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Lawmakers Revise Malloy’s Education Proposal

by Christine Stuart | Mar 26, 2012 1:55pm
(21) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education

Christine Stuart photo

Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford

(Updated 5:35 p.m.) The bill upon which the Education Committee is expected to vote Monday does not immediately change teacher tenure, but rather sets up a study of the evaluation system that will be used to determine tenure.

Click here to read the Office of Legislative Research’s summary of the changes and here for the revised bill.

“It’s really critical to have buy-in from all parties,” Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, co-chairman of the Education Committee, said Monday morning outside a closed-door meeting of lawmakers.

Teachers, who have been attending Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education town hall meetings by the hundreds, and the two unions that represent them have been opposed to certain aspects of the governor’s proposal that asks teachers to earn and re-earn tenure, as well as teacher certifications, through new job evaluations based on student performance.

If one party is “opposed to a system that’s affecting all of them it’s hard to see how it’s going to work,” Fleischmann said. “We’re appreciative of the fact that the administration is still talking to various stakeholders and appreciative of the fact that we can move forward when everybody is moving forward together.”

The governor’s office, Commissioner of Education, and the two teacher unions are trying to get to “yes” but they haven’t gotten there yet, Fleischmann said.

Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, D-New Haven, who was studying the bill after only receiving it on Monday morning a few hours before a Democratic caucus, said “we’re punting on all of the important stuff.“

Christine Stuart photo

Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield in middle of press scrum

He said he would like to deal with the issues head on, but turning it into studies seems to put off those hard decisions for another year. However, he agreed with Fleischmann that the bill is still a living document and nothing is final until both chambers vote on it.

The revised bill asks the state Board of Education to consult with the Performance Evaluation Advisory Committee to adopt guidelines for a model evaluation system, but it doesn’t tie the evaluation process to tenure this year.

The revised bill also requires the University of Connecticut’s NEAG School of Education to study the implementation of teacher and administrator evaluations and support programs adopted by local and regional school boards.

It also reduces the three-level certification structure to two: initial and professional certificates. And it establishes a new “distinguished educator designation,” for highly qualified and experienced teachers.

Like the New Haven school reform model, the bill authorizes local and regional school boards to negotiate new salary schedules to align compensation for teachers under the initial and professional certificates, and allows for additional compensation to be negotiated by teachers holding the distinguished educator designation.

Fleischmann bristled at the notion that lawmakers gave the Connecticut Education Association, the state’s largest teacher union, everything it wanted in the bill because it’s an election year for lawmakers.

“I have talked with legislators who have made it very clear that they want to get better results for the children in Connecticut, while showing some understanding of the position teachers are in,” Fleischmann said. “They want to strike a balance and that’s what we seek to do in the bill we’re considering today.”

He said if the parties still negotiating the bill can reach agreement sooner, they’re more than happy to make changes.

He said the legislation finalized over the weekend was largely based on the New Haven model. He said it was a good way to resolve the largest source of anxiety out there, which was “how will this evaluation process work?”

Fleischmann said if the parties, which are the governor’s administration and the two teacher unions, can’t get to “yes” this year on tying an evaluation system to tenure, then the bill guarantees they will get there by next year. Further, he said the bill helps shorten the current process for getting rid of an ineffective teacher.

The revised bill also cuts the governor’s per-pupil increase for charter school students from $2,600 to $900, and makes it optional for the town to contribute an additional $1,000 for each student who attends a charter school.

Under the bill a school district may use the data from charter school students’ standardized tests if the district pays the charter school $1,000 annually for each of its resident students who attend the school. Funding for charter school students would still be included as part of the Education Cost Sharing formula and would increase from $9,400 per pupil to about $10,300 per pupil.

Patrick Riccards, CEO of ConnCAN, said any local district should find it enormously beneficial to report charter school data, but not requiring municipalities to send the $1,000 per pupil to charter schools creates some concern.

“Again what we have here is a real concern we have two classes of students in the same city,” Riccards said.

The plan to force school districts with 1,000 or fewer students to regionalize with surrounding school districts or face a penalty was eliminated from the bill. The revised bill asks the state Department of Education to study the issue.

Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, said clearly there are significant changes from the governor’s bill.

“The problem with this draft the Education Committee chairs are bringing out today is they were negotiated by two Democratic chairman, lobbyists, and the governor’s office,” McKinney said. “Republican legislators were completely locked out. It even appears the governor’s people were invited into some meetings and not others.”

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said there are enough changes in the bill that it indicates to him the governor’s people may have been in the room, but they weren’t there for long.

“It would appear that on every major issue — whether it’s teacher evaluations, certification, linkage between evaluations and certification, certification levels, charter schools, the dismissal process for a teacher — all of the most significant issues in the governor’s bill have all been dramatically changed in this bill,” McKinney said.

