Category Archives: Education

Capital Prep\’s Perry Does Ad Funded By Michelle Rhee\’s Students First

by Categorized: Charter schools, Education Date:

Tune into WZMX Hot 93.7 in the next few days and you’ll hear Steve Perry, one of the founders of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford, give a rapid-fire plug for “quality schools” in Hartford.

“Did you know that thousands of children are on waiting lists for quality schools in Hartford?” asks Perry. “Parents have no choice but to wait as their children remain trapped in failing schools. This is a tragedy. The time is now for city leaders to expand high-quality schools so that all kids can have access and you can come off that waiting list.”

The advertisement, which is funded by Michelle Rhee’s organization, Students First, urges listeners to call a phone number that delivers them to a Students First Connecticut voicemail.

Francisco Castillo, a spokesman for Students First, said the radio ad is part of a “Hartford Can’t Wait” public awareness campaign (that’s hartfordcantwait.org) so parents can stay informed about school board meetings, get phone numbers for Mayor Pedro Segarra and School Board Chairman Matt Poland, and sign a petition demanding more high-quality schools for the city. Those high-quality options, Castillo said, are magnet and charter schools.

Click here to listen to the ad:

 

Perry was selected for the ad, Castillo said, because “It’s clear that he runs one of the best magnet schools in Connecticut … Why not replicate a model that is clearly working for kids?”

Perry tried to do that, but the Hartford board rejected a plan that would have given him oversight of a second city school.

He was sharply criticized for responding to the board\’s decision with a threatening tweet.

Castillo said the incident was “a distraction. I’m not going to engage in what’s been said locally, but what I can say is we at Students First are focused on elevating the voices of parents. He continues to run schools that are pretty successful… He’s a perfect spokesman for this.”

Perry who has proposed a charter school for Bridgeport, ends the ad saying, “I’m ready to open new schools to better serve our community … but we need your help sign. Sign up now at hartfordcantwait.org.\”

 

Gov. Malloy Signs Executive Order Creating Common Core Task Force

by Categorized: Education Date:

Gov. Malloy, after delaying implementation of the Common Core Education Standards, announced Tuesday that he signed an executive order creating a task force to study adoption of the program in Connecticut.

The Educators\’ Common Core Implementation Taskforce will consist of parents, teachers, and administrators. The group is tasked with identifying the shortcomings of the Common Core program implementation and coming up with a set of recommendations to make the process go smoothly.

Malloy\’s budget proposal includes just short of $15 million in training and coaching for educators, money appropriated to facilitate the transition to Common Core. Many – including teachers and Malloy\’s political opponents – have criticized the roll out and called for implementation of Common Core to be halted.

The task force members include 12 teachers, four principals, four superintendents or district curriculum leaders, two parents, two municipal board of education members, and the Chief Academic Officer of the State Department of Education. Erin Wilson, a Hartford Elementary School teacher, and East Hartford Superintendent Nate Quesnel were tapped as co-chairs.

Q Poll Gives Malloy Top Marks for Storm Management, Weaker Ratings on Economy, Jobs

by Categorized: Economy, Education, Gambling, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Keno, Quinnipiac University Poll, State budget, taxes, Uncategorized Date:

Good on snowstorms, not so good on budgets, the economy and jobs.

That\’s one finding of a new Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy\’s handling of various issues facing the state.

First, the good news for the Democratic governor: 86 percent of voters, including 84 percent of Republicans, approve of the way Malloy is handling this winter\’s snowstorms.

But, according to the poll, Malloy gets weaker grades on economic and budgetary matters. Fifty three percent said they disapprove of the way Malloy is handling the budget, and 63 percent disapprove of the way he is handling taxes.

Almost two-thirds of voters — roughly 60 percent — disapprove of the way Malloy is handling jobs and the economy; 33 percent approve.

Malloy\’s plan to use a portion f the state\’s budget surplus to give state taxpayers a $55 tax refund was branded as a \”political gimmick\” by 63 percent of respondents. Twenty three percent called it \”good public policy.\”

About a third of voters said Malloy\’s economic policies have hurt their personal financial situation while just 6 percent said they have helped — and 57 percent said they have made no difference.

On Malloy\’s education policy, respondents were split: 41 percent approve of his handling of education and 43 percent disapprove, according to the poll.

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, 36 percent of voters say the economy and jobs should be the priority for Malloy and the legislature while 14 percent said it should be taxes and 11 percent, education.

Asked to assess the state of Connecticut\’s economy, nearly 75 percent rated it as \”not so good\” or \”poor.\” Just 24 percent rated it \”good.\”

The poll also asked about keno, a bingo-like gambling product for bars and restaurants that state lawmakers approved last year and are poised to repeal this year. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they do not think the game should be permitted while 29 percent support it.

 

 

 

Lawmakers Ponder New School Security Standards

by Categorized: Education, Mark Boughton, Public Safety, Sandy Hook Date:

\"photoConnecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would set standards for school security officers.

