SNAP ON PIX TO GET PORTAL TO MORE INFO


NEWS

BOARD OF EDUCATION MINUTES

HOT (LEGAL CASES) NEWS

RESEARCH
LINK TO S.D.E.:  http://portal.ct.gov/SDE/Special-Education/Bureau-of-Special-Education
"ECS" - https://portal.ct.gov/SDE/Fiscal-Services/Fiscal-Services/Education-Cost-Sharing-ECS
"Special Ed" grants - https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/Grants-Management/Report1/HiCostSpEd-Guide.pdf?la=en
        
                 
      
                                 
 
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
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.

WESTON EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM ENROLLMENT BACKGROUNDER INFO
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/




BACKGROUND AND MORENO 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





ANSONIA-DERBY SEND OUT RFP
https://www.nhregister.com/local/article/School-regionalization-committee-ready-to-hire-a-13188048.php







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
https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Ansonia-BOE-may-close-schools-early-12968719.php#photo-15671329

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.
Well 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



LEADERSHIP



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
http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/1-16-18Agenda-BudgetPresentation.pdf



"Film Noire"




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. 





Nov. 20, 2017 AGENDA
FIRST RECOGNITION TO STAFF.  THEN CONTESTED ELECTION FOR CHAIR. OF BOARD OF EDUCATION
Teacher 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?

Sec. 506. Subdivision (2) of section 10-262f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(2) "Base 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 district, 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.

Sec. 507. Subdivision (9) of section 10-262f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(9) "Foundation" 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.

Sec. 508. Subdivision (25) of section 10-262f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(25) "Total 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.

Sec. 509. 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.

Sec. 510. 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 income, 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 household income.

(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 cent, 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.

Sec. 511. Section 10-262f of the general statutes is amended by adding subdivisions (46) to (48), inclusive, as follows (Effective from passage):

(NEW) (46) "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.

(NEW) (47) "Grant adjustment" means the absolute value of the difference between a town's base grant amount and its fully funded grant.

(NEW) (48) "Grant adjustment quotient" means a town's grant adjustment divided by the number of resident students of the town for the school year.

Sec. 512. Section 10-262h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

[(a) Obsolete.

(b) Obsolete.

(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)





"Fate of state’s school integration efforts rests with federal judge"...

THE LATEST WRINKLE:  https://ctmirror.org/2018/10/16/fate-states-school-integration-efforts-rests-federal-judge/





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? 
https://ctmirror.org/2017/08/09/judge-alarmed-state-has-no-plan-to-further-desegregate-schools/

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. 



HB7201
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.

Enrollment Suppression
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 chillingly 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. 


C.R.E.C./non-efficiency
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:
"...The 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 boards? 

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/
FYI - 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.




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).





DUMBING DOWN??? 
https://ctmirror.org/2017/05/10/legislature-poised-to-loosen-high-school-graduation-requirements/




NEW C.E.A. CHIEF
https://ctmirror.org/2017/05/08/next-teachers-union-leader-is-former-state-senate-leader/






      

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 disabilities?"

  
WHO WILL BE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION IN THE NEW ADMINISTRATION?  WOULD A CHANGE IN DIRECTION AFFECT C.C.J.E.F. ?
Charter 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.


“Instead 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,” he said.

Logan 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...
http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Bridgeport-schools-a-magnet-for-suburban-money-10594581.php








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.
HOT STUFF
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.

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...

FORMULAE


SCHOOL FINANCE 101 - KATIE ROY
Adequacy:  What should it cost?  States vary.  Go back to the "live" comments.








Denied.
https://ctmirror.org/2018/02/01/denied-supreme-court-will-not-reconsider-school-funding-ruling/

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 down...



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 industrial properties.

“'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)

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 this:  http://www.ct.gov/dcs/lib/dcs/bsf/reports/school_report2013.pdf



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
CT costs more, maximum sqft. ($375persqft recommended);  consistency of what gets delivered.  Set a cap for project budget.  No variables.  Lock 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
CT MIRROR
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:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/10/us/charter-driven-gains-in-new-orleans-schools-face-a-big-test.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront


     
   

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.

M.O.R.E.  COMMISSION 
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?

EXPULSION BILL

BUDGET

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
Revise intervention
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 example. 
UPSHOT:  THE END OF LOCAL SCHOOLS?  WHERE WILL THE MONEY COME FROM?  

F.O.I.C.

Redactions .
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.

OXYMORON "JOKES"

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?
CT MIRROR
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
CTNEWSJUNKIE
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 Organization.)...


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 schools.

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’
CT MIRROR
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:  http://jonathanpelto.com/2015/12/30/connecticut-alert-malloywyman-administration-to-punish-schools-and-taxpayers-for-protecting-parental-rights/

WE READ ABOUT THIS AT WHAT WAIT!

