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Is Malloy Bluffing?

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by Jon Pelto from Wait What?

Governor Dannel Malloy came out of a closed-door meeting with local elected officials yesterday and put it all the line. The Governor could not have been any clearer then when he told the city and town leaders from Connecticut’s lowest achieving school districts DO NOT COUNT ON THE $40 MILLION IN THE EDUCATION BUDGET!

Malloy’s words were – “They should not be depending on this money…I think this money is very much in the lurch until we have an educational bill that we can agree on.”

In English that means – if I don’t get the bill I want – you don’t get the $40 million dollars aimed at helping educate the poorest children in Connecticut.

It is not complex.

It is not hard to understand.

It is really quite simple.

Dan Malloy is saying – you better get your legislators to cave in and vote for my version of the bill because if they don’t your towns don’t get the money. If your towns don’t get the money, you either don’t provide the education services or you have to raise your local property taxes to meet those costs..

$40 million dollars to help 200,000 kids in return for what I want (or you get nothing).

Anywhere but government and it would be called blackmail and the Feds would have had some of those local officials wired for the upcoming trial.

But here in the United States we call it “American Politics” and it’s all fair and legal.

Following the public announcement of Malloy’s threat, some of the mayors and local leaders spoke to the media and some did not.

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, once again, threw his support behind the Governor.

New Britain Mayor Tim O’Brien, who used to be a state legislator, was more diplomatic refusing to say which version he liked better (the Governor’s or the Education Committees), but he did go on to say nice things about the governor’s “leadership.”

And Jim Finley, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the organization that represents most cities and towns at the Capitol, said that they support “an education reform bill closer to the governor’s vision than that reported out of the Education Committee.”

Okay – so let’s be really clear. There are two major sticking points with the bill as it is now written. Malloy wants the local leaders to side with him so the only real question is do they or do they not agree with the Governor’s position.

Item #1 is whether Connecticut should do away with teacher tenure or whether having a comprehensive teacher evaluation system with a simple process to remove bad teachers enough.

and

Item #2 is whether Connecticut should adopt Malloy’s plan for what he calls his “Commissioner’s network” which is the system that allows the Education Commissioner to take over low performing schools.

If these local leaders like the “Commissioner’s Network” plan they simply need to answer YES OR NO to each of the following elements that are part of the “Commissioner’s Network”

(1) The Commissioner’s Network Plan requires that all the teachers and administrators at a school that is taken over by the Commissioner are fired. Do you support that – YES OR NO?

(2) Towns are then required to find other places for the fired teachers and administrators in their schools systems however the Governor doesn’t provide the towns with any additional funds so the towns must keep a few hundred employees but they will have lost the money to pay them. Local taxpayers will then have to pick up the extra cost. Do you support that – YES OR NO?

(3) If the towns cannot find places and money for the teachers and administrators who have been fired they are still liable for the contract provisions that are in place AND any unemployment consequences for those teachers and administrators. In either case, local taxpayers will have to pay. Do you support that – YES OR NO?

(4) Once the employees are fired, collective bargaining at the schools is banned. Do you support that – YES OR NO?

(5) The Commissioner of Education can then turn the school over to a third-party such as a charter school management company or a private entity. Do you support that – YES OR NO?

(6) The new entity running the school is exempt from state laws limiting consultants so they can hire whomever they want as their consultants without having to go through any bidding process. Do you support that – YES OR NO?

(7) The new entity running the school is also exempt from the state laws requiring competitive bidding for other goods and services. Do you support that – YES OR NO?

(8) And finally, a town cannot cut funding to the network school – even if they have to cut their own school budget – and if they do get additional state funds or raise taxes to fund their remaining schools they MUST provide the Commissioner’s Network school the same proportional increase in funding even though the local board of education doesn’t control the network school nor is the network school unionized. So if the town negotiates an agreement with its unions they have to pay the network school the same money – even though that school doesn’t have a union. Do you support that – YES OR NO?

So let’s start with the first three;

Mayor Finch?

Mayor O’Brien?

Mr. Finley?

Please simply circle the yes or no answer and post it back here so we can all see where you stand on these issues.

And how about the mayors from the other 28 towns?

Perhaps some readers would be willing to send over these questions to their own mayors (if they live in one of the 30 towns) and ask them to fill out this simple form.

For more background check out these CTNewsunkie and CTMirror stories;

http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/malloy_lobbies_local_officials_to_support_his_education_reforms/

http://ctmirror.org/story/15997/new-funding-districts-held-hostage-larger-ed-reform-debate

Categories: General

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2 Responses

  1. Hammond Egger says:

    Malloy is the king of the bluffers.Remember how he threatened to close DMVs and other state agencies if the unions wouldn’t get on their knees? Luckily for him,the unions sold out their members to protect their ‘dues money’.The DMV is a ‘money factory’ that is mobbed every day.Do you honestly think he would have (or COULD have)shut them down? A BLUFF,but the gutless unions folded.

