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Weingarten Compliments Pelto, Endorses Malloy

by Christine Stuart | Jun 17, 2014 3:51pm
(15) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2014, New Haven

Christine Stuart photo

Randi Weingarten

NEW HAVEN — AFT President Randi Weingarten told a room of 300 union delegates that she supports Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election, but not before she acknowledged his potential third-party challenger, Jonathan Pelto.

During her half-hour speech to the AFL-CIO delegation, Weingarten described Pelto as a “dear friend.”

“He’s done really good work in terms of calling out what’s wrong in a lot of the so-called reform efforts in Connecticut and all across the country,” Weingarten said. “But let’s be real here. Is this about helping out a friend? Or is this about what we need to do in Connecticut to get back to the American Dream?”

The room burst into applause.

In referring to Malloy in the next breath, Weingarten said, “It’s not easy to be a governor, a progressive governor, in this day and age in the United States of America.”

She praised Malloy for his increase in funding for K-12 education and preschool slots. She said Connecticut is the “second highest education spender in the country” and only one of 13 states to increase real per-pupil funding since 2008.

Malloy, who received the AFL-CIO’s endorsement Tuesday and the 700 volunteers who come with it, upset Connecticut teachers in 2012 when he said, “Basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.”

In an interview outside the convention hall Tuesday, Weingarten said Malloy has privately expressed regret for those remarks.

“He was very regretful for the statement,” Weingarten told a group of reporters. “People express themselves in different ways, but you have to look at the governor’s total record.”

At the end of the day, Weingarten believes it will be a choice between Malloy and his 2010 opponent, Tom Foley. Malloy beat Foley four years ago by 6,404 votes.

“I love Jonathan Pelto,” she added. “He and I have worked together in the past. I understand his frustration and I told him yesterday that I would talk about it.”

Weingarten described her conversation with Pelto on Monday as “constructive.”

“Look I respect Jonathan. I think the work he’s done in terms of the blogger network, or the work he does in calling out what’s wrong is really important,” Weingarten said. “But he knows I’m strongly in favor of the Malloy endorsement and working for Malloy because of both what he has done as governor here and what the stakes are in the election.”

She said third-party candidates have their role and at times she has supported and endorsed third-party candidates. “But the stakes here are whether you’re going to have a Dan Malloy or a Tom Foley as governor,” Weingarten said. “Whether you’re going to have a Connecticut that acts like Connecticut or that emulates Wisconsin, which is no one of the most polarized states in the nation and 44th in job creation.”

The convention delegates endorsed Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and the rest of the Democratic ticket before adjourning Tuesday.

Earlier in the day delegates approved a resolution sending a message to Malloy to let him know they weren’t happy with Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s lack of teaching credentials.

“So there’s a lot of people I may not agree with their ideology sometimes, but you end up figuring out ways to work together,” Weingarten said of Pryor.

She said that unlike other Education Commissioners, Pryor decided to delay implementation of Common Core State Standards and teacher evaluations.

“Does it mean we agree with everything? No, of course not,” she said.

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(15) Comments

posted by: Linda12 | June 17, 2014  4:30pm

So let’s see. She just covered all her bases.

Malloy can create a quickie superintendent course for Stefan, ala Vallas, and the SBOE will give him a waiver and a raise.

Now we are back to where we started. Two incompetents destroying our public schools and the teaching profession. 

We don’t care who Randi, AFT, AFL CIO, CEA endorse. It’s a meaningless waste of words and paper if it doesn’t bring in the rank and file and it WILL NOT.

WE ARE TIRED OF BEING USED AND ABUSED.  Dannel, Stefan and Randi do not care about teachers until they need our votes.

posted by: Parent and educator | June 17, 2014  4:42pm

With friends like Weingarten, who needs enemies?
Weingarten is even bigger buddies with the big money interests behind Ed. Reform, incorporated.

posted by: Parent and educator | June 17, 2014  4:55pm

Oh, come on.  In full disclosure, I would never vote for a retrograde politician like Tom Foley.  And saying that Pelto will “take votes” from Malloy is to ignore that Pelto will get votes that might have gone to Foley. 
In terms of two “wins” Malloy has tried to snatch from the jaws of defeat due to his ed. reform policies, to say that he has increased pre-K slots is very sneaky—in fact, his Special Master Steven Adamowski cut pre-K in Windham when he first arrived—the slots added back later were fewer, so Windham, which had an award-winning pre-K program staffed by certified and often bilingual teachers and staff, has suffered a huge loss.  The other faux victory is the graduation rate.  Malloy had better not trumpet that one too much, because “credit recovery”, minimum 55 grades, and other tricks do not replace a true education, which can only be delivered by certified teachers (no computers in cubbies).  A phony diploma is a lie and an insult to the student.  And don’t get me started on the huge increase in Connecticut of TFA, which has such a harmful effect on morale and teacher turnover.
Teaching jobs are important drivers of the middle class—TFA cannot replace that.  Malloy is all “apologetic” now that he realizes that teachers, as a class, vote in larger percentages than many other professions.

posted by: state_employee | June 17, 2014  5:15pm

How condescending you are AFT President Randi Weingarten.  Thank God you are only one vote.  The unionized rank and file are many many votes.  Support who you will Weingarten, from your fancy position, but come November, rank and file state employees and teachers will speak. 
Pelto 2014

posted by: Linda12 | June 17, 2014  6:30pm

A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually.

posted by: gsamuel | June 17, 2014  8:19pm

With all due respect to great teachers, This is NOT all about you its about ALL constituents, parents. students, babies seniors, military families, veterans…  I think this speech needs to be put into context.from a parents perspective as it relates to fiscal accountability that protects the taxpayers investment into education..

