Malloy: School Reform Needed for Economic Growth

Governor keys in on teacher tenure during his 'State of the State' speech.

Asking for boldness and big ideas, Gov. Dannel Malloy urged lawmakers and business owners Wednesday to come together and commit to “nothing less than a full-scale economic revival.”

One of the main elements of Malloy’s plan involves reforming schools to allow incentives for the best teachers, to restructure tenure so that it has to be continually earned and to provide more money to troubled schools

“Today tenure is too easy to get and too hard to take away,” Malloy said in his State of the State address. “I propose we do it a different way. I propose we hold every teacher to a standard of excellence.”

Under his proposed $128 million education agenda, most would go to the lowest-performing districts. For the schools to get the money, districts would have to “embrace key reforms,” with tenure changes being one of them.

"I propose we hold every teacher to a standard of excellence," Malloy said. "Under my proposal, tenure will have to be earned and re-earned. Not earned simply by showing up for work – earned by meeting certain objective performance standards, including student performance, school performance, and parent and peer reviews.

“We cannot and will not fix what’s broken in our schools by scapegoating teachers. But nor can we fix it if we do not have the ability to remove teachers who don’t perform well in the classroom in a timely fashion,” he said. “In this new system, tenure will be a privilege, not a right. It will be earned and retained through effective teaching, not by counting years of service.”

Malloy has also proposed that students seeking to enter a teaching program have a minimum GPA of B-plus, instead of the present GPA requirement of a B-minus.

In ten years, Malloy said, he sees Connecticut as a leader in biosciences, precision manufacturing and a “Mecca for digital and sports entertainment.”

He acknowledged detractors in his closing comments, saying that cooperation is necessary.

“Some people will surely say an economic revival is beyond our grasp, that I’m asking too much, that I’m setting an expectation that is too high. They’ll say we should be content to just make progress,” Malloy said. “I say those people are dead wrong.”

