Tom Drewry is a teacher in the Windham Public Schools and a Willimantic resident. Until recently he held a position with the Windham Federation of Teachers.
Tom is also one of the most articulate, dedicated and forceful advocates for the students, parents, teachers and citizens of Windham.
One of the most important agenda items as this week’s State Board of Education meeting was whether the State of Connecticut should continue to force Windham and New London to suffer under the “oversight” of a “Special Master” and whether Steven Adamowski should continue to serve as the State’s Special Master for those two communities.
The agenda for the State Board of Education’s meeting was published less than 24 hours before the meeting was to be held and during the “public input” portion of the meeting, members of the public were required to limit their remarks to no more than three minutes.
As we’ve learned in recent years, the notion that the State Board of Education is a public entity and its primary purpose is to serve the public seems to be a concept that eludes some members of the Board.
Of course, as we now know, even before the public comments were taken, the members of the State Board of Education had already decided to extend Adamowski’s tenure as Special Master and had even decided to make him a state employee.
The following link will take you to the full written testimony of Tom Drewry. While the State Board doesn’t seem to be impressed or persuaded with the educated assessments from those living under Steven Adamowski’s autocratic rule, the citizens of Connecticut deserve to know the truth.
And it is exactly that truth they will get from reading this testimony.
“I also wish to speak briefly against the resolution to extend the term of the Special Master to Windham. I had been checking for an agenda for this meeting for weeks for assurance that the Commissioner’s Network was indeed on the agenda- no sitting member of the Turnaround Committee was ever informed of the meeting, no less asked to attend. When the agenda did appear yesterday, I was surprised to see that also on it was a resolution to extend the appointment of the special master. That such important information was not publicized until last minute seems an indication of a lack of willingness to entertain public input on vital and controversial decisions. It disturbs me further that few people knew that such an extension was required at the point: if I have spoken about the status of the special master position with lawmakers, local board members, lawyers and union officials seeking specifically to find out when and how he is appointed, contracted, evaluated and reappointed. It is an unjustifiably and undemocratically murky process if extensions can be generated with fewer than twenty-four hours for citizens to prepare to deliver testimony at an earning work-morning meeting.
To be straightforward on the central issue, I believe that an extension of the special master’s appointment in Windham is disastrous for my community. The reasons are legion, and include, of course, what I’ve written about above regarding the Commissioner’s Network. Others will flesh-out the story of his destructive reign, though I have spoken and written about it elsewhere.
I feel I must point out that I feel a bit resentful having to make my desperate appeals on matters of education to a board of education on which exactly one educator sits. No other board or committee of this state government is constituted in such way where the non-experts decisively outnumber the professional experts. This is not a statement about the intentions or personal investment of any individual member. Rather, it is a critique of an institutional culture that actively denigrates educators and in the process puts politics before children. I believe that state legislators need to consider a measure that would guarantee that at least fifty percent of the appointees to this board have had substantial classroom experience.”
Note: I urge Wait, What? readers to take the time to read through Tom’s entire testimony. It speaks the truth and lays out the facts in a way that should worry every single parent and citizens of Connecticut.
The actions of Governor Malloy, Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Special Master Steven Adamowski and the others pushing Malloy’s corporate education reform agenda are undermining the sanctity of our public education system. The damage is occurring quicker in some towns than in others. Windham and New London are presently “ground zero” in this effort to destroy our public schools….but every public school in Connecticut will be impacted by these so-called “reform” programs.
Again, Tom’s full testimony can be found at http://www.scribd.com/doc/166041994/Windham-s-Adamowski-Experience-Thomas-Drewry-Testimony-for-State-Board-of-Education-9-5-13