First, Connecticut is one of the richest states in the country it is home to some of the most prestigious Universities and schools in the nation, yet its opportunity/academic achievement gap is among the highest in the nation,

if credentials was ALL we needed to improve educational outcomes for Connecticut students then we would not have over 350 low performing schools not making adequate progress in core subjects of READING and MATH. This equates to close to 200,00 kids majority of color, special needs and low income communities not getting access to the effective supports needed to ensure their academic success . So let us look at some numbers shall we? 
Connecticut’s average total cost per pupil (2013) is $17,500 x 200,000 students= $3,500,000.000 taxpayer investment and WHAT do we have to show for it? What do our so-called results look like at high school graduation?  And please don’t just throw out graduation rates the questions really should be what skills are they graduating with?

All this taxpayer investment was BEFORE Commissioner Pryor came on the scene.  so clearly we can not just focus on “traditional” credentials only because the status quo has driven education policy by traditional CREDENTIAL ONLY for decades and look at where we are now, outsourcing most science, engineer and other skills because we are not creating the qualified workforce needed to hire folk in OUR OWN community or our own country

It is clear many want him removed because Pryor believes all parents and students should have options to choose the best educational fit for their kids to help ensure the students success. Which means we have to look at other school models as a part of the solution process i.e Charter, magnet, technical…

One would think we all want what is best for kids and are willing to work together for the sake of stabilizing our economy but it is clearly not the case for some.

All education stakeholders should weigh in the conversation about the effectiveness of Commissioner Pryor, but I say this to all PARENTS and students let us not just focus on the Commissioner we need to look at ALL positions that impact our children educational experience - this means educators, administrators and other paid staff as well.  As parents we also need to look at ourselves to ensure we are doing the best we can to ensure our children are accessing safe & high quality schools

PS. please remember its okay to agree to disagree smile And I pray Governor Malloy considers the needs of all constituents equally of Connecticut and NOT a select few

posted by: Parent and educator | June 17, 2014  11:29pm

GSamuel?  Andrea Comer’s friend?  Michelle Rhee’s mouthpiece in CT?  Friend of charter schools?  You ask, What’s it about?  Michael Sharpe skimming off his enormous charter school management fee ($345K) plus $$ for his friends’ and family’s jobs (“Uncle Mike” sure is generous with those Jumoke positions)?  All, with Pryor’s “blessing”.  Who provided your comment?  the Vergara legal team?

posted by: gsamuel | June 18, 2014  12:16am

@Parent and educator, you made me smile because you talk like some traditional educators that feel parents can not speak for themselves. Please don’t confuse my being a parent with my ability to think and speak for myself. So let me help you FOCUS by answering your questions.1. Andrea Comer’s friend? I know she is a parent and a member of the State Board of Education and as long as she makes FAIR decisions as it relates to children and their rights to a safe and quality education I have no problem with her.

2. Michelle Rhee’s is not the cause of Connecticut’s achievement & opportunity gap. It appears you throw her name around to distract from the conversations about fiscal & personnel accountability as it relates to ensuring student achievement in the classroom - don’t hate the players hate the status quo game - that disenfranchises certain kids because of their zip-code.

3. Friend of charter schools? I am friends to any effective school model that meets the educational and life needs of children and YES this includes effective charters - key word “effective” for ALL school models

4.You ask, What’s it about? I respect Michael Sharpe work with meeting the educational needs of children most in need of a quality education. I have no idea what other stuff you are talking about and I choose not to concern myself with other stuff UNLESS it affects the safety and educational well being of children.

At least Pryor is trying to think of ways to embrace different learning and educational environment versus “I better just stay in my lane for the sake of getting along with the status quo” and we all know how that works out for children and their educational wellbeing- NOT well at all!!

Who provided your comment?  the Vergara legal team? I suggest you don’t underestimate my determination to work with other parents, students and community to ensure ALL children have equitable access to opportunity and please stay tuned because the Vergara v California case WILL be coming to Connecticut because its the right thing to do to ensure our kids get the same constitutional equal protections under the law like the status quo.

Thank you for the lively discussion and enjoy your week:)

posted by: christopherschaefer | June 18, 2014  6:00am

CT’s finances 1 of worst; spends 20% of revenues on debt service & retirement for state workers—highest in country http://bit.ly/1n65OS8
So it’s your choice, voters: Wisconsin—or Detroit.

posted by: Linda12 | June 18, 2014  7:03am

Guess what Gwen, it’s not about you or your kids either. It’s about money and siphoning tax dollars towards eduschemes.  Is this the same Gwen Michelle kicked to the curb when she had no use for you? Beware and be aware they make promises they can’t keep. I wouldn’t send my dog to a Sharpe/ Fuse/ Jumoke sweatshop.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | June 18, 2014  7:26am

Ms. Samuel - with all due respect, that’s a very pretty speech about fiscal accountability, and caring about results and kids, but the actual facts are that we haven’t seen a whole lot of that under the current administration.

