SNAP ON PIX TO GET PORTAL TO MORE INFO
HOT (LEGAL CASES) NEWS
Graphic "dash board" to issues covered in detail on the rest of this sub-page; Charter Schools. LINK TO S.D.E.: http://portal.ct.gov/SDE/Special-Education/Bureau-of-Special-Education
AND NOW IT COMES TO THIS...NOT SO FAST SAY SMALL TOWNS IN C.O.S.T. But the twin education law suits are back in view...
CHARTER SCHOOLS TO THE FORE AGAIN???
An apple for the teacher department.
"...Connecticut currently contributes about $1 billion annually to the
Teachers’ Retirement System. That contribution could top $6.2 billion by
2032 due to years of underfunding. Connecticut didn’t start setting
aside money to pay for teachers until around 1982." From Sept. 28,
2017 CTNEWSJUNKIE article (the last paragraph). And whoa - check out article about national population trends here.
State Board of Education meetings we "attended" here. Back to school article from THE FORUM, 8-24-17
Commissioner addresses Superintendents at CAPS back to school 2017-2018
TEACHER RETIREMENT COSTS: Why are teachers different?
"What Wait" article by C.C.J.E.F. staff: http://jonathanpelto.com/2017/06/21/lets-education-funding-reform-right-way-jim-finley/
WILL C.C.J.E.F. RESPONSE INVOLVE MORE CHARTER SCHOOLS? HOW ABOUT A WHOLE NEW MATTER OF SOCIAL JUSTICE? Based upon internet-depth research, perhaps the lagging behind State of CT will try this next???
State Board of Education: Back to where we started? Will emphasis on Charter Schools be coordinated with fixing central cities?
SCHOOL CLIMATE FROM GREENWICH: And here is an article that quotes Ben Barnes, he of the "permanent fiscal crisis" remark - http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Bob-Horton-Malloy-administration-against-funding-10828669.php
WESTON EDUCATION CONSTRUCTION PROJECT TIMELINE
WESTON EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM ENROLLMENT BACKGROUNDER INFO
Previous Building Committee page from 1990's and thru construction of the School/Town project are no longer online. During
the years of construction of buildings and fields About Weston attended
every School Building Committee meeting, including the Design
Subcommittee meetings as well as the Alternative Energy Committee
effort. These records are no longer online, either.
Digital Learning Workshop: http://www.westonps.org/uploaded/11-7-16_Board_Workshop.pdf
Historical report on school enrollment 2015: http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/DemographicTrendsv4.pdf
Weston FORUM report from 2014: http://www.thewestonforum.com/23200/weston-school-enrollment-is-on-the-decline/
Every kid's nightmare ("Did I take the test?"): http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CT_EXIT_EXAMS_CTOL-?SITE=CTNHR&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-09-08-13-52-19
H O T L E G A L N E W S
CT HIGHER EDUCATION LEADS THE WAY TO REGIONALIZING SCHOOLS OF ALL KINDS? N O T S O F A S T
C C J E F O V E R
O R N O T ? S H E F
F S T A R T E D U
P A G A I N ! O N L I N E M E E T I N G S O F S . B . E .
"Bibliography" of what we've reported on below - in generally reverse chronological order.
DEMOGRAPHICS ARTICLE FROM COURANT: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-fewer-children-connecticut-connecticuts-birth-rate-is-dropping--20160831-story.html
Yesterday, closer to home...latest on familiar and admired educator. Happy New Year...
Greenwich enrollment 2016: http://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/Growing-schools-means-packed-classrooms-in-9214835.php
CIVIC HEALTH INDEX: http://ctdatahaven.org/reports/2016-connecticut-civic-health-index
SCHOOL-AGE POPULATION PROJECTIONS U.S.A. & CT; Education mandate relief in our time? Here is the link to Weston, CT's Board of Education: http://www.westonps.org/
HOT TOPICS: "Back to school 2016-2017" for Superintendents! And it got much worse for 2017-2018.
Does the new Federal case relate??? Study;
And people are finally coming around to what About Town has been trying to tell them...http://ctmirror.org/2016/08/31/will-hartfords-crisis-force-a-ct-property-tax-overhaul/
- CT Education Network news;
- What's next for CT higher ed?
- Veto Session in the House sees debate on qualifications of Commissioner of Education bill override.
BACKGROUND AND MORE; NO MORE M.O.R.E.
Some history: CCJEF back to court soon...
Students in poverty as measured by school lunch program:
On another note: Section
266 of Implementer: "April 15, 2016 preliminary report...not
later than Feb. 15, 2017",,,Strategic Master Plan for public education
in CT by newly created 29 member Commission...cutting to the chase,
The Planning Commission for Education
is to develop and ensure the implementation of a strategic master
plan... It should be noted that the bill requires that the development
of a strategic master plan for public education be provided within
available appropriations. It does not appear that this mandates that the
agency perform the activity regardless of available funding, therefore
the cost described above is potential. PA 15-244 appropriated $150,000
in FY 16 for this purpose.
Additionally, the bill results in a
cost of less than $1,000 in FY 16 and in FY 17 to those agencies
participating in the Commission to reimburse legislators and agency
staff for mileage expenses. (OFA)
The commission shall articulate a clear vision and mission for
developing a sustainable, equitable and high-quality public education
system that coordinates the components of education reform, clarifies
how such components of education reform work together and provides every
child with access to an educational experience that meets such child's
needs. The commission shall develop and recommend the implementation of a
strategic master plan to carry out such vision and mission. (OLR)
N E W S
REMEMBER "TWO CONNECTICUTS" REPORTS? Here they are!
PART TWO : HOW ABOUT "5 CONNECTICUTS?"
PART ONE: http://web2.uconn.edu/ctsdc/Reports/CtSDC_CT_Part01_OP2003-01.pdf
More from Orlando Rodriquez: shttp://ctbythenumbers.info/2018/07/09/k-12-school-district-regionalization-may-do-more-harm-than-good-analysis-finds/
Ansonia, Ridgefield and Danbury ask 180-day waiver
Ansonia is out of $$ because
State of CT threats had forced the Ansonia School budget to estimate
what it would be receiving in funding during budget making time.
NOTE: No new budget for FY'19 has yet been approved in
Ansonia. As it turned out, Ansonia received more $$ than had been
expected - and if we are right, that money was sent to the Town - if we
were listening when these discussions were going on about similar
matters in Weston. By the way, didn't Weston Schools budget 2019
for zero state funds - did we ever get any?
I assume the Danbury and Ridgefield situations are different. These communities were out of power for a week at
least in "microburst" and I can only imagine the lawsuits from all sides
if they extended school...
UCONN President to step down next year.
isn't this a surprise! An affirmation that the coming years will not
be fiscal fun in CT?
substituteHB5334 - what the PTO has been crying out for...no contractors can be close to kids. "Mandated reporters?"
Getting tough on Charters: https://www.thehour.com/local/article/Two-Fairfield-County-charter-schools-put-on-12882665.php
Posted in the Aspetuck News: https://aspetuck.news/lead-news/weston-school-superintendent-discusses-safety-after-florida-shooting-98597
WESTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Meetings observed through the years and other related matters
FY'19 Budget Presentation from the Superintendent to the Board
Tues. Jan. 16, 2018, 7pm
Weston Middle School Library
DEC. 18, 2017 AGENDA
AWESOME HISTORY OF GIRL'S SWIM/DIVE SUCCESS CONTINUES!!!
We just didn't have the stamina to watch it to find out whether or not
they approved the M.O.U...not to mention a few other matters.
NOTE: After 4-3 vote in November on Chairperson of
the Board, this month's agenda shows nine (9) Sub-Committees/reps to regional or statewide entities have six
(6) chaired by Minority:
All above Sub-Committees Chaired by Minority members.
- CES, representative
- CABE, representative
- Curriculum chair., Communications and Education Foundation rep (local entity) is Majority member.
Nov. 20, 2017 AGENDA
FIRST RECOGNITION TO STAFF. THEN CONTESTED ELECTION FOR CHAIR. OF BOARD OF EDUCATION
of the Year recognized at W.H.S.. Then new Chair. elected in contested
election. The argument made that "the people spoke" and majority should
be at the helm. Countered by argument that with the absence of
defeated and retired leaders Board lacks experience. Parallel to
reverse position on another Board in similar circumstances. We watched
from home- was like a film noire and actually very
effective! Much preferable to poor color.
OTHER OFFICERS UNCONTESTED: Ellen Uzenoff, Vice-Chair.,
Sara Spaulding, Sec'y/Treasurer.
October 11, 2017 P.T.O. Forum revealing. You
wouldn't have known there was a financial problem in CT if one of the
candidates had not been there.
In 90 minutes, I might have missed it, but only one candidate seemed
aware of challenges coming from the Governor and State of CT.
Hello? Board of Finance members in the audience must have been appalled.
BOARD OF FINANCE JOINS BOARD OF EDUCATION LABOR NEGOTIATIONS (?) - OR AT LEAST IS MEETING IN CENTRAL OFFICE THURSDAY from morning until whenever...
So with a new paradigm for funding local education as well as the impact
of CT charging Town with a large portion of the teacher's retirement
due, how does that affect labor negotiations?
Subdivision (2) of section 10-262f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):
aid ratio" means (A) for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2008, to June
30, 2013, inclusive, one minus the ratio of a town's wealth to the
state guaranteed wealth level, provided no town's aid ratio shall be
less than nine one-hundredths, except for towns which rank from one to
twenty when all towns are ranked in descending order from one to one
hundred sixty-nine based on the ratio of the number of children below
poverty to the number of children age five to seventeen, inclusive, the
town's aid ratio shall not be less than thirteen one-hundredths when
based on data used to determine the grants pursuant to section 10-262h
of the general statutes, revision of 1958, revised to January 1, 2013,
for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, [and] (B) for the fiscal [year] years ending June 30, 2014, [and each fiscal year thereafter] to June 30, 2017, inclusive,
one minus the town's wealth adjustment factor, except that a town's aid
ratio shall not be less than (i) ten one-hundredths for a town
designated as an alliance district, as defined in section 10-262u, and
(ii) two one-hundredths for a town that is not designated as an alliance
and (C) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, and each fiscal year
thereafter, one minus the town's wealth adjustment factor, except that a
town's base aid ratio shall not be less than (I) ten per cent for a
town designated as an alliance district, as defined in section 10-262u,
and (II) zero for a town that is not designated as an alliance district.
Subdivision (9) of section 10-262f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):
means (A) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1990, three thousand nine
hundred eighteen dollars, (B) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1991,
four thousand one hundred ninety-two dollars, (C) for the fiscal year
ending June 30, 1992, four thousand four hundred eighty-six dollars, (D)
for the fiscal years ending June 30, 1993, June 30, 1994, and June 30,
1995, four thousand eight hundred dollars, (E) for the fiscal years
ending June 30, 1996, June 30, 1997, and June 30, 1998, five thousand
seven hundred eleven dollars, (F) for the fiscal year ending June 30,
1999, five thousand seven hundred seventy-five dollars, (G) for the
fiscal years ending June 30, 2000, to June 30, 2007, inclusive, five
thousand eight hundred ninety-one dollars, (H) for the fiscal years
ending June 30, 2008, to June 30, 2013, inclusive, nine thousand six
hundred eighty-seven dollars, [and] (I) for the fiscal [year] years ending June 30, 2014, [and each fiscal year thereafter] to June 30, 2017, inclusive, eleven thousand five hundred twenty-five dollars,
(J) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, eleven thousand dollars,
and (K) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, and each fiscal year
thereafter, twelve thousand five hundred seventy dollars.