----------------

December 29, 2015 from the Hartford Courant (using the CT MIRROR story
http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-ctm-students-test-1230-20151229-story.html






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, 20
16 - 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...


REBUT

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
Greenwich TIME
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 along..".

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?

WEEK ONE
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/

WEEK THREE:
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.
OPENING ARGUMENTS:


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?  Resources needed. 

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: 
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.

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:  http://jonathanpelto.com/2016/01/13/alert-malloywyman-attack-on-parents-students-teachers-public-schools-and-the-out-out-movement-is-a-national-disgrace/



Trial on Landmark Education Funding Lawsuit Begins
CTNEWSJUNKIE
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" ...
http://ctmirror.org/2016/01/12/on-trial-is-educational-opportunity-sufficient-everywhere-in-ct/

---------------------

C.C.J.E.F. LAWSUIT TO MAKE HISTORY AS FIRST PAPERLESS TRIAL JAN. 12, 2016

http://www.courant.com/education/hc-ccjef-trial-starts-tuesday-0112-20160111-story.html


Staffing problems hamper failing schools, educators testify

CT MIRROR
By: Jacqueline Rabe Thomas | January 29, 2016






We watched School Funding Paperless Pre-Trial Hearing
http://www.ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=12348


THANK YOU, CT-N!!!




REBUTTAL


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 was Sheff.

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 governor.

"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 own choosing."

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
CT MIRROR
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

CTNEWSJUNKIE
by Christine Stuart | Oct 12, 2015 10:35pm

Dianne Kaplan 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 and prepare."

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
Hartford Courant
Kathleen Megan
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 testing...

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 factors."

The move has been well-received by superintendents, who say the new system will provide a fairer, more useful profile of schools and districts.

"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 scores.

"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 rotten egg..."

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
Hartford Courant
Kevin Rennie
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
CTNEWSJUNKIE
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
CT MIRROR
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 leaders.

...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 committee.

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 increases.

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 credentials.

"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
CT MIRROR
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?
CT MIRROR
Jack Bestor
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 school students.

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



SECOND VIEWING
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"
Non-alliance districts.
85 communities go zero.

"Rational" funding system question - large districts to receive more $$.  R.E.S.C. can charge tuition.  Accountant retiring (internal audit)..






WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND IN CT







  


   
       
CHARTERS FIRST
Not all members of the State Board of Education pictured above.  Then they went to lunch...and now resume with EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT.

 
PROFICIENCY
Describes ESSA approach and interaction NCLB into ESSA.  English learners flexibility.  Their presentation implies the present federal policy is an improvement.

COMMITTEE MEETINGS
No reports - "Back to School 2017-2018" coming (Meriden hosting). 
Adjourn.








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 Wait" blogger.
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?






Labor board blocks effort to unionize college athletes
Danbury News-Times

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 full:  http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Board-dismisses-ruling-to-allow-college-athletes-6448732.php



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
CTNEWSJUNKIE
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 conference.

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 on hold.

“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 year.”

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 participating 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 cigar. 






MANDATE 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 - THIS 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 RELIEF? 

"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 M.O.R.E. Commission: 
http://www.housedems.ct.gov/more/SPED/pubs/SPED_Agenda_2014-01-09.pdf

FOR THE RECORD:  FIRST MEETING THE DAY AFTER TASK FORCE FINALLY WAS ORGANIZED:  http://www.housedems.ct.gov/more/SPED/pubs/SPED_Minutes_2013-12-05.pdf




M.O.R.E.
Mandates Sub-Committee Organizational Meeting
MEETING MINUTES
Friday, October 18, 2013
1:00 PM IN LOB ROOM 1D

The meeting was called to order by Chairman, Representative Sayers at 1:06 P.M.
 
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.


M.O.R.E
Board of Education Sub-Committee
MEETING MINUTES
Monday, November 18, 2013
1:00 PM in Room 1A of the Legislative Office Building

Those present:
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.

Those absent:
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 themselves...

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 sub-committee. 

Representative Ryan closed the meeting by inviting people to contact him, Jesse Hubbard, or the sub-committee administrators with any questions or ideas...
 
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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

Those present:
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.

Those absent:
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. Srinivasan.

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 themselves...

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 students.
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 force.
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 funding ratios.
•    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
CT MIRROR
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 bill...http://ctmirror.org/2015/07/16/u-s-senate-votes-to-leave-education-reform-to-the-states/







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 mentioned it.
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 Evaluation Method
CTNEWSJUNKIE
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
The DAY
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 close.

"We've had years of racial imbalances that we've addressed with redistricting, and it has failed every time," Graner said...story in full:  http://www.theday.com/local/20151011/groton-to-seek-53-million-more-in-state-school-construction-funding-to-solve-racial-imbalance-




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 districtwide average..."



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 administration:  Hundreds sign petitions about evaluations, electronic grade system
Stamford ADVOCATE
Rob Varnon
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.





BACKGROUND