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GOP Use Parliamentary Rule To Get Public Hearing On Common Core

by Hugh McQuaid & Christine Stuart | Feb 26, 2014 1:40pm
(6) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education

Hugh McQuaid Photo

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero

House Republicans swooped in Wednesday after a press conference where teacher union officials called the implementation of Common Core State Standards “botched,” to announce they’d managed to force a public hearing on legislation to delay the standards.

The announcement came directly after a Connecticut Education Association media event Wednesday morning in the Legislative Office Building. The state’s largest teachers union released the results of a member poll conducted this month, which suggest that Connecticut’s teachers are overwhelmingly critical of how Common Core State Standards have been implemented here.

Teachers, according to the poll, reported that schools are not adequately equipped to teach the standards and 96 percent believed its implementation had been rushed.

“Simply put, our teachers have not been afforded the time, they have not been afforded the resources and they have not been afforded the training and students are being tested on material that they have not been taught,” CEA President Sheila Cohen said.

Hugh McQuaid Photo Of the 1,452 teachers polled between Feb. 4 - 20, CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg said 97 percent believed there should be some sort of moratorium on the implementation of the standards.

“Teachers are calling for a moratorium. Let’s basically say here that teachers are not saying we don’t want standards, what we’re saying is give us time to digest what we are being asked to do, to make sure we can get this done right before children are being judged improperly,” he said.

As reporters and union officials were packing up, House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero appeared behind the podium and made his own announcement. Cafero said House Republicans had used a legislative petition process to force the Education Committee to hold a public hearing on two bills, including one to impose a moratorium on the implementation of Common Core.

Cafero said the chairs of the Education Committee had indicated they did not plan to hold any public hearings this year on bills pertaining to the Common Core and instead had opted to have an informational hearing on the subject. He said Republicans collected enough signatures from lawmakers to force a public hearing on the bills under legislative rules.

“We have circulated a petition which has been signed by 51 House Republican members which was filed moments ago with the House Clerk office which will force a public hearing on the two bills in question,” he said.

Cafero said lawmakers “have heard horror story after horror story about the inability for boards of education, teachers to prepare themselves” for the Common Core implementation. The other bill would codify changes made by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration last month to delay the implementation of elements of the state’s teacher guidelines.

“Those two bills now, by Joint Rule 11, will be having a public hearing. The scheduling of that hearing will be up to the chairs, but the issue as to whether or not there will be a public hearing is no longer an issue,” he said.

Cafero said it was “unacceptable” to have no public hearing on an issue impacting parents, students, and teachers.

Although Cafero criticized the Education Committee’s leadership for refusing to raise the bill for a public hearing this year, the petition seemed to catch one of the panel’s two chairs off guard.

Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, said Wednesday that he met with the committee’s Republicans at the beginning of the session and this issue was not something they agreed should be brought up in a short session. He said it would be impossible to get all of this addressed before the legislative session ends May 7.

Fleischmann said the bill the Republicans want to raise was stamped by the Legislative Commissioner’s Office three days after the Education Committee’s deadline for raising bill, so even if it had wanted to raise it, it couldn’t have raised it.

In addition, he said the bill doesn’t address revenues or expenditures so it doesn’t necessarily fit the criteria for a short legislative session.

“I’m not sure how there’s a proposed bill that’s not about revenue and expenditures that even got stamped by LCO. The whole situation seems curious to me,” Fleischmann said Wednesday outside the House chamber.

He said on Friday the Education Committee is holding an informational hearing where it will hear from experts at the state Education Department about exactly what the Common Core State Standards are all about. That hearing has been scheduled for several weeks.

Rep. Tim Ackert, R-Coventry, the ranking Republican member on the Education Committee, said his caucus raised this issue long before the deadline.

“I don’t know if there’s a bigger issue out there right now,” Ackert said.

He said there were 10 to 12 bills proposed that would have addressed the Common Core Standards and none of them were raised for public hearings by the committee.

“It’s curious how people who never discussed the Common Core with me at all in the last four years are suddenly in an Election year, desperately anxious for there to be a public hearing and a bill right away,” Fleischmann said.

Ackert disagreed with Fleischmann’s characterization of what happened during the bill screening process. He said he raised the issue several times both in public and in meetings with Fleischmann.

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(6) Comments

posted by: art vandelay | February 26, 2014  2:47pm

art vandelay

Cafero & the Republicans do not stand a chance of getting a hearing. Fleischmann & the Democrats won’t allow it.  If the Democrats do, they will pull an end around if forced by the CEA so they can take credit.
There is no way the Democrats will ever let the Republicans take credit on this issue.

posted by: Bluecoat | February 26, 2014  6:43pm

So I will ask the legislature again….
Who is protecting the privacy rights of Parents and Children from the creepy data mining that is authorized by the US Dept. of Education and the two assessment consortium’s?
The 1974 FERPA law has been rendered useless, and during the assessment times students will be asked personal and private questions without parental or legal guardian Notification or written permission from same.
We are going to borrow nearly 24 million dollars for Google Chrome computers which according to a Jon Pelto’s blog, these Preloaded computers will data mine your kids google apps for education e-mails even when turned off.
Also any health information collected in the school will not be protected by HIPPA, but by the new FERPA law.There is no privacy rights being protected by this legislature. Once again the ones with “The Vision of the Anointed”  do not care about our Constitutional rights.

Also, there are two school construction projects out on the street, one in Stamford, and the other in Waterbury, to construct Health and Dental clinics within the schools.
Imagine what kind of procedures can be performed on your kids without your knowledge in those Cities?

Who will be the first teacher in the State to walk out of school on the first day of testing to show solidarity with parents, who are being lied to my Mr Conflict of interest himself, Stefan Pryor, that we can’t opt our kids out of these expensive and data mining assessments?

posted by: Bluecoat | February 26, 2014  6:54pm

AV,
With all the millions given to the NEA and AFT from the Gates foundation to promote and push the Common Core,  why would these two Unions open this up to an honest and public debate now?
CT is too far down the CC rat hole to stop.

Can the CEA site one example that convinced them that CC works?
I think they can only count the millions from Gates as the only reason.

posted by: Bluecoat | February 26, 2014  7:21pm

First Teacher to walk out with Children to protest creepy assessments will be given a smiley face sticker!
And a Pink Slip!

posted by: Bluecoat | February 26, 2014  7:24pm

From the Federal Data Quality Campaign website that is one of many Government sites that will help States data mine your kids…..

“HIPAA does not apply to health information that is subject to FERPA. That means if health information is maintained in school records—for example, in a school health office administered by an educational agency—its use and disclosure is governed by FERPA, not by HIPAA.”

~ Data Quality Campaign
Complying with FERPA and Other Federal Privacy and Security Laws and Maximizing Appropriate Data Use

posted by: Linda12 | February 26, 2014  9:12pm

Ask Andrew why the hearing is invite only and ask why the names of the CCS “experts” will not be made public until Thursday evening? Obviously they know they are speaking so why is it a secret? Who selected these “experts”?

What is a CCS expert? Are they paid by Gates, chosen by Stefan? Do they teach children or do we have on more policy wonk preaching to the real educators of CT? 

Andrew, why invite only?

Why are the names of the experts being held until the last minute?

Who’s desperate?