Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s speech today to school superintendents is a clarion call to embrace change, especially in the 20 to 30 school districts where the governor says students are being left behind.
The governor is challenging educators “to not tolerate that which they can change.” His own intolerance already has him outlining change for the State Department of Education.
The governor says that policymakers and educators “need to leave their assumptions at the door.” He said he met recently with the head of the CT Manufacturers Association, who told him there are 1,000 openings in manufacturing, but no skilled workers to fill the jobs. Governor Malloy says that’s one of the reasons education attainment must be improved because a world-class workforce is the key to the state’s economic future.
Governor Malloy plans to make this “the year of education” at the state legislature. As we reported at BlogCEA earlier this month, his plans include a better defined teacher evaluation system. He wants strong teacher professional development and opportunities for teachers to refine their skills to provide the best student instruction possible.
Malloy’s remarks were made at Acting State Commissioner of Education George Coleman’s “back to school” meeting. It’s an annual event that no governor in memory has appeared at to challenge educators. Coleman is retiring, and the governor praised his contributions as a public servant. There was thunderous applause from the superintendents group as a sign of thanks to Commissioner Coleman.
Coleman praises teachers, saying “we have great teachers working hard.” That sentiment is echoed by Governor Malloy.
Concession talks between state employee unions and the Malloy administration are coming down to the wire. State Capitol observers are increasingly anxious about the consequences of a breakdown. As the Hartford Courant opined today: If Governor Malloy fails to extract union concessions, then “he will also have to stop shielding schools, towns and cities from cuts and will have to slash programs that provide safety nets to poor, vulnerable citizens.” What do you think of the choices on the table for top state officials?
Governor Malloy signed the FY12/FY13 Biennium Budget Bill yesterday after it was approved by the House of Representatives and Senate. The new budget provides $570 million in state education aid to local schools over the next year two years to fill the gap created by the loss of federal stimulus funds. That’s good news for students and teachers.
But there’s no escaping the fact that the new state budget — just enacted — is actually roughly $1 billion in the red. It’s because it was passed with Governor Malloy expecting to get that amount of savings in concessions from state employees in negotiations underway. If those concession talks break down, then Governor Malloy promises to be back at the legislature with an “alternative budget.”
Here’s what Governor Malloy told citizens as he signed his first budget: “Now it’s up to my Administration to reach an agreement with our fellow state employees and to present it to the legislature for ratification. I remain hopeful that we’ll get there. If we don’t, I remain committed to presenting an alternative budget to the General Assembly in the next couple of weeks.” Stay tuned to find out what an alternative budget would mean for our public schools.