Part of the problem was that the State Board of Education had never approved a “school leadership program” as required in Malloy’s law.

According to a story in the CT Post, “The 6-0 approval came with no discussion after the board spent more than a half-hour in executive session to discuss a lawsuit filed earlier this month over Vallas’ credentials to serve as superintendent.”

The CT Post story went on to explain that, “The pathway being created is a narrow exception open only to someone Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor deemed exceptionally qualified, Nancy Pugliese, chief of the bureau of educator standards and certification for the state, said Monday to the state school board.”

The CT Post article went on with, “Developed by the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education, the program requires Vallas to complete a curriculum that meets the same standards that exist for all who seek to become school superintendents, but can be completed in a shorter amount of time.”

So on the one hand, the State Department of Education is claiming that, “The pathway being created is a narrow exception open only to someone Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor has deemed exceptionally qualified” while at the same time, UConn is saying that Vallas will “complete a curriculum that meets the same standards that exist for all who seek to become school superintendents.”

UConn is saying that Vallas has to meet the same standards that exist for all who seek to become school superintendents?

Okay, what does a “normal” person need to do if they’d like to get the certification necessary to be a superintendent?

(1)   To get your CT-093 certification, you’d have to meet the criteria required for acceptance to UConn’s Executive Leadership Program that is located within the Department of Education Leadership.  That program requires students to have “a Master’s degree and a minimum of 15 appropriately related graduate credits beyond Master’s…”

(2)   Then, “A committee consisting of UConn faculty will review all applications and select qualified candidates for admissions interviews in March and April.”

(3)   And then you’d actually have to complete The Executive Leadership Program which, “is structured using a cohort model, and requires 13 months to complete 15 Credits. Five (5) three-credit courses including an internship (3 credits). Participants can expect to attain their CT-093 certification in one year upon satisfactory completion of this program.”

So “normal” people who want the necessary certification must have fifteen credits beyond a Masters; you must go through a rigorous application process that requires a full faculty review of your application and you must complete an additional 15 credits of course work in the program..

  • Plus you need to pay the following tuition and fees:
  • A non-refundable $75 application fee.
  • A tuition payment of $5,112 per semester for a Connecticut student registering for nine or more credits or $13,266 per semester for an out-of-state student.  (Vallas would probably be considered a resident of Illinois).
  • A General University Fee of $612 per semester.
  • A Graduate Matriculation Fee of $42 per semester.
  • An Infrastructure Maintenance Fee of $220 per semester.
  • A University non-refundable fee of $13 per semester for taking courses.
  • A graduate student Transit Fee of $35 per semester.
  • A non-refundable Student Union fee of $13 each semester.
  • A deposit of $50 which must be maintained by every registered student.
  • A one-time, refundable Cooperative Bookstore payment of $25.

The total cost for an out-of-state student to complete the UConn Education Executive Leadership Program would be in the range of $28,552

Or alternatively you could be Paul Vallas, who apparently DOESN’T EVEN HAVE the fifteen credits beyond a Masters that is  necessary for acceptance to the program, but who is considered “special” by Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor.

As the CT Post noted in an earlier article, “Vallas said he has enrolled in a three-credit, semester-long independent study course to become a certified Connecticut school superintendent. It will cost him about $3,881 in tuition and fees, according to university officials. Robert Villanova, an associate research professor and director of the Executive Leadership Program at UConn’s Neag School of Education, who will lead Vallas through the program.”

Almost makes you feel bad for all those normal people out there.

Or, more to the point, so you want to get your CT-093 certification.

Well, as the modern-day  phrase goes; “it sucks to be you.”

State Board of Education rushes approval of “School Leadership Program” for Vallas

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Here comes one more benefit for the power elite!

Some of the “rules” that apply to the rest of us, simply don’t apply to them.

When Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, recruited “education reformer extraordinaire,” Paul Vallas, to become Bridgeport’s $234,000, part-time, Acting Superintendent of Schools a major problem immediately developed.

Unlike every one of Connecticut’s other superintendent of schools, Vallas’ didn’t have the qualifications needed to serve as a school superintendent in Connecticut.

No problem…Malloy’s “education reform” legislation included special language that would allow Commissioner Pryor to waive requirements and allow Vallas to serve as Bridgeport’s Acting Superintendent of Schools for up to one year.  The new law would further allow Pryor to waive Connecticut’s certification requirements if Vallas completed that one-year probationary period and completed an “educational leadership course” approved by the State Board of Education.

However, the problems facing Vallas and Pryor grew exponentially when the five members of the Bridgeport Board of Education that are loyal to Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch voted to make Vallas Bridgeport’s permanent Superintendent of Schools effective March 4, 2013.  Vallas hadn’t completed his probationary period, as required by law, and hadn’t even started his “education leadership program.”  In fact, the State Board of Education hadn’t approved the “education leadership program” that the law demanded.

At the time, Pryor was quoted as saying it wasn’t a problem and the Chairman of the State Board even said he thought any program approval process was within the authority of Commissioner and not the State Board of Education, despite the fact that the law specifically says that it is the State Board of Education’s responsibility to approve such a program.

Meanwhile, Vallas had begun a course of study with UConn’s graduate program in Educational Leadership at the Neag School of Education.

Well surprise, surprise…today, the State Board of Education is meeting at 9:30 a.m. and an agenda item has suddenly appeared that reads;

VI. Items Requiring Action: 

B. Approval of School Leadership Program – University of Connecticut, Neag School of Education

So, with Vallas already enrolled in UConn’s Educational Leadership Program, but with no committee process and no public input, the State Board of Education will rush a vote today to approve the program that Vallas is taking.

