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Reform Alert

posted Feb 8, 2012, 6:17 PM by Vice President NCEA   [ updated Feb 8, 2012, 6:20 PM ]
You may feel a range of emotions as you read the summary below of Governor Malloy’s education plan announced today:

·         You may be pleased that he provides the first increase in ECS funding in several years to 130 school districts, while he also proposes a new “Master Teacher” career ladder. 

·         You may be frustrated with the incomplete details we have been given at this time about the governor’s revamping of teacher certification.

·         You may have heard that the governor’s proposals about certification and tenure involve creating a complex system that replaces high objective state standards for teacher certification with a system that ties subjective local evaluations by principals to both your certification and renewable tenure.

·         And you may wonder what message the governor hoped to send by borrowing many of his ideas affecting the teaching profession from other states considering that many regard these as educational experiments.

Most of all, we hope you will feel an urgent and compelling need to stand up and get involved in legislative advocacy so that together we can achieve smart school reform in the legislative session that began today. 

 

Everyone wants to improve public education.  CEA and our members have been and will continue to remind the governor and our legislators that the most effective reforms are grounded in the experience in the classroom – the kind of experience that only you, as a teacher, can offer.  When the governor’s route to reform detours from what works in the real world of the classroom, the teachers of Connecticut must raise our voices to get lawmakers back on the right road to effective reforms.

 

During the next 13 weeks of the legislative session, decisions will be made in Hartford that will affect you, your students, and your colleagues for decades to come.  When we stand for greater accountability for everyone, teachers demonstrate that we’re dedicated professionals deserving of respect.  Clearly, we must hold our elected officials accountable, too. 


SUMMARY

Read the governor’s press release and additional budget documents here: http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/cwp/view.asp?a=11&q=498754

 

Read excerpts on tenure from the governor’s speech: http://www.cea.org/issues/news/2012/governor-tenure-2-8-12.pdf

 

Other details from the governor’s reform package:

 

1.        Enhance families’ access to high-quality early childhood education opportunities.

o   $12 million for additional school readiness slots, quality improvements, professional development and incentives.

2.       Authorize intensive interventions and turn around Connecticut’s lowest-performing schools and districts.

o   $24.8 million for the Commissioner’s Network Schools.

3.       Expand the availability of school models, including CommPACT schools, magnets, charters and others.

o   $22.4 million for all types of choice schools.

o   Combining increased charter funding into ECS and requiring local contribution.

4.       Remove red tape and other barriers, especially in high-performing schools and districts.

o   Overhaul of the education certification process.

o   Change tenure, and apparently preserve due process.  CEA has many questions about how the governor’s proposal would work, and we will begin this evening to review the legislation his office submitted to the CT General Assembly (the 163-page bill became available at 5 p.m. tonight).  For now, please see governor’s proposed tenure reform comparison chart:http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/lib/malloy/Proposed_Tenure_Reform_Comparison.pdf  

 

5.       Create an education system that values skill and effectiveness over seniority and tenure.

o   $13 million to recruit and develop teachers, especially focused on teachers for the lowest performing schools .

 

6.       Deliver more resources, targeted to districts with the greatest need –provided that they meet key conditions established by the state.

o   $50 million in new Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funding –$39.5 million for the lowest performing districts that implement reforms.

o   Charter School funding increased to $11,000 per pupil and integrated into the ECS appropriation.

o   $3 million for 250 students in up to five new state Charter Schools.

o   $4.5 million in competitive funding.

7.       Teachers’ Retirement Health Funding

o   The governor has proposed reducing the state’s contribution to the retired teachers’ health insurance fund but increasing the premium share paid by retirees in the Teacher Retirement Board’s Medicare supplement plan (Stirling). Based on current rates, this change would result in retirees in the Stirling plan paying an approximate increase of $32.00 per month.

 

8.       Education Cost Sharing Grant Changes

    • No town will receive less ECS aid in 2013 than it did in 2012. 130towns get more ECS funding.

 

    • Current weighting of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students will remain at 15%, and students in bilingual education programs will be added.

 

    • A new child poverty measure will be used. HUSKY A (number of children ages 5 to 17) will replace Title I poverty.

 

    • For most wealthy communities, the minimum aid ratio will be reduced from 9% to 0%. The minimum aid ratio for Conditional Districts will be 20%.

 

    • Household income data will be streamlined and replaced by more current data. Census Bureau Per Capita Income (PCI) and Median Household Income (MHI), which is updated once a decade, is replaced by MHI produced and updated annually through the Department of Economic and Community Development.

 

    • The foundation is increased from $9,867 to $12,000, a 21.6% increase.

 

Concluding Note

Many questions have yet to be answered, so please look for subsequent emails from us in the days and weeks ahead. CEA receives and analyzes new information each day, and works with legislators to improve proposed statutes. We will update you on a regular basis so that you can be best informed and better prepared to advocate with your legislators.

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