Conn. Reform Advocates Blame 'Weak' Education Bill On Closed-Door Meetings

Marion Herbert's picture
Thursday, March 29, 2012

Six groups that support education reform criticized the "weak version" of the education reform bill the legislature's Education Committee approved Monday, saying it was developed behind closed doors with a "lack of transparency."

"The process by which changes to this bill were negotiated excluded the voices of Superintendents, Boards of Education, principals, parents, community leaders, and students," a statement from the groups said. "The result is a bill that reflects compromises that appear to be brought on by pressure from the teachers unions."

Joseph Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of School Superintendents, one of the six groups, said: "What we are really saying is that the teachers unions have almost veto power over anything that happens in education in Connecticut."

Mark Ojakian, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's chief of staff, said that at the governor's direction, the administration had made a "very concerted effort to get to agreement with the [unions] around a specific part of the bill."

As the deadline for the committee's vote on the bill drew near, a small group met Saturday to discuss some of the knottier areas of disagreement. The marathon meeting included the Education Committee co-chairs — Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, and Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford — along with Ojakian and representatives from the two teachers unions.

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