As of 2 p.m. the Education Committee was still in caucus discussing the revised bill behind closed doors.

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(21) Comments

posted by: Noteworthy | March 26, 2012  2:35pm

More studies, more money, more concern from ConnCAN that it isn’t going to get as much money as it wants…yadda, yadda, yadda. Oh yes, and Fleischmann bristles…AGAIN. So what about Adamowski’s personal pension pleaser and giving the thumbs up to illegally taking over the Bridgeport public schools?

This may be a living document but it’s on life support with an oxygen tube from a single source. It ought to be dead.

posted by: Linda12 | March 26, 2012  4:44pm

I can’t tell if they took out the special deal for
Adamoski…it looks like the special exceptions that apply to only him are still in the second draft.  Does anyone know?

posted by: gsamuel | March 26, 2012  4:54pm

Parents: Read this article and count how many times were students (your child) mentioned as being important and why were these conversations NOT student centered?  This bill should be renamed how to NOT improve outcomes for children. Make NO mistake about it OUR children are totally NON FACTORS. I stand corrected, certain populations, of children are NON Factors and nothing will change for them and for those populations that comprise the achievement gap Black, Brown, Rural, and Special needs!  Can you say a more viable school to prison pipeline!  The education committee has jokes…a Study to see what?  Should teachers be effective or Not? Should an effective math teacher teach math Wow!  We need a Racial Equity Impact Assessment law to see who will be mostly affected by these poor irresponsible choices!

Parents, remember while they “debate” their egos and contracts CT pays $41,000 per inmate and on average 13,000- 15,000 per pupil.  Are we angry yet?  Ask the Trayvon Martin followers because this type of educational system is designed for outcomes like that! 

Another year teachers and educators get free passes and are exempt from change while parents can get arrested for going to another school district!  Are you kidding me!

This must be unconstitutional!

Lawmakers you are responsible for ALL of your constituents not a select few.  Your thinking is putting Connecticut deeper in debt and putting our children on a track for more failing schools because you pay for both effectiveness and ineffectiveness with benefits! It’s NOT sustainable!

What happened to shared accountability and smart spending?? Wow!!!And YOU blame parents for the state of education in Connecticut!  Wow again! 

At least, preserve school governance councils and give parents notification if a teacher is not performing well in his/her subject area so we can risk jail then expose our children to low expectations and ineffectiveness!  Am I mad? Yes I am because I am a Black parent and your current education system sets my children up to fail! You know that and I know that because your expensive data collection states that plus the Trayvon Martins of the world states that! Shame on all of you

posted by: CONconn | March 26, 2012  5:26pm

This quote is hilarious:

“Again what we have here is a real concern we have two classes of students in the same city,” Riccards said.

Pat Riccards doesn’t realize just how right he is with that statement, seeing as how the poorest local public districts will see an increase of about $150 while the charters he lobbies for will see an increase of $900! Two classes indeed!

I wonder how long this quote will stay up before it gets deleted, like the Hartford Courant quotes from today…

posted by: Christine Stuart | March 26, 2012  5:33pm

Christine Stuart

Linda12,
It’s out. I’m about to upload the full version of the bill. It’s Sec. 23. which was stripped completely.
Christine

posted by: state_employee | March 26, 2012  7:10pm

why does malloy want to give charters so much more money…??? 

why is he hell bent on making teachers the scape goat???

where is the parent accountability…???

posted by: brutus2011 | March 26, 2012  7:50pm

brutus2011

Some of my fellow minority citizens seem to feel that Malloy’s S.B.24 is a good thing.
It is not. And not even close.
Those of us who are on the wrong end of the achievement gap are not cared about or for by any education executive or administrator in this state or country.
For proof, consider our country’s history and overlay it on our present to see our future.
And if you think having a minority superintendent is going to help, then just consider the case of New Haven.
So, it is time we stop looking to others to fix our problem and band together and work with our children’s teachers and schools to change our future.
If you don’t believe me, then listen to Bill Cosby.
And if you don’t want to believe me or Dr. Cosby, then perhaps you might believe the scripture:
“My people are destroyed by the lack of knowledge.”

posted by: ConcernedTeacher | March 26, 2012  7:57pm

I am happy to see that parts of the bill did not make it on, I am still frightened by what’s in that bill.

I’m a New Haven teacher—and in our evaluation system one thing is at the focus: STANDARDIZED TESTS! That’s what we give our urban kids—test prep, test prep, test prep. That’s not a real education.  There’s no discovery in answering CMT strand questions. 

