JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING EDUCATIONAL COMPETITIVENESS.
Joint Favorable Substitute
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Dannel P. Malloy, Governor
Sen. Donald E. Williams, 29th Dist.
Sen. Martin M. Looney, 11th Dist.
Rep. Christopher G. Donovan, 84th Dist.
Rep. Brendan Sharkey, 88th Dist.
Rep. Marie Lopez Kirkley-Bey, 5th Dist.
REASONS FOR BILL:
The purpose of the proposed substitute language of this bill is to make several major changes to the original Governor's bill. These major changes as summarized by the Office of Legislative Research are as follows:
Section 1: ECS formula changes have been eliminated and each town's ECS grant amount has been specified. Norwalk will receive an additional $72,000 to counteract its reduction in priority school grant.
Section 2: Districts are now required to add ECS grant increase to FY 12 budgeted appropriation to calculate MBR for FY 13. They may also keep 50 % efficiency savings leading to a reduced MBR of no more than .05%. All MBR reductions or eliminations from the original bill are restored in the substitute.
Sections 2 and 3: Districts falling within the 10 lowest DPIs are to be designated as educational reform districts. District performance calculation is revised to match actual calculation. Clarifications are also made on the bill's conditions referring to ECS grant increases and unspent hold-back balances for alliance districts. Further changes are on file with the Education Committee.
Section 4: Grants now range from $50,000 to $750,000 and add prohibition to those grants supplanting local funds. Clarity is given to the provision relating to private funds to match SDE intent and preference for alliance districts is removed.
Sections 5, 6, 7 and 8: Changes are made relating to Charter Schools. Specific changes are on file with the Education Committee.
Section 9: The V-T accounting system is removed as a requirement and the chart of accounts is specified as meeting current state financial reporting requirements. Minor clean up is made to the language as filed with the Education Committee.
Section 10: This section has been turned into a study.
Section 11: Increase grants are higher than in the original bill. Edison received a higher grant for all students.
Section 17: A school performance index is introduced into accountability with a created transition from NCLB measures. A special master or superintendent can now be appointed to low-achieving school districts by SBE. Further changes are on file with the Education Committee.
Section 18: The commissioner's network provisions are eliminated and replaced by a plan for network to be developed by the Commissioner and reported to the Education Committee.
Section 19: New Section requiring establishment of 20 FRCs or SBHCs in alliance districts.
Section 21: Maintains current status for school governance councils and reorganizes statutes.
Sections 22-26: All changes are technical and are on file with the Education Committee.
Section 28: Maximum construction reimbursement is reduced from 95% to 80%.
Sections 37-55: Adds budget process changes from V-T bill. Minor clean up is made to the language as filed with the Education Committee.
Section 56: TRS provision and unlimited waiver for “exceptionally qualified” are eliminated. Acting Superintendent Provisions are expanded.
Section 57: The termination hearing process is shortened and ineffectiveness is added as grounds for termination. All other provisions linking evaluation and tenure are eliminated from the original bill.
Section 58: New Section requiring Commissioner to submit a plan on evaluation and tenure to the Education committee by January 1, 2013 in consultation with PEAC.
Section 59: New Section requiring annual evaluations and additional items in state model program guidelines.
Sections 61-63 and 66-78: Links between certification and performance evaluations are eliminated. A master's degree is required for professional certificates and initial certificate is extended for up to 10 years. National board certification qualification for out-of-state teachers and the 36-hour requirement for required special education course are kept in the bill.
Section 64: Replaces the master educator certificate in the original bill.
Section 65: Bargaining over changes in salary structure is permissive rather than mandatory.
Sections 12-16, 33, 35 and 36 have no change from the original bill.
Sections 34 and 60 are new sections.
Sections 20, 27, 31 and 32 contain minor clean up in the language as filed with the Education Committee
The provision on a college readiness test for 11th graders has been moved to another bill.
Required collective bargaining concerning salary steps tied to performance ratings, the increase from B to B+ to qualify for ARC program, retroactive TRS membership for uncertified superintendent and retroactive waiver for Bridgeport school board reconstruction have all been eliminated.
All language changes to the bill are on file with the Education Committee.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Dannel P. Malloy, Governor, State of Connecticut testified in support of Senate Bill 24 and stated “there has never been a moment when jobs and education have become more connected and dependent on one another…if we (the State) are to continue to make strides and create jobs in this state, it is imperative that we transform the public system in which our students learn and prepare for college and a career.” Governor Malloy referred to education as the “civil rights issue of our time,” and stated that “now is the time to transform the status quo” and provide our children “with the opportunities they so richly deserve if we are to revive our state's economy and lead the country once more.”
Stefan Pryor, Commission of Education, State of Connecticut testified in support of Senate Bill 24 and stated that together, through this legislation, “we can enable many more of our schools to reach high levels of performance and to close the achievement gap.” On the issue of tenure, Commissioner Pryor emphasized the fact that Senate Bill 24 seeks to reform tenure and not abolish it completely.
Benjamin Barnes, Secretary, Office of Policy Management:
Spoke in support of the Governor's bill and its objectives. Barnes also spoke in detail about many sections of the bill, and described the benefits.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
John R. Rathgeber, President/CEO, Connecticut Business & Industry Association testified in support of S.B. 24 stating that “the Governor has proposed a package of reforms that, taken as a whole, would serve to close the achievement gap and raise educational outcomes for all students.” Mr. Rathgeber concluded by stating that “CBIA is encouraged that the Education Committee is taking on this monumental piece of legislation this session. Adoption of this package of reforms is a necessary and significant first step down the road to educational excellence.”
Beverly Zell Parent, Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School, Hartford submitted testimony in support of educational reform.
Felipe Reinoso, Former State Representative, Bridgeport urged the Committee to support the portion of the Governor's bill that would allocate more state funding to charter schools.
Carrie Berman, President, SpEdConnecticut, Inc. submitted testimony to the Committee in support of educational reform, but also stating that in order to “close the achievement gap [in Connecticut]”, steps must be taken to close the gap between students with educational disabilities and their non-disabled peers,” and not that efforts to reform education should not focus solely on alleviating “the disparities between the achievements of minority urban students and the achievements of white suburban students.” Ms. Berman recommended that the Committee take 3 crucial steps in order to begin to close the achievement gap for children with educational disabilities; (1) increase funding for teachers and support staff; (2) Increase funding for training of teachers and support staff to better acquaint them with the tools and practices needed to effectively collect and analyze data in order to effectively monitor the students' progress; and (3) the Legislature should reverse Connecticut's longstanding requirement that the burden of proof in educational due process hearings be placed on the districts.
George Giankakos, Teacher, Bridgeport Public Schools declared his “wholehearted support” for Senate Bill 24 because it “not only tells the country that 'Connecticut has a problem,' but also that 'Connecticut is going to go to great lengths to address and correct this problem.'”
