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Teachers Rally At Capitol; Still Unhappy With Malloy’s Plan

by Christine Stuart | Apr 24, 2012 9:25pm
(6) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education, Town News, Hartford, State Capitol

Christine Stuart photo

Teacher’s rally on north steps of Capitol

About 1,000 teachers from across the state were bused to the Capitol Tuesday to express their displeasure with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education reform bill, which was modified in March by the legislature’s Education Committee.

Many were still bitter about Malloy’s opening day remarks about tenure when he said, “in today’s system basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.”

—More photos

“It wasn’t the best way to open a wide-ranging discussion on education reform,” Jason Poppa, a teacher from Bridgeport, said. “But the remark is typical. Teachers are being vilified nationally.”

Poppa said he’s still not convinced the revised version of the bill is going in the right direction because it continues to rely on number crunching and test taking, instead of critical thinking and group learning.

The Education Committee’s revised version turns tying evaluations to tenure and certification into a year-long study, lowers the number of low performing schools the state can take over, reduces the three-level certification structure to two, and establishes a new “distinguished educator designation” for highly qualified and experienced teachers.

David Olio, an English teacher at South Windsor High School, said opponents like to say teachers want to keep the status quo, but “tying money to a job as a carrot is the status quo of capitalism.”

A teacher for 20 years, Olio said he wants to become a better teacher and build on his craft, but threatening him with losing his job isn’t going to work. He said he would like to see a more robust professional development system established in the legislation.

Annie Irvine, a third grade teacher from East Hartford, said she supports the Education Committee’s version of the bill because it looks at research-based strategies that work. She said she believes her master’s degree in reading education should count toward something, but under Malloy’s bill it wouldn’t improve her certification or salary.

Teachers also expressed concern about the closed-door meetings on the latest draft of the bill, which hasn’t been made public.

Sen. Andrea Stillman of Waterford who co-chairs the Education Committee and is part of those negotiations, said the bill is still a work-in-progress and she’s unable to speak about where it currently stands.

But Stillman did address teachers at the rally to let them know she was listening and thanked them for being teachers.

“Thank you for balancing the needs of the children in your classroom that are extraordinary,” Stillman said. “There are classrooms that are so diverse that I don’t even think the public understands.”

“They don’t,” a few teachers replied as the rest of the crowd cheered the remark.

Lawmakers are looking to the teachers for advice on what works in the classroom, Stillman said.

She told them they have overwhelmed her computer and her “very small staff” with their feedback on the legislation.

Along with Stillman, Senate President Donald Williams and House Speaker Chris Donovan also spoke and thanked the crowd for teaching the state’s children.

“I think it’s so critical that we hear from those that are in the trenches,” Williams said. “We can’t forget in what some have called the ‘Education Session’ in the legislature that we can not fix schools without listening to the people who teach our children.”

But the clock is ticking and it’s unclear how much more listening lawmakers can do before the legislative session adjourns May 9.

Lawmakers remained optimistic they will move forward with a piece of legislation, but it’s unclear if it’s something Malloy will sign into law.

Malloy reminded reporters Monday that he wasn’t the one who called for an end to “tenure as we know it.” He said that was CEA. He said he simply called for evaluations beyond the time someone obtains tenure.

“I want an evaluation system. That’s what I want,” Malloy said.

But the Connecticut Education Association said the governor is twisting its words.

“It is a fact that we agreed to a framework for evaluations, but absolutely nothing like what Governor Malloy has proposed,” Connecticut Education Association President Phil Apruzzese told the crowd Tuesday. “Let’s be clear that lumping teacher evaluation, tenure, and certification won’t won’t help our students.

“Here is another fact: That most of what the governor has proposed attacks teachers and our profession and does little to close the achievement gap,” Apruzzese said.

Malloy has previously said the Education Committee’s bill is “unacceptable” and told municipal officials he would veto it in its current form. But he said he’s willing to continue working with lawmakers on the issue.

“I think what would be best is to have a package that everybody can support,” Malloy said. “So I’ve not given up on that. We’ll continue to have discussions in the hopes that we can get to that.”