I’m all for reform—and gsamuel, I agree that the education system is so far broken and is a pipeline to prison. But I don’t see anything in that bill that would break that cycle.

Teachers and community members need to stand up and fight for social justice and quality education—-and to me that means fighting against SB 24

posted by: gsamuel | March 26, 2012  8:30pm

oh parents are accountable all right!  By compulsory laws we MUST send our kids to drop out factories, low performing schools, and schools that do not have the resources or staff to properly educate OUR children no matter how engaged we are and if we DON"t send them child welfare gets involved and if we try and do better by sending them to a better school Arrest or threats of arrest is the school districts response

So please Mr. State employee with all due respect over 300million dollars goes into the lowest performing schools and you get the majority of the funding whether u are effective or not and ALL the actual consumers of education (students and parents) get are “maybe next year” we will educate your child with smart spending and accountable best practices conversation from some lawmakers. Clearly teacher unions control the education committee and why won’t a judge or someone with the moral courage intervene to help students…they are not adults they are children but I am sure when those 1000 early child slots become available it will award jobs to effective and ineffective teachers because accountability just does not exist in education in CT. 

Just give us our per pupil amount and let us go to schools that don’t mind being evaluated and held accountable to high standards! Unions Ran right over the education committee with spikes on!

Again teachers have protections in the millions of dollars to “nudge” lawmakers in the right direction come election and ALL parents have is the love for their their children and clearly if we don’t fight for them who will?  Please don’t underestimate that Love!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | March 26, 2012  10:39pm

@CTPU Gsamuel.We will Keep having failing school in communities of color until we follow this.

Black people should not look to whites for charity forever. What we lack is self help and self reliance. We are always wanting somebody to do something for us. As a race we are too envious, malicious and superficial, and because of this we keep ourselves back———MARCUS GARVEY (from his lecture at Collegiate Hall in Kingston Jamaica , given in 1915)

If white people were dependent on others, they would not be as successful as they are today. If Japan were dependent on other countries, she would not be as successful as she is today. As long as the Negro is dependent on other groups, he will remain the lowest down——-MARCUS GARVEY

posted by: state_employee | March 27, 2012  8:09am

It’s Ms. State Employee

posted by: AMM | March 27, 2012  9:48am

@gsamuel,
Why aren’t you bugging your finance committee, board or ed,  mayor, etc. to find out where the money is going if you think it is being misspent? And if you’re so unhappy with your schools, then why don’t you homeschool them, pay for private school, or move to another district?  I realize many people cannot do this.  But I also realize many people had children long before they were educated or financially ready.  That’s why you make the best of what you have and make what you have BETTER.

posted by: gsamuel | March 27, 2012  9:55am

First, a comment to ALL Connecticut lawmakers that are charged to equally protect ALL of their constituents regardless or ethnicity, age, sex, ability or religion
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).
Ayn Rand

Secondly, I do not quote MLK for the sake of quoting but in the case of SB 24 this quote applies to the utmost especially for people of color. The oppressed don’t want hand outs, we want ACCESS to a great education, to get a good job or start a business so that we are able to live self sufficient thus able to provide for our families.
MLK “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”  This SB 24 law alone will NOT address all the issues that affect student learning but it can STOP draining resources and the flow of funding to pay for ineffectiveness. 40% of Connecticut’s children are in low performing schools which roughly equate to over 200,000 children at an average of $15,000 per pupil with a total cost to tax payers of 300 MILLION dollars. Can taxpayers, homeowners, small businesses, college students… really afford to pay for something WE KNOW is defective. 

SB 24 will not solve the entire states crisis but it will level the playing field towards equitable access to opportunity plus it is the most comprehensive education reform plan CT has ever produced!

We must stop the mismanagement of the working class tax payer investment to pay for many public schools ineffectiveness. It’s about the children, which by the way, have NO say, what so ever, over what you give them in a school.

Again with all due respect, how many lawmakers are teachers and union members because I have to wonder, as a parent, are their loyalties clouding their decision to PROTECT the educational rights of children.  Score Board: Teacher Union 100% Students ZERO. Please note the battle for parents to protect their child’s right to a high quality education has JUST begun!

Our kids have just as much of a right to get a great education, become a productive citizen, be college ready just like ALL the adults in the school system.  Talk about selfish! Teachers Unions have made education reform all about YOU!  Parents say it’s all about Students with effective teachers at the helm of the classroom.  Teachers, parents want to be your partners and YOU want it to be ALL about YOU or Bust. Put yourself in our shoes. We are obligated to protect our children just like Teacher Union are obligated to protect You!