Subdivision (25) of section 10-262f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):
need students" means the sum of (A) the number of resident students of
the town for the school year, (B) (i) for any school year commencing
prior to July 1, 1998, one-quarter the number of children under the
temporary family assistance program for the prior fiscal year, and (ii)
for the school years commencing July 1, 1998, to July 1, 2006,
inclusive, one-quarter the number of children under the temporary family
assistance program for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1997, (C) for
school years commencing July 1, 1995, to July 1, 2006, inclusive,
one-quarter of the mastery count for the school year, (D) for school
years commencing July 1, 1995, to July 1, 2006, inclusive, ten per cent
of the number of eligible children, as defined in subdivision (1) of
section 10-17e, for whom the board of education is not required to
provide a program pursuant to section 10-17f, (E) for the school years
commencing July 1, 2007, to July 1, 2012, inclusive, fifteen per cent of
the number of eligible students, as defined in subdivision (1) of
section 10-17e, for whom the board of education is not required to
provide a program pursuant to section 10-17f, (F) for the school years
commencing July 1, 2007, to July 1, 2012, inclusive, thirty-three per
cent of the number of children below the level of poverty, [and] (G) for the school [year] years commencing July 1, 2013, [and each school year thereafter] to July 1, 2016, inclusive, thirty per cent of the number of children eligible for free or reduced price meals or free milk,
and (H) for the school year commencing July 1, 2017, and each school
year thereafter, twenty-five per cent of the sum of (i) the number of
resident students who are English language learners, as defined in
section 10-76kk, and (ii) the number of resident students of the town
for the school year multiplied by the small area income and poverty
estimate percentage for the school district, as determined by the United
States Census Bureau.
Subdivision (33) of section 10-262f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):
(33) "Fully funded grant" means the sum of (A) the product of a town's base aid ratio, the foundation [level]
and the town's total need students for the fiscal year prior to the
year in which the grant is to be paid, and (B) the town's regional bonus.
Subdivisions (42) to (44), inclusive, of section 10-262f of the general
statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):
(42) "Equalized net grand list adjustment factor" means (A) for the fiscal years prior to the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018,
the ratio of the town's equalized net grant list per capita to one and
one-half times the town equalized net grand list per capita of the town
with the median equalized net grand list per capita,
and (B) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, and each fiscal year
thereafter, the ratio of the town's equalized net grant list per capita
to one and one-quarter times the town equalized net grand list per
capita of the town with the median equalized net grand list per capita.
(43) "Median household income adjustment factor" means (A) for the fiscal years prior to the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018,
the ratio of the median household income of the town to one and
one-half times the median household income of the town with the median
household income when all towns are ranked according to median household
and (B) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, and each fiscal year
thereafter, the ratio of the median household income of the town to one
and one-quarter times the median household income of the town with the
median household income when all towns are ranked according to median
(44) "Wealth adjustment factor" means (A) for the fiscal years prior to the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018,
the sum of a town's equalized net grand list adjustment factor
multiplied by ninety one-hundredths per cent and a town's median
household income adjustment factor multiplied by ten one-hundredths per
and (B) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, and each fiscal year
thereafter, the sum of a town's equalized net grand list adjustment
factor multiplied by seventy per cent and a town's median household
income adjustment factor multiplied by thirty per cent.
Section 10-262f of the general statutes is amended by adding subdivisions (46) to (48), inclusive, as follows (Effective from passage):
"Base grant amount" means the equalization aid grant a town was
entitled to receive for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, as
enumerated in section 20 of public act 16-2 of the May special session,
minus any reductions to said equalization aid grant during the fiscal
year ending June 30, 2017, resulting from lapses to the funds
appropriated for said equalization aid grant attributable to the
recommendation made by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and
Management, pursuant to section 12 of public act 15-244.
"Grant adjustment" means the absolute value of the difference between a
town's base grant amount and its fully funded grant.
"Grant adjustment quotient" means a town's grant adjustment divided by
the number of resident students of the town for the school year.
Section 10-262h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):
(c) (1) For
the fiscal years ending June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, each town
shall receive an equalization aid grant in an amount equal to the sum of
any amounts paid to such town pursuant to subsection (c) and
subdivision (1) of subsection (d) of section 10-66ee, and the amount
provided for in subdivision (2) of this subsection.
(2) Equalization aid grant amounts.
What are the biennium numbers for Weston?
Same as last year minus mid-year cuts ($900,000 plus)
SPECIAL SESSION IN PERPETUITY? AN INTERESTING ARGUMENT FOR OR AGAINST PROPERTY TAX...75% of property tax value is school ratings.
What was it that quote again - that applies to Fairfield County, CT that is attributed to Governor Malloy (JOKE WARNING)?
FROM THE DAY: http://www.theday.com/statenortheast-news/20170923/connecticut-supreme-court-to-hear-landmark-education-case
BREAKING NEWS: https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/crime/article/Parents-sue-over-racial-quotas-at-magnet-schools-12616690.php
A decision so soon? Yes - on the matter of changing the % of diversity in the public schools in cities and suburbs of Hartford.
Does Sheff decision about Hartford schools (in a stay right now) relate to the budget crisis?
JMO, but really, the only way to integrate CT schools is to disappear
town lines in much the way legislative and Congressional districts are
rearranged. Is this going to happen? No.
Progress has been made in Hartford region if you look at the graphic - but not fast enough?.
But it is conceivable to me that the other lawsuit, which applies
state-wide, will be the solution to equalize state funding of schools
(ECS grants). Known as the C.C.J.E.F. suit, this is also
hanging fire - decision on appeal could be the tool by which
redistribution of funds takes place. In addition, the pass-thru of
cost of teacher retirement to localities is now in play as the days
drag on until CT adopted a biennial budget (minus the month or so it
took to get there).
"Capital Prep Met State Integration Rule By Picking White Students Outside Lottery"
In line with the State's argument below, Courant reports how one magnet school met Sheff standard: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-capital-prep-lottery-investigation-white-students-20170630-story.html
DAY ONE - THURSDAY JUNE 14
NOT SO FAST
As we have noted elsewhere, the mystery of how bills
become the law is triumphant. Once the Governor signs HB7201 and
runs out the clock, Sheff lawsuit is history if it isn't already.
Contextual opening. Temporary injunctions.
Legislature in the middle of the night passed
80-20. State is at fault. No long range plan.
Unconstitutional. Legislature doing the bidding
of Governor. HB7201 'A' and 'B' should be stayed. Sheff has
had an observer from Sheff and now wants to get rid of him.
State argument is that demographics have changed since 1989. Non-voluntary remedy opened up.
PATERSON, N.J., DATA & ACCOUNTABILITY. FORMER HARTFORD
EMPLOYEE, choice/lottery. Population estimates for schools not
explained but we know all about it.
And the judge didn't get this...but the demographic evidence is
obvious! Demographics and the statistics of education population
projections. Swearing in via Skype. Dr.Campbell, Delaware
St. Paterson, N.J. E.E., Masters Engineering, Harvard.doctorate.
"Choice office" activity described. Exhibits, description of how
Hartford Public Schools worked out their lottery. "Reduced
Isolation Standard" students get preference - splitting the wait list
without Sheff limits. Filling seats. Sheff lawyer: What effect would it
have on diversity and empty seats?
Exhibit 9 on cross
Divide - scenario 2 - divide list (waiting list) by race and ethnic and ethnicity. Only characteristic is race and ethnicity.
Exhibit of all Sheff schools. So what is the State trying to do?
About half and half applicants. Haha - mixed
races throw off the numbers. Attack on C.R.E.C. Reduced
Isolation has to be checked at earliest grades. Drop in percentage
of white students enrolled in Hartford magnets.
Reduced Isolation Applicants, tables 4-6-7
"Public Safety Academy" - https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/BA/2017HB-07201-R01-BA.htm
GOODWIN COLLEGE compelled to testify
Stipulation proposed so that "long term plan" is not there. Cross examination by state.
Over for the day after many hours - Sheff plaintiffs rested. on Thursday...
THE NEVER-ENDING CASE OF SHEFF, 6-13-17. Court runs on Legislative
time. Actually, State Senate time. Court plus Legislature =
the time it takes to play a round of golf? RELATED info...
Play-by-play. But not yet. So far the
Legislative music started a while ago, which is hopeful!!! We were
entertained for the first 45 minutes by an amusing discussion out of
camera-range about we think various legal aspects to some of what the
Legislature might have been up to this Session...anyway it is really
nice to know our Judicial Branch will make this available (we think if
you look carefully, you can watch it after the fact!).
HOHO! At 3:30pm the CCJEF-Yale connection shows itself!
As we are moving into hour #2 on the latest Sheff
("The Two Connecticuts") business, we note that people might get it
confused with another famous lawsuit.
WE"LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE WHAT IF ANYTHING WENT DOWN...and we found out it was put off until Wednesday.
DAY TWO - ended early because of dentist appointment.
We are watching live as State of Connecticut is questioning their witness on "compliance" matter.
"Waiting list" and rounds.
How do they decide which students get a "yes" to
magnets? Least compliant, "reduced isolation" sorting grade level -
nice model. Not done by simulation exactly. How does the sorting work in Hartford? Race or ethnic factors not included in selection process - only suburban v. cities.
Open Choice v. Magnet
Hartford non-compliant schools still. Race or ethnicity,
80-20??? Suppressing enrollment now at 75-25. "Suppression
of enrollment" based on non-compliance.
Critical of C.R.E.C.; Goodwin College
credits. C.R.E.C. schools are more 50-50. Ahah! First
mention of R.E.S.C. "Can't afford to run schools for suburban
students." Exhibit 500 used to answer Judge's question.
Entry grade applicants plenty of room, but those who apply for seats
from Hartford not entry...we left for lunch...
More C.R.E.C. complaints from S.D.E. guy...
Great testimony by S.B.E. Since they (C.R.E.C.) don't use race factor ("reduced isolation"), what's the story? From Wikipedia, the State Supreme Court on appeal said in a 5-4 decision:
court ruled that the state had an affirmative obligation to provide
Connecticut's school children with a substantially equal educational
opportunity and that this constitutionally guaranteed right encompasses
the access to a public education which is not substantially and
materially impaired by racial and ethnic isolation. The Court further
concluded that school districting, based upon town and city boundary
lines, is unconstitutional, and cited a statute that bounds school
districts by town lines as a key factor in the high concentrations of
racial and ethnic minorities in Hartford."...
After lunch the fur flies under cross-examination.
Thank goodness for CT-N. So this is a hearing to put a stay on
closing down existing agreement.
JOB CUT SUPERVISING S.D.E. WORK TOO
After the very effective testimony earlier (r), under sharp cross examination by Sheff lawyer, we find out that there are other things going on - cottage industry at S.D.E. administering Sheff.
To be continued Friday!
DAY THREE - Two hours of cross and then closing statements and decisions.
Cross: 80% standard? Not aware of 75%; tipping point issue. Hartford desegregaton.
Wow! The State caught with its pants down. Not a
scholar of desegregation cases. Changes in demographics.
1992 decision. 75-25 was later. How about other
socio-economic standards. Best schools in suburbs?
Journalism and Two Rivers High School not continuing next year.
OPEN CHOICE OPTION
Interesting differences. More seats offered than taken in
kindergarten. Economic differences. Racial, ethnic, cultural
and language differences. Retention. Have budget cuts
affected "Choice" districts. Grants cut. Transportation,
summer school. Suburban Superintendents express concern that
budget cuts reduce services to "choice" students. S.D.E.
layoffs? One in department R.E.S.C. central office. We heard
an undertone of what may be in the wings: Using different
standard for measuring "choice" in the future.
After lunch...closing statements.
(L) Dennis Parker, ACLU Racial Justice Section makes the case for
Sheff. No successor agreement. Blames State of CT.
Stipulations out the window. Waiting lists show Sheff schools are
needed. State counters as does Hartford.
3PM - JUDGE BERGER GRANTS TEMPORARY STAY: NO ADJUSTMENT OF TERMS OF AGREEMENT IN PLACE NOW.
First (after our own comments) came Hartford Courant article: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-sheff-hearing-day3-20170616-story.html
Then the CT MIRROR: https://ctmirror.org/2017/06/16/judge-magnet-schools-cannot-be-made-more-segregated/
So what happens next for Sheff case?
