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Malloy Lobbies Local Officials To Support Education Reforms

by Christine Stuart | Apr 12, 2012 6:52pm
(27) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education

Christine Stuart photo

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

According to municipal officials present for a closed-door meeting with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the governor intends to veto any education reform bill that doesn’t have the teacher tenure changes he wants.

“We need to make substantial headway if we’re going to have a meaningful package that I can support,” Malloy said later at a press conference following the meeting.

Malloy met behind closed doors at the state Capitol with municipal officials to encourage them to support his education reform proposal, which was weakened by the legislature’s Education Committee. The most controversial change the committee made was deciding to put off tying a new teacher evaluation system to tenure for another year.

With an additional $39.5 million in education funding at risk for the 30 lowest performing school districts, Malloy told local leaders not to depend on the money as they prepare their local budgets.

“I think this money is very much in the lurch until we have an educational bill we can agree on,” Malloy said.

Malloy didn’t use the word “veto” during the press conference, but he reiterated that “in its current form, this is not a bill I can support.”

And with little more than three weeks left in the legislative session, Malloy admitted there are no formal meetings going on between his administration and the state’s two teacher unions. The two teacher unions, AFT Connecticut and the Connecticut Education Association, had been at the table before the Education Committee unveiled its bill March 26.

The unions and their representatives have been speaking with legislative leaders, who are informally speaking with the governor about how to move forward.

In fact, legislative leadership and the co-chairs of the Education Committee were holding a meeting late Thursday afternoon.

Asked about Malloy’s remarks, House Speaker Chris Donovan said he was getting together with his caucus to see what they can live with.

“Right now we’re talking to each other,” Donovan said.

Despite the game of telephone, Malloy remained optimistic about the chances he will be able to reach a compromise with the legislature.

“I anticipate we’ll get to a bill,” Malloy said. “That’s certainly what I want to do.”

Christine Stuart photo

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy meets with local officials at the state Capitol

Malloy admitted he was clearly lobbying the local officials to garner support for his proposal, but he insisted he didn’t put any pressure on them.

“I also invited them to stand with me if they wanted to, and if they didn’t want to stand with me I said I would understand it,” Malloy said, answering for local officials standing behind him. “I think there’s an appreciation amongst these folks that we have work to do in the remaining weeks of the legislative session.”

The reaction of local elected officials and state lawmakers was mixed.

Education Committee Co-Chairs Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, and Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, said they didn’t remove any of the money Malloy put in the bill to help fund the lowest performing school districts.

“I understand the governor doesn’t like the bill as it came out of committee,” Stillman said. “I also understand we’ll continue to have discussions.”

She said she thinks they’ll slowly be able to bring various parties back to the table.

Fleischmann said some of the changes the Education Committee made to the governor’s bill was based on feedback they received from municipal leaders. He said the back and forth between lawmakers, local officials, and other stakeholders is a natural part of the legislative process.

New Britain Mayor Tim O’Brien, a former lawmaker, wouldn’t say which version of the legislation he likes better, the governor’s or the Education Committee’s.

“We need to be making significant steps to move education forward in our state,” O’Brien said. “I definitely appreciate the governor’s leadership in moving that forward.”

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said he appreciates the governor’s bill because it allows low performing school districts like his to do things it currently can’t do, such as extend school days or set up Saturday academies. He said that as far as he knows, Bridgeport’s legislative delegation is supportive of the governor’s bill.

Jim Finley, executive director of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, who also attended the closed-door meeting, said the organization supports an education reform bill closer to the governor’s vision than that which was reported out of the Education Committee. The state’s largest municipal lobby had been somewhat critical of the legislation, calling it a “triage approach” to funding the Education Cost Sharing formula.

“The governor indicated that his proposal was the first step in a process and committed to comprehensive and significant education finance reform in the meeting with municipal officials,” Finley said.

Malloy created a task force to look at revising the Education Cost Sharing formula, but their report won’t be available until October.

“This is a down payment on education reform,” Malloy said. “It can also be viewed as representing changes in the ECS formula that will, in fact, allow us to concentrate on that 41 percent of students that are served by these districts.”