Spiff February 09, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Yeah, isn't it a joke! What's needed for economic growth is a business friendly political environment, PERIOD! Unfortunately, Malloy is once again spouting his typical smoke and mirrors rhetoric to gain support for increased government spending. SCHOOL REFORM ISN'T GOING TO LEAD TO ECONOMIC GROWTH!!! If he wants to encourage economic growth he needs to reign in government spending and lower the tax-burden on consumers and small businesses. Anyone who knows anything about how Government and the economy interact know you do not raise taxes during an economic downturn, as Malloy did last year! Herbert Hoover found this out the hard way when he turned a recession into a depression during his presidency. Since I have to believe that Dan Malloy is smart enough to understand this fact, I can only imagine that he has an ulterior motive for having raised taxes (largest tax increase in CT's history), like lining the pockets of his Democratic and Union cronies throughout the state! And, he recently announced that he is increasing contributions to the state employee pension fund. All this is simply legalized corruption. This culture of corruption among our elected officials and public servants in this state has to stop!!!
Marty Salvatore February 09, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Uh? Sounds like he is actually making things HARDER on the Union here. More ridged requirements for teachers? No guaranteed tenure? That doesn't really sound like cronyism to me. Don't you even READ the articles before you post your diatribes?
Jim G. February 09, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Yes, it's sad how CT is doing so poorly under this oppressive political climate when it's been nothing but boom times for the rest of the US. We should all move out.
Spiff February 09, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Marty, Marty, Marty, Of course I read the articles, but clearly you ain't gettin' it Bud! Read the headline - "Malloy: School Reform Needed for Economic Growth", is clearly NOT what is needed for economic growth. Simply read my original post! Instead of attempting to discredit your fellow posters (and poorly I might add), you should attempt to intelligently participate in the discussion. Please don't post if you can't!
Spiff February 09, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Oh, now I see which side of the fence you're on, Jim G. Typical response from someone of your type. Please read post above.
Spiff February 09, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Exactly, Robert, you get it. If more people had more money in their pockets, then they would be more likely to purchase your services. Econ 101
Jim G. February 09, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Yeah, SPF, I'm on the same side of the fence as you (inside CT)... but I've occasionally looked OUTSIDE of it and have some perspective. I find it endlessly amazing how provincial and parochial some posters can be here - complaining about things that are much larger than this teeny state but finding ways to blame it all on whichever state or local pol they think is the cause of all ills.
Michael Smith February 10, 2012 at 11:50 AM
What's needed for economic growth is JOBS. Unemployment continues to be staggeringly high, esp. when you consider that it's recent decline has more to do with the 99rs running out of time than people going back to work. More funding to an over-paid cadre of educators and administrators may give them a better life, help them get bigger houses, nicer cars, the latest iphone, and that winter vacation in Stowe, but the unemployed factory, office and retail workers are the broader base impacting the economy. Get them back to work and paid well, Danny-boy, and you will have accomplished a ton!
Jim G. February 10, 2012 at 01:28 PM
But not any jobs, at any cost, Michael. That's the error too many cities and states have made - and they end up replacing skilled career jobs with McJobs, and at staggering public expense in subsidies and tax breaks. We are NOT going to rebuild the US or state economy any faster than it crumbled, and we'd be well to take as long as it needs for real, sustainable growth and rebuilding, not the economic equivalent of living off fast food. The other mistake is to assume all other business can just wait, for months or years, while we focus on one problem. It can't. I don't necessarily care for Malloy or any pol's efforts, but they clearly understand what the hecklers in the cheap seats don't: regular life and the overall infrastructure MUST continue to be maintained and sustained while repairs elsewhere are in progress.
Marty Salvatore February 10, 2012 at 01:36 PM
If condescension wins arguments, then why are you always wrong?
meowkats4 February 10, 2012 at 01:44 PM
In Malloy's education reform package and budget adjustments, he is proposing to spend $2.5 million to start these new teacher and principal evaluations. He is also proposing to spend another $5 million to open a principal's academy at the University of Connecticut's education college and to bring in national experts for additional training. See attached article: http://www.ctmirror.com/story/15408/education-reform-focus-turns-improving-principals
Spiff February 10, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Hey Guys, While I have lived in CT for nearly 20 years, I have lived in other states as well. Therefore, I do have an appropriate perspective. I'm also not suggesting that high taxes, Malloy or any person in particular is responsible for our economic problems. What I am suggesting, actually stating directly, is that school reform isn't going to lead to economic growth (please recall title of article), but rather creating a business friendly political environment will. While I realize that this is a much broader issue and goes well beyond CT's borders, as Governor of this state, Malloy has the ability to set the tone by creating a business friendly economic environment, and this starts with reasonable taxes, for both small businesses and consumers. As I'm sure you are all aware, CT residents pay more in taxes on average than people in every other state in the country, thanks to Dan's record tax increase last summer. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that, with the highest taxes in the country, coupled with the state's Union presence, our business environment is not as friendly as what one would find in most other states. When businesses are allowed to keep more of the money that they earn, then they have more money to invest in and grow the business. When consumers are allowed to keep more of the money that they earn, then they are more likely to purchase products and services from these businesses. This, of course, leads to economic growth!
Jim G. February 10, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I wouldn't disagree that there's a disconnect between the topic and jobs/the economy but I can brush that off as pol-speak... if it was a Republican strapping on boilerplate about cutting the size of government you'd probably ignore that, too, even though it's just as irrelevant. Elected officials tend to make the most of any situation by throwing in whatever key words will catch their constituents' eye. (Like the old joke about grant writing: "...and it may cure cancer.") In the longer run, though, stronger schools are a boost to the economy. Since we can't just slash taxes and make gummint go 'way, returning something for the tax levels here is a way to attract and retain quality residents.
John Durand February 10, 2012 at 05:37 PM
We spend more and more to educate our kids, both legal and not, without ever addressing the broken education system. Then when they graduate there are no jobs in CT so they move to another state. That's what I call RETURN ON INVESTMENT. Understand that the manufacturing infrastructure in CT has been dismantled. Those left, ie. UTC, are moving out. The UTC / Goodrich deal WILL cost CT jobs and be used as a lever to pry more $'s from Malloy. Another great ROI. Can an economy be healthy based on Government (public sector service) employment, service businesses and retail? I don't think so. Voters better wake up fast. John D
