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Waiting for Jobs Bill Details

CEA representatives and school superintendents from across the state turned out this morning in Hartford to get details about when and how the $110 million in new federal jobs money will be distributed.

At his annual back-to-school meeting, State Education Commissioner Mark McQuillan said Governor M. Jodi Rell has ultimate authority about how the jobs money might be distributed. McQuillan said he is waiting to hear from her. “I am hoping against hope that we will have the information today from Governor Rell,” he said.

In other announcements, Commissioner McQuillan offered the following information.

  1. He will continue to raise concerns with Washington about the Obama administration’s overreliance on competitive grants, especially in the wake of Connecticut’s loss in the Race to the Top (RTTT) competition. “The prevailing paradigm in Washington is not based on a solid foundation of research or hard evidence,” he said.
  2. He also said he is proud of Connecticut’s RTTT application because it did not predetermine the strategy and model for teacher and administrator supervision and evaluation. “This science is very hard to do.  In Los Angeles, for example, a very shaky foundation of teacher evaluation is raising serious concerns in evaluating teachers.  We will do teacher evaluation work together with stakeholders here in Connecticut.  This is my pledge.  We will not take quick avenues without plenty of involvement from teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders,” he said.
  3. There is growing evidence that Connecticut is taking steps to close the achievement gap.  McQuillan pointed to NAEP results and CMT indicators.
  4. There are questions about how school districts can implement the new Accountability Statute 10-223 without RTTT funds and with the state’s huge fiscal challenges. “From innovation schools to parent leadership councils to secondary school reform, this is the most significant legislation in two decades in Connecticut,” he said.
  5. Connecticut Accountability in Learning Initiative (CALI) training will not be taken to scale, but will be grown modestly where revenues will allow. The Commissioner lauded CALI’s impact because data from the 15 partner districts shows the districts as a group are increasing their achievement at a rate faster than the state as a whole.

CEA Communications Director Kathy Frega was interviewed after the meeting this morning by WFSB.  Watch video.

WFSB - Commissioner's Back to School Meeting 8-18-10

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