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Malloy Discusses Education Plan During New London Stop

Governor fields questions at Winthrop School

Speakers at a forum at the on Monday thanked Gov. Dannel Malloy for seeking to improve Connecticut's schools, but were sometimes critical of the ideas in the governor’s proposal.

“This is what’s clear: the status quo is not working in our state,” said Malloy. “We have school districts who are failing 40 to 60 percent of their students.”

Malloy has given a 163-page bill to the Connecticut General Assembly proposing measures to improve low-performing schools in the state. Under the plan, would receive $810,000 by July 1 to invest in measures to improve student achievement.

The plan encourages districts to establish charter schools, with a state contribution of $3,000 per student for district-run schools. The proposal also calls for 500 extra spots for early childhood education and 22.5 percent of teacher evaluation to be based on standardized testing results.

This last point has led to some raucous stops on the education tour. The New Haven Independent reported that several teachers booed and heckled Malloy at a stop there last week.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman introduced the forum by declaring, “I understand that we’ve got a lot of great teachers in the audience. And a lot of them are not happy.”

When Wyman suggested that the teachers were not happy about tenure proposals, though, she was met with denials. However, some speakers did bring the topic up. Clare Powers said she was concerned with the possible effect Malloy’s plan would have on tenure and teachers’ pay scales and was applauded when she questioned why the practices found to be successful in charter schools could not be implemented in public schools with existing staff.

“One of my frustrations is we’re not doing that…We’re basically doing the same thing every year and ending up with the same results,” Malloy said.

Rose Ann Hardy, a teacher and member of the East Lyme Board of Selectmen, said that Malloy’s proposal aims to make teacher evaluations equitable but questioned whether this would be possible. She said some teachers bear more responsibilities than others.

Malloy said the plan aims to establish a model where such differences are taken into account and teachers are measured by the same standard across the state.

“This gives us the framework to establish that and to implement it, so a teacher in Stamford is evaluated the same way as a teacher in Griswold,” said Malloy.

Maureen Brigham, a teacher at the Winthrop School, asked what the role of the parents would be in Malloy’s plan. She questioned whether it would include programs to support the parents in low-income families.

“We need more help,” said Brigham. “We need more social workers or we need to empower these moms to feel more important.”

Malloy said his proposal includes additional funding for medical programs as well as early education initiatives that include parental programs.

Don Blevins, the past president of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and a former member of the Waterford Board of Education, said he felt the proposal unfairly assumes that charter schools are superior to public schools. However, he also agreed with Malloy that reform efforts need to begin.

“I think it’s very important this year to seize the opportunity to at least start down the road of education reform,” said Blevins.

Malloy said his plan is a starting point, and that other issues such as learning disabilities need to be addressed at a later date. He said the proposal still needs to go through the legislative process, and that residents’ concerns will be taken into account during that time.

“If somebody hadn’t moved this year, we wouldn’t be having this discussion for another year, or a year after that,” said Malloy.