Maria Giannuzzi February 10, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Many good points have been made in the comments, especially by John, Michael and Jim. Education reform is only one piece of a complex puzzle. The complexity of restoring economic growth to our state is why the problem is so difficult to tackle. Most people, including the Governor, understand there is a problem, but it has taken three decades for Connecticut to get where it is today economically and it cannot be fixed overnight. For many years our political leaders, both Democratic and Republican, have adopted the warehouse model of economic development (distribution centers, big box stores), which provide low-wage, no-benefit jobs. This type of low-wage employment cannot sustain a state over the long term. Perhaps we do not really have an economic problem in this state. Perhaps what we really have is a values problem: parents who don't value education; employers who are willing to sacrifice the welfare of their employees to generate ever higher profits for themselves and their shareholders; public sector employees who feel they can overreach and game the system when it comes to pensions and other benefits; politicians who retire with nice pensions and enter the revolving door to work for the private sector; politicians who decide to give land specifically set aside as open space for the public good to private developers.
Jim G. February 10, 2012 at 06:26 PM
"Perhaps we do not really have an economic problem in this state." Ooh, you're in for it now. :) Duck. I'd agree to a large extent - CT escaped most of the economic crisis of the last five years and was among the least-affected states. No, it's not fun and it's not trivial and it's not easily fixable... but as I've said in other threads, folks here are complaining bitterly about wet shoes when a good part of the rest of the US is drowning. The blinkered assumption that none of that affected us here and that all is the fault of Malloy et al. and that all is 'orribly 'orrible here would crack me up if it weren't so appallingly and counterproductively, well, horrifying.
Gary Martini February 10, 2012 at 06:31 PM
SPF is bitter. We should feel bad.
Spiff February 10, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Oh Gary, I'm not bitter, just sick and tired of having to be the one (among others) to make the cookies for good 'ole Dan's cookie jar. It's not bitterness, it's called self-respect. Looks like you most likely have your hand in that jar along there with Marty. Me, however, being the man that I am, I wouldn't be caught dead with my hand in Malloy's cookie jar, I have more self-respect than that!
Maria Giannuzzi February 10, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Maybe we should follow the advice of the poem, "Splendor in the Grass" and find strength in what remains behind. Provide small incentives to small manufacturing firms and other businesses who treat their employees fairly and want to stay in Connecticut instead of providing give-aways to large corporations. Reward hard-working teachers and other public employees who have demonstrated their commitment to the public interest. Use our state educational and medical institutions to provide low-cost, convenient educational, medical, mental health and drug treatment services. Eliminate and streamline some of the red-tape and paperwork to allow easier business start-ups. Provide very small grants and guarantee low-cost loans to start-up businesses and hard-working entrepreneurs in depressed areas, including our inner cities. A comprehensive educational initiative that mandates a no-excuses commitment to the value of education at all levels, parental, local and state. Managed properly these are relatively small investments using our existing infrastructure that could generate huge benefits in ten years.
Jim G. February 10, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Another of my absolute favorite replies: "If you disagree with me, you must be one of the villains." I've lost count of the participants here who've thrown that one out. Pretty good illustration of the mindsets of the political division: For the righty-tighties, there is their way and everything else, which is wrong. For the lefty-loosies, there are a number of ways, one of which seems best. But then, living with two-valued logic is so... comforting, isn't it? Nothing like that scary multi-valued logic that's been in use since the Reformation.
Gary Martini February 10, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Because I called you out as seeming bitter, that means "I have my hand's in Malloy's cookie jar?" Your assumptions are like your opinions: Misguided. Stick to the Reminder speak out section with the rest of the quacks who write in.
Spiff February 10, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Am I right? Just an educated guess! (I bet I'm right, come on Gary, tell us the truth, be honest!) Unfortunately, it appears that rational thought gets diluted with all the nonsense that some of these posters present.
Gary Martini February 10, 2012 at 08:51 PM
SPF - Do you know what misguided means?
Jim G. February 10, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Oh, you're RIGHT all right, Spaceman SPiFf. You've also twice accused posters here of being something unspecified but bad/evil/wrong/unwanted, while demanding no one post if they can't do so intelligently. You're just... one of THEM. And we all know it.
Spiff February 10, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Of course, Gary, but just because you say I'm misguided doesn't make it so. Come-on, at this point I'm just havin' fun. While there are certainly some intelligent posters on this site, there are many who are not. As I already pointed out, I've come to the conclusion that any rational thought is clearly lost in this sea of mindless drivel. Kind of like passing an exam to receive an educational diploma, or successfully completing some sort of screening in order to obtain employment, posters on this site should be required to display some basic knowledge of the subject matter being discussed.
Tricia G. February 13, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Malloy, Maria and Jim have a basic flaw in their arguments (and not only here). They look to government for the solutions to most all problems, when it is often the interference of government that created, or exacerbated, the problems! Governments state and federal have been over-fed by career politicians who have added employees, departments, commissions, agencies, laws and more and more burdensome "regulations" and TAXES to pay for their insatiable appetites for control and influence! These un-Constitutional usurpations of power have turned Hartford and Washington into hungry, greedy and bloated bureaucracies that are feckless to do much beyond gorging themselves upon more and more of the dollars earned by the HALF of Americans who still pay income taxes--to support the other half who don't! We common sense folks like John and Michael recognize that proposing to SPEND MORE $$$ that aren't being earned, let alone coming in to the CT Dept of Revenue, on new "programs" is an exercise in futility. Instead, more of the productive people who work hard, create businesses and jobs, or whose jobs have been destroyed, will continue to LEAVE CT.
Merrill Kidd April 19, 2012 at 05:15 AM
How do you have a private meeting and say your for the public? I may be missing something? Like my brain!
Merrill Kidd April 19, 2012 at 05:16 AM
NOT! I know I won't be voting for anyone at this point.
meowkats4 April 19, 2012 at 06:48 PM
It's like what Palosi says: You got to pass the bill in order to find out what in it!!!! Yet, the people think this is okay! They continue to support these idiots each election. The Clueless live among us.
Sami Mehmed Jr April 19, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Ha, Its not the clueless among us, its people benefiting from the elected officials you and I call idiots. Not clueless! Willing to drink the $ and benefits until the well dries out. Why not if your on the gravy side of the equation supported by "D". Don't forget to look at towns with ordinances, rules, regulations, and red tape that are not friendly towards specific businesses. Who said water doesn't run up hill! Maria you postings are right on target and succinct.


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