Jo-Ann Johnson, Bloomfield testified in support of S.B. 24.
Bill Finch, Mayor, City of Bridgeport testified in support of S.B. 24 because he believes that “the Governor's bill is critical to the beginning of treating all children in Connecticut equally” and also, because, “we need a new vision for our children which can only come from a complete overhaul of our current education system.” Mayor Finch also presented the Committee with a few recommendations that he felt would make the bill an even better piece of legislation; (1) he expressed support for the idea that parents should be allowed to chose which public school their children should attend; (2) he called for modifications to the state's current cost-sharing formula because the current system is “unfair” and “depends too much on regressive local property taxes to support school spending; and (3) he called for an overall increase in state education funding.
Trisha Danka submitted testimony support educational reform and Senate Bill 24.
Laura Cordes, Executive Director, Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. submitted testimony in support of Senate Bill 24 and also urging the Committee to consider including in the bill the creation of incentive grants that would allow districts to provide health and safety education to their students.
Valerie Marshall, Avon submitted testimony is support of educational reform and Senate Bill 24.
Maggie Adair, Executive Director, Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance submitted testimony supporting Senate Bill 24.
Deanie Humphrys-Dunne submitted testimony in favor of tenure reform.
Scott Sugarman, Director of Education Initiatives, Our Piece of the Pie testified in support of Senate Bill 24 and said that he considers the legislation to be a “very strong piece of legislation that will help set Connecticut's students up for success.”
Tim and Noelle Mathewson, Danbury submitted testimony in favor of Senate Bill 24, particularly, the section of the bill that deals with tenure reform. According to Mr. and Mrs. Mathewson, “tenure should be primarily dependent upon continuing to do a consistently good job, which should be validated and measured by performance metrics of results.”
Lisa Thomson, R.Ed APPLES, Norwalk submitted testimony endorsing Senate Bill 24 and urged the Committee to pass the bill “so that we [the State] can begin to fix our broken education system and provide all kids in Connecticut the world-class education they deserve.”
Erica E. Bromley, Director, Manchester Youth Service Bureau submitted testimony support education reform in Connecticut.
Dr. Karissa Niehoff, Executive Director, Connecticut Association of Schools submitted testimony stating that the CAS “stands ready, in support of the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Commissioner of Education, to commit the resources of the Connecticut Association of Schools and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference to help bring about positive change” in Connecticut's schools.
Terri Carmody, Vice-Chair, Southington Board of Education submitted testimony in support of Senate Bill 24.
Atty. Dennis O'Brien, Willimantic submitted testimony in support of educational reform.
Dr. Craig Edmondson, Executive Director of Area Cooperative Educational Services testified in support of “the Governor's proposal to increase the magnet school subsidy for schools located outside of the capitol region,” expressing that “this funding is essential for the sustainability of high quality magnet schools in our entire state.” Dr. Edmondson went further in support of magnet schools stating that “over time, magnet schools have also demonstrated improved student achievement, while bringing students together across district lines to reduce racial, ethnic and socio-economic isolation.”
Dr. Robert A. Kennedy, Interim President, Board of Regents for Higher Education testified in support of S.B. 24, specifically the section that requires student's, who wish to receive a master's in education, maintain at least a B+ grade-point average. According to Dr. Kennedy, “the proposals contained in this bill hold accountable both our teacher education training programs and the students who want to be a part of them” and “raising our admission standards from a “B Minus” to a “B Plus” just makes sense.”
Milly Arciniegas, Hartford submitted testimony supporting Senate Bill 24 because it proposes “more objective measures of teacher effectiveness.”
Karen A. Beitler, Science Teacher, James Hillhouse High School submitted testimonyn “in support of the general goals of Senate Bill 24.”
Howie Horvath, Former Chair, West Haven Board of Education submitted testimony in support of “the human capital and choice changes as proposed in SB24 because they address the most critical elements required to significantly improve all students' academic achievement while simultaneously working to reduce the pernicious and heretofore intractable gaps between the least and most affluent in CT.”
Jim Cantoni, GiveGeta testified in support of educational reform and S.B. 24.
Gail E. Janensch, English & Social Studies Teacher, Stamford Public Schools submitted testimony in favor of S.B. 24 and educational reform, but urged the Committee to reduce the amount of money allocated to charter and magnet schools, stating that, “Gov. Malloyʼs SB 24 is a very good beginning, but there is room for new input…I urge you first and foremost to focus on PUBLIC schools…charter schools may have a place in this discussion, but should not drive the conversation.”
Lauren Rosato, President, Norwalk Education Foundation submitted testimony supporting Senate Bill 24 and described the bill as “a great piece of legislation for Connecticut's future.”
Jillian Gilchrest, Early Care & Education Policy Analyst, Connecticut Association for Human Services testified in support of S.B. 24, specifically the portions of the bill that focused on Grade Level Reading, a Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement Rating System, and early childhood education. Ms. Gilchrest stated that “by ensuring that continuing education include at least 15 hours of training in teaching of reading and reading readiness and assessment of reading performance, including methods of teaching language skills necessary for reading, reading comprehension skills, phonic and the structure of the English language, this bill recognizes the importance of grade level reading for students and their future educational achievement.” In closing, Ms. Gilchrest reiterated that CAHS is “supportive of SB 24 and its efforts to improve the quality education in Connecticut,” and “is excited to see Education proposals this year that focus on alignment between Pre-K and K-12 as well as K-12 and higher education.”
Dr. Eliana Rojas, Assistant Professor of Education, University of Connecticut testified in support of Senate Bill 24 and stated that he “believe[s] this legislation is a step in the right direction for our schools, but more importantly, it's a step in the right direction for our children.”
Joseph J. Cirasuolo Ed.D., Executive Director, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents submitted testimony in support of S.B. 24 and stated that “CAPSS believes that the Governor's proposals, if enacted, would start the state on the journey from where we are now to where we need to be if we are to guarantee that every child in the state will learn what they need to learn to lead decent and productive lives.”
Janine Glavin, Mathematics Teacher, Ellington Public Schools expressed support for Grade Level testing but advocated a different form of testing that the exact model contained in the bill.
Deborah S. Wheeler, Ed.D, Superintendent of Schools, Litchfield Public Schools submitted testimony to the Committee urging that the State increase more funding to magnet schools, stating that “these programs are models for personalized and career based learning, and successfully achieve significant parent and industry involvement through advisory committees that work closely and directly with the schools,” and yet, “in spite of the benefits to students of the agriscience programs, they remain underfunded, resulting in hardship to both the host and sending school districts.”
