Political Capitol

Brian Lockhart covers the Connecticut General Assembly in Hartford

Union to Guv: It’s not the teachers, it’s problem students/parents

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That’s the message a Norwalk teachers’ union quietly delivered to Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy today when he visited two of that city’s schools as part of his education reform tour.

Malloy’s ticked off a lot of teachers by targeting as part of his proposed efforts to close the achievement gap their job security – their tenure.

And, judging from the first of his public forums on his reforms last Thursday, the debate is only going to grow more heated between now and early May, when the typically union-friendly General Assembly has to act on the governor’s ideas before adjourning.

In contrast Malloy’s stops at Brookside Elementary School and Norwalk Community College Monday were quiet. He focused on early childhood education/programs, meeting with local elected officials, educators, student teachers and children.

When the governor arrived at Brookside shortly after 1 p.m. one of the first to greet him was Bruce Le Vine Mellion, president of the Norwalk Federation of Teachers Local 1723 of the American Federation of Teachers. Mellion was cordial. And instead of confronting the governor over tenure simply handed him an envelope containing a brief report entitled Elementary Students in Crisis

It certainly points out the need for early childhood education. But it’s also a strong defense of teachers at a time when the governor is arguing more must be done to boot the weak links:

  

Categories: General
Brian Lockhart

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8 Responses

  1. fairfieldcounty says:

    bruce is undoubtedly the biggest whiner i have ever known in my life. he’s a great fit for a union rep.

    now he is whining that the “kids are hard to teach”. get a different job then, teachers. there are a TON of people trying to become teachers… someone will GLADLY take your spot. don’t like your job? then quit and you can see how the unemployed, or 10% of the american population live… then you will be willing to accept ANY job.

  2. Nancy says:

    I used to work, as a non-educator, in a public high school. I was shocked at the bad behavior on the part of the some of the students. When disruptive students were sent to the assistant principal (or principal) and their parent(s) came in, it was crystal clear to me that some of the problems originated with the parents. The PARENTAL behaviors ranged from denial that their child would behave as described to supporting the child regardless of what the child had done (with numerous witness supporting the faculty position) to a declaration that the child had been taught to “stand up for his rights”.

    I am surprised that fewer teachers don’t leave their profession as they are rarely treated to the respect that they deserve by the community in which they work.

  3. MrLogical says:

    PS: I don’t disagree that the NEA and AFT are a big part of the problem – they are. Viz., they need to stop protecting and defending poor-performing teachers and streamline the dismissal process. That being said, the much larger contributor to underachieving students is the parents of those students who often use school as a baby-sitting service, and who don’t really care whether their kids get a good educational experience or not – despite what they may say for the benefit of public consumption.

  4. MrLogical says:

    This liberal clap-trap about “achievement gap” surfaces in the run-up to every election.  The truth of the matter is – which liberals choose not to confront or admit – that the basis for a good education begins at home.  If parents – regardless of their economic standing – don’t understand and promote the value of a good education, and if they don’t ensure that their children do their homework and hold them accountable for good grades, no amount of ‘wealth association’ or ‘teacher malfeasance’ will improve their chances for educational success.

    This liberal ploy of putting wealthy communities on a guilt-trip with this “achievement gap” propaganda avoids the very root of the problem:  Parents who don’t care enough about education and who don’t hold their children accountable to work and achieve.  If you want incontrovertible proof of this, just look at some of the most impoverished nations on Earth – e.g., in Africa and SE Asia – and take note that children there achieve MUCH higher rates of literacy and scholastic proficiency than the poorest of the poor in the USA.  These are children of parents where the annual family income is often only a few hundred dollars a year.  And they achieve these results in schools that often have dirt floors and lack extravagant learning facilities with smart boards and laptops.

    Want better educational results? Start demanding excellence and accountability at home, and quit blaming teachers and the overburdened taxpayers.

  5. MrLogical says:

    If the “Achievement Gap” advocates and parents of under-achieving students want to see improvement in academic achievement, the recipe for success follows:

    - Turn off the TV
    - Turn off the rap
    - Embrace religion
    - Drop the ghetto attire
    - Give up on the ‘acting white’ attitude
    - Keep your kids off the streets at night
    - Emphasize the value of a good education
    - Discuss school matters over the dinner table
    - Read to and with your kids at every opportunity
    - Make sure your kids do their homework every night
    - Create an expectation and responsibility for performance
    - Become involved in PTA/PTO meetings and discussions
    - Stop blaming other people and ‘the system’ for your kid’s failings

    The foundation of a good education begins at home. No teacher, counselor or administrator can replace the role a parent plays in creating the expectation that kids put forth the effort to learn and achieve. You and they are primarily responsible for their success. When some children in a particular school or classroom achieve while others don’t, it is manifestly obvious that the problem isn’t the teacher, the school or the administration. This is true of ANY school in ANY town or ANY district, REGARDLESS of demographics. If parents understand and cherish the value of education, and demand effort and adherence to classroom decorum, their kids will succeed.

    Quit blaming others and start doing your job as parents

  6. Greg says:

    @ Eric- Have you ever been in an inner city school? Have you ever seen poor kids unprepared, acting out,and being disruptive and disrespectful? Apparently not.

    I’m not fan of the union, but i’m not sure how you can blame the union or the teachers for the behavior of the kids coming from broken homes, poverty, and the ‘hood culture. Spend a little time in the schools and you’ll get yourself a little education as well.

  7. FatSean says:

    The problem is poorly behaved children and parents who can’t or won’t deal with the problems. My wife was teaching in CT public schools for several years and finally quit. It’s a sad case of a few badly behaved children ruining it for everyone. When the teachers and administrators care rebuffed by parents of poorly behaving children, what else can they do? Reading those lists reminded me of the things I’d hear when my wife came home from work each day.

    I think the kids should be expelled and their parents punished for being unwilling to discipline their children.

    If we’re gonna bust a union, bust the police union.

  8. eric says:

    The AFT and NEA need to be closed up. They are the problem and a total disgrace.
    How in the world it is now the kids fault?

    I was confused about this debate before but now I am not. This is absurd.