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(27) Comments

posted by: Martha H | April 12, 2012  7:18pm

Martha H

How in the heck did we end up with a governor who sooooooo haaaaaates teachers (all of them!)???

My - word!!

posted by: state_employee | April 12, 2012  8:57pm

Hold your breath dannel you big bully

posted by: brutus2011 | April 12, 2012  10:27pm

brutus2011

Governor Malloy wants us poor folk to believe that he truly wants our kids to become better educated and be ready to compete for a piece of the economic pie.

Lies.

Governor Malloy is beholden to corporate interests who wish to profit on the backs of our kids.

Period.

If anyone thinks that 2012 marks the year that those who control our society cares about those who have been marginalized for 300 years, then I am a rich, handsome, and a genius.

And, for those who think I am a little grumpy in this post—yeah, I am…I am getting a little annoyed at the hubris of this elected official who thinks he can bully his constituents to please those who pull his strings.

posted by: CONconn | April 13, 2012  7:38am

With an additional $39.5 million in education funding at risk for the 30 lowest performing school districts, Malloy told local leaders not to depend on the money as they prepare their local budgets.
“I think this money is very much in the lurch until we have an educational bill we can agree on,” Malloy said.

Malloy has now stooped to his lowest low: holding the very children hostage he claims to want to help, just so he could make it legal for his cronies to siphon millions of tax dollars into their private entities. At least he is finally being forthcoming about how his bill is not about helping children learn. Now, if only his hedge fund manager backers would follow suit…

posted by: AMM | April 13, 2012  8:34am

Lobbies?  Try bullies or blackmails.  And will the original Nancy Wyman please stand up.  When did she start acting like a stepford wife or lapdog?

posted by: justsayin | April 13, 2012  10:29am

Let him veto it. That will show the real intent was never just for the kids. They should amend and add a bullying provision that the gov needs to abide by. Typical political theater hold the cash (he does not have)to get the votes he desperately needs.

posted by: saramerica | April 13, 2012  12:27pm

saramerica

What’s really interesting is Jeff Klaus finally went on record last night on Twitter that Amistad’s attrition rate is “+/-50%” between 9th and 12th grade, which makes their claim of 100% of kids graduating to go on to higher ed ring false. It makes me wonder why Malloy resorting to these tactics to achieve higher funding for charters. In Norwalk he said it was about successful alternative models, but clearly this model is only “successful” for a very select group of kids. So why so anxious to divert more public money into it - especially since they are so non-transparent about this.

posted by: Linda12 | April 13, 2012  12:59pm

Now he is going to threaten people…don’t give me what I want then you don’t get any money.  He must have been a blast to play with as a kid.

posted by: Mayme W Casady | April 13, 2012  1:51pm

$238,000.00/per Hartford High School Diploma is more than a down payment, but is excessive! The St of CT pays 85%-Htfd gets Ed. Cost Sharing,plus $ to bring up standards. Some States have a parent fee…enact that and you bet parents would take an interest in where the money is spent…not just the bureaucrats professing the need to throw more money into their pot. Does anyone in CT know the State is in debt?

posted by: CONconn | April 13, 2012  3:13pm

saramerica, that’s a very interesting revelation. How can Achievement First and ConnCAN claim widespread success with a straight face? They must just keep thinking of all those management fees and then lose sight of the statistics…

posted by: brutus2011 | April 13, 2012  3:39pm

brutus2011

“Mayme W Casady” makes what I beleive to be the salient point in this whole mess:“not just the bureaucrats professing the need to throw more money into their pot.”

School officials, local and state, spend money to feed the demand of those suborinates and not according to the most efficient allocation to achieve the best possible student outcome for our tax dollars.

This is because of the highly political nature of our school systems and how much school districts budgets have balloned over the past several decades.

The solution?

We citizens need to wake up and demand that our legislators propose and enact legislaton that mandates a strict accounting of where our education tax dollars are ending up.

I believe this is why the governor and his corporate charter school backers are on a full court press to get SB24 passed—before we wake up and find that the train has already left the station.