See: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/op-ed_blindly_financing_the_common_core/, See: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/sboe_is_accountability_is_only_for_teachers/
and now: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-hartford-jumoke-milner—20140616,0,4826789.story

Pryor’s Education Dept has been a Harvard Case study in non-transparency with regard to financial accountability from day 1. Just look at how they tried to funnel funds through SERC in order to avoid the state’s no-bid consulting laws. It took a whistleblower complain from Tom Swan to bring that to light. http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/questions_remain_about_no-bid_consulting_contracts/
So please, spare me the rhetoric that you are the “stakeholders” (corporate reform rhetoric if I ever heard it) on the side of the “the light”. So much of what has been happening in this state under Malloy and Pryor has been happening WITHOUT the disinfection of sunlight.

posted by: GBear423 | June 18, 2014  8:01am

GBear423

My daughter attended California public schools and what is said in the Vergara suit rings true to what my family experienced. California schools are staffed by low quality educators and even worse administrators.
Some Unions commented that corporate/millionaires want to force their ideology on the kids.  There is already an ideology being forced on kids in the current system. Deny it if you wish, but its there.

CT teachers, are you proud of the product being produced in the last 10 years? I see a lot of complexities in what used to be a straight forward system. and the figures being tossed about in what is spent on education per kid is significant.  Yet ask them on the street about what is the Bill of Rights, or who was the President when Pearl Harbor was attacked, or who is the Secretary of State, and the sad answers you get are aired on a late night show!

posted by: gsamuel | June 18, 2014  10:31am

@Linda12 I couldn’t resist sharing your comment with other parents when you state and I quote Guess what Gwen, it’s not about you or your kids either.”
Let me be very clear so I do not leave ANY gray areas and a speak as a PARENT of children that attend CT Public schools

-as long as I or ANY PARENTS ENTRUST our kids to others for safe keeping and education its becomes ALL about the STUDENT first(i am sure the status quo disagrees) and my job and the job of Parents is to ensure our kids are safe at school and are receiving equitable access to safe & quality schools so please do not underestimate the love parents have for their kids! 

And to those comments that state under this Administration we have not seen a whole lot, that may be true in some areas but at least they put forth an effort to help those students most in need of equitable access to opportunity

and for the record, who really thought that ONE MAN -Commissioner Pryor was going to solve CTs education crisis single handed - It takes a village literally and Pryor is accountable to lawmakers and the Governor and tax payers so its safe to say we all share some responsibility yes I said ALL are responsible in the failings of some of the schools in Ct because we are famous for our egos and silosand we turn blind eyes and deaf ears to the cries of those seeking equitable access to opportunity - I did not say hand-outs but equitable access to opportunity i.e education, preventive health care and jobs that can lead to a child’s and their family improved quality of life

posted by: Bulldog1 | June 18, 2014  11:15am

@GBear.
While I’m not an educator I actually think that lot’s of good teaching goes on in CT Public Schools.  My 29 year old daughter is a product of a CT high School and at 29 is the Deputy Chief of Staff to the COO of a Private College in Boston.  With a Bachelor’s degree.  Her High School education got her into a decent college and now she’s doing well.  And she’s read the Bill of rights and knows who FDR and John Kerry happen to be.

I don’t think blanket disparagement of Public Education is anywhere near on target with regard to the problems of some of CT’s school population.  I believe the Courant reported yesterday that Hartford is unhappy with the work Jumoke is doing there.  In a town that almost never holds anyone accountable for anything, ever.

And, like it or not, I suspect that there will be a direct correlation between the level of poverty, income and employment in a city or town and the level of student success.  Likely there’s more partental involvement in places where income and employment is middle class or better.  You want teachers to perform?  Well students have to make an effort too.

posted by: GBear423 | June 18, 2014  5:37pm

GBear423

@Bulldog1,  I do not wish to appear as disparaging all members of any group, that is not a point I want to be making. 
The point is that overall, across our great nation, our students are not retaining what is taught (it seems).  Evidence is the stories about colleges having to provide refresher courses for Entry level students (Freshman), the rise of charter and magnet schools, and yes the “man on the street” videos.

Blaming the students though? sigh, its like a tradesman blaming the tools. Teachers are to inspire, motivate, and be enthusiastic about learning. Primary school teachers are the MOST important, they have to light the fire in their kids.  My 1st thru 6th grade teachers were fantastic (except 3rd grade-she was a meany head), middle school teachers were hard core and accepted no excuses, they would straight up tell me my work was pathetic and lazy, and I would turn around and give them a better effort.
Seems we have charter schools here for a reason.

I see this is divided into at least 2 issues. Charter School performance, and Corruption in the funding/implementing.

Well, the 2nd issue is moot, there is corruption with Public Ed funding/implementing. /shrug