Senate Bill 98 would require minimum training levels for security personnel who are not current or retired police officers. The standards would be developed in consultation with the state Department of Education and include training on drug detection and gang identification.

\”There\’s no uniform standard,\’\’ Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton told members of the legislature\’s public safety committee, which held a hearing on the proposal this morning. \”Certainly establishing those standards…is something that the state ought to consider.\”

The 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown prompted many school districts to assess their public safety plans. At least one Connecticut town installed armed guards at its schools.

Boughton said many communities chose not to have armed guards and cannot afford to assign a police officer to each of their schools.

Continue reading

CT AP Scores Win National Kudos

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Education Date:

 

Jenny Wilson reports:

\"APTESTS\"Connecticut students who graduated from high school in 2013 scored among the highest in the nation on Advanced Placement tests, according to a report released Tuesday that ranked the state first in improvement over the past decade.

The findings, published in the College Board\’s \”10th Annual AP Report to the Nation,\” provide a glimmer of optimism for education leaders in the state, who lately have been ensnared in a heated debate over how best to ensure college readiness. The fight has stalled implementation of a reform initiative central to the governor\’s agenda and elicited cries from educators who fear that they will be forced to \”teach to the test.\”

Tuesday\’s report, however, reflects significant strides Connecticut has made in the now-institutionalized Advanced Placement courses system. About 14,000 graduating seniors in 2013 took an AP at some point in high school.

Read on.

Regents Missed At Meeting With Students

by Categorized: Education, higher education Date:

What if you gave a party and nobody came?

\"grey\"That’s a little how the organizers of the “Winter 2014 Meet & Greet” for members of the Boards of Regents for Higher Education felt late last month. The event was an opportunity for the 13 members of the board to hear from 12 students and alumni of the four state Connecticut State University schools, but not a single board member showed at the Jan. 23 meeting.

“I just think it’s appalling,” said Michael Shea, an English professor from Southern Connecticut State University. “It’s really for the board members to understand what these students are capable of because of the Connecticut State Universities and how important it is for the public to understand why they need to support this school…. We want the board to be the voice to the public about that and they could be a more effective voice if they sort of saw and knew what these students are doing.”

Regents President Gregory Gray did attend and praised the students for their achievement, telling them that that they had surpassed many more obstacles than he faced in getting an education. But the organizers of the event said it was really geared to educate board members, who oversee not only the four state universities but 12 community colleges. Continue reading

CEA To Release New Ad

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Democrats, Education, General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Republicans Date:

It may seem that Connecticut teachers don’t have to spend another penny on getting their message out. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is clearly listening to them now — he agreed with their complaints about education reform and announced a slow down on the new teacher evaluation system. Malloy also plans to set up a task force to troubleshoot any problems related to the  new Common Core academic standards.

Just to be sure, the Connecticut Education Association has just released a new commercial that focuses on the word “rise” every morning as students prepare to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

The commercial shows images of Connecticut teachers, as well as students and parents, standing up and placing a hand on the heart. The union says it’s “a metaphor for the dedication and resilience of those on the real front lines of public education.”

A voice-over reminds the public that teachers and students “rise with dedication and without fail in the face of new challenges,” a union statement says, “the kind being posed by the current implementation of the new state teacher evaluation system and new common core standards and related tests.”

The actual Connecticut teachers in the commercial are Lauren Blum of Manchester, David Jedidian of Rockville, Kim Patella of New Milford, Spencer Peterson of Newington, Nina Smith of Waterbury, and Christopher Todd of Windsor.

 

Malloy Delays Teacher Evals, Sets Up Common Core Task Force

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Education, Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

Gov. Malloy is calling for a slowing down of new stricter evaluations for teachers. He is also establishing a task force to study implementation of the Common Core of State Standards.

In a startling admission that \”too much change is hitting their classrooms at once,\” Malloy and top Democratic leaders say they are listening to concerns raised by teachers: \”Too much change all at once impedes teachers’ ability to be effective in their classrooms. Teachers and administrators understandably are feeling burdened and together we must take action to relieve this pressure.\’\’

Both the evaluations and Common Core have come under heavy criticism from teachers and parents in recent weeks, including an essay by West Hartford teacher Elizabeth Natale that went viral after appearing in The Courant.

Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and Senate President Don Williams, in a letter to the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council, say state teachers and school districts need more time:

… we write to you today to urge you to amend the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation to provide our educators greater flexibility in the implementation of the new evaluation and support system, and to relieve the significant demands and pressures on teachers and administrators who simultaneously must also implement the Common Core State Standards.

… we believe we must engage in a more robust dialogue to improve the implementation of Common Core and address gaps in Common Core preparation. In the next two weeks, I will establish a Common Core State Standards working group that will include teachers and other educators from across the state to make recommendations on Common Core implementation. We need to hear about the gaps and needs in the classrooms of our state if we are to implement the Common Core well and enable our teachers to prepare students and enhance their learning experience.