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Teacher Concerned about Paying Her Mortgage Under Governor’s Education Bill #24

Last night in New London, Groton teacher Claire DePeter Powers told the governor she is worried about her salary going up and down "based on my principal’s yay or nay."

Groton teacher Claire DePeter Powers is concerned about her ability to pay her mortgage under the Governor’s Education Bill #24, which ties teacher evaluations to certification and pay scales.

“I don’t want to worry about paying my mortgage or sending my kids to college because my salary is going up and down based on my principal’s yay or nay,” she said.

DePeter Powers was one of a dozen people selected to ask a question at the governor’s education town hall meeting in New London last night. She also told the governor that as a parent of children in the New London school system, she is concerned about their education and diverting funds to charter schools.

“Some charters are successful, but they don’t have to follow the same rules as district public schools—they have mandatory school extension days, they are allowed to select certain students so they don’t take all kids, and then those kids that don’t qualify sit next to my son in overcrowded classrooms with teachers trying to do best they can. Teachers will tell you that if they could pick their own students they would have very, very, successful classrooms and students—why can’t effective practices be implemented and funded in the school around the corner with the great teachers who are already there?” DePeter Powers asked, to an overwhelming round of applause from the audience.

The governor disagreed with her characterization that charter schools don’t accept all students. He also said nothing is stopping success from being implemented in neighborhood schools right now.

East Lyme teacher Rose Ann Hardy asked the governor how standardized test scores would be used to evaluate teachers at last night's meeting.

Dozens of teachers attended last night’s meeting in New London, to discuss everything from evaluation and certification to the need for more funding for neighborhood schools.

Rose Ann Hardy, an East Lyme High School history teacher, asked the governor how teachers will be evaluated when assignments are not equitable.  “How will you evaluate a social studies teacher against an art or gym teacher who have no standardized tests? Are we going to spend more money to develop more standardized tests?” Hardy asked to applause from the audience.

The governor said Connecticut needs state standards for evaluations. The Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) has a framework in place and is developing new teacher evaluation guidelines for districts to use in developing their evaluation systems. The governor, who had previously described PEAC’s completed work as an evaluation “system” or “guidelines,” said, “I was urged to use framework by your union.”

Malloy also gave Hardy a compliment. “I know you are a great teacher because I have been to your class,” he said.

The governor’s eighth education town hall meeting will be in Waterbury tonight, where teachers are expected to attend and continue sharing their views on the need for education reform done the right way.

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