This is obviously not the end of the line for Sheff. But with no
new "stipulated agreement" agreed to, and an appeal to the State Supreme
Court coming in I believe September, what may happen? The C.C.J.E.F.
trial judge's decision against the State of CT but with assumption that
no new moneys are needed is to be heard on appeal in September. Do
you think these two lawsuits might be settled by the state taking back
some if not all of the powers it has granted to local school
This lawsuit has been going on since 1989.
CT MIRROR article: https://ctmirror.org/2017/06/16/judge-magnet-schools-cannot-be-made-more-segregated/
- June 13 did not happen, but Court was in Session on June 14 (which we
watched on CT-N) and now Friday! Perry Mason-style attorneys - will
they do the closing arguments? I was right - they did go toe to toe.
READ THE OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH EXPLANATION OF HB7201 -
awaiting the Governor's signature. According to the C.G.A. website,
HB7201 passed in both House and Senate on the last day of the Session.
- Does this kill existing "magnet" programs around the State now operating? Observer to S.B.E. to be disappeared?
- Maybe meld suits? Turn all magnet schools into Sheff schools? Thus
making the neat completion of State takeover of local schools?
- What happens if the State runs out the clock on the present
agreement and the Governor signs the 80-20 bill ("racial isolation" from
3-1 [white to non-white] to 80-20 percent of school population in
Hartford Schools)? I've got an idea of where this might be heading.
How about turning all schools districts into "Regional" school systems?
- A link to some other activities of the Legislature on this subject - scroll down to C.C.J.E.F. items on this sub-page.
- Judge Berger makes the right decision, IMO. Others may and did differ: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-sheff-hearing-day3-20170616-story.html
From the CT MIRROR: New database: How your school stacks up on important measures
Inflation from two to five?
T H E F I V E C O N N E C T I C U T S I N 2 0 1 7
So the "foundation" of learning is cracking up...
HOW MANY "CONNECTICUTS" ???
Report on the "Five Connecticuts" not related to crumbling foundations per se (SB806 did not pass but this issue is definitely in the forefront for Special Session).
NEW C.E.A. CHIEF
Consider how this relates to Governor's press release
SCHOOL CHOICE: Yankee Institute for Public Policy & Connecticut Parents Union Education Reform Conference
SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING TO COME BEFORE SCOTUS
From Jan. 16, 2017 Courant: "The
U.S. Supreme Court took up this challenging policy question Wednesday:
How much is a school district obligated to educate a child with
WHO WILL BE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION IN THE NEW ADMINISTRATION? WOULD A CHANGE IN DIRECTION AFFECT C.C.J.E.F. ?
Schools the big winner November 8, JMO. And West Hartford case
very interesting re: Special Needs students in light of C.C.J.E.F.
decision, which did not mention Spec Ed as something the State should
get into: http://www.courant.com/community/west-hartford/hc-west-hartford-settles-defusco-lawsuit-0112-20170111-story.html
FUNDING FORMULA FIX?
...Rep. Michael D’Agostino, D-Hamden, a former chairman of the Hamden
Board of Education, said a major flaw in the original formula is its
focus on overall per capita wealth, and a future model should emphasize
the student population and a municipality’s financial ability to
contribute to local education.
of just looking at the free and reduced-price lunch population, you look
at how many families are on SNAP, how many on government assistance,
how many students are characterized as homeless, how many are special
education, how many are (English language learners); you look at those
metrics of a school system, and second should be town ability to pay,
not per capita income. Things like the grant list. Also the mill rate,”
said that, of some of the wealthier areas he represents, he does not
expect constituents to resist having education money go to poorer rural
and urban areas because “it’s a matter of fairness.”
Excellent Hamden forum described in New Haven Register article 1-18-17 "State legislators, education leaders talk future of Connecticut school funding"
SO WE DO KNOW WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT? No way.
REMEMBER THERE IS ONLY ONE PLACE TO FIND MORE MONEY...
FOR EXAMPLE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT...
Working closely with fellow BPRC members who are Chairs. of Committees to coordinate policies to advance their interests.
Q U E S T I O N O F T H E D A Y
WHAT IS THE "CORE EXPENSE" AND WHAT SHOULD IT INCLUDE?
R E V O L V I N G D O O R
"R.I.P." current E.C.S. Formula...we tuned in towards the end, watching
live. (It began at 1pm.) We continued watching October 4th
with Alex Knopp.
Reading in the Norwalk HOUR, those who spoke earlier
urged action ahead of whatever the State Supreme Court might come up
with. Full story in the HOUR Saturday Oct. 1.
SPECIAL EDUCATION CO-OP IDEA BECAME GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL?
FUNDING PUBLIC EDUCATION: Black and Puerto Rican Caucus reacts to CCJEF v. CT, 9-30-16
Awaiting the appeal results will not do anything for their caucus - actually for anybody anywhere in CT! JMO.
- Peer states study; 50 state study on Special Ed.
- Structurally needs based. Foundation amount then
you weight other needs. Only low income. English language
and special ed not in it. "My Cousin Vinnie" analogy card trick.
- Community ability to pay. 90% property, 10% income.
- Rhode Island formula had a phase-in formula.
- No unlimited amount of money...
- Increase flexibility to high performing districts to be efficient (mandates relieved);
- Rep. Morris suggests "Nutmeg" CT, a town in wealthy group might be willing to relax mandates;
- Sen. Slossberg, Co-Chair. of Education Committee comments on wanting to assure high achievement results.
Two and a half hours and the part we watched live was very interesting.
FROM THE BEGINNING:
AS WE WATCHED RE-RUN ON OCT. 4th...
- Question of cost studies from Sen. Slossberg. What would it cost to study this? $500,000 est. Is Massacusetts really a good model?
- Special Education, health care/needs - should we include it?
Knopp doesn't think special needs and health care are as strong as
- Sheff? Does it apply to new State-wide change to funding formula?
- Jennifer Alexander (CONN CAN) - "schools are for kids." Evaluation. Symbolic decission. Distribution no longer rational, sustainable or verifiable. Fund students equally.
- Flexibility and autonomy to uniform high achieving districts.
- Preschool: Less than 2/3 of poor get it.
- State's role: Override local decisions.
- Anti-Union statements in Judge's ruling. Seniority primary in CT not achievement by students.
- Complicated system - why not funding by kid? (My thought).
- Sen. Slossberg points out that some districts get funded
twice. Teachers: Supporting teachers? CONNCAN says
"point taken" that was not in her slide.
- How do you measure need?
SCHOOL FINANCE 101 - KATIE ROY
Adequacy: What should it cost? States vary. Go back to the "live" comments.
ASKING FOR DO-OVER
"...Now that the majority has declared that the trial court should have
applied a single analytic rubric, the trial court should be afforded
the opportunity on remand to consider whether those damning
findings suffice to meet this integrated standard."
HOLD THE PHONE: https://ctmirror.org/2018/01/26/a-last-try-lawyers-ask-supreme-court-to-reconsider-school-ruling/
PLAY-BY-PLAY BELOW AFTER PRESS ACCOUNTS
"State Supreme Court Overturns Sweeping Ruling In CCJEF Education Funding Lawsuit" Courant
"Supreme Court: Connecticut’s Education System Is Flawed, But Not Unconstitutional" - CTNEWSJUNKIE
C . C . J . E . F . 2 01
8 - Seven (7) Justices voting January 17, 2018
in a 4 - 3 decision - back to Legislature for remedy.
Looks as if retiring Chief Justice Rodgers came
down on the division of powers point of view, trusting the Legislative
Branch (Rep. Fleischmann) to do their job. IIRC, incoming Chief
Justice recused himself.
C . C . J . E . F . 2 0 1
7 - Which Justices are voting in this
case? How many vacancies now?
Pardon our ignorance but it looked to us
that they had "packed the court" for the photo op, including Senior
Justices and Appeals Court Judge (s)???
C.C.J.E.F. APPEAL: Opening arguments "rational, substantive" fundamental right. Case began at least 11 years ago. Not to be decided for yet another year?
FOR THE STATE, Associate Attorney General Joseph Rubin
FOR THE C.C.J.E.F., Joseph Moodhe, who stated later in a press
conference on the steps of the CT Supreme Court that the legislature has
to make the tough decisions.
MANY QUESTIONS FROM JUSTICES...RELATED TO EDUCATION.
Is it money? Is there a plan? Special
Education? $1.8 billion Federally required. Stripping
districts of funding for anything else...
We are watching it for a second time...47 minutes into a more than 2
hour trial. And now we wonder about when the decision will come
BREAKING NEWS: Chief Justice to retire in February 2018.
Chief Justice Rogers declares opening day over at 12:25PM or so.
Other Justices spoke the first day and sharply
questioned lead attorneys. too. Justice Andrew McDonald had
recused himself (see below).
NO MORE MONEY FOR SCHOOL BUS IN BUDGET 2017?
CT HAPPY ABOUT NO INCREASE IN FUNDING MANDATE...APPEAL GRANTED TUESDAY, SEPT. 20.
Can you only appeal one part of a decision? No "justice in education funding" only punting to...C.G.A.
WHOA!!! OR IS IT NOW THE FIVE CONNECTICUTS???
FAST-TRACK HIGH COURT APPEAL (from CTDOT PH, above [L] bus "Fastrak") FOR C.C.J.E.F. - Holy jurisprudence Batman! Both parties appealing.
Was this decision in violation of controlling Federal law? Which would make the feasibility of implementing it dicey???
So is the third decision against school funding the
charm? Below "The Order" is an insert to CT POST article.
And we note that Teachers Union may not be happy.
Another scathing column: http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-rennie-ct-school-moukawsher-disabled-0918-20160915-column.html
And yet another even better report: http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/State-appeals-decision-on-school-funding-9224858.php
Yes, this is the former SDE Commissioner and Superintendent of Schools in Greenwich: http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-sternberg-ct-school-decision-wrong-0918-20160916-story.html
Holy defunding Batman! Did you catch this decision just now?
"The charm" meaning taking the simple one line in the
CT Constitution seriously. And will this CCJEF v. Rell 11-year
old lawsuit (following on Sheff v. O'Neill and before that Horton v.
Meskill) cause the education power to really change from local Boards to
a centralized Board? Or will we have Regional Boards of Education
similar to COG boundaries (JMO)???
MANDATE RELIEF AT LAST?
"But the executive director of the Connecticut Council of
Small Towns said the concept of redistributing education aid might not
be as simple as some think. Connecticut’s urban centers
traditionally have fared very well under state grant formulas, buoyed by
the political clout that comes with their larger populations. But
Connecticut has many rural communities that, on a per capita basis,
have major poverty problems of their own, Gara said. Windham County,
which is comprised almost entirely of small population towns,
traditionally has the highest unemployment rate in the state and its
communities struggle with property tax bases lean on commercial and
“'There are a number of our small towns who are also
struggling,'” Gara said. “'There are real pockets of poverty. And these
towns are struggling to maintain their tax base.'"
But that doesn’t mean, Gara added, that nothing can be
done. Legislators looking to redistribute aid also should look at ways
to ease state mandates, particularly in the area of education, which can
provide relief to all communities...
And after re-reading...http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-feinstein-ct-ruling-hurts-disabled-0911-20160909-story.html
"...Under the policy, a member can participate by
electronic means when a quorum of the board is physically present at a
meeting location but is not to be counted toward a quorum.
"All votes must be taken by roll call when a person is attending remotely.
"If he knows beforehand, the superintendent will arrange for the meeting
to take place in a location 'with the appropriate equipment,' so that
the member can participate remotely and the public can observe or hear
the comments made..."
GOTTA APPROVE IT OR CONSULTANT DOESN'T GET PAID (see motion as amended below)
- "Acceptance subject to
further amendment and revision, final revision by Committee - 2 weeks in
advance of next meetings"
- DRAFT ON LINE/approved.
Transparency. Workshop closed or online?
NEXT MEETING: In two months, approx.
FUTURE SPECS FOR SCHOOLS: Governor ordered bringing $375 goal sqft. - not in the document, this Commission ordered to come up with a statutory fix.
