Category Archives: Education

STEM Bill Championed By Esty Clears the House

by Categorized: Education, Elizabeth Esty Date:

By Matthew Q. Clarida

A bill co-authored by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th district) which would increase federal support to teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, passed the House of Representatives on Monday.

The act, which Esty put forth along with Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) continues existing STEM support from the federal government, expands some grants to a larger population of eligible teachers, and mandates that computer science education is funded by at least some of the awards.

The current iteration of the bill, if approved by the Senate, will direct money not only to classrooms and teacher training programs but to museums and science centers as well.

“I’m very proud our commonsense bill passed today,” Esty said in a press release from her office. “The STEM Education Act represents a crucial step forward for our students and teachers, and for institutions like the Connecticut Science Center. The support the bill provides will empower us to continue—and expand—our work to advance STEM education throughout our state.”

The bill passed the House with no votes against.

AFT Endorses Malloy/Wyman

by Categorized: Education, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jonathan Pelto, Labor, Uncategorized Date:

While some Connecticut educators have expressed sharp criticism of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a union representing tens of thousands of public school teachers has endorsed the incumbent for a second term.

The AFT-Connecticut, a union representing about 29,000 teachers, nurses and support employees, announced its endorsement Friday afternoon. The union is also backing the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation and its constitutional officers, who are also all Democrats.

“We have chosen to support candidates who will act to prevent a ‘Wisconsin moment’ here in Connecticut,” said Stephen McKeever, a former Middletown High School science teacher who is AFT Connecticut’s first vice-president. “We need leaders committed to preserving the rights of all workers to collectively bargain and not gutting union members’ benefits to score political points.”

Malloy’s vigorous advocacy for reforming the teacher tenure system shortly after taking office, along with his education commissioner’s embrace of charter schools, has drawn the wrath of some educators.

Continue reading

Malloy Vetoes Bill Banning Chocolate Milk in Schools

by Categorized: Education, General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy Tagged: Date:

Gov. Dannel Malloy, saying he likes chocolate milk, announced today that he will veto legislation that would have inadvertently banned chocolate milk from Connecticut school cafeterias.

malloy meetings

“I love chocolate milk,” said Malloy, whose staff emphasized the point Thursday morning by tweeting a photo of the governor drinking some of the brown beverage. He said the added sodium content in chocolate milk wasn’t enough to warrant banning it from school cafeterias.

Nutritionists say chocolate milk bans result in some school kids giving up on any kind of milk with lunch, and that means they may be missing out on key nutrients.

Continue reading

Pelto Slams Teachers Union for Preliminary Endorsement

by Categorized: Education, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jonathan Pelto Date:

Jonathan Pelto, who is considering a run for governor, criticized the American Federation of Teacher’s Connecticut Legislative and Political Action Committee for recommending that the union endorse Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for reelection.

“I am deeply disturbed that the leadership of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers would deny me, or any other candidate, an opportunity to present our case,” Pelto said in a press release Wednesday. “If there is any organization left in America that should be open, fair and transparent it should be a union that represents teachers.”

Pelto, Malloy’s most vocal and persistent critic on the left, is not currently a candidate for governor, but he has said he is weighing whether to enter the race.

The Legislative and Political Action Committee’s recommendation does not constitute a formal endorsement. According to the AFT’s website, the committee reviews candidate requests for endorsement and make recommendations to the AFT Connecticut Executive Committee, qhich ultimately decides who the union will endorse.

“We are in the middle of an internal membership process and won’t be making any comments to the press,” union spokesman Matt O’Connor said.

Pelto called the committee’s recommendation of Malloy “insulting and inappropriate.”

“The decision to endorse Malloy without an open process is a sad commentary on the state of politics,” he said. “Putting aside the work I’ve done to speak out for teachers and their unions over the past two years, and my lifetime commitment to public education, Governor Malloy has proven himself to be the most anti-teacher Democratic governor in the country. There is not a teacher in Connecticut who has forgotten that Malloy proposed ending teacher tenure and unilaterally repealing collective bargaining for teachers in ‘turnaround schools’ when he put forward his education reform initiative.”


Early Childhood Bill Moves Toward Shift In Kindergarten Entry Age

by Categorized: Education, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney Date:

Future “ber babies” — children born in October, November and December — will likely have to wait a little longer to enter kindergarten.

Deep within a bill that establishes the Office of Early Childhood and sharply expands the number of preschool slots for needy children is a provision that sets into motion plans to change the kindergarten entrance age. Under current law, children may enroll in kindergarten as long as they turn 5 by Jan. 1. The legislation calls for a plan to shift that date to Oct. 1.

Kindergarten students file into Naubuc School in Glastonbury for the first day of class in August 2013. (Peter Marteka )

Kindergarten students file into Naubuc School in Glastonbury for the first day of class in August 2013. (Peter Marteka )

“Most of us agree that it makes sense for us to move the kindergarten start age,” said Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford and co-chair of the legislature’s education committee. “Right now there’s such a wide band of ages of children in kindergarten that it can make it challenging for the teachers and the pupils.”

The bill, which passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate, directs the Office of Early Childhood to devise a plan to change the eligibility date and report back to the legislature by June 30, 2015.

Continue reading

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 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\”


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, 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, 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