Malloy Rallies 30 Mayors To Push For Education Reform Package By May 9

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With his education reform package in trouble, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy summoned 30 mayors to the state Capitol Thursday to rally their local legislators to pass his package.

Malloy met with the mayors of the state\’s largest cities, including Bill Finch of Bridgeport, Pedro Segarra of Hartford, John DeStefano of New Haven, Neil O\’Leary of Waterbury, and Michael Pavia of Stamford.

The mayors represent communities that would receive $39.5 million out of the $50 million in increased educational cost-sharing funds under Malloy\’s bill. That bill was gutted by the Democratic-controlled education committee, and Malloy has said repeatedly that he will not sign a bill that he does not support.

When asked by The Courant if he asked the mayors to lobby their legislators to change the bill, Malloy replied, \”Yes.\’\’

The bipartisan group included Republicans from Stamford, Norwich, and other communities. Mayor Mark Boughton, a Danbury Republican, did not appear with Malloy and the mayors at the press conference because he \”went home to call his representatives,\’\’ Malloy said.

James Finley, the chief lobbyist for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, said, \”Basically, he told the mayors and the first selectmen: your money is on the line.\’\’

The mayors represent the 30 worst-performing communities in the state on the Connecticut mastery tests, which are standardized tests issued across the state on various topics.

Finch candidly admitted that the public schools and the students are struggling in his hometown.

\”Our kids are getting shortchanged in Bridgeport,\’\’ Finch said. \”I looked around the room in there [during the meeting with Malloy], and I said, \’Take out Hartford and New Haven, and I have more failing schools than everyone else added together in the room.\’ … This is a very historic opportunity. We have a president, a governor, a commissioner, a superintendent, and a mayor all lined up to do reform in Bridgeport and I think, in many of these cities.\’\’

He added, \”Only 25 percent of my fourth-graders read at grade level. Ten percent of my 10th graders are at grade level. We have a national embarrassment in our school system, and we\’ve got to change it. And we can change it.\’\’

Malloy, the mayors, and legislators are working to reach a compromise on the package before the legislative session adjourns May 9.

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5 thoughts on “Malloy Rallies 30 Mayors To Push For Education Reform Package By May 9

  1. Kevin W. Edwards

    Dear Connecticut Legislators:

    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 at 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 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 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.

    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”.

    1. Richard

      Where’s the cost refinement proposals and cash awards to teachers that have the highest Return on Tacpayer Investment?

      Where’s the removeal provision for teachers who have the lowest Return on Taxpayer Investment?

      Reads like the usual wish list of “Throw a Bucket of Money at the Problem” union pandering.

  2. Derrick Magoun

    Malloy is now using extortion to get his failed ideas on “education” reform through the Legislature. Telling Mayors that they won’t get any money to help their school’s unless they fully support his ideas is sad. I remember when I was proud to live in CT, thanks for ruining that Gov. Malloy.

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  4. Pingback: The Collective Call for Education Reform in Connecticut « Connecticut Council for Education Reform

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