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My Way or the Highway?

by Jon Pelto from Wait, What (links added)

Yesterday, one of country’s most radical “education reformers” told Governor Malloy that if he can’t get his “Education Reform” bill back to its original language, he should “just veto S.B. 24. Period. It’s not worth signing.”. RiShawn Biddle then went on to tell Malloy that he “should then work with reformers on running candidates to primary the legislature’s education committee co-chairs.” In the article Biddle identifies the “reformers” as ConnCAN.

Later in the day Governor Malloy announced that since the Education Committee had weakened his bill he would not sign it – in its present form. Play all the word games you want, not signing it means you are saying you wold veto it.

The bill does what Governor Malloy said was the single most important goal and he says he would veto the bill.

But the most incredible piece of all is that yesterday, once again, Malloy arrogantly suggested that “a lot of teachers were led to believe they had something to worry about, and that is absolutely not the case.”

And then, in what we now recognize as his classic – “my way is the only way” – approach, Malloy said that “the fact is, we’re going to have a major piece of legislation sometime this year on education reform [and] it’s going to be substantially more like what we proposed than what they voted on.”

Maybe Dan Malloy actually doesn’t understand how his proposal would work in towns across Connecticut.

Maybe in Stamford, with ts “strong mayor” system of government, things are actually different.

Or perhaps he believes that because he says it is so – it will be so.

In February Governor Malloy said he wanted a system in which teachers who aren’t up to the job are let go efficiently and effectively and that is exactly what the bill that passed the Education Committee will do.

So this is about something else.

One thing it is about is Malloy’s inappropriate and unreasonable demand that teacher tenure, the right to due process, “must end.”

Despite what he claims, if his approach was adopted,and tenure was repealed, towns all across Connecticut, when faced with budget problems and unwilling or unable to raise taxes, would consistently drop the older, more experienced teachers at the end of their certification periods – even if their evaluations were good.

Why? Because older teachers are “more expensive” and dozens of towns in Connecticut that lack the resources would decide that their budget constraints, rather than teacher’s evaluations, would have to be the deciding factor in whom to keep and whom to let go.

It seems impossible that Governor Malloy is so naive that he doesn’t understand what goes on once you leave the “Gold Coast” of Connecticut but certainly Nancy Wyman does and one would hope that by now, she would have explained what actually takes place on town boards of education.

In addition to the end of teacher tenure, I believe his opposition to the present bill is because he will not support anything that does not include his “Commissioner’s Network” plan.

Maloy’s original bill included a system in which his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, could unilaterally take over up to 25 schools around the state and turn them over to some other entity to run.

Malloy’s proposal was that once the state took over a school, the teachers would be fired, collective bargaining would be outlawed, the law limiting the use of consultants would be suspended and the school would no longer have to follow the state’s bidding and purchasing requirements.

The proposal was called the Commissioner’s Network and it had every charter school management company in the United States salivating.

Read what he has said since he proposed his bill in February. Never has he discussed the specifics of his “Commissioner’s Network” plan. He never explains how these 25 schools would be turned over entities that aren’t watched over by elected boards. He never reveals that all the teachers would be fired or that collective bargaining would be prohibited at these 25 schools and he never admits that without proper protections in place these schools would become “cash cows” for consultants and others who are looking to put taxpayer funds into their pockets.

If Dan Malloy was really serious about having a “stronger” reform law he would announce that he is dropping the idea of his “Commissioner’s Network” and specifically outline what he doesn’t actually like about the legislative language that now ensues that bad teachers can be removed.

No Governor, in fact, teachers and parents and students and taxpayers have something very serious to worry about. Even now, after months of “selling your proposal”, you still aren’t being honest about what your plan does.

The burden is not on the legislature to change a bill that does what you said was the top priority. The responsibility is on you to clearly and specifically explain what changes you want and why. The people of Connecticut, including our teachers, deserve nothing less.