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | April 13, 2012  4:20pm

GoatBoyPHD

Sara,

You do know the difference between atrrition rate (transfers within the district -including from Amistad, transfers out of the district - including from Amistad, and dropouts from Amistad, and Grad rates)?

Yes?

Isn’t the point that the students at Amistad are there because their parents want them there?

School vouchers: Let the parents decide what’s right for their kids. The Industry Adults have too much skin in the game. Public, parochial, private, homeschool—let the parents decide.

To everyone else its a political football and they really do not respect the kids or their parents.

It’s all about profit: whether through media ads, consulting positions, tenure,  union representation, or a stock holding company.

Give the parents the ability to vote with their feet!

Get rid of the monopoly that created ths mess! Return the schools to free markets! Let freedom ring instead of bloated advertising budgets and lobbying and consulting dollars!

Give the parents regional vouchers directly. Let the alternate schools service those they service the best and let the public schools service the rest.

posted by: Speak up | April 13, 2012  4:26pm

let’s hold the charter schools and their leadership to the same high standards…report all the data…take all the kids…

Study Finds Higher Charter School Spending on Administration

http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/04/11/study-finds-higher-charter-school-spending-on-administration/

posted by: Truthinaction | April 13, 2012  6:55pm

Excellent!  Veto the bill and write one that would acutally do something to close the achievement gap! For example, close the tax loopholes and allocate those resources to the schools that desperately need them.  The legislators even had to DOUBLE the amount of preschool seats that Malloy proposed.  That’s how lame his billis. His focus is an agenda that will have a select few profiting off childern for personal gain.  God please forgive me for voting for this moron.

posted by: Adamec | April 13, 2012  8:29pm

Currently, by law, a tenured teacher can be terminated for the following reasons:

1. inefficiency or incompetence, the finding of incompetence must be based on teacher evaluation guidelines;
2. insubordination against board of education rules;
3. moral misconduct;
4. disability, as shown by competent medical evidence;
5. elimination of the teacher’s position or loss the position, or
6. other due and sufficient cause.

It would seem that if we are saddled with so many incompetent teachers that we can’t raise achievement levels, it might mean we’re saddled with many administrators who are incompetent.

Perhaps one of our more intrepid legislators could introduce an appropriations bill for that $39 million, without any strings. If it is all about the kids and just about the kids let’s give them the money, right?

posted by: thetruth62 | April 14, 2012  6:13pm

It’s amazing that a savvy politician like Malloy has decided to take the low road.  Instead of focusing on true education reform that will help our students, Malloy has wasted this opportunity by waging a war against teachers.  It’s a war he cannot win.  The Education Committee instituted reforms in SB 24, and while not perfect, it is a major improvement over Malloy’s proposal which was a blatant attack on teacher rights.  We all know the State has its issues in education, from funding our schools to having one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation.  I fully support ideas that will address this latter issue (and others) such as making more slots available for Pre-K.  Everyone knows that the earlier we get kids from impoverished homes to school, the achievement gap narrows.  I should say everyone knows this but Malloy.

posted by: mlukas@ci.stamford.ct.us | April 14, 2012  11:13pm

Attention Malloy:
I have been writing e-mails for six weeks, went to hear you at Bethel and Norwalk. As a proud Stamford Schools teacher i continued to be appalled and amazed by you lack of understanding. GB 24 was poorly constructed, the wording was vague at best, written by amateurs. Many aspects of the bill were beneficial to students, many were not. Attacking CT. teachers who want nothing but the best for these students was a bad tactic to use. We helped ELECT YOU, as Mayor and then Governor, we LIKED you. Even after the people of this state have spoken through their duly elected representatives, telling our government which aspects of the bill changed, YOU WILL NOT LISTEN to the PEOPLE. The bill was labeled GB 24, what legal right does the Governor have to MAKE LAW. Now it is being labeled SB 24, the revisions MUST STAND, it is not YOUR BILL, it belongs to the people who voted for you and Blumenthal,lieberman, himes, Shaban, and all of the elected officials we have put in office.