The problem, as readers will learn in coming days, it that Vallas doesn’t actually qualify for UConn’s Education Leadership Program nor is his course of study the program required for all other students in UConn’s Education Leadership.

But hey, as we’ve learned, there are laws and rules and then there are “laws and rules.”

One set applies to the elite and another to the rest of us.

 

Whoa there…Let’s try telling the truth…

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The CTMirror has a “must read” follow up story about Governor Malloy’s “request” to interview and select a finalist for the position of President of the Connecticut Board of Regents.

In the article, the CTMirror reports that, “The governor’s spokesman, Andrew Doba, said the interviews aren’t unusual. He noted that the University of Connecticut trustees in late 2010 allowed then-Governor-elect Malloy to interview finalists for the president’s post that went to Susan Herbst.”

File that one under somewhere between “misleading spin” and “out-right lie.”

In fact, in 2010, Governor Rell and Governor-elect Malloy met with Susan Herbst, as did dozens of other individuals, PRIOR to the UConn Board of Education’s vote.

Then, according to press reports, including the Associated Press’ national story, “UConn’s Board of Trustees unanimously selected Susan Herbst at a special meeting Monday, calling her an exceptional leader in higher education who will use her enthusiasm and experience to help UConn push ahead academically and in research.”

The situation that played out yesterday was very different.  In this case, “the regents voted Thursday to recommend three finalists to Malloy for the president’s position…” and Lewis Robinson, the chairman of the Board of Regents, who was appointed by Governor Malloy, explained their decision to the CTMirror by saying, “the governor had requested three. And I thought as a courtesy or respect to his office, it would be appropriate to accede to that wish.”

This approach despite the fact that Connecticut law clearly states that it is the Board of Regents who is responsible for selecting the name of the President of the Board.

So just to be clear…

Despite what the Governor’s spokesman says, there is actually a very big difference between Malloy meeting with Susan Herbst before the UConn Board of Trustees voted to make her president and the Board of Regents inappropriately voting to forward three names to Governor Malloy so that he can interview and pick one.

In one scenario, the UConn Board of Trustees was acting legally.

In the other scenario, the Connecticut Board of Regents was acting illegally.

You can read the latest CTMirror story at:  http://www.ctmirror.org/story/19641/governor-will-get-pick-next-college-president

Steven Adamowski: Add public funded consultant and adjunct professor to the title Special Master

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If there is one thing you can say about Connecticut “education reformers” like Paul Vallas and Steven Adamowski it is that they sure do know how to double and triple down on making money.

Bridgeport’s Acting Superintendent, Paul Vallas, wouldn’t sign a $234,000 annual contract unless it allowed him to maintain his private consulting company, the Vallas Group.  The same held true for the three top staff people that he brought in to help him run Bridgeport’s Schools.  Despite making about $200,000 each, Vallas required that they be allowed to do outside consulting, including work in other states for his own company.

Meanwhile, Steven Adamowski’s $225,000 a year no-bid contract to serve as “Special Master” of the Windham and New London school systems apparently isn’t enough to keep him busy.  As a result of a recent Freedom of Information request, it turns out that he is collecting extra public funds as a consultant to the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education.

Last year, the Department of Educational Leadership at UConn’s Neag School of Education paid Adamowski to “provide a series of guest lectures on urban school leadership and reform… participate in the redesign of the Executive Leadership Program…” and consult on some other matters.  For that he collected a check for $4,000.

This Spring Adamowski is collecting another $4,269 to teach a course entitled Data Driven Decision Making for School Improvement and Policy Development.  Rather than the usual weekly classes, Adamowski’s class meets six times for extended class periods.

The UConn money comes in addition to his $225,000 salary as “Special Master,” the $16,800 to pay for the medical insurance for himself and his spouse, the $1,080 to pay for the dental insurance for himself and his spouse, the $3,900 for a special life and disability insurance policy, the $11,000 to cover his worker’s compensation policy, the $5,000 to pay for his professional and general liability insurance and an extra $10,000 to cover any travel and other work expenses.

Adamowski’s “Special Master” contract was one of those that the State Department of Education inappropriately ran through the State Education Service Center (SERC) in order to get around Connecticut’s competitive bidding laws.

Adamowski’s no-bid contract does allow him to engage in outside work, but on a very limited basis.  In fact, the contract reads;

“Dr. Adamowski cannot perform services for other districts, agencies or parties while performing the services pursuant to this agreement, except as set for herein.  Dr. Adamowski may continue to teach one course per semester in a Connecticut institution of higher education beginning in the spring 2012 semester as long as such engagement does not unreasonably interfere with his responsibilities under this Agreement.”

While his present UConn contract to serve as an “Adjunct Faculty” from 1/17/2013 to 5/14/2013 appears to meet the requirement of his SERC contract, how Adamowski and SERC could claim that his UConn contract last year from 2/24/2012 to 8/22/2012 to serve as an “Academic Specialist” meets the language of the contract is more of a mystery.

In any case, back at the State Department of Education, once the State Auditors ruled that the end-run Commissioner Pryor and the State Board of Education were using to get around Connecticut’s bidding laws was illegal; they announced that they were proposing legislation that would end their use of that technique.  However, as Wait, What? readers know from previous posts, the proposed legislation Pryor put forward to the Connecticut General Assembly this session doesn’t actually do what Commissioner Pryor reported that it did.

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