John Connors, Science Teacher, Foran High School submitted testimony in opposition to S.B. 24. According to Mr. Connors, “financial inequalities of the various towns, cities, and school districts is what causes the large spread in achievement between the affluent school districts and the middle and lower less affluent districts,” and therefore, in order to alleviate this, the state should distribute funds equally throughout all of the State's school districts.
LuAnn Gallicchio, Director of Adult and Early Childhood Education, Hamden Public Schools submitted testimony if favor of Section 35 of S.B. 24 which deals with Early Childhood Education.
John Horrigan, Middle School librarian, Westport Public Schools submitted testimony urging the Committee not to adopt S.B. 24, specifically, its' provisions pertaining to tenure and teacher salaries. Mr. Horrigan described S.B. 24 as a “profession killer,” and a bill that “will make finding quality teachers even harder than it is now.”
Elliott Landon, Superintendent of Schools, Westport Public Schools submitted testimony in favor of educational reform and S.B. 24.
David Bosso, Social Studies Teacher, Berlin Public Schools focuses his testimony on Section 28 of S.B. 24 which deals with eliminating the master's degree requirement for those who are looking to become certified teachers. According to Mr. Bosso, “the proposal to eliminate the Master's degree requirement for advanced certification, if enacted, will erode the very professionalism in education that so many teachers have worked for and desired.”
Dagny Forrester, Art Teacher, Stamford Public Schools expressed concern over Section 30 of S.B. 24 that deals with teacher evaluations because “there is no apparent structure outlined in Senate Bill 24 that will prevent abuse or misuse of the evaluation system.” Mr. Forrester stated that “leaving the evaluations of teachers the full responsibility of a building administrator will not solve the problem,” and rather, what the State needs is “an evaluation system that promotes collaboration and trust between teachers and their evaluators…there must be multiple indicators that are free from subjectivity or reliance on administrators.”
Jan Hochadel, President, State Vocational Federation of Teachers submitted testimony in support of S.B. 24 and praised the bill for recognizing the role that the Connecticut Technical High School System playing in building a skilled workforce within the State.
Dr. Michael Sampson, Southern Connecticut State University testified in support to S.B. 24.
Isaias T. Diaz, Chairman, Latino & Puerto Rican Affairs Commission testified in support of Senate Bill 24 and stated that “The LPRAC applauds the leadership of the Education Committee and the Governor of Connecticut for making 2012 the year for education reform in Connecticut.”
Adam Dunsby, Easton Board of Education submitted testimony in favor of S.B. 24 and also urged the committee to modify the bill to make specific references and provisions that pertain to special education students.
Julie Barker, Physics Teacher, Cheshire High School submitted testimony opposing tenure reform. Ms. Bakers stated that “the teacher tenure process is not a way to keep bad teachers in the classroom, but simply provides a framework for teacher dismissal…under the tenure process veteran teachers can feel sure that they will not loose their job simply because hiring a younger, less experienced teacher is cheaper.”
Bob Rath, President/CEO, Our Piece of the Pie, Inc. submitted testimony supporting Senate Bill 24.
Doreen Richardson, Chair, Windsor Board of Education testified in favor of S.B. 24 and to “applaud Governor Malloy for leading with a bold education reform agenda.” Ms. Richardson declared that “reform in teacher tenure and the performance evaluation of teachers to reflect the purpose of public education is not just timely; it is long overdue.”
Bruce Douglas, Executive Director, Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) spoke out in favor of S.B. 24 and its proposed enhancements and modifications to teacher certification, tenure, evaluation, professional development, and recruitment. Concerning teacher evaluations, Mr. Douglas believes, that the reason the current system of evaluating teachers has been so ineffective, is due to the fact, that there seems to be a scarcity of properly trained teacher evaluators in Connecticut. He proceeded by urging the Committee to develop a “robust and effective system of teacher evaluation” that would “depend on the availability of a sufficient number of quality evaluators to assess, support, and enhance our teacher workforce.” On the topic of professional development, Mr. Douglas stated, that “the efficacy of our teacher force is directly correlated with the quality of our school leaders,” and therefore, “It is essential that we enhance the focus on leader effectiveness immediately.” In order to do so, the State of Connecticut should elevate the process and methods of selecting and training school administrators and leaders. According to Douglas, “the best administrator training programs in Connecticut teach management skills, rather than how to lead.”
James D. McNair III, Colchester, CT submitted testimony is support of S.B. 24 and stated that “this bill will allow teachers to be fairly evaluated…those that earn it will be rewarded and those that do not will have a chance to change before dismissal…paying millions for ineffective teachers protected by seniority and a lengthy dismissal process does not make sense for anyone involved, especially the students. Their futures depend on great teachers and great schools and when we don't hold adults accountable for their success, we're sending them the message that we don't care.”
Sarah Esty and Cyd Oppenheimer, J.D, Connecticut Voices for Children testified in support of S.B. 24 and its proposals to; “move forward on the creation of a Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS); implement full-day kindergarten as a remedy for struggling school districts; and to establish competitive funding for districts to better align curriculum between preschool and kindergarten.”
Jennifer Alexander, Vice President of Research and Partnerships, ConnCAN submitted testimony praising the reforms proposed in Senate Bill 24 and stating that “Senate Bill 24 offers a comprehensive set of reforms that would establish a strong foundation for efforts to guarantee great schools for all of Connecticut's children and ensure a bright economic future for our state.”
Frank Contento Sr. submitted testimony in support of S.B. 24 stating that “the proposals of this bill are long overdue, and essential to the improvement of our schools, teachers, and student progress.”
Rae Ann Knopf, the Executive Director for CCER, submitted testimony in favor of the bill. She stated her belief that teacher quality was the single most important determinant in student learning and the support of her organization for the four-tiered evaluation system. She discussed the many important aspects of the bill to which the CCER supports and that the changes would ensure that every student in the state receives a high quality education.
Richard Therrien, a science supervisor from New Haven, submitted testimony in support of the bill. He stated his concerns with a few aspects of the bill and asked that the bill be aligned with the CSDE plan.
Robert Cotto Jr., submitted testimony in favor of the bill on behalf of the Connecticut Voices for Children. He stated that the Connecticut Voices for Children all children's learning and well-being from a balanced and broad approach.
Roch J. Girard, the President of the AFSA, submitted testimony in favor of the bill, thanking the Governor for his increase in spending on education. He stated his willingness to work with the Education committee on the bill and discussing its many important aspects.
Richard Murray, Vice President of CABE, spoke in support of the bill however expressed CABE's concern with “non conditional” districts ECS aid being added to the board of education budget only at the discretion of the municipality. While supportive of the funds for an additional 500 children in the readiness program, CABE opposes schools having to fund $1,000 per pupil for charter schools and reducing the ECS grant.