PREVIOUS SURVEY OF SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION
Now under D.A.S., no longer "School Construction Authority" within the
Dept. of Education. How will projects be prioritized? Perhaps based build upon
As noted above, our "research" (as in Googling) produced this already noted important item: http://www.ct.gov/dcs/lib/dcs/bsf/reports/school_report2013.pdf
DRAFT document approved and to be put online.
DRAFT PRESENTED AT OPEN PUBLIC MEETING AND ALSO TO APPEAR IN DRAFT FORM ON D.A.S. WEBSITE
costs more, maximum sqft. ($375persqft recommended); consistency
what gets delivered. Set a cap for project budget. No
into $$. Classroom Net-gross...900 sqft. "Locally"
funded. Auditorium and theatres not funded in Ohio - must have two
or three uses...in CT. Cafetoriium - seats not bolted to the
floor. Performing arts space??? Any funding??? Only in
high school - maybe Middle School. Renovation? Assessments
of existing buildings. "If it costs 2/3 of new to renovate" you
should. Danbury asks big questions.
C.C.J.E.F. A L L O V E R
- A N D N O W H O W W I L
L T H E N E X T L E G I S L A T U
R E C O M P L Y ?
HOW CAN CHARTER SCHOOLS BE CONSIDERED PUBLIC SCHOOLS IF THEY GET TO PICK AND CHOOSE WHICH STUDENTS TO ACCEPT?
So who told the Legislature's Education Co-Chair
that Charter schools had to comply with Sec.10-4b? Probably the
same person who answered the Commissioner in the reverse! The
answer is that as the article says, they don't comply in any number of
ways with their underlying law. And what about the history of
providing school busing to private schools - yes, that is correct -
public school bus service supplied to private parochial school
students. Go figure!
TRIAL TESTIMONY OVER, NOW, AFTER DAYS OF CLOSING ARGUMENT, COMES THE DECISION;
Report: CT 4th worst in unfunded pension liabilities per teacher
By: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas | May 16, 2016
Connecticut has the 4th highest pension costs for its public school
teachers in the U.S., a new report released Monday shows. The high
costs are largely attributed to a failure to save enough to pay for
future pension promises, the report from TeacherPensions.org concludes.
The report is a project of Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit
funded by The Joyce Foundation and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
"Like the proverbial Pac-Man, the rapidly rising costs of teacher
retirement and insurance benefits are pushing out money that could be
spent on salaries," the report concludes.
In Connecticut, the actual amount the average school district would need
to set aside to provide health and retirement benefits to its teachers
was $2,611 per year. The added cost to pay for the past unfunded
liabilities, however, is $14,374. Only Alaska, Massachusettes and
Illinois had a greater unfunded liability per teacher...
Story in full: http://ctmirror.org/2016/05/16/report-ct-4th-worst-in-unfunded-pension-liabilities-per-teacher/#
C.A.B.E. LEGISLATION 2016 -
TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION IS...DEMOCRACY? AND WHAT
ABOUT SMARTER BALANCE - ANTI - TEACHER'S UNION BENT IN THIS ADMINISTRATION? SEE BELOW:
ABOVE CENTER: ATTORNEY PATRICE MCCARTHY'S ADVICE : Watch the IMPLEMENTER!!!
Details of what is in the budget adjustment 2017 very important - not public yet.
C.A.B.E. MEMBERS LEARN MANDATES COME FROM SINGLE OR MAYBE 3 EXAMPLES
Boards of Education and reducing mandates. Very specific requirements in mandates. Data storage issue.
6-30-17 study due to regionalize school transportation. Staff
attorney points out budget shows no funding for school bus service - so
how does this work out?
Alternative budgets - DEM budget numbers. CT MIRROR
website ECS and transportation. Less state support there should be
less mandate. M.B.R. ISSUE BROACHED
TASK FORCES - HOW MANY? HOW LONG? ALTERNATIVE TO LEGISLATION - NEED STAFF
SB179 school climate bullying
minority teacher recruitment
5468 - professional development
2015 - strategic master plan, mastery exam committee, food allergies (not met yet).
DEAD BILL LIST
Seat belts on new buses
high school graduation requirements - in IMPLEMENTER?
SB380 - educator evaluations
HB5175 - Ed Budgets: Board of Finance audit.
Tax credit to non-public schools. Voucher in form of tax credit
CCJEF - C.A.B.E. ATTORNEY REPORT ON SUIT AGAINST THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
ONGOING LAWSUIT: Jan 12th start - 30 witnesses
State not living up to adequate/equitable
CCJEF plaintif finished end of February. Commissioner current staff next. And rebut if needed.
State says if better staff they have all the $$ they need.
June finished - then judges decision.
State of Washington
UPSHOT: THE END OF LOCAL SCHOOLS? WHERE WILL THE MONEY COME
Executive Session - personnel no-no - must describe type of action
Civil rights: transgender. CT settled. Problem is with community.
Charter policy and municipal policy differences. It is according. "Non-educational services" bidding.
House Bill amendment: Animals and snapping turtles: B E A R S ' R I G H T S
ESS is NCLB 1000 pages. State goals included. Intervention still there. More flexibility in language.
NOTE: Above are highlights of this 2 hour meeting that we watched on CT-N in its entirety.
CONNECTICUT A SYMBOL OF EQUALITY?
Is it all coming down to "Gold Coast" income protrusion? http://ctbythenumbers.info/2016/03/04/best-state-for-k-12-education-connecticut-ranked-1/
THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION "ARROGANCE OF POWER LESSON PLAN"
Not the same thing as "school ratings" or Common Core, but perhaps
more insidious...but it makes one wonder how dumb the S.D.E. is...
Weston School ratings
Westport School ratings
Wilton School ratings
Chairman: Kent school board won’t discuss arming teachers
Danbury News Times
By Alex Wolff Updated 10:46 pm, Friday, February 5, 2016
KENT — School Board Chairman Paul Cortese said Friday the panel will not
consider a school safety proposal recommended by the Board of Selectmen
that includes arming teachers and staff with guns. Cortese, in a
statement, condemned the selectmen’s 2-1 vote this week to recommend the
“FASTER Saves Lives” program, which took place before the program was
discussed with school district officials...story in full: http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Chairman-Kent-school-board-won-t-discuss-6810501.php
A FEW YEARS AGO MRS. FOX HAD BABIES. HER KITS ARE NOW IN FIRST GRADE AT HURLBUTT. SEE CHART ABOVE, AS DISCUSSED AT STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE.
We watched the first night of Board of Ed Budget Workshops, sporadically, from home.
Tuned in during Dr. Palmer's intro and heard that 53 students fewer
officially expected in September, but may not be that bad, if we follow
historical summer spurt. At another point, mention was made of
using past experience to help plan for what happens where grades are
@120 as opposed to 200 as
they are this year.
Central Office staff other than Dr. Palmer took the lead describing the budget requests globally.
Second night we missed, and the decisions were made at Board of
Education meeting Monday Jan. 25, 2016. The proposed budget is
here (1.48%) : http://www.westonps.org/page.cfm?p=5754
Award to Dr. Palmer presented by State Legislators and Superintendents' Association at Dec. 21, 2015 Board of Education meeting.
Weston's Dr. Colleen Palmer named Superintendent of the Year in CT
2016. Budget presentation begins for Board of Education this
evening at 7pm with system overview (Executive Session at 5pm).
School desegregation: Will focus shift from magnets to suburbs?
By: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas
November 3, 2015
..."We are not going to be building any more," Ralph Urban, assistant
attorney general, told a Hartford Superior Court judge last month. "We
are growing the Open Choice program, and that will continue to grow."
...Instead of filling the empty desks with additional city students, several districts have moved to lay off teachers instead...
Story in full: http://ctmirror.org/2015/11/03/school-desegregation-will-focus-shift-from-magnets-to-suburbs/
HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO CT?
Link to "What Wait" blog here for one thought: http://jonathanpelto.com/2015/10/13/shadow-of-paul-vallas-hangs-over-chicagos-corporate-education-reform-industry-scandal/
WEST COAST MESSAGE TO EAST COAST
There is a reason why or why not to affiliate as a "PTA" - PTO Organizations please take note.
OP-ED | Connecticut Legislators Take Note, West Coast Rulings Are Going Against Charter Schools
by Sarah Darer Littman | Sep 18, 2015 8:00am
Connecticut legislators should be paying close attention to several
interesting legal developments on the West Coast, which could have
significant implications here in the Nutmeg State...
...Reflecting just how disastrous education policy has been under the
Obama administration, Education Secretary Arne Duncan hailed the Vergara
decision as a “mandate” toward a “collaborative process in California
that is fair, thoughtful, practical and swift.” With Democrats like
Arne, who needs Republicans?
Students Matter, the “nonprofit” behind the Vergara suit, was founded by
Silicon Valley billionaire David Welch, and is supported by many of the
same names familiar to us in Connecticut: Students First, Democrats for
Education Reform, and the New Schools Venture Fund (whose board
includes Connecticut Democrat contributor Jonathan Sackler, founder of
ConnCAN and Trustee of the Achievement First Charter Management
And in State of Washington: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/upload/2015/09/LWV_vs_State_of_WA_9_4_15.pdf
Anchorage joins fight over school bond debt reimbursement
Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News
September 18, 2015
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said Friday that he will join the fight
over school bond-debt reimbursement and ask Gov. Bill Walker to
reinstate the program that lawmakers put a five-year stop to this year.
If the state affirms an earlier decision that a bill passed by the
Legislature is properly applied retroactively, Anchorage taxpayers will
have to shoulder the total cost of the $59.3 million school bond package
approved by voters in April. For more than a decade, the state has
helped pay for 60 percent to 70 percent of school bond debt, until this
year when it ran into a multibillion-dollar budget gap and put a
controversial halt on the reimbursement program...story in full: http://www.adn.com/article/20150918/anchorage-joins-fight-over-school-bond-debt-reimbursement
Alaska Supreme Court to hear arguments on school funding case
Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News
September 15, 2015
The Alaska Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on the
constitutionality of requiring Alaska’s municipalities to help pay for
education, in a case that could upend how the state finances public
In November, Ketchikan Superior Court Judge William Carey invalidated
the required local payments. He ruled that the millions of dollars paid
each year by local governments to their school districts -- including
Anchorage, Ketchikan and others -- violated a provision of the Alaska
Constitution that bans the state from earmarking revenue from a tax or
license for a specific purpose...story in full: http://www.adn.com/article/20150915/alaska-supreme-court-hear-arguments-school-funding-case
News here. Councils of
Governments involved here - all Towns to be connected. Blum
Shapiro involved. Libraries, too (not funded previously, no longer
a problem to get last DSL towns).
Put off kindergarten a year? Officials want to end ‘redshirting’
By: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas | September 3, 2015
It's a question parents have long had to answer: Should they send their
child to kindergarten at age 5, or wait a year until they believe their
child is ready?
Last school year, one in 12 children old enough to attend kindergarten were not enrolled...story in full: http://ctmirror.org/2015/09/03/put-off-kindergarten-a-year-officials-want-to-end-redshirting/
With Staples H.S. running above capacity, how does this figure in to perhaps a REGIONAL high school system with Weston? Just our thought...
Connecticut ALERT: Malloy/Wyman Administration to punish schools and taxpayers for protecting parental rights
Dec. 30, 2015:
WE READ ABOUT THIS AT WHAT WAIT!
December 29, 2015 from the Hartford Courant (using the CT MIRROR story
WHO TOOK IT?
CT MIRROR ANALYSIS OF SBAC TESTS TAKEN 2015: http://trendct.org/2015/08/31/five-things-the-sbac-scores-shows-us/
RED CLEARLY IDENTIFIED
Paired "Elementary" Statewide (l) Weston (r)...for Weston Intermediate School. The "pass" and "exceed" categories in black. So how did the "turn out" affect the results? Good question!
