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Does “Education Reform” Guarantee Connecticut’s Children A Quality Education?

The Governor says it does: (from the brief cited by Jon below):

As is described more fully below, the 2012 educational reforms recently enacted by the
elected branches of government have dramatically and comprehensively altered the public
education system the plaintiffs ask this court to declare unconstitutional. The Governor,
legislature, and the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) have not only
accomplished much this year despite a substantial state deficit, but also vow to continue to make
significant efforts in the field of educational reform. Despite the projected deficit in Connecticut
for the current fiscal year, the elected branches of government have chosen to make education a
priority and have targeted money and reforms towards the lowest performing schools.

The bottom line is that
plaintiffs’ extreme and radical requested relief would amount to taking the state’s funding
decisions for public schools away from the citizens’ elected representatives and turning them
over to the courts who would rely on “experts” to determine through unproven econometric and
other social science modeling how much money the state shall spend on public education.

I don’t think so, neither does Jon Pelto:

by Jon Pelto from Wait, What

Wait, What? readers know about the pending lawsuit known as CCJEF vs. Rell. It is the case in which Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled that Connecticut’s children have a constitutionally guaranteed right to a quality education.

They also know that Governor Dannel Malloy and Attorney General George Jepsen are trying to stop this education lawsuit from being heard and resolved.

Despite having promised their support for the lawsuit, they are now not only trying to get the case dismissed, but are asking the court to prevent the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding [CCJEF], a broad coalition of towns, schools, parents and public school advocates, from even serving as the plaintiffs in the case.

They are taking this action despite the fact that the Connecticut Supreme Court ordered the lower court to hear the case.

And this action is being perpetrated by people who not only said they supported the lawsuit, but used that support to deceive the people of Connecticut into voting for them.

Dan Malloy and the education lawsuit of our lifetime;

On November 22, 2005, Stamford Mayor and Gubernatorial Candidate Dan Malloy issued a press release entitled “Malloy Supports Lawsuit Challenging Education Funding System…says that reforming the education funding system is an issue of ‘fundamental fairness.’”

As a candidate seeking votes, Malloy’s gubernatorial campaign wrote, “Stamford Mayor and Gubernatorial Candidate Dan Malloy joined fellow members of the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding [CCJEF] today in filing a lawsuit challenging Connecticut’s existing school funding formula as inadequate. Malloy is a founding member of CCJEF coalition, which commissioned a June 2005 cost study demonstrating that 92 of Connecticut’s 166 school districts fell short of funding levels deemed to be necessary for providing children with an adequate education, as demanded under Federal and State law.”

Malloy’s press release quoted him as saying, “The bottom line is that Connecticut’s Education Cost Sharing [ECS] Formula should be scrapped and rebuilt and the State of Connecticut must finally live up to its obligation and pay its share of our education costs. The existing ECS formula has been deliberately under-funded and arbitrarily capped. This isn’t an urban versus suburban issue or a big government versus small government issue; it’s an issue of fundamental fairness. Every child in Connecticut deserves the opportunity to get an adequate education. Our constitution demands it.”

The lawsuit that candidate Malloy was so strongly supporting is based on the recognition that Connecticut’s school funding system “has resulted in constitutional violations that disproportionately impact African-American, Latino, and other minority students.”

Malloy’s press release specifically highlighted an op-ed that Malloy had published just the week before in the Hartford Courant. In the commentary piece, Malloy wrote “The Rowland and Rell administrations have very deliberately and systemically under-funded local education in the State budget as a means of shifting costs to local government. Quite frankly, that’s why we have a property tax crisis in this State. While John Rowland bragged about tax cuts, local government picked up the burden — and the result is a combination of inadequate education and skyrocketing property tax.”

Malloy’s Hartford Courant piece went on to say, “Connecticut has a moral obligation to provide every child with an adequate education — regardless of race, income, or geography. We are saying today that Connecticut also has a Constitutional obligation. In the absence of gubernatorial leadership on this issue, the lawsuit filed today calls attention to one of the most significant problems existing in Connecticut today.”

And here we are, eight years later and more than two years into Governor Malloy’s tenure as Connecticut’s Chief Elected Official and not only has Malloy failed to lead the way on this crucial issue, but he is, in fact, leading the charge in exactly the wrong direction.

Instead of working tirelessly to resolve the lawsuit, he is working with Attorney General George Jepsen to try to get the case dismissed.

You can read more about this vital case at Fighting Children in the Courtroom and Malloy reverses earlier commitment to school funding case and here at Wait, What? in It’s only the most important school funding case in our lives – Malloy supported it/Now he opposes it
You can also read the State’s motion to dismiss the case at:

Here are some samples from the brief