The love we have for our children will over ride any political games.  Our children are real people that deserve a real chance at success

posted by: gsamuel | March 27, 2012  11:22am

@AMM we clearly know how the tax payers money is spent on education that’s the problem! Over 300m of tax payers investment into low performing schools pays for stuff WE KNOW is NOT effective as well as pay for effectiveness. How about get rid of the ineffectiveness and reward the effective?

Why should parents have to consider home schooling when there are great schools out there and the ones that are not performing are not being made to perform. Its simple, if CT lawmakers are afraid to hold ALL stakeholders accountable to educating all children equally then simply attach the FUNDING to each child that way parents can choose better schools for their children. How about learning from the private sector and they do business.  Its insulting that the only choice for the parents of the 40%/200,000plus students in low performing schools is to “home school” thus allowing the status quo to keep reaping benefits without being measured to ensure they are effective at what they were hired to do?  We may be poor but not foolish enough to allow people to continue to mis-educate our children! AMM I thank you for the lively discussions because they reinforce the need for parents to fight harder against poor educational systems that disenfranchise many from accessing their RIGHT to a high quality education. Please note EDUCATION is a human right ergo its not the status quos right to determine who gets it and who does not!  I am just saying

posted by: THREEFIFTHS | March 27, 2012  1:24pm

Education is that whole system of human training within and without the school house walls, which molds and develops men.
W. E. B. Du Bois

posted by: justsayin | March 27, 2012  1:31pm

What about the kids in these low performing districts as well as the kids in the performing districts who are excelling in school? Where is the program support for the best and brightest in elementary and middle school? Where is the program to raise these kids to the highest levels no matter where their starting point was? Show me that in this bill.

I am always humored by the constant cry for the student. This bill singles out the lowest performing schools (read voting districts) and funnels the resources to them. This on top of the time, energy and talent we all can agree is already being wasted. There is no reform here only the ground work for more of the same. You need somebody bold and selfless for real reform. This bill and it’s architects are a far cry from either.

posted by: AMM | March 27, 2012  1:33pm

Yes, Gwen.  Every kid has the right to be educated and become a productive citizen.  It doesn’t mean a kid (and his parents) doesn’t have to work for it either.  Telling a kid he’s at a disadvantage because another school has different or more resources won’t do that either.

By your logic I should be screaming how unfair it is that my neighbor bought a pool so his kids can get exercise while I have to drag my kids to the community pool.

posted by: gsamuel | March 27, 2012  4:57pm

@justsayin schools are designed for the “student” so I am not understanding why you are humored. This bill is at least trying to level the playing field. schools that do well are having some of the “red tape” removed so they can be more free to continue their great work smile

@AMM, no assumptions/sterotypes please smile many parents don’t tell their kids they are disadvantaged, we help our kids cope with the realities that face them because the status quo labels them as disadvantaged and then have low expectations for them as well because they are “poor” or Black in regard to your “pool” example the problem is we are FORCED, by law, to go to the community pool and asked to swim in it even though it has NO water so let us be clear about privilege and those that are disenfranchised. Please study your history winkBetter yet read CT’s CURRENT history of education

posted by: Tom Burns | March 27, 2012  11:23pm

Believe me—this isnt a watered down bill—-as is—it still will hurt children—and not get the desired results—-The first Bill was someone throwing a thousand bad ideas at the wall and hoping some would stick-well some did and they are not pretty—we are not the unmitigated failures of New York, DC, Michigan, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana and New Jersey—This is CT and I couldnt imagine Governor Malloy would follow the misguided Governors of those states—We have a ways to go to make this bill good for kids—the ones we see everyday—-(are you close enough to see them everyday)if not then you might want to ask the professionals what will work—-Govt and Administrators have been telling us what to do for decades—maybe its time to stop the dictums and listen—and let us teach—Tom

posted by: UrbanEducator | March 28, 2012  6:30am

As always, Tom Burns is spot on!!! I teach in New Haven. When are we going to stop being TOLD how to fix the failing schools, and start telling the people in charge what needs to be done? How many current classroom teachers did the Governor consult with when he drafted his bill? If a lawyer was held accountable and could lose his license if he didn’t win 85% of his cases how many people would want to be lawyers?  If a doctor was held accountable and could lose his license if his patients did not improve their health by 85% every year, how many people would want to be doctors?  Schools are not factories.  The various factors that affect a child’s ability to learn are too many to imagine. This cookie cutter approach to how we are now being asked to educate the young is doing more harm than good, and unless teachers who are on the front lines are involved in the conversation, then all hope is lost.

posted by: justsayin | March 28, 2012  9:08am

@gsamuel my point is there is nothing in the bill for the students. What field are we leveling? Holding down the top and pushing up the bottom may close the CT gap but will only put CT behind the rest of US and world in the long term. We need a long term solution not a “my term in office solution”.