Did the Statewide turnout make 95%? Over all, barely. See
"opt out" by schools at link just below...
Here is a report that discusses individual opt out %: This report from "What Wait" here: http://jonathanpelto.com/2015/08/29/schools-that-respected-parents-right-to-opt-their-children-out-of-unfair-common-core-sbac-tests-2/
Most Stonington high students opted out of new assessment exam
By Joe Wojtas, The Day
Published September 01. 2015 8:35PM
Updated September 01. 2015 8:43PM
Stonington — More than 7 out of 10 Stonington High School juniors this
past May opted out of taking the new Smarter Balanced Assessment
Consortium tests, which were being used for the first time to officially
measure student achievement.
The participation rate of 25.8 percent on the language arts section and
22.1 percent on the math portion gave the school one of the lowest
participation rates in the state alongside high schools in Westbrook,
Madison, Westport and Ridgefield...story in full: http://www.theday.com/local/20150901/most-stonington-high-students-opted-out-of-new-assessment-exam-
DUMBING DOWN OF HARTFORD ORCHESTRA OR NOT: PRACTICE PRACTICE...NO MORE TIME TO PRACTICE...
Graphics are snappy but what did can we learn including a sad piano?
At the right, a parallel between the old joke "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" In the approximate area of WCCOG, SBAC numbers
don't include...Bridgewater. Is Bridgewater in Regional school
district #12 up there? Yes. Shephaug Vally H.S. & M.S.
plus Burnham elementary - upper right of this snapshot from CT MIRROR.
Here is an opinion piece on the subject: http://ctviewpoints.org/2015/08/31/opinion-tina-marie-manus/
The CT MIRROR was there and reported too: http://ctmirror.org/2016/08/10/judge-presses-state-on-approach-to-school-funding-as-trial-wraps/
ONLINE WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2016 - 3rd DAY OF FINAL ARGUMENTS (the State has the job today). LINK TO ARTICLE PRE-FINAL ARGUMENTS; Our running commentary below.
Question #1 - Is "Court time" any closer to reality than "Legislative time?" Answer: YES.
Our take: A victory for paperless trials - made the judge's
thinking obvious ASAP. It also made the answer to what will happen
as a result, should we all live long enough, or at least in the next
few years, clear. "Clear" to me means a two step process: #1
- no more $$ to Weston and similar districts and #2 - after this
doesn't produce any results, State will take over both property tax
collection and regionalize education state-wide. And if that
doesn't work, well, we're not going to go there. Below our
play-by-play call of the third and last day of closing statements...the State is speaking as we tune in...
- Tests: How much do results of tests affect
teacher evaluation? This is an excellent and embarrassing
explanation of why you can drown in an average depth of water of a few
inches. Judge wants legislative standard to be rational.
- What "useful evaluation of teachers" means - inadequate system and apply what resources and standards mean re: to facts.
- "Getting into the weeds" - just use standards. Standardized tests (SBAC) not being used.
- Administrators and principals not properly
rated. (Everybody - teachers - rates OK.) WHY WOULD
LOCAL CONTROL continue or is it all the State's fault so the State
should take over? Why not leave successful districts alone?
- In every district there are poor teachers - but -
there could be all kinds of poverty reasons. Suitable
- CONSTITUTION DOES NOT REQUIRE State to be rational. "Resources" and "standards" required to be analyzed by this Court.
- RATIONALITY. States's distribution of funding is
the only measure. "Empty diplomas" argument. "Low bar"
issue. Define rational...extra points for graduation.
- Gross disproportion in graduation rates.
Remedial programs at Community Colleges. National problem.
"Common Core" and lawsuits.
- Eighth grade math is the only difference between Massachusetts and CT.
- Special Education: Identification of Spec Ed -
differences are enormous. "Has to be either over or under
identification." FEDERAL LAW. No rational standards for
PPTs. BINGO - PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND THE NEW DEMOCRATIC
CONGRESS WILL MAKE ALL OF THIS GO AWAY (JMO).
- School Construction grant percentages OK with the State. "Alliance Districts" get a good share.
- English learners' test scores.
- If the Court decides against the State, it is up to
the Legislature. There isn't a majority that spells out action in
Sheff. "You have to do something" or "you have to do this" - ONE
SCHOOL DISTRICT or REGIONAL SCHOOLS are options. State appears to me to
not want the Court to recommend anything.
- RE-ALLOCATION OF EXISTING FUNDS??? CT claims that this is not legal.
- Legislative history on recent action transcripts from legislative transcripts from this past Session.
- Closing: CT says we are ideal.
- You have to have a goal argument. To be "rational" you have
to have a goal. "Focus" on result argument is not rational.
- Individual explanation of individual harm in order to be
constitutional. "Colorable claim" - Constitutional Claim
exists. "Associational Standing" - not applicable here.
- Dues. To impose a dues requirement on poverty areas not
fair. CCJEF argument that individuals who do not pay membership
dues - parents are not members but do have rights. Parents can't
vote on selection of officers. 1087. Steering Committee.
- WHO IS A MEMBER? THE BYLAWS!!! "Parent
members...shall not have the right to vote" - OOPS!!! Article 2
and 4 what the Plaintiff concentrates.
- Canton was the focus in Horton v. Meskill; why Justice
Palmer agrees with plurality or not not the case not of concern to
- "Accountability" of C.O.S.T. studies - "junk science."
- Working conditions are as important as salary.
- Liar, liar pants on fire - this is what I sense is the plaintiff's comment in rebut.
- "Intervention" testimony. "Liar, liar pants on fire II"
remember that this trial makes it really easy for the judge to follow
- GUESS WHAT? It is harder to find math teachers than non-scientific topics.
- FINANCING SCHOOLS: Municipal finance witnesses were not cross-examined by State.
- Dilution of graduation standards done by former Superintendent.
- Pre-school: Making pre-school available to poverty kids - funding missing.
- VIOLATION OF STATE CONSTITUTION.
CLOSING ARGUMENTS OVER.
AFTER THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION...
About Town predicts (1-29-16) that CT will
change to large regional districts along COG boundaries, including
cities and suburbs together, thus solving any statistical embarrassment
of Two Connecticuts. For an example...
Education commissioner grilled on funding
By Linda Conner Lambeck
Updated 8:55 pm, Friday, April 15, 2016
"...A key witness for the state as it defends against charges it is
underfunding its public school system, Wentzell maintains that all
school districts in the state are resourced well enough to move kids
Story same as in other Hearst papers: http://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/Education-commissioner-grilled-on-funding-7252093.php
March 30, 2016...in Hartford Superior Court, into the third month, we get the idea that...we were right in the first place!
Differentiation is good for teachers too. "Teaching to their
strengths" makes clear that public school education is not for the
gifted and talented - that is only this website's opinion!
EAST HADDEM M.S.
"Mock Trial" held up an example of a great way for understanding both
sides of an argument. SCHOOL ENRICHMENT. And at 11:30a.m.
stood in recess for 15 minute break - left the mic open!!!
THEY NEEDED MORE EXPERIENCES dealing with how they looked. 2nd
year they all had matching blazers. Teach how to be gracious in
victory and defeat.
"Learning by design" for planning backwards...https://www.authenticeducation.org/ubd/ubd.lasso
TWO RIVERS MAGNET SCHOOL - 5 diverse communities (2002)
Used understanding by design at C.R.E.C. to create
diversities. Curriculum from 50 sending schools very
different. Drew great teachers. Required new skills for all
teachers. Culturally responsive instruction. Visited sending
school districts and schools. "Book studies" by teachers to learn
about poverty and non-English speaking sources.
She taught sixth-grade social studies. Visiting homes.
Needed to learn new techniques. Childcare and social services can
make a difference. Remember this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Breakfast_Club
We are taking a break for lunch...12:18pm. And upon returning, we
find that there is no end to testimony on modern sixth grade pedagogy...
A QUOTE FROM "ALLIANCE" DISTRICT LEADER WHO DID NOT BECOME EDUCATION COMMISSIONER AFTER DEPARTURE OF ONE TERM LEADER IN 2014:
"It’s not that we don’t know what works. We do know what works. We do
this in small, isolated spots in our state, small isolated spots in our
districts. But we never bring it to scale...”
COURT IN SESSION: Tues. - Fri. 10am to 3:45pm. 1-12-16 opening arguments, Friday the 15th...center above, CT MIRROR backgrounder...the geography of the new Regional School District 2016?
January 12, 2016
January 13, 2016 - not live online that we could find...we would have
missed almost all of it, since we had a meeting we had to attend.
January 14, 2016...read here about salient points made: http://ctmirror.org/2016/01/19/an-introduction-to-the-states-landmark-school-funding-trial/
WEEK TWO: Awarding himself props...http://ctmirror.org/2016/01/19/malloy-celebrates-a-schools-turnaround-and-his-record/
CT MIRROR series link: http://ctmirror.org/tag/ccjef-vs-rell/
NOW INTO JUNE...
WILL TRIAL BE ONLINE? YOU BET - HERE: http://ct-n.com/CTNplayer.asp?livestream=4.
Plaintiff Moody, atty, opening achievement
gap/free and/or reduced priced lunch gap, based upon: 1965 -
Constitution; 2005 - CCJEF, they concentrate on:
Groton, East Hartford, Danbury, Windham,
Hartford, New Britain, New London (???).
Numbers from SDE data. And defense's own data.
Outcomes indicate unprepared for college - since extra prep needed to be
capable to going to college. Supreme Court refused to dismiss the
case. Substandard in every aspect of these cities' schools and NO
pre-K. How does this relate to State Constitution?
Local towns must fund schools; property taxes. ECS
formula. base amount, needs. ECS is funded way under its own
standards. Formula in question. Resources not
adequate. "Reforms" increased to alliance districts,
commissioner's networks. FUNDING is a critical component.
Evidence will be made clear that 6 districts aren't getting enough
Defense Rubin atty, CT is providing far more than adequate:
- excellent system - N.A.P.E. 4th grade reading, 8th.
CT spends more per pupil - etc. CT ranks in the top with NY &
- teachers salaries; professional resources and
accountability provided. Alliance District (30 districts) and
- priority school districts (16) $550 million additional
totaL. ECS. All school districts spend the same - rich pay
their way and poor get more $$.
- "money" is the solution requested - the first things -
poverty, hunger and inadequate housing - the plurality in CCJEF 2005 -
"education clause not a panecea"
- CCJEF doesn't have standing - no meaningful vote by students, standing??? Not a class action. TRIAL BY ANECDOTE.
- Justice Palmer quoted. Local control supported and "regional" education, too. Local responsibility.
JUDGE STATES FACTS, WILL WRITE A REQUEST: Flesh out the decision 4-3 CCJEF. Constitutional issues.
First: Towns "creatures of the state" CT says. Horton v Meskill. ECS arbitrary.
Second: Plaintiffs: Politicial questions - role of
courts. Unlike race, this is not an equality case for action
$$. Is it right to look at constitution in a vacuum?
Spending on one thing v other issues? Constitutional claims by
all??? Explain how courts can balance things like these???
Briefs requested from both sides in 30 days: Justicial
responsibility: Is the court able to mandate spending in one area (schools, mental health, others)
over another; rich v poor towns. ECS formula???
BREAK for 15 minutes and trial then began...
First Witness: Sharon Locke, not pictured above, Superintendent in Naugatuck
("borough"), former Ass't Superintendent in New Britain.
- Farmington (full paying lunch 90%), West Hartford (similar, 80%) and Old
- Data analysis skills SDS analysis tool
- Strategic Planner. Action Plan, accountability
tools. Monitored progress. Grant writer. NWEA assessments, MAP
assessment tool. Keeps assessing each kids strengths as each
question comes up - COMMON CORE (drum
roll) - OBJECTION TO OVERALL TESTIMONY ("Is not an expert"). Denied.
- Zero based budgeting. Reorganized
New Britain back to neighborhood school districts. Magnet schools
were taking high performing students away.
- TRANSPORTATION COSTS
in magnet system.
- NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS now.
reasonable for New Britain and not a Utopian plan...someone's been
sleeping in my bed and eating my free lunch...COURT IS IN RECESS...for free lunch?
Cross examining her? Not yet. Lots of lawyers forming
questions from pie charts. Judge takes it upon himself to ask his
own questions. Finishes before 4pm as it begins snowing...
"WHEN DID YOU STOP FLOGGING YOUR DATA?"
Graphic "C.C.J.E.F. TRIAL CONTINUES: FOR THE DEFENSE"
SECOND DAY...we can't find it online...but here is a link to What Wait! column:
Trial on Landmark Education Funding Lawsuit Begins
by Christine Stuart | Jan 12, 2016 5:30am
A trial that seeks to answer whether Connecticut provides a suitable and
adequate education to all of its public school students begins today in
Hartford Superior Court...http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/trial_on_landmark_education_funding_lawsuit_begins/
C.C.J.E.F. LAWSUIT BACKGROUNDER, CT MIRROR
JMO - THIS IS THE TRIAL TO FIND A REMEDY
BECAUSE THE 4-3 DECISION INCLUDED ONE THE THE YES VOTES NOT AGREEING ON
DEFINITION OF "ADEQUATE" ...
C.C.J.E.F. LAWSUIT TO MAKE HISTORY AS FIRST PAPERLESS TRIAL JAN. 12, 2016
Staffing problems hamper failing schools, educators testify
By: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas | January 29, 2016
We watched School Funding Paperless Pre-Trial Hearing: http://www.ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=12348
Dates to exchange data: Jan 11 to Court, Jan 7 to exchange discs Thursday. Courtroom 312 for the trial.
Questions broached on having instant transcript for both parties and the court.
Redacted data? Privacy laws? Testimony about protected info
in the record - names OK (but SS#, etc. to steal identity).
THANK YOU, CT-N!!!
So will the State of CT's argument hold water? If not, then
what? This is state-side and not focused on the Hartford area, as
Also called to testify was Acting Superintendent of the Bridgeport school district: http://ctmirror.org/2016/06/02/bridgeport-schools-leader-says-she-asked-the-state-for-help/#
Background on Bridgeport takeover by the State previously...
Bridgeport Superintendent Tapped By Illinois Governor As Running Mate
'Extraordinary Opportunity,' Says Bridgeport's Controversial Schools Superintendent
The Hartford Courant
By KATHLEEN MEGAN
8:15 PM EST, November 8, 2013
Bridgeport's embattled superintendent of schools, Paul
Vallas, has been tapped by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to run for lieutenant
"I have been presented with an unexpected and
extraordinary opportunity," Vallas said in a statement. "I am extremely
honored and have accepted, recognizing that this opportunity requires
that I will need to resign my position" as superintendent.
Vallas said that the decision was not easy, but added: "I
am completely aware that the new [school] board, elected just this week
by Bridgeport voters … has a desire to work with a superintendent of its
Vallas, who was the former public schools chief in
Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans, as well as a one-time
gubernatorial candidate in Illinois, arrived in Bridgeport almost two
years ago. A school board appointed by the state hired him to turn
around the failing district...
School funding trial will look at preschool too
By: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas | October 15, 2015
Should the state be responsible for preparing children for kindergarten so they show up ready to learn?
That question will be argued as part of a trial in state court in
January. Among other things, the trial will explore the impact preschool
education has on school readiness and whether the state is offering
preschool to enough children....
Story in full: http://ctmirror.org/2015/10/15/school-funding-trial-will-look-at-preschool-too/
Perhaps contributing to her troubles was the report in Nov. 2014 that she told people earlier in the course of the litigation to delete her e-mails...
School Funding Advocate Dianne Kaplan deVries Dies of Cancer
by Christine Stuart | Oct 12, 2015 10:35pm
deVries, the woman who led a coalition to change how Connecticut’s
education system is funded, died Sunday after a battle with
cancer. Kaplan deVries founded the Connecticut Coalition for
Justice in Education Funding 11 years ago and won a historic pre-trial
Supreme Court decision in 2010. She died before the trial was scheduled
to begin...story in full at CTNEWSJUNKIE.
School-funding trial delayed, again
By: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, CT MIRROR
September 17, 2015
A Superior Court judge on Wednesday grudgingly
agreed to delay the the start of a trial to determine whether the state
is spending enough to ensure every student a quality education.
"Let me express, of course, my disappointment that after a decade of
this litigation that the parties with a longstanding trial date in front
of them are not ready yet," Judge Thomas Moukawsher told attorneys
involved in the case last week when they informed him they would be
asking to delay the trail. "Whatever happens from here, you should
consider yourselves on a very short leash…This case demands a
resolution. It's a decade old. And there has been plenty of time to try
The trial had been scheduled to begin in three weeks. It will instead
commence Jan. 11 — 10 years after a coalition of parents, teachers and
school boards filed suit against the state and six years after the
Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the state is responsible for
providing a certain level of education...story in full: http://ctmirror.org/2015/09/17/school-funding-trial-delayed-again/
REMEDY PHASE - COMPETING STATE INTERESTS - ALWAYS A NEW PIECE OF NEWS...
Here we go again...first came Horton v. Meskill, then there is Sheff v. O'Neill and now...CCJEF???
CCJEF fits where? To be decided as relates to issues in Horton v. Meskill
- schools were paid for by the property tax only? Or Sheff v.
O'Neill - unequal because of race? Or is this one to be validity of home rule?
"Equal protection" argument median and average to be used?
"Constitutional" requirement's standards. "Justice Palmer's position"
is what the State argues for - I guess this is from a recent case...we'll check this out.
Recent developments: October date to be pushed off? Yup. Another one
requested but not yet in writing, for a delay in opening of trial this
time, until January 2016...and it happened.
"Global education reform - as the world spins!"
Schools To Be Rated On More Than Just Tests
Aug 23, 2015
With the state on the verge of releasing the scores of its new
standardized tests, it would be easy for test-weary parents to miss what
many consider good back-to-school news.
While the first Smarter Balanced test scores will be accorded plenty of
importance — and education officials keep warning that the scores will
be low because the test is new and more rigorous — the state is also
embarking on a new rating system for schools that de-emphasizes
Rep. Andy Fleischmann, D-West Hartford and co-chairman of the education
committee, said, "The latest studies show that if you're not looking at
chronic absenteeism, access to the arts, the latest graduation rates,
then you probably are not really getting a good clear picture of how a
school or a district is actually performing.
"Under this new approach, we're still keeping our eyes on each child's
academic growth while also acknowledging a host of other important
The move has been well-received by superintendents, who say the new
system will provide a fairer, more useful profile of schools and
"I really appreciate a more holistic accountability system," said
Hartford Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez. "It helps us to
understand what a good education looks like, that it's more than test
"It gives you more information and it honors great progress. It recognizes that people are starting at different points..."
Teacher union representatives had mixed reviews of the new system.
Mark Waxenberg, executive director of the Connecticut Education
Association, which has fought hard to get rid of the Smarter Balanced
Assessment Consortium test, said the state is "recognizing that testing
is not the only piece of the puzzle that needs to be looked at when it
comes to the success of a child or a school or a district. The inclusion
of all these other factors is a step in the right direction."
But Waxenberg said he still sees the inclusion of the Smarter Balanced
test scores as a problem. Union leaders have said the test produces too
much stress for children, asks questions that are not age-appropriate,
and favors wealthier students who have grown up with computers.
"If the test scores are in any way, shape or form part of the rating,
that's a part that is flawed," Waxenberg said. "It's like a cake with a
Story in full: http://www.courant.com/education/hc-schools-opening-testing-0822-20150823-story.html
So is all of this related?
Undeleted Emails Rock Education Lawsuit
Nov. 27, 2014
What a highfalutin name the connivers at the
Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding bestowed on
themselves in their long quest to upend democracy and choices across the
state. The mask slipped in a court filing this month and what it
revealed is ugly.
The coalition is a collection of municipal officials, education groups,
and parents suing the state with a claim that Connecticut's method of
funding public schools violates its constitution. The action, which has
been pending in state court for a decade, was scheduled to begin a trial
of its claims in January.
A matter as significant and complicated as an action to take the state's
public education formula away from the authority of elected officials
involves a lot of testimony and documents. Enter the coalition's Lady
Macbeth, Dianne deVries. She's the executive director of the
organization and apparently a fierce advocate of deleting emails that
the attorney general's office, which is defending the case, has a right
to review and use in the case...story in full: http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-rennie-connecticut-education-coalition-deleted-email-1130-20141126-column.html
And more happened since...see above!
Education Adequacy Case Headed Back To Court
by Christine Stuart | Sep 13, 2013 12:25pm
The Attorney General’s office will try Monday to get a trial
court judge to waive further action on a Supreme Court decision that
found that all children are entitled to a quality, adequate education
and the state should pay for it.
The Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding sued the
state in 2005, alleging that under the state Constitution students are
entitled to a public education that works, and one that assures them, at
minimum, an adequate education. The Connecticut Supreme Court agreed in
a 4-3 decision in 2010 and sent the case back to the trial court.
Motions have been filed back and forth for the past three years in
anticipation of a 2014 trial.
The Attorney General’s office, which is representing the state, argues
that the complaint must be based on “the educational model existing at
the time of the trial,” and the 2012 education reforms and 2013 changes
to the Education Cost Sharing formula approved by the legislature
satisfy the Supreme Court’s decision in the case.
But the coalition of school districts and the head of the state’s largest municipal lobby disagree.
“The 2012 and 2013 legislative actions lack sufficient basis in sound
education research, and the ECS formula changes were fiscally driven
rather than tied to the actual cost of providing a suitable education
for all children,” Dianne Kaplan deVries, executive director of the
Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, said...story in full: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/education_adequacy_case_headed_back_to_court/
W E S T O N P U B L I C S C H O O L S - http://www.thewestonforum.com/53053/photos-first-day-of-school-in-weston/?utm_source=Weston+Forum&utm_campaign=f0e2a275d7-FO_ONLINE_TODAY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_848b12f59d-f0e2a275d7-193260349
Overflow in 2010. Where will we be in 2015 and later? Bus Schedules here: http://www.westonps.org/page.cfm?p=3702
T H E P L A Y I N G F I E L D S O F W E S TO N ?
Benchwarmers yesterday, leaders today?
Weston the best high school in CT - goes with being the best town, IMHO
15 CT High Schools Among Nation’s Best for College Readiness
By CTByTheNumbers.info On 08/20/2015
A total of 15 Connecticut public high schools made the list of the top
500 high schools in the nation, compiled by Newsweek magazine. The
top-ranked Connecticut school, Weston High School, ranked #47 in the
U.S. and was the only school in the state to crack the top 50...http://ctbythenumbers.info/2015/08/20/15-ct-high-schools-among-nations-best-for-college-readiness/
Quorum present: President Grey speaks well of Northwestern Community College retiring Prez. (she is retiring as is he).
We watched the beginning and the end of this meeting - just started
watching as students, who had waited through the entire meeting, got to
make "public comment" at the end. Two female engineering students
spoke in favor of keeping their unique environmental engineering
program intact...and then we began watching the beginning, thru the
ceremonial parts including the announcement of a quorum (but how many
were on speaker phone and could they really hear what was said?
A quorum present?
Board of Regents names Ojakian as interim CSCU president
By: Mark Pazniokas | August 21, 2015
The Board of Regents for Higher Education voted unanimously Friday to
name Mark Ojakian, the governor’s chief of staff, as interim president
of Connecticut’s largest system of public colleges and universities...
...Even if he only serves the two years, Ojakian could become the
longest serving leader of the young college system: Since the state's
dozen community colleges, four regional state universities and an online
college merged into the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities
system three years ago, it has had two presidents and two interim
...The merger was a Malloy initiative.
Ojakian generally was praised Friday, but students and a faculty member
said the general hope was that the board ultimately would name a
president with significant experience in higher education.