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Ken March 20, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Town Hall style meetings are the way to begin the discussion of this issue. Malloy has that right. I am glad to see that the role of parents in educating their children is being given support. Teachers can only do so much---students are in school only ~180 days per year and in class less than 8 hours per day. Add to that the long summer vacation and that's a lot of down time. I would like to see a program that educates parents about educating their children. Monthly meetings could be held at the schools for parents covering topics such as school behavior expectations; the roles of the BoE, school administrators and teachers; how parents can interact with school officials; and things parents can do to facilitate their student's learning outside of the classroom. High school students could serve as "baby sitters" at the schools during the meetings. Inexpensive chili or pizza dinners could be served to encourage attendance and build a sense of community. These meetings could be run by principals and administrative support staff with only a little help from the teachers. Educating parents about the logistics of running an education system, as well as how to educate their children, makes them more informed voters--and the BoE is an elected office. I think such a program would give the most benefit for the dollar by making the system more efficient both in the classroom and in the boardroom.
Ken March 20, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Furthermore, by getting the parents to accept more ownership for the education of their students and how the school is run, problems with vandalism and abuse of school property will be become less of a problem.
Bud Wizer March 20, 2012 at 06:17 PM
After you scapegoat parents and educators, Ken, what's left? Privatizing education? Or does the higher ground, as our governor acknowledges, remain that unlevel battle field on which our federal mandate for compulsory public education ought give no quarter, take no prisoners? I respectfully suggest, sir, that you attempt to give some attention to the realities of parents damaged by institutionalized poverty and ignorance to the extent of being incapable of giving the Bill Cosby-like tutelage you promote and then asking yourself whether their offspring should be punished for that. With respect to educators in public schools, you only have to walk through the parking lots to get a strong impression that they're doing well financially and, probably as would most of us, not shirk from efforts to improve their financial circumstances, whether deserved or not. The emergency of New London's pupils, I respectfully suggest, is that parental insufficiency is in many cases inescapable and irresolvable, that focus on parents would be a defeating distraction from what's most needed: teachers, administrators and staffers fully empowered and financially able to offset as much as possible the truth that these poor kids overwhelming found, in general, in our urban and increasingly so in our rural school districts don't have resources for much that they need outside of school.
Ken March 20, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Bud Wizer, Well, at least you "respectfully suggested" to me your opinion. So, I will respectfully suggest to you that the inferences you drew about my comments are in error. I "scapegoated" neither parents nor educators. Rather, I view that the only solution to the education crisis that NL faces is through the parents. No school system can be effective without the support and involvement of the parents. The education of NL's students will improve to the degree that the NLPS can improve its connection with the parents. And, I certainly do not see a future in privatizing education. Now, you inferred that I scapegoated parents and educators. But, you explicitly opine about "parental insufficiency" that is "inescapable and irresolvable." And, you advocate, instead, focusing resources on fully empowered teachers, administrators and staffers! Yet, you "get a strong impression that they're doing well financially." Am I to infer that you are advocating boarding schools for all, or perhaps just for those who have the most 'insufficient parents'? I really do not understand what you mean by "damaged by institutionalized poverty and ignorance to the extent of being incapable..." Instead of condemning parents, as you do, let's acknowledge that an educational program which brings teachers, administrators and parents together--for the purpose of putting them all on the same page--is the best way to begin to heal a sick system.
Debbie March 21, 2012 at 02:26 AM
While attending last nights forum there was an overwhelming response to Governor Malloys proposed education plan. There is no doubt, teachers are very fustrated, parents are fustrated, and students are caught in the middle. The responsibility will fall where it needs to be, on parents everywhere to participate fully in their child/s education by supporting the student and school culture, regardless of age, grade level, or any preconceived barrior(s) the student or parent may have. And yes, although my family immigrated to the USA one generation ago, we adopted and adapted to a foreign county (USA), learned a new language, laws, rules, etc., and in some cases exceeded our parents grade school levels. It was no doubt a very differcult transition for many families immigrating to the USA from various different countries and cultures from around the world and the enormous sacrifices others made for generations to follow. God bless America. Peace and blessings.
Jason Morris March 21, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Great sentaments. I wish the proposed plan linked on the gov site would work for me, until I can read it I won't know what to think - also will have to read what's currently in place. Until then, all I hear is StudentsFirst supporting it, and teachers saying to protest it.
michael Wilson April 19, 2012 at 11:46 PM
AND thats what TTGY is trying to say! what exactly do you do Sir? better yet can you please get in contact wih me and take a look at a mission statement? Trained To Go Youth .... We wanna Talk! We are Ready to Learn! OH yet NO baby sitting for a selected few they count to even if its only for partical of the meetings. student reps so to speak, other than that WE do agree and would like your advice or support contact emal: TTGYouth@yahoo.com <div id="change_BottomBar"><span id="change_Powered"><a href="http://www.change.org"; target="_blank">Petitions</a> by Change.org</span><a>|</a><span id="change_Start">Start a <a href="http://www.change.org/petition"; target="_blank">Petition</a> &raquo;</span></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://e.change.org/flash_petitions_widget.js?width=300&color=1A3563&petition_id=336965"></script>;
michael Wilson April 20, 2012 at 12:02 AM
your amazng Debbie your frame of mind is whatis needed more in this area. Peace and Blessing to you as well, it would be awesome if you gave your oppinion on a few ideas Trained To Go Youth has for the youths future in this county to start with. We need al the help possible to put our mission into action due to the parents nor kids have the time to waste actions need to be taking while th kids are still learnng as the adults THINK about or VOTE process clears .... in the mean time <div id="change_BottomBar"><span id="change_Powered"><a href="http://www.change.org"; target="_blank">Petitions</a> by Change.org</span><a>|</a><span id="change_Start">Start a <a href="http://www.change.org/petition"; target="_blank">Petition</a> &raquo;</span></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://e.change.org/flash_petitions_widget.js?width=300&color=1A3563&petition_id=336965"></script>;

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