Teachers Criticize Malloy's Education Reform Plan At West Hartford Forum

Marion Herbert's picture
Friday, March 9, 2012

Glastonbury, Conn. teacher Scott Minnick compared the educational system to a tripod. One of the legs, he told the governor Tuesday night, is a "socioeconomic problem that ... teachers cannot fix." Then why, Minnick asked, does the education reform bill in the state legislature focus on teachers?

"We cannot accept excuses when we are failing 40 to 60 percent of our students in some of our urban areas," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy argued during a town hall forum at Charter Oak International Academy, the second stop on a statewide tour to drum up support for his plan, which includes changes to teacher tenure and how educators are evaluated.

If there was any doubt how many teachers are concerned about Malloy's proposal, the Charter Oak school auditorium, which seats roughly 300 people, was packed with educators a half-hour before the governor arrived. The mood at times turned combative. About a dozen speakers were chosen by lottery, with most opposing aspects of Malloy's bill.

Malloy portrayed critics as bearers of the "status quo" that he seeks to upend.

Joseph Bernabucci, a teacher at East Hartford High School, wanted to hear specific ways in which Malloy's proposal to link teacher evaluations and salaries to standardized test scores will "enrich" the students' quality of education. Malloy pointed out — as he did frequently Tuesday — that teachers unions had agreed to an evaluation system before he included it in his reform package.

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