"I hear that he's a competent administrator, and that's a hopeful sign,"
said Bob Brown, a Tunxis Community College history professor and
co-chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee. "I don't know how to assess
his connection to the governor, whether that influences the system. I'd
like not to speculate about that."
"We need a leader that has managerial and academic experience to keep
the CSCU system alive and well," said Wyatt Bosworth, Central
Connecticut State University's representative to the student advisory
John I. Board, a Western Connecticut State University student and former
advisory committee member, said the system is at a crossroads, with
students questioning the value of the merger in the face of tuition
No one has seen the promised efficiencies, he said.
"Everyone is losing patience," he said. "I think this is the last opportunity."
Rep. Roberta Willis, D-Salisbury, the co-chair of the legislative
committee that oversees higher education, said she was keeping an open
mind about the possibility of a leader without traditional higher ed
"I think stability and consistency is certainly a strength at this
point," said Willis, who noted other college systems nationally have
chosen leaders from government. "I think at this point someone with
administrative experience is certainly a strong point in someone's
favor. The ability to listen, communicate and build trust right now are
really the critical skill sets someone needs at this time."
INCOMING INTERIM PRESIDENT - WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PREVIOUS PRESIDENTS?
Perfectly handled Friday afternoon (actually, began @10am - morning)
announcement. Please note that new I.I.P. made sure to come to the
table only after the gavel had declared the meeting over. Was
this a mistake? Or had he actually been in the Executive Session
previously (I would think he might have been - or perhaps not).
Anyway, good luck to #3 in 4 years!
Was there a quorum to vote after the Executive Session or did a bear eat it?
FRIDAY AUG 21, 2015 LIVE..."INSTANT" and we ask if the Governor has taken full enough control yet?
Oops moment...again? In executive session. We hope
newspapers are on this...and the CT MIRROR did its job after the fact.
After executive session...
Board of Regents names Ojakian as interim CSCU president
Mark Pazniokas | August 21, 2015
The Board of Regents for Higher Education voted unanimously Friday to
name Mark Ojakian, the governor’s chief of staff, as interim president
of Connecticut’s largest system of public colleges and universities.
Ojakian will start Sept. 28 and can serve for up to two years on an
interim basis under the terms of the board's action, but his tenure may
well be an audition for a permanent appointment...CT Mirror has more: http://ctmirror.org/2015/08/21/board-of-regents-names-ojakian-as-interim-president/
S B A C
How about Weston?
Greenwich students’ scores on the new state standardized
tests are set to be mailed out to parents within the next week — but
some parents are concerned that they will not get as much information as
they want about their children’s performance...http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Greenwich-parents-want-more-detailed-results-on-6522918.php
Whither the elusive Connecticut SBAC results?
Autg 24, 2015
Those oh-so-elusive SBAC results: after millions of
dollars squandered on broadband improvements, tedious test prep, and
time diverted from actual learning, our students, parents, and teachers
have been prevented from getting the test results because no one in
educational leadership today has figured out how to "spin" the results
without facing the consequences of this poorly designed, invalid,
questionably-standardized assessment that was perpetrated on our public
Despite the reluctance of school administrators to speak up and push
back against this ludicrous accountability exercise that has been
promoted by politicians and corporate education reformers who have many
self-interested reasons for maintaining this misguided testing endeavor,
it is well-known that the "standardized" testing mandate only serves to
continue the false narrative of failing American public education in
order to drive the profit-making agenda of those who seek to privatize
education and undermine the public trust.
For an insightful look at the test industry, Todd Farley's
under-publicized 2009 chronicle, Making The Grades, recounting his many
years working in the test industry would make anyone question why we
place any stock whatsoever in our children's "standardized" test
results. Any test that is designed to fail the majority of test
takers has no purpose in the education of children.
Rhetorical flourishes citing "rigor" and "higher critical thinking" are
nothing but empty words, as repeatedly the test questions have been
criticized by both parents and educators and the test answers have been
notoriously ambiguous and often wrong. There is no amount of test
industry algorithms that can justify this educational
malpractice...OPINION PIECE in full: http://ctviewpoints.org/2015/08/24/whither-the-elusive-connecticut-sbac-results/
CONNECTICUT BOARD OF EDUCATION
Meetings we watched online
January meeting begins
M A N D A T E S
: So what else is new? "Expulsion" standards reflect
"alternative education." Regional Service Centers can do
this...(first 60 minutes of a 2 hour plus; we watch the last part
live). Got some of the middle, too)
Public comment: "Overreaching" by
Legislature in Special Ed staff. Dyslexia is now called "decoding
problems." I noticed a lot of familiar faces.
In the middle part of the meeting...
AT OUR THIRD VIEWING...major discussion about turnaround schools.
S.B.E. member (r) identifies himself as one of those who was upset at December 2017 meeting reference below.
First viewing (live) of State Board of Education meeting (this is the link to replay on CT-N) 2018
We just caught the end but note that
references to the December meeting which we did not watch, was apparently
rancorous. Was it held before or after the auditors' questions to
the education department (below)?
THANKS TO CT-N WE WERE RIGHT ON TOP OF THIS!!!
Over the cold weekend, The Hour reported on it the very same meeting:
Unfunded education mandates FY'19 - one of the scourges of running local government - some of the variety:
CT Education funds: The answer to who's minding the store.
Thanks to CT-N, we watched this
"Working Group" and guess what - our column, written the day before,
called out the issues related to grants...
COMING SOON: The topic of auditing public-private partnerships.
This was eye-opening, but in all honesty, not surprising. We tuned in for S.D.E., but intend to watch first part soon
Auditor retires (c)
CT STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
October 4, 2017
Loves the system of testing with Common Core
More happy talk...
HIDDEN COSTS: School
funding with no funding. Executive order. No
Implementer. Legally, "Alliance Districts" ceased to exist.
Court case (C.C.J.E.F.). Full grant amounts will be lower.
Alliance Districts "held harmless"
85 communities go zero.
"Rational" funding system question - large districts to receive more
$$. R.E.S.C. can charge tuition. Accountant retiring
WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND IN CT
Not all members of the State
Board of Education pictured above. Then they went to lunch...and
now resume with EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT.
Describes ESSA approach and interaction NCLB into ESSA. English
learners flexibility. Their presentation implies the present
federal policy is an improvement.
No reports - "Back to School 2017-2018" coming (Meriden hosting).
BACK TO SCHOOL
State Board of Education "back to school" morning - August 19, 2015
- it's a secret, except they sent out the above press release to "What
We note that F.O.I. complaint is probably in motion right now...the
biggest story in education 2015 and it is EMBARGOED? Really.
Who's right to know the results?
- Patrice McCarthy in audience - a lawyer, was pointed out.
- CABE speaks next. CAP. Unions. Etc.
- Demographics changing - UCONN - 10 yrs - enrollments down up to 30% - but not in cities.
- Social Security is 3-1 - similar to education. "Stakeholders" definition should be changed to "caretakers"
- Demographics should be similar to community on Boards.
- Red Sox and Yankees analogy???
- Sphere of influence and impact of
Superintendents (from Milford Public Schools - winner of "Superintendent
of the Year") - creativity not stifle creativity.
Community. Children's self-worth. Dignity. Do children
have hope for the future. Invested in children's education, that
everyone including the community will be in a better place.
- Superintendents should take time to review
"Smarter Balance" - use different methods. The beginning of a new
era. "Culture of Inquiry;" implementation at all levels.
- Leadership matters. Comprehensive plan coming...5 yr version...
Labor board blocks effort to unionize college athletes
By MICHAEL TARM, Associated Press
Updated 1:21 am, Tuesday, August 18, 2015
CHICAGO (AP) — The National Labor Relations Board on Monday blocked a
historic bid by Northwestern University football players to form the
nation's first college athletes' union, dealing a blow to a labor
movement that could have transformed amateur sports...story in
So if the States want to be more pro-union than the Feds, that kind of "bottom up" approach is OK...
Labor Board Decision Prompts Call For Legislation
by Christine Stuart | Aug 18, 2015 5:30am
At least one lawmaker said he plans to raise legislation next year that would allow student-athletes to form a union.
The announcement comes that same day that the National Labor Relations
Board declined to answer the question about whether student-athletes on
scholarship are employees. In a unanimous decision, the NRLB said having
union and non-union teams could lead to different standards at
different schools and create competitive differences within an athletic
It “would not promote stability in labor relations,” the five-member board concluded.
The ruling comes after a regional director in Chicago found that
scholarship football players at Northwestern University are employees
and are entitled to organize. Monday’s ruling puts that move to unionize
“The NLRB’s decision punts the question of allowing athletes to form
unions to the states,” Rep. Matthew Lesser, D-Middletown, said. “This
year, I introduced legislation in Connecticut to allow some college
athletes to form unions and I plan on reintroducing that bill next
He said the decision only increases the pressure on states to act and decide “whether or not we value athletes’ rights.”
He added: “I can guarantee that this issue isn’t going away...”
Story in full: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/labor_board_decision_prompts_call_for_legislation/
Monday, July 20, 2015 "Veto Session"
No override Governor's veto of bill that passed unanimously in the
Senate and almost so in the House qualifications for Commissioner of
Education. Debate in House allowed; Senate vote 18-12 to
adjourn with no discussion.
In the House debate, Rep. Lavielle (above) spoke at some length making
all the points necessary to explain why this bill that passed: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2015/ACT/PA/2015PA-00176-R00HB-06977-PA.htm
deserved to pass. Excellent arguments made by Co-Chair. of
Education Committee pointing out that the staff of
the Governor's office has missed giving input in a timely fashion.
We note that the Governor began his career in Stamford politics on that
city's Board of Education. Disrespected the Legislature by not
in this discussion until the veto came down was sloppy management.
Majority Party members stayed
home in sufficient numbers so that it would be a meaningless effort to
try to override in the
Lower chamber (whose rules require 2/3 of the 151 members vote to
override; in the Senate, no debate on bill #6977. in our
opinion, it was a procedural dance - lots of Majority Senators showed
up, enough make a majority to vote to adjourn.
Close but no
RELIEF FOR SCHOOLS UNITES BOTH ENDS OF THE EDUCATION REFORM ARGUMENT
A hot time in the old town tonight - with Bedford Middle School student
production set behind panel...and the passionate words of an idealistic
teacher firing up many.
VIDEO DELIVERED TO LEGISLATURE
WAS A TWO AND ONE HALF HOUR PUBLIC HEARING CHOCK FULL OF EXCELLENT
IDEAS FROM TEACHERS, PARENTS, ADMINISTRATORS RANGING FROM GREENWICH TO
STRATFORD AND AS FAR NORTH AS NEWTOWN...
WILL THIS PRODUCE SOME MANDATE
"About Town" covered this event, and recorded it for Representative
Lavielle. This was an informal public hearing by a Taskforce
approved by the 2013 legislature and directed to report to the 2014
legislature - but not fully staffed by the Governor, who has yet to
name a Chair. and thus renders the entity unable to take action...but two intrepid members appointed
already, Weston's Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Colleen Palmer and
State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) with cooperation of area
superintendents and especially Westport's Superintendent, who offered
the auditorium for the meeting. Why do we care about mandates for
education? Well, for one, we've been following this matter
since...Jodi Rell was Lt. Governor. That's a long time ago by now.
Fast forward to November 21, 2013, and here we are again! BUT this time the
Secretary of the State may be interested, too!!!
SKYPED IN FROM ELSEWHERE...
SCHOOL DISTRICT REORGANIZATION M.O.R.E. COMMISSION SUB-COMMITTEE for 2015...CALLED A "WORKING GROUP"
"Working Group" September 22, 2015
NOT LIVE BUT VERY INTERESTING
In watching the sub-committee with guest speakers I was not
inspired to think that Maine is the place to be looking for ideas.
How did it go? Skype in and out. Mayors on this
"reorganization" task force wanted to know "What there
resistance?" YES...and then there
was a malfunction of technology...so they went to telephone tie in and
that worked - similar to CT Tax Panel working groups! Sometimes
more familiar technology with distracting visuals is better - and
definitely puts a damper on POWER POINT.