  2. Kevin W.Edwards says:

    I just sent this out to every legislator in Connecticut.
    Dear Legislator;
    As a 2nd career Connecticut teacher for the last 11 years, I do support parts of Substitute SB #24, specifically elements that do the following:
    · Create 1,000 new pre-K slots.
    · Provide funding for needy districts for wrap-around services (social-emotional supports, family support, and physical health and wellness) and family resource centers.
    · Restore collective bargaining to enhance teaching and learning conditions.
    · Decouple evaluation, tenure, certification, and salary schedules.
    · Improve the teacher evaluation system by ensuring that evaluation plans will include collaboration, professional development supports to continually improve teaching, and the validation of a new rating system.
    · Enhance teacher standards by recognizing and requiring a master’s degree for the professional certificate.
    · Create a new distinguished educator designation.

    I believe the reform act can be further improved by including the following:
    · Add more literacy programs in schools.
    · Encourage more parental and community involvement in schools.
    · Elevate the teaching profession by instituting in teacher dismissal proceedings a “just cause” hearing—one afforded other employees in the public sector.
    · Eliminate any reference to “money follows the child” funding, since cash-starved schools cannot afford to lose resources.
    · Require accountability and certification for superintendents.
    · Ensure that charter schools serve the same academically diverse student populations as public schools.
    My own story into teaching, as a second career, is simple but something that is important for you to know:
    · While teaching 8th grade Algebra I in Bridgeport under a DSAP during the day for three years, I attended Sacred Heart University at night and earned my certification/MAT with a 4.0 GPA.
    · I also had to pass the rigorous Praxis II for Math (7-12).
    · I completed the BEST program.
    · I taught for four additional years,while being continuously observed and evaluated at the high school level in Waterbury.
    · Then I was granted tenure.

    Unfortunately , in my opinion, the portions of SB24 that Governor Malloy continues to advocate for will make teaching a high risk/low reward career. There is no scientific evidence linking the elimination of teacher tenure to enhanced student performance. I am sure that there is evidence linking parental/guardian care and involvement to improved student learning.
    If elements of his version of the bill get reintroduced , even if you do have the resources and ability to become a teacher-especially in a critical shortage area (which a lot of people just do not have -or else we wouldn’t have shortages in Math, Science, Spec Ed, etc), why would anyone even consider a career in teaching -especially in an inner city environment?
    Here are some potential unintended consequences of the Governor Malloy version of SB24;
    1 ) Discourage a lot of 1st career people from even considering to go into teaching as a 2nd career.(Too bad- these people have real life experience and proven shortage area skills/knowledge to apply to the classroom).
    2) Cause a lot of new/young people to rethink teaching as a primary career.
    3) Teacher turnover in difficult inner city school systems could accelerate under SB24. After all, why put your career at risk when the dedication and commitment to the challenges of an inner city teaching assignment are evidently not recognized or respected?
    4) A lot of people will leave teaching-retire or go on to another low risk/higher reward career.
    5) Schools are a direct reflection of the challenges we face to make society a better place and that starts with providing everyone with an opportunity to find a good job/earn a good wage and build a better life.
    Nowhere is this reflection more magnified than in the inner city classroom – where unemployment , poverty and special needs are at the highest levels, while parental involvement the lowest.
    These socio-economic ills manifest in the inner city classroom in a myriad of ways everyday! These are the problems that, in addition to providing a student with a great education, that the inner city teacher must cope with all day/every day!
    And yet through their own tenacity and inner fortitude have persevered, while many have failed and left the inner city environment, to overcome these inner city school obstacles to learning/teaching to provide their students with a 21st century education and in the process along the way have been granted tenure.
    So now Governor Malloy’s version of SB24 comes along, and under the guise of educational reform, he advocates stripping away tenure from those very teachers who have sacrificed and put in yeoman work (and continue to the highest degree of effort and commitment) to cope with all these inner city issues plus teach.
    As I stated at the open, I support the amended version of SB24 with the suggested improvements.

    Regards,

    Kevin W. Edwards

    Kevin W. Edwards was born in Connecticut and grew up in Stratford, graduating from Stratford High School. Presently, he is a 2nd career high school teacher of Mathematics, after having been a mechanical engineer and manufacturing executive for over 30 years. He graduated from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut with a Master of Arts in Teaching, Fairfield University(Bridgeport Engineering Institute ) in Bridgeport, Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Norwalk State Technical College in Norwalk, Connecticut with an Associate in Applied Science-Mechanical Engineering Technology.
    He is the author of “Destination~Vienna”.