STOP your insane, power crazy, and poorly thought out attack on education. We love and know these students. Can you, or any of your aides, say you actually know ONE STUDENT. I had your son BEN in class, I KNEW him, a good kid, I wish him the best!

Let the peoples voice be heard. WE ELECTED ALL OF YOU. WE WILL NOT RE_ELECT ANY OF YOU! The revised bill includes many of the changes you want, not all of them, we want progress for schools and students, work with us, lead the state properly, You are making yourself and the state senate and congress look really bad.

posted by: EduMan | April 15, 2012  5:07am

I am embarrased to say that I voted for this DINO. Never again!

posted by: saramerica | April 15, 2012  8:07am

saramerica

Goatboy - of COURSE I know the difference between attrition rate and grad rates. That’s why I’ve been asking AF for their attrition rate for so long and they’d been stonewalling me until a day or so ago. They claim 100% of their students go on to higher ed. Okay. But if 50% of their 9th graders leave the school before graduation, that’s a somewhat misleading claim, which is why I wanted to know the figure, and I’m sure is why they didn’t want to release it.

posted by: ALD | April 15, 2012  6:57pm

“I am embarrased to say that I voted for this DINO. Never again!”

I must say I am very impressed that so many people posting here seem to know so much about the subject of this thread, yet so little about those they vote for in the first place. 

Of course here in CT as long as you call yourself a Democrat you can pretty much count on the voters to be satisfied election day.

posted by: Reasonable | April 15, 2012  8:49pm

Mayme W Casady:  Gov. Dannel Malloy doesn’t want to admit that the state is in debt—so he can KEEP ON SPENDING MONEY—WE DON’T HAVE. Malloy can’t stop being a big spender!

posted by: saramerica | April 15, 2012  9:09pm

saramerica

ALD - There were plenty of us, particularly in this part of the state, who knew what we were getting, and were concerned, but had to make a choice between Malloy and Foley and decide which would be worse. I personally voted Malloy on the Working Families Party line to make clear that I wasn’t happy with him as the Democratic candidate - and also so that he knew that he owed his very close victory to the votes on that line. Unfortunately he seems to have forgotten that in his obvious quest for higher office.

posted by: ... | April 16, 2012  9:39am

...

Passes bills to: Expand unionization possibilities, equalize the rights of transgender citizens, abolishes the death penalty, and works to solve the deficit not on eliminating vital programs/services alone like other governors. Yep, “total” DINO(sarcasm).

posted by: ALD | April 16, 2012  12:17pm

Saramerica,  Yes, so like I said, here in CT (except for very rare circumstances) if you call yourself a Democrat one way or another you can count on the majority of voters to find a way to rationalize voting for you. I guess I’m left wondering why if he wasn’t good enough to vote for as a Democrat he was good enough to vote for as a Working Families Party candidate?  A fish left out in the sun for 2 days, smells just as bad as one left out in the sun for 48 hours.

posted by: Reasonable | April 17, 2012  7:42pm

ALD:  I agree with you, regarding Sarah’s “fishy vote for Malloy,” but if I said that, Sarah would get angry at me!

posted by: saramerica | April 17, 2012  9:45pm

saramerica

ALD & Reasonable “Politics in the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.” JK Galbraith  

I did consider not voting at all on the Gubernatorial line, but even though my father is no longer aware of what is going on, I’m not sure I could have faced him if I’d done that. He brought me up to believe that my vote mattered and it was a responsiblity to cast it. So yeah, back to the Galbraith quote. At least by voting on the WFP line Malloy knew that he owed his victory to a constituency of voters who care very strongly about middle and working class issues.

Listen, I’ve spoken to Republicans who admitted off the record having to hold their nose to vote in the last election. So don’t pretend it’s a “blue state” issue.

posted by: Reasonable | April 18, 2012  1:55pm

Sarah:  I agree with you. At this stage of “the Malloy occupation of the Governor’s office”—it’s not easy—to try to justify to have voted for him. Many voters are also wondering “why they voted for Malloy?”

However, we must all try to profit by our mistakes in life.