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(6) Comments

posted by: gompers | April 24, 2012  10:24pm

Good for the teachers!  Why is Governor Malloy listening to ConnCan?  ConnCan is a scam organization whose board consists of a pharmaceutical heir and eleven hedge fund managers and financial corp executives.  When have these people, who helped crash the economy into a wall, ever cared about public education?  Oh yeah, when they can privatize it and make millions off of it.

posted by: Tom Burns | April 25, 2012  1:13am

He won’t veto the Bill—he is getting way more than he expected—-so—-
Don’t give him the chance—-Vote no to SB24—and lets start a real conversation———
SB24 from the start is not his Bill, he doesn’t even know whats in it—as you can tell by his simple talking points as he traverses the state—-SB24 was made by The New Teacher Project and it has already been approved in many states—-So our leaders decided to COPY Louisiana’s program—-are you kidding me??? Louisiana??? but then decided to add other BAD ideas to it from the likes of Michigan, New York, Florida, Tennessee, Indiana and other states that have chased the $$$$ of Race to The Top (Bottom) in a hurried fashion while improving nothing in the way of a students experience in the classroom—I am sick to my stomach that I voted for Malloy—-If we could recall him I would start the process—but we can’t so lets make sure that he never holds political office again—(maybe he could try teaching)—I promise to work my hardest to assure that Dannel gets what he deserves in the future———join me—Tom

posted by: CONconn | April 25, 2012  5:59am

Malloy continues his art of misleading repetition and muttering half truths and in attempt to please his profit-seeking cronies and to trick the public into selling out our public schools to hedge fund managers with a track record of destruction.

Fore evidence, look at what is happening in Philly, following the takeover by Bridgeport’s current ruler, Paul Vallas:

http://www.citypaper.net/blogs/nakedcity/Philadelphia-School-District-announces-its-dissolution-.html

posted by: brutus2011 | April 25, 2012  11:00am

brutus2011

I am thrilled to see my colleagues converge on the Capitol.

I still think that as a group teachers still don’t get what is/has happened to us.

While we are so busy teaching and taking care of our families, those who manage the schools and districts have been plotting the demise of our professional way of life.

I remember 3 years ago when this young arrogant son of a mayoral campaign contributor became our principal. And right from the start he was alluding to the changes coming in public education—almost exactly what we are seeing today.

This is becoming, or now is, a worker-management thing. A labor cost motive to increase public school administrative salaries or charter school management fees achieved by squeezing teachers through the fallacy of standardized test scores that inhibit students learning critical thinking skills.

I call on our unions to get out of bed with these education managers and start advocating with us and for us to take our logical and rightful place in the management of our curriculum.

Let the managers be our support and not our lords and overseers.  Managers should oversee running our buildings and buses; not how we teach.

We can do that on our own—and much better I might add.

Come on AFT and CEA—lets get to work and truly represent teachers and their students with authentic education reform—teachers over managers!

posted by: Zachary Smith | April 25, 2012  1:35pm

Burns,

You REALLY should have known better than to vote for Malloy!  But then, most teachers in the state voted for him and this is the problem, blind die-hard party loyalty. 

The Democrats have always been the party of BIG government, BIG Spending and BIG taxes, even if Malloy did seem to support teachers, why would you inflict someone who believes in taking from others what belongs to them, and giving it to others whom it doesn’t belong on your friends and neighbors.

Malloy was a TAX and SPENDER in Stamford for 2 term and it’s common sense that as governor he would just become more brazen,  after all, he just moved up to the big leagues, but I guess you found this out the hard way.

And let’s all face it, Malloy’s SB24 is NOT about “education” or “reform.”  It’s about hooking up his buddies with pensions (Adamowski) and siphoning off local control and funding of the public schools away from the rural and suburbs - that’s it.  Why ANY parent in CT would want to lose local control of their local school (or it’s funding) to the state is beyond me.  If you love the DMV, you will love Malloy’s school reform.


P.S. To say what I have does not mean I support the Republicans either.  The only difference between the two parties now that Obama made Warmongering and the Patiot Act cool to the left is that the Dems tax, spend and warmonger while the Reps. BORROW, spend and warmonger.

posted by: Follow the Money | May 2, 2012  10:58pm

Why is Malloy listening to ConnCan and the other supporters of this wrong-headed scheme? Because there’s money to be made all around. Doesn’t it make anyone wonder what he will get out of this deal from the gibillionaires who are pushing for these so called reforms? They want to change Connecticut laws to allow the expansion of for-profit charters so badly they can taste it, and will stop at nothing to attain it. This isn’t about tenure, or teacher quality, or closing the achievement gap: it is about a way to oust well qualified (read: expensive!) educational professionals in favor of staffing their for-profit charters with cheap labor who has no protections under the law. Teachers cannot afford to decrease the effort to inform their legislators and the public - especially the public - to stop this from happening. The disinformation being disseminated by the likes of StudentsFirst and other pro-“reform”, pro-charters is filled with insulting lies and half-truths. The proposals being pushed are “best practice”? They’ve worked in other states? They have the support of teachers? Not here, not anywhere! Ask yourselves, in what ways will these proposals improve student achievement? I have yet to find evidence of this anywhere where similar reforms have been enacted.