Connecticut was the scene this year of a bitter battle over legislation that was intended to diminish teachers’ tenure and to impose a punitive evaluation plan tied to test scores. In efforts to promote this legislation (SB 24), There was a great deal of hostile talk about greedy, lazy teachers, protected by their union and tenure, getting paid just to show up.
Jonathan Pelto puts the events of this past year into perspective here.
Pelto is one of those people who follows the money, always a good place to begin any investigation.
This is how he begins:
It started with Achievement First, Inc., the charter school management company co-founded by Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor.
Then came the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), the Connecticut Coalition for Advocacy Now, (ConnAD), Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst (calling itself the Great New England Public School Alliance, GNEPSA) and Students for Education Reform (SFER, an off-shoot of 50-CAN, which, in turn, grew out of ConnCAN)
When Governor Malloy proposed his “education reform” legislation earlier this year, these groups, funded by millionaire and billionaire hedge fund owners, along with the Gates, Walton and Broad Foundations, engaged in the most costly lobbying, advertising and public relations effort in Connecticut history.
Since then, many of the same organizations funded Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s record spending effort to eliminate Bridgeport’s elected board of education and replace it with one appointed by the mayor.
Now, with the next session of the Connecticut General Assembly only a few weeks away, comes that news that a group called “Educators 4 Excellence” is opening operations here, as the corporate reformers seek to continue their efforts to privatize and undermine Connecticut’s public education system.
Educators 4 Excellence is a two year-old organization, funded by the Gates Foundation (among others) and set up by the corporate education reform trifecta of Education Reform Now (ERN), Education Reform Now Advocacy (ERNA) and Democrats for Education Reform (DFER).