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Malloy Creates Education Task Force Prior to Public Hearing

by Christine Stuart | Mar 11, 2014 4:36pm
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Posted to: Education, Election 2014, Local Politics, State Capitol

Hugh McQuaid file photo

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

One day before a public hearing on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy used his executive authority to create a 25-member task force to identify the challenges presented by the standards.

Last month, the Republican Party used a parliamentary maneuver to get a public hearing on legislation that would pose a moratorium on the Common Core State Standards, which were adopted by the state Board of Education in 2010.

The committee bill that will receive a public hearing at noon on Wednesday calls for the Education Department to study the Common Core State Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test. The General Assembly would receive the results of the study no later than Jan. 1. 2015, which is well after Nov. 4, 2014 election.

“We have an obligation to ensure that all children in the state of Connecticut receive a quality education that will provide them with the necessary tools to lead successful lives in today’s global economy,” Malloy said. “Seeking the input of the teachers and education professionals who are directly involved in the day-to-day activities of our public school system, along with parents, will help the state in our efforts to improve our schools.”

The task force created by Malloy’s executive order includes 12 teachers, four principals, four superintendents, two parents, two members of local boards of education, and Dianna Roberge-Wentzell, chief academic officer at the Education Department. Malloy’s task force is expected to be done with its work by the end of June.

“Connecticut teachers and education professionals have raised legitimate concerns that preparations for the implementation of Common Core State Standards and the incorporation of Common Core State Standards into the teaching curriculum have been uneven across the state,” Malloy wrote in the executive order. “I respect and understand the concerns raised by Connecticut teachers and education professionals and believe that the implementation of Common Core State Standards can be improved by establishing a task force to share lesson-learned, and that Connecticut teachers and students alike will benefit.”

A few weeks ago, the state’s largest teacher’s union called implementation of the standards “botched.”

Of the 1,452 teachers surveyed by the Connecticut Education Association, 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.

But there will be a group of superintendents, school board leaders, principals, business and community leaders who disagree with that assessment and are ready to defend the Common Core State Standards prior to Wednesday’s hearing.

“Unfortunately, we are witnessing confusion and misinformation about these standards that could prevent us from reaching these goals,” the group said in a press release promoting their 10 a.m. press conference on the topic.

The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, Connecticut Council for Education Reform, Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the Connecticut Association of Schools, and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents plan on defending the Common Core State Standards.

The hearing on a bill to delay implementation of the Common Core State Standards and another to further delay the implementation of the new teacher evaluation system will be held at noon in room 1E of the Legislative Office Building.


Membership of the Educators’ Common Core Implementation Taskforce:

Twelve practicing teachers or education professionals who teach in elementary, middle or high school:

  • Erin Wilson, Elementary School Teacher, Hartford, Teacher of the Year Finalist [Co-Chair]
  • Juanita Harris, Special Education Teacher, Danbury
  • Andrea Middlebrooks, Life Sciences Middle School Teacher, Cromwell
  • Ken Daly, English and Language Arts High School Teacher, Wallingford
  • Bruce Yarnell, Special Education Middle School Teacher, Stonington
  • William McKinney, High School Teacher, New Haven
  • Patti Fusco, Elementary School Teacher, West Haven
  • Susan Schmidt, Elementary School Teacher, New Britain
  • Diana Burns, Elementary School Teacher, Westbrook
  • Sue Loud, Department Head for English & Social Studies, Eli Whitney Technical High School, Hamden
  • Barbara Johnson, Librarian/Elementary School, Colchester
  • (Waiting for confirmation from member)
  • Four principals from either an elementary, middle or high school:

  • Dr. Anne Jellison, Principal, Meriden
  • Anthony Ditrio, Principal, Norwalk
  • Vicki Reed, K-2 Principal, Wallingford
  • Edith Johnson, High School Principal, New Haven
  • Four superintendents or district curriculum leaders:

  • Nate Quesnel, Superintendent, East Hartford [Co-Chair]
  • Paula Talty, Superintendent, Cromwell
  • Sean McKenna, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction, Groton
  • Ivelise Velazquez, Director of Reading & Social Sciences, Windham
  • Two parents:

  • Candy Yeager, Stamford parent
  • (Waiting for confirmation from member)
  • Two members of local boards of education:

  • Don Harris, Chairman, Bloomfield Board of Education
  • Liz Brown, Waterbury Board of Education
  • The Chief Academic Officer of the State Department of Education:

  • Dianna Roberge-Wentzell, Chief Academic Officer, State Department of Education
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