NEW Special Education subcommittee of
FOR THE RECORD: FIRST
MEETING THE DAY AFTER TASK FORCE FINALLY WAS ORGANIZED:
Mandates Sub-Committee Organizational
Friday, October 18, 2013
1:00 PM IN LOB ROOM 1D
The meeting was called to order by Chairman, Representative Sayers at
The following sub-committee members were present: Rep. Peggy Sayers
(Chair), Rep. Bill Aman, Rep. David Arconti, Rep. Christopher Davis
(Republican Lead), Rep. Frank Nicastro, Rep. Melissa Ziobron, Betsy
Gara, Kimberly Glassman, Bob Labanara, Fillmore McPherson, Leo Paul,
David Roche, Art Ward, Kurt Miller, Vincent Loffredo, Sheila McKay
Chairman Rep. Sayers welcomed everyone and made opening remarks
Sub-Committee members introduced themselves
Rep. Larson (MORE Commission Chair) offered introductory remarks,
thanked the Chair for her leadership, and introduced a discussion on
special education mandates
Chairman Rep. Sayers stated her interest in examining the provision of
special education services to children and adults, the problem of
people “aging out” of the special education system, and the cost of
special education services to municipalities. She looks forward
to hearing from municipalities on these issues.
Betsy Gara discussed how towns must pay for special education services
up to 450% of the average cost of other students, at which point state
funding kicks in
Rep. Aman questioned whether too many students may be identified as
needing special education services
Sheila McKay stated that she will provide some basic information to the
sub-committee on the special education system, the legal definition of
“special education,” and the requirements for students to be identified
as requiring special education services
Jesse Hubbard discussed the formation of a special education working
group within the MORE commission and informed sub-committee members how
they could join
Chairman Rep. Sayers stated her goal to continue discussion and work on
issues that were not resolved last year, such as prevailing wage and
binding arbitration. She suggested that working groups be formed
to study each of these issues more closely
Rep. Ziobron requested that all relevant information collected by last
year’s sub-committee be re-posted or re-sent to committee members
Rep. Larson (MORE Commission Chair) stated that flood hazard insurance
is expensive in East Hartford, might be elsewhere in the state, and is
worth examining by the sub-committee. He said that constituents
paid roughly $14 million over the past ten years for this coverage, but
insurance companies have paid out only a fraction of that amount...
Please search the Commission's archives for the remainder of these minutes.
Board of Education Sub-Committee
Monday, November 18, 2013
1:00 PM in Room 1A of the Legislative Office Building
Rep. Ryan, Rep. Alexander, Rep. Carpino, Rep. Case, Rep. Cook, Rep.
Davis, Rep. Demicco, Rep. Johnson, Leo Canty, Jim Vigue, Brian
Anderson, Chris Wilson, George Rafael, Eric George, Matt Knickerbocker,
Gayle Weinstein, Paul Formica, Conor Casey, Patrice McCarthy, Craig
Edmondson, Stephen McKeever, Jennifer Berigan, Sarah Hemmingway.
Gary Buzzell, Rich Carmelich, Emma Cimino, Paula Clarke, Carol
Clifford, Garrett Eucalitto, Andrew Feinstein, Gerri Flemming, Tom
Frattaroli, Christina Ghio, Mark LaPlcaca, Jennifer Laviano, David
Lenihan, Cindy Mangini, Shelia McKay, Kevin Reynolds, Lon Seidman,
Brenda Sisco, Bonnie Stewart, Don Stein, Joyce Stille, Kashina
Walsh-Weaver, Patricia Walters, Rep. D’Agostino, Rep. Fleischman, Rep.
Lopes, Rep. McGee, Rep. Morris, Rep. Srinivasan.
The meeting was called to order by Board of Education Sub-Committee
Chair Rep. Kevin Ryan at 1:15 p.m. Representative Ryan welcomed
members of the BOE sub-committee and asked that members introduced
Representative Ryan then discussed future meetings and possible agendas:
Rep. Ryan – We’ll take a look at times to meet depending on everyone’
availability. In terms of possible topics, is there anything
regarding regionalization that we should consider? I know that
there is discussion of a Special Education sub-committee forming.
Matt Knickerbocker – I think we
should look at mandates, in terms of teacher evaluations and new
requirements and the possibility of eliminating them.
Rep. Ryan – This was a recent topic of discussion by CABE, I think they
could make a similar presentation here.
Gayle Weinstein – I think we
should look at unfunded mandates but understand there is a
sub-committee for that as well. Is there a way to look at their
minutes to make sure we’re not duplicating efforts?
Rep. Ryan – MORE as a whole is looking at regionalization.
Unfunded mandates are part of the context.
Rep. Johnson – Attended the Sheff Movement Forum that demonstrated a
greater segregation of schools, particularly in Eastern
Connecticut. The Forum discussed the historical context, current
litigation, and compliance with current mandates. Rep. Johnson
suggested that they might be appropriate to have present before the
Representative Ryan closed the meeting by inviting people to contact
him, Jesse Hubbard, or the sub-committee administrators with any
questions or ideas...
Please search the Commission's archives for the remainder of these minutes.
M.O.R.E., Board of Education Board of Education Budget Sub-Committee
ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING MINUTES
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
2:00 PM in Room 1C of the Legislative Office Building
Conor Casey, Craig Edmondson, Paul Formica, Tom Frattaroli, Jennifer
Herz, Mark LaPlaca, Sheila McKay, George Rafael, Don Stein, Gayle
Weinstein, Rep. Alexander, Rep. Cook, Rep. P. Davis, Rep. Fleischmann,
Rep. Johnson, Rep. Demicco, Rep. Ryan.
Brian Anderson, Jennifer Berigan, Gary Buzzell, Emma Cimino, Cindy
Mangini, Paula Clarke, Carol Clifford, Rich Carmelich, Garrett
Eucalitto, Eric George, Sarah Hemingway, Matt Kickerbocker, David
Lenihan, Vin Loffredo, Patrice McCarthy, Kevin Reynolds, Brenda Sisco,
Bonnie Stewart, Joyce Stille, Lon Seidman, Jim Vigue, Kashina
Walsh-Weaver, Patricia Walters, Chris Wilson, Rep. Carpino, Rep.
D’Agostino, Rep. Lopes, Rep. Maroney, Rep. McGee, Rep. Morris, Rep.
The meeting was called to order by Board of Education Sub-Committee
Chair Kevin Ryan at 2:15 p.m. Representative Ryan welcomed back the
members of the BOE sub-committee and asked that the members reintroduce
One recommendation, or topic of further discussion and exploration,
that was brought to Rep. Ryan’s attention by one of the legislators
that was not able to attend the meeting. Rep. James Maroney suggested
we look at ways to expand the use of the Connecticut Educational
Network in order to provide more resources to local districts. Rep.
Maroney cited Utah as having a model that was very good.
Rep. Ryan posed the question to the sub-committee if there were any
ideas that people had at the moment, the following were prosed ideas:
• Gayle Weinstein- a big cost being incurred by the
small towns in the burden of proof, in regards to special education for
o Rep. Cook commented that an IEP Task Force was
established in years past which discussed the above topic. At that time
the subject was lacking enough support to go forward out of the task
o Rep. Fleischmann commented as well that there was
just not enough support for changing the burden of proof and that the
focus of this sub-committee should be on items that can have some
traction to succeed.
• Rep. Davis- the potential for the regionalization
of curriculum development.
• Tom Frattaroli- budget process in small towns.
• Don Stein- for those towns that are a part of a
regional school district there is a lack of checks and balances on
local’s boards, the hope would be to establish a board of finance for
the regional school district.
• Ms. Weinstein- a struggle facing small school
districts is paying personnel to do the mandatory reporting for all the
unfunded mandates. Potential fix would be to look at changing the
• Rep. Johnson- Happy to see the recommendation of
regionalizing schools with regard to special education. For the towns
like hers and others in Easter CT changing schools over to magnet
schools affords them the opportunity to regionalize. The potential for
a pilot program for general population students regarding regionalizing
would be nice to see.
There was discussion regarding the parameters around which the
subcommittee schedules its meetings. There will be an email going out
to the members in order to establish a time for future meetings that
works best for a majority of the members.
Finally Jesse Hubbard head administrator of the M.O.R.E. Commission
stated that it would be great to have the members come to the next
meeting with ideas for presentations...
Please search the Commission's archives for the remainder of these minutes.
U.S. Senate votes to leave education reform to the states
By: Ana Radelat and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas | July 16, 2015
Washington – The U.S. Senate Thursday approved a sweeping overhaul of
the federal role in education that would leave up to Connecticut and
other states whether to continue with education reforms including the
controversial Common Core standards and linking teacher evaluations to
student test scores.
The bipartisan bill was approved on an overwhelming 81-17 vote,
Connecticut's two Democratic senators, Chris Murphy and Richard
Blumenthal, split on the measure. Murphy, who failed in an effort to
amend the bill to make schools more accountable, voted no. His amendment
had been a rallying point for civil rights groups that oppose the
THIS MAY BE A GOOD THING
Since the time of the "Common Core" issue below, there has been a
possible sea change in National Education policy. New
administration directed by Charter School advocate...
Although Common Core was not the
"mandates" we began this subpage in order to discuss, many speakers
Using the procedure to force a public hearing, 2 bills
on the Common Core in CT are awaiting a public hearing date
at Education Committee.
Teacher Union Wants To Revisit Teacher
by Christine Stuart | Mar 7, 2014 5:30am
The state’s largest teachers union announced Thursday that it no longer
supports the teacher evaluation method it participated in creating two
years ago...story in full: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/
Groton to seek $53 million more in state school construction funding to solve racial imbalance
By Deborah Straszheim
Published October 11. 2015 5:24PM
Updated October 11. 2015 7:30PM
Groton — Superintendent of Schools Michael Graner plans to seek special
legislation that would grant Groton 80 percent reimbursement from the
state for its proposed three new schools, reducing the cost to taxpayers
to about $41 million...
The school construction proposal, called the Groton 2020 Plan, would
build one new middle school adjacent to Robert E. Fitch High School, and
two new elementary schools at the sites of Carl C. Cutler and West Side
middle schools. Three of the district's oldest elementary schools would
"We've had years of racial imbalances that we've addressed with
redistricting, and it has failed every time," Graner said...story in
Greenwich 2014: "Neighborhood" schools concept.
Report on racial imbalance according to existing
requirements: Long Greenwich TIME article in full here.
" The issue affects Greenwich because students of color represent about
70 percent of the student bodies at Hamilton Avenue and New Lebanon
schools, exceeding the 25 percentage point differential allowed by the
state between a school's minority student percentage and the
Task Force on
Education Mandate Relief met for the first
time...TODAY, December 4th, its work supposed to have been finished by
Oct. 1 - oops,
wasn't M.O.R.E. Commission doing this, Dem rep ask?
Chairman from Hartford (serves on Education Committee as Vice-Chair.),
Vice-Chair from West Hartford, two other legislators who are educators
plus another who is a member of the Education Committee and a few
absent, plus Superintendent Palmer.
As far as what happened at the organizational meeting - request for
Education Finance staff input, next meeting Dec. 19th at 2pm, Public
Hearing at the Capitol Jan. 7, 2014 at 10am plus to be named PH date
around the state. Materials from Superintendent
distributed. So do we think they will listen to Fairfield
County? Short answer - NO, we are, unfortunately not
optimistic...however, it is our opinion that any good ideasof the Task
Force will be eventually be subsumed into M.O.R.E. Commission
recommendations to Education Committee.
I can't help myself - I always hope
that politics will bring about compromise and positive change.
Failures found with
sign petitions about evaluations, electronic grade system
Published 10:30 pm, Friday, November 29, 2013
STAMFORD -- New curriculum, new tests, new computer systems and new
evaluations were rolled out in Stamford Public Schools this year and
not properly, according to a host of teachers...
Please search the ADVOCATE archives for the remainder of this story.