Sandi Jacobs, Vice President of the National Council on Teacher Quality, submitted testimony in support of the bill. Jacobs discussed different aspects of the bill and its strength and weaknesses.
Sandi Jacobs, Vice President of the National Council on Teacher Quality, submitted testimony in support of the bill.
Sue Haynie, a member of the Norwalk Board of Education, submitted testimony in support to the bill. She believes that teachers are an important aspect of a student's academic performance and that ensuring they are qualified and of high-quality is very important.
Susan Harris, a member of ConnCan, submitted testimony in support of the bill expressing her view that Education reform is important to the state of CT.
Edward W Malin, Interim Dean for Isabelle Farrington College of Education, submitted testimony in support of the bill.
Victoria Chaudhuri, Supervisor of Science and Technology Education, submitted testimony in favor of the bill stating she supports its general goals. She shared some of her specific concerns with the bill and asked it be aligned with the CSDE plan.
Representative Kevin Roldan, 4th District:
Supports the Governor's proposal, and believes it is time Connecticut became serious about closing the achievement gap.
Representative Mary M. Mushinsky, 85th District:
Supports Senate Bill 24, and the necessity of meeting the achievement gap head on.
Sonia B. Manjon, Commissioner of the Latino & Puerto Rican Affairs Commission:
Supports Senate Bill 24 and aspects of the bill that deal with finance, accountability, and low performing schools.
Justin Cohen, School Turnaround Group:
Support Senate Bill 24, and closing the achievement gap.
Lisa Thompson, Co-Founder, R.Ed APPLES of Norwalk:
Strongly urges committee to pass Senate Bill 24, and urges further reform to the ECS formula.
Barbara Zuras, Sheff Movement:
Support Senate Bill 24, and closing the achievement gap.
Matthew Nittoly, Side by Side Charter School:
Support Senate Bill 24 and eagerly await increased charter school funding per pupil.
Reginald Mayo, Superintendent, New Haven Public Schools:
Applauded Governor Malloy's focus on education, and dedication to eliminating the achievement gap in Connecticut.
Maria Zambrano, Executive Director, Excel Bridgeport:
Supports Senate Bil 24, and believe the bill presents a rare opportunity to fundamentally change how the state's public education system works.
Lauren Wozniak, Operations and Projects Manager, Excel Bridgeport:
Supports Senate Bill 24, and believes the bill provides an opportunity to address the issue of chronically failing and underperforming schools.
Bart Russell, Executive Director, Connecticut Council of Small Towns:
Support efforts to increase funding for the ECS grant program to assist cities and towns.
Melissa Spear, Executive Director of Common Ground:
Supports Senate Bill 24, and increasing funding levels for charter schools.
Katherine Nicoletti, Member, NAMI-CT:
Supports Senate Bill 24, and strongly supports sections 4 and 5.
Connecticut Conference of Municipalities:
Applauds the Governor's proposal to increase ECS funding, and hopes to see future commitment. Support additional resources for municipalities, supports proposed changes to the ECS foundation, poverty and wealth measures, and need-student counts. However, show some concern in the Governor's proposals for some ECS formula elements, the minimum budget requirement, charter schools, the new minimum local funding percentage, conditional funding districts, and special education.
Patrick Riccards, CEO, ConnCAN:
Supports Senate Bill 24, but believes critical improvements can occur in the areas of increased funding to districts based on the adoption of critical reforms, local contribution to public charter schools, and the Commissioner's Network and school turnarounds.
Jennifer Alexander, Vice President of Research and Partnerships, ConnCAN:
Supports Senate Bill 24, but would like to see further reforms addressing funding inequity for all students.
Lizanne Cox, Director, Common Ground High School:
Supports the Governor's bill and urges for more resources for charter schools.
Christopher LaBelle, Principal, Six to Six Magnet School:
Supports increased funding for magnet schools that Senate Bill 24 would provide.
Ray Rossomando, Connecticut Education Association:
Supports portions of Senate Bill 24, such as the raises in ECS funding, funding proposals to lift “all boats” (charter, magnet, local) of schooling equitably, increases to schools of choice so long as the increases are in proportion to increases for all other school districts and do not divert funds from other public schools.
Carmensita Rios, Parent, Bridgeport, CT:
Supports Senate Bill 24, and believes more families deserve access to charter schools, of which should be more adequately funded.
Byrute Johnson, Parent of Common Ground High School Student, New Haven, CT:
Supports the Senate Bill 24, and its raising of increased funding for charter schools. Johnson believes the state needs to fix the “untenable situation for charter schools”.
Edwin Colon, Staff Attorney, Center for Children's Advocacy:
Supports Senate Bill 24, but urges amendments to section 36 that include accountability provisions for alternative schools and programs, and amendments to reduce the “push out” of vulnerable students and improve the quality of alternative education.
Richard Murray, Vice President of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education:
Supports the budget proposal in general, and is very supportive of the proposal to fund an additional 500 children in school readiness programs.
Martha Stone, Executive Director, Center for Children's Advocacy:
Supports Senate Bill 24, but urges for amendments to Section 23 in order to grant authority to the commissioner of the state department of education to declare the number of seats each suburban district must make available for the open choice program, along with suggested amendments to Section 52 and Section 35.
Joseph J. Cirasuolo, Executive Director, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents:
Supports Senate Bill 24, however suggests taking increased ECS funds and placing funds in categorized grant programs issued upon approval of acceptable action plans proposed by districts, having the state assume entire cost of charter school system, restoring then creating a better determining process for allocation of funding to smaller districts, and finally increasing funding for agriscience programs.
Dr. Michael Sharpe, President, Connecticut Charter School Network:
Supports the Governor's proposed increase in funding to charter schools to $2,600 per pupil, and more equitable funding overall.
Jeff Bridges, Town Manager, Wethersfield, CT:
Supports the ECS portion of the bill, and the increases in funding to Wethersfield.
Erika Haynes, Town Council Member, Windham, CT:
Supports Sections 22, 18, and 52 of Senate Bill 24 specifically.
Bob Rath, President/CEO, Our Piece of the Pie, Inc:
Supports the passage of Senate Bill 24 because the bill takes enormous strides toward fixing many issues plaguing the state education system, and most importantly provides specific support for the state's highest need students.
Doris Bolczyk, Parent, Explorations Charter School:
Supports the Governor's Bill, and an increase in charter school funding.
Jeff Goldenberg, Elementary School Teacher,
Opposes Section 31 of Senate Bill 24, and has concerns about teacher salaries based on certification.
Dennis O' Brien, Former Probate Judge, District of Windham:
Commends Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor for Senate Bill 24, and believes the bill should be amended to include pilot expansion programs for the Education Resource Group I school districts, and determine a statewide salary scale for teachers that includes a cost of living index.
Catherine Smith, Commissioner, Department of Economic and Community Development:
In favor of the recommendations outlined in Senate Bill 24, and urges the Education Committee's support for the Governor's proposal.
Michael McGuire, Director of School Support Services, Domus Schools:
Supports the Governor's bill, specifically the increase in funding, which will help serve the economically deprived and emotionally struggling students attending Domus Schools.
Craig Baker, Chief Education Officer, Domus:
Supports effective tools for educating vulnerable youth, replicating successful school models, encouraging Commissioner Pryor to look at Domus school models, and welcome increased focus on individual student gains.
Dr. Robert A. Kennedy, Interim President, Board of Regents for Higher Education:
Supports Senate Bill 24, and believes the proposals hold accountable both teachers and teacher education training programs.
Susan Bransfield, Portland, CT:
Fully supports the ECS funding portion of Senate Bill 24, but has concerns with the charter school per pupil funding.
Gail Srebnik, Executive Director, Explorations Charter School, Winstead, CT:
Supports the proposed bill, and urges the committee's support.
Tom Cronin, Director of Education Services, EASTCONN:
Supports increased funding for magnet schools, and hopes progress will also be made on issues concerning transportation.
Elizabeth Fraser, Director, Middletown Even Start Program:
Supports the Governor's bill, and is heartened to see that early childhood development is included.
Miguel Gonzalez, Student, Common Ground High School:
Supports the Governor's bill and the plan to increase charter school funding.
Fully supports Senate Bill 24, and urges the committee to pass the bill.
Kate Colello, COMPASS Parent Advisory Group, RMMS, New London, CT:
Supports the increase in per pupil funding dedicated to magnet schools in the Governor's bill.
Larry Dome, Teacher, Common Ground High School:
Supports Governor Malloy's education proposals and the increased funding for charter schools.
James J. Maroney, Majority Leader, Milford Board of Education:
Applauded the Governor's proposals, and offered suggestions to further progress Gina
Fafard, Executive Director, Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication:
Supports the Governor's proposal for equitable education funding.
Susan Harris, Parent, Cheshire, CT:
Supports Senate Bill 24 because it is the right move to make for our children.
Mark Ribbens, Principal, Regional Center for Arts, Trumbull, CT:
Supports increased funding for magnet schools proposed in Senate Bill 24.
Michelle Ihrig, Special Educator, Stamford Academy:
In favor of additional allocations of $2,000 per student to charter schools, proposed in Governor Malloy's bill.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Phil Apruzzese, President, Connecticut Education Association testified in opposition to the section of S.B. 24 that proposes changes to teacher evaluation methods and stated that the State “shouldn't be so eager and willing to experiment with basing certification, and a teacher's ability to teach in any district in the state, on a system that is not yet designed, that faces challenges in addressing these concerns, that hasn't been tested and refined, and that has no research saying this is sound practice.”
Jason Mathes, Parent, Glastonbury submitted testimony opposing S.B. 24 and describing it as “a bill that is a misguided rework of policies that have been discredited and disproven in other states.” With regard to the topic of teacher evaluations Mr. Mathes stated that “linking a teacher's job security and salary to a test score, as this bill does, discourages potential teachers from entering the profession and experienced educators from taking on difficult assignments.”
Bill Coupe, Wilton submitted testimony urging the State to “consider the potential impact on the state budget of further declines in enrollment at private and parochial schools in the state.” According to Mr. Coupe, “as private and parochial schools become a greater percentage of household income due to a further decline in the economy…private school enrollment will fall and shift into public schools, thus putting more upward pressure on state and local budgets” and this will eventual result in pressure on the State to raise our already high tax levels.
Linette Branham, Director of Policy and Professional Practice, Connecticut Education Association testified in opposition to Section 28 Senate Bill 24, which focuses on teacher certification requirements arguing that it “devalues professionalism and promotes a culture of mistrust.” Ms. Branham denounced the proposal to eliminate the master's degree requirement in order for one to achieve certification by saying that “it devalues one of the primary factors in effective teaching.”
Janice Cook, Middle School Music Teacher, Vernon Public Schools submitting testimony opposing tenure reform stating that “there is a process in place and it does work.”
Elizabeth Barr, Chemistry Teacher, Vernon Public Schools testified in opposition of Section 29 of S.B. dealing with teacher tenure. Ms. Barr urged the Committee to retain the current tenure system with some minor modifications, specifically the ones proposed by the CEA in their “A view From the Classroom” proposal.
Erin Sullivan, English Teacher, Torrington Public Schools stated that she is “vehemently opposed” to S.B. 24 and labeled it as “counter-productive” in the State's efforts to eliminate the growing achievement gap. According to Ms. Sullivan, the only thing that would come out of this bill was that it would “force more quality teachers out of this profession, increase turn-over rate, and harm student learning more than help it.”
Jill Bracksieck, Math Coach, New Milford Public Schools expressed opposition to S.B. 24 and stated that he fears “this bill will create a climate of apathy and anxiety, competition instead of cooperation among teachers, and a system rigged for failure, all to the benefit of the for-profit corporations poised to take over failed schools and the futures of our children.”
Dr. Aram Ayalon Professor of Education, Central Connecticut State University submitted testimony in opposition of S.B. 24 and presented the Committee with four recommendations of his own that would help to close the growing achievement gap in the state; (1) Strengthen public education by giving all schools in the state equal funding; (2) provide more professional development and curriculum enrichment tools for local school boards, parents, teachers, and administrators to provide more challenging and interesting curriculum; (3) provide all children 3-6 years-old with access to public education; and (4) Invest in universal health care, affordable housing for all, strongly unionized and well paid jobs, and livable environmentally friendly towns and cities.
Jerri MacMillian submitted testimony opposing the section of S.B. 24 that centered on the subject of requiring all-day kindergarten because of the costs that it would present.
Jeremy Royster, 6th Grade Teacher, Westport Public Schools submitted testimony opposing the section of S.B. 24 that would eliminate the master's degree requirement for certification because “we need to keep highly educated people in the profession if we expect to turn out highly educated students, and because the profession cannot afford to lose more respect than it already has if it hopes to attract the best and the brightest young candidates hoping to make a positive change in the world.”
Dr. Margo Schiff, Teacher, Fairfield Public Schools submitted testimony opposing Sections 28-30 of S.B. 24 and declared that the modification of teacher tenure and evaluations would lower “the standards that teachers meet to maintain their professional status,” and would also, increase the flow of inexperienced teachers into the classroom because “districts would have to base salary schedules on the governor's new certification levels, not on education and experience as is done now.” As a result, districts would seek to hire teachers with less advanced degrees so that they would not have to pay them as much as those who had obtained master's degrees.
Frances Sterling, Psychology/Social Studies Teacher, Tolland High School submitted testimony opposing S.B. and describing the legislation as “detrimental to professionalism and education in Connecticut”
Ellen G. Shea, 2nd Grade Teacher, Danbury Public Schools spoke in opposition to the portion of S.B. 24 that would eliminate the master's degree requirement for receiving teacher certification and also on the subject of teacher evaluations. Ms. Shea described the process of gaining a master's degree as “an essential component to becoming a professional educator.” In regards to teacher evaluations, she urged the Committee to “consider expanding the basis for certification beyond just one principal's evaluation/observation,” and that they “take into consideration years of experience, as well as degrees obtained.”
Clint Huffaker, French Teacher, Ridgefield Public Schools expressed concern over the portions of S.B. 24 that relate to tenure, collective bargaining, and teacher evaluations. Mr. Huffaker stated that “without incentives, such as fair and just evaluation procedures, the job security provided by tenure and the guarantee of a livable salary through collective bargaining,” Connecticut's education system would deteriorate even further.
Carmela Vavrinec, Science Department Chair, Stamford High School “strongly implored” the committee not to support the sections of S.B. that pertained to teacher evaluation and tenure. Ms. Vavrinec believes that rather than helping the children of Connecticut, “Senate Bill 24 has the potential to cause direct harm to our children.” In particular, Ms. Vavrinec criticized the portion of the legislation that would eliminate the master's degree requirement for obtaining teacher certification. “Lowering the standards for teacher certification while raising the standards for teacher evaluation is counter intuitive and it just does not make any sense,” she stated. Based upon her own personal experience of obtaining a master's degree in education, Ms. Vavrinec described how doing so helped her to gain “valuable and practical experience” that she could then apply in the classroom. In closing, Ms. Vavrinec, expressed concern over the method of evaluating teachers based upon how their students performed on “flawed standardized tests such as the CAPT,” because performance on these tests is related to many different factors, most of which, are out of the teacher's control.
Aaron Brennar, English Teacher, South Windsor Public Schools testified in opposition to §§ 29 and 30 of S.B. 24 which focus on the issues of teacher tenure and teacher evaluations. Mr. Brennar stated that the current teacher tenure law is sufficient when it comes to dismissing incompetent teachers. According to Brennar, “if administrators do their jobs properly, both in the years before tenure is acquired and after, then they really have little trouble terminating unqualified teachers….after a teacher acquires tenure he/she can still be fired if administration does its due diligence and properly records the failings of that teacher.” Furthermore, Mr. Bernnar stated that the problem with the current system is not that teachers are failing to adequately perform their jobs, but rather, that administrators have become guilty of neglecting their duties and “seem to have more urgent interests than policing the quality of their staff.” Mr. Brennar stated that “many [administrators] are looking to increase standardized test scores and facilitate programs that will look good on the application for their next promotion, while avoiding the negative repercussions of angering any powerful parents.” In closing, he urged the committee too “reconsider its position on teacher tenure and evaluation until something can be done to ensure that the quality of administrators improves.”
Allen E. Platt, First Selectman, Town of Eastford expressed concern with the language contained in §11(a)-(d) because “it appears there is a penalty for small school districts that exceed state average per pupil costs for education expenditures.” Mr. Platt described these provisions as being “especially onerous and counter productive to education.”
Alex Pelissari, Teacher submitted testimony in opposition to S.B. 24 stating that, regardless of what the Governor's opinion is he “did not stop working after gaining tenure.” Mr. Pelissari described the proposed batch of reforms as “shortsighted” and “harmful” and argued that the only reason they are being implemented is because “the state has no control over the very real causes of poor achievement, (poverty, crime, parental neglect, drug addiction, violence, child hunger, and transience to name a few).”
Amy Congdon, 2nd Grade Teacher, Trumbull Public Schools testified in opposition to S.B. 24, in particular, the section dealing teacher evaluations. She urged the committee to vote against any legislation that would propose a method of rating a teacher's effectiveness based upon the standardized test scores of their students. Ms. Congdon stated “she cannot control” whether or not her students perform effectively on such standardized tests, but rather, that all she can do is “present the information and give them every research-proven method of applying the skills that great educational minds have come up with, but if there is no parent suffer at home, they won't succeed” Many other factors besides teacher ineffectiveness can contribute to a students poor performance on standardized tests, such as, failure to check their work or take their time or even a failure to get an adequate night's sleep.
Andrew Schoefer, 6th Grade Math Teacher, Sherman Public Schools submitted testimony in opposition to Section 28 of S.B. 24 which would eliminate the law that requires teacher's to obtain a master's degree because a master's degree goes a long way in increasing a teacher's effectiveness. If teachers are not required to obtain a master's degree, then Mr. Schoefer believes that education in the state would become “watered down.” Furthermore, Mr. Shoefer argued that the master's degree requirement is necessary because it helps to keep all teachers on an even level with each other. He fears, that if the requirement was taken off the books, districts would seek to hire teachers who have lesser degrees because they would not need to pay them as much. In effect, this would leave teachers with advanced degrees, as well as students, at a disadvantage.
Anna Gallant, Social Studies Teacher, Regional District 11 testified in opposition to S.B., specifically, the sections that deal with teacher tenure. Ms. Gallant argued that “if the proposed changes are made, teachers with twenty or more years of experience will be threatened, since superintendents and boards of education are always looking to slash their educational budgets especially with teacher salaries being the highest cost in school budgets.” She closed by urging the Committee to adopt the teacher tenure system that was proposed by the Connecticut Education Association.
Alison Marshall-Rubin, English Teacher, Wilton Public Schools testified in opposition to the sections of S.B. 24 dealing with certification and tenure reform. On the topic of certification, Ms. Marshall-Rubin expressed her disagreement with the provision that would eliminate the master's degree requirement for certification. She stated that “the current state requirement that teachers wishing to maintain certification must obtain a Master's degree is a vital one, as it enhances not only our content knowledge but our ability to be classroom teachers.”
Carole Marvin, Second Grade Teacher, East Haddam Public Schools submitted testimony is opposition of the tenure reform provision contained in S.B. 24. Ms. Marvin stated that “tenure does not guarantee that a teacher will keep his or her job…it is simply due process before a teacher can be terminated.” She went of further to express strong opposition to the section that would modify tenure year based upon standardized test scores of students. According to Ms. Marvin, “teachers can only be responsible for the students during the school day and not for their home environment and relationships, health and mental status, parental involvement, self motivation and discipline,” and therefore, they should not be held solely responsibly for a student's academic success.
Jessica Karjanis, Language Arts Teacher, Stamford Public Schools submitted testimony which opposed sections 28 (certification) and 29 (tenure) of the S.B. 24. In regards to Section 28, which would eliminate the master's degree requirement, Ms. Karjanis stated that “Malloy claims that he wants to raise the bar for educators, but by removing the post-graduate study requirements he is lowering standards and paving the way for a decrease in our [teacher] salaries.” Ms. Karjanis also strong opposed the portion of the bill in Section 29 that would tie teacher tenure and salary to standardized test scores.
Bernard Josefsberg, Easton, Redding, and Region 9 School Districts expressed opposition to Section 11 of S.B. which would consolidate small school districts.
Anne Lutz Fernandez-Carol, English Teacher, Staples High School expressed opposition to the portions of S.B. 24 that deal with teacher tenure and evaluations and stating that “tying state certification to district evaluations would be disastrous” because “a teacher who struggles in one district but could succeed in another would find his or her prospects ruined.” On the topic of tenure, Ms. Ferndandez-Carol argued that tying pay to certification/tenure would also be a “terrible mistake” because “a talented teacher who has a few tough years not performing as his or her best before rebounding to his or her full potential could see a pay cut” and this would place a large amount of stress on the teacher and also their family. She also pointed out that tying a teacher's pay to performance could result in a teacher's income becoming subject to “wild swings,” which could ultimately have an adverse effect of a teacher's ability to obtain a mortgage.
Brian Jacobs, History and Stage Teacher, West Hartford Public Schools testified in opposition to S.B. 24 and exclaimed that “Governor Malloy's plan will only weaken our state's educational system by attacking the very people who are the backbone of public education.” According to Mr. Jacobs, The system that we currently have in place demands teachers to prove their mettle over a period of years, demonstrating their ability to support student achievement through numerous professional reviews by multiple individuals, including department supervisors, assistant principals, and building principals,” and the current proposal to reduce or eliminate tenure will not improve Connecticut's schools but rather it will harm them.
Alyce Loesch, Teacher, Stamford Public Schools submitted testimony in opposition of S.B. 24, describing is as a bill that “is fraught with inconsistencies: lack of due process, parity between the school districts of the state of Connecticut and clear and concise terms of evaluation.” Ms. Lesch's biggest concern with the proposed legislation was that it seems to ignore “the accomplishments, recognitions, and performance achieved over a lifetime of professional effort and growth,” in the way that it subjects teacher's salaries to become dependent on continued evaluations. According to Ms. Loesch, “in the private sector a business professional is never asked to surrender his/her past accomplishments,” in order to maintain their current pay rate. This bill would require “established professionals to be judged for certification status as if they had no professional history,” she said.
Jennifer Shaknaitis, Language Arts Resource Teacher, Glastonbury Public Schools expressed concern over S.B. 24 because “the bill, as written, does not support fair and justified evaluation procedures,” by placing teacher evaluations “in the hands of one individual, the administrator who is supervising the individual teacher.” In conclusion, Ms. Shaknaitis implored the Committee to “advocate for a tenure and certification plans that allows for teacher accountability, but also values advanced learning, allows for competitive salaries which compensate teachers for their dedication to student achievement, and maintains the high expectations that Connecticut has been known to hold for its teachers.”
Christina Black, English Teacher, Rockville High School spoke in opposition to S.B. and stated that “it belittles much of the work that teachers perform on a daily basis as well as the dedication with which they perform their work.”
Jeanne Deming, Ridgefield submitted testimony in opposition to the proposed modifications to teacher evaluations and tenure as laid out in the framework of S.B. 24. While Ms. Deming stated that she does believe changes should be made to how teachers are evaluated, she expressed opposition the changes, as proposed, in S.B. 24. She said that “the plan proposed in the legislation serves to only make the evaluation process even more unwieldy…changes should be made, of course, but these proposals need to be realistic and shouldn't be pushed through in a rush to establish an education agenda.” With regards to tenure, Ms. Deming stated that she opposed the idea of tenure being determined by one individual.
Jennifer M. Anderson, Social Studies Teacher testified that while she does believe the current education system is in need of reform, she does not support the Governor's proposed changes contained in S.B. 24. According to Ms. Anderson, “two of the most mitigating factors affecting student performance are outside of the school,” and they are economic status and family support.” Furthermore, Ms. Anderson then stated that “rather than just blaming teachers for low test scores, we need to first remedy these outside factors… until government recognizes that teachers are only one part of the puzzle, reforms will be quick fixes.”
Christopher Hocker, Member, Region 9 Board of Education submitted testimony opposing Section 11, which deals with school district consolidation, of S.B and labeling it as “arbitrary, heavy-handed, and perverse.” In closing, Mr. Hocker stated that “consolidation may well be a desirable goal --- for some towns, under some circumstances -- that should be addressed and encouraged on a careful, case-by-case basis, with significant input from local educators and community leaders who would be most affected.”
Jane Hock, Teacher, Trumbull Public Schools submitted testimony urging the Committee not to “endorse a bill that could jeopardize the future of our educational system and the future of our children.”
Elizabeth Kennedy, 7th Grade English Teacher, Danbury Public Schools spoke against Section 28 and 30 of S.B. 24 which would require all students who wished to receive a master's in education maintain a B+ grade-point average and teacher evaluations. In regards to the maintenance of a B+ GPA, Ms. Kennedy stated that such a requirement would not “even things out and it indicates a misguided point of view of what makes a great teacher, because, “it's not all about having straight A's -it's about having passion” for teaching. She also opposed the proposed new teacher evaluation method that would tie subjective local evaluations by principals to both teachers' certification and renewable tenure because “districts would have to base salary schedules on the governor's new certification levels, not education and experience as is done now,” and “moving from one level of certification to the next would be based solely on a principal's evaluation, not taking into account experience or advanced degrees.” Lastly, Ms. Kennedy closed by stating that “weakening the requirements to become a teacher and reducing the salaries allocated to the profession will not only weaken the status of the profession, but will also cause those who are highly qualified to leave the profession. And that is not in the best interest of children.”
Cindy Davis, Teacher, Danbury Public Schools expressed opposition to S.B. 24 and described the proposed reforms to teacher tenure and evaluation as “feeling punitive” toward teachers.
Emily Kilbourn, English Teacher, Ridgefield High School testified in opposition to S.B. 24 and labeled the Governor's approach at education reform as being “dangerously misguided.” Ms. Kilbourn directly criticized the Governor's plan to eliminate the master's degree requirement for certification saying, “teachers should be highly knowledgeable in their content areas and highly skilled in pedagogy…this bill suggests lowering the bar for teacher certification…We should be encouraging the increased professionalism of the teaching force—not discouraging it by removing the requirement for a master's degree.” Lastly, Ms. Kilbourn concluded by stating that she does in fact support the idea of education reform, however, “this bill, however, goes about reform in the wrong ways.”
Don Johnson, Teacher, North Haven Public Schools submitted testimony opposing senate Bill 24 and suggesting instead that the Committee take “more time” to further analyze and amend this sweeping reform plan.
Nick Banks, Shelton testified in opposition to Section 31 of Senate Bill 24 which would eliminate the Master's Degree requirement and base teachers' salaries on certification levels and not degree or years of experience. According to Mr. Banks, Senate Bill 24 would “offer no impetus for teachers to become more versed in their subject matter or learn cutting-edge techniques to improve student performance.”
Peg Curtis, 6th Grade Teacher, Willington Public Schools submitted testimony urging the Committee not to support the section of Senate Bill 24 that would eliminate the Master's Degree requirement for certification.
Matthew Hoyt, Science Teacher, Wilton submitted testimony opposing tenure reform. Mr. Hoyt stated that, “the protection offered by tenure is one of the few perks that teachers have,” and “to take that away, based on a few teachers who are not being properly supervised, is a slap in the face.”
Pastor Bob Cutting submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
Paul Courtois, Teacher, Vernon Public Schools submitted testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 24 and stated that if this bill were to pass, it “will have a negative effect on our schools.”
Dr. Salvatore Menzo, Superintendent, Wallingford Public Schools submitted testimony opposing S.B. 24
Christina Lepi, Teacher, Farmington Public Schools testified against S.B. 24, in particular, the sections dealing with teacher tenure and certification. According to Ms. Lepi, “eliminating the master's degree and requirement for teachers to continue their education after they have entered the classroom, would water down the process” and allow teachers who were unprepared to teach obtain certification. On the subject of tenure, Ms. Lepi urged the committee not to change the current system.
Beth Hanlon, Special Education Teacher, Norwich Public Schools spoke in opposition to Section 29 of S.B. 24 which deals with teacher tenure and certification.
Paul Ferrino submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
Lisa Wean, Special Education Teacher submitted testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 24 because she believes that if the reforms contained in this bill, specifically the elimination of the master's degree requirement, are put into effect “teachers will no longer be encouraged to advance their learning and obtain higher degrees.”
Diane Marinaro, Social Studies Teacher, Hamden Public Schools testified in opposition to Section 33 of S.B. 24, which would waive the requirement that a school superintendent must be certified. Ms. Marinaro, who is also a former member of the Hamden Board of Education and also a union president, stated “a superintendent must understand and articulate the complexities involved in a school district… someone who has no experience and insight into the social, emotional, academic and diverse needs of students can not possibly comprehend the educational challenges facing us today.” She went even further to say that “A superintendent must not only possess the knowledge but must have obtained the educational skill set required to lead a school district….he/she must have experienced the daily workings of a classroom to better relate to issues of concern and to guide the district forward.”
Ann Irvine, 3rd Grade Teacher, East Hartford Public Schools testified in “strong opposition” to S.B. 24, specifically, the portion of the bill that would eliminate the master's degree requirement as part of teacher certification. Ms Irvine stated that she “does not understand how removing the requirement of a master's degree can be considered progressive,” and with the combined benefit of advanced training, a teacher can draw from multiple sources to develop lesions and strategies that will have the most impact on students.”
Andre Niscaji, Mathematics Teacher, Weston Public Schools testified on Section 29 of S.B. 24 which focuses on the topic of teacher tenure reform. Mr. Niscaji stated that there was no need to reform the current system of tenure as “the present tenure system under Connecticut's Fair Dismissal Act works well.”
Dianne Drugge, Teacher, Stamford Public Schools submitted testimony in opposition to S.B. 24.
Anne T. Rizza, English Teacher, Trumbull School District submitted testimony opposing the section of Senate Bill 24 that would eliminate the Master's Degree requirement for certification. Ms. Rizza stated that “if legislators pass Governor Malloy's plan, finding a teacher with a master's degree or even a Master teacher will be a difficult task.”
Lori A. Woodfield, Language Arts Teacher, Cheshire submitted testimony opposing tenure reform
LuAnn Gallicchio, Director of Adult and Early Childhood Education, Hamden Public Schools submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
Meg (Margaret) Durlach, MBA, LNHA submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
Mary Sheridan, Early Intervention, Eric G. Norfeldt School submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 and labeling the legislation as a “travesty.”
Maureen Bachelder, Teacher, Easton Public Schools submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
Melinda Violante, Teacher Librarian, Ridgefield Public Schools submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 and stated that “the failure of our educational system in this state and this country is NOT about the numbers on standardized test scores, but about the havoc poverty, malnutrition, teen pregnancy, and drugs
wreaks on our children.”
Nancy S. Niemi, Ph.D., Department of Education, University of New Haven submitted testimony supporting educational reform.
Michelle Bidwell submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 because it “fails to address the huge achievement gap between children with special needs and other children in Connecticut's schools,” and also, because, “many of the provisions of SB24 would actually increase the achievement gap between children with special needs and other children.”
Cindy Mirochine, 5th Grade Teacher, Danbury Public Schools submitted testimony in opposing to the proposal in Senate Bill 24 to eliminate the Master's Degree requirement for certification.
Kim Neilsen, 1st Grade Teacher, Darien Public Schools submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
Linda Podos submitted testimony urging the Committee to “reject the use of the Connecticut Mastery Test as a tool for evaluation of teachers and school districts and for determining funding,” because it is an “unproven instrument.”
Michele Reveruzzi White, Teacher, International Magnet School submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 by stating tat the “the proposed changes to education [in S.B. 24] will not be an effective way to enhance teacher performance or student achievement…teaching is not a business and should not be run as such.” On the subject of teacher salaries, Ms. Reveruzzi White argued that “teacher salaries should not be solely based upon teacher performance, student achievement and parent evaluations,” because, “this proposal does not lead to transparent and open communication with students and families” but rather to “fear of negative feedback and parent surveys.”
Elizabeth Kloeblen, Second Grade Teacher, Easton Public Schools urged the Committee not to support the portions of S.B. 24 that would reform the current teacher tenure system because it bases teacher tenure mostly on standardized test scores. According to Ms. Kloeblen, this is a problem because “there are several grade levels and subject areas which are not assessed on standardized tests” and, “it would be impossible to fairly evaluate teachers on different criteria if they are all measured in different ways.” Furthermore, Ms. Kloeblen criticized the tenure reform called for in S.B. 24 because it “does not take into account the ways some school districts choose to group students with special needs.”
Karen H. Norton, Graduate Student submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
David Olio, Teacher, South Windsor Public Schools stated that he is “vehemently opposed to the proposal (in S.B. 24) that would eliminate the current regulation requiring a master's degree in order to maintain one's certification after the initial educator certificate. “
Jill Kuruc, Kindergarten Teacher, Easton Public Schools testified in opposition to Section 29 of S.B. 24 because it “disrespects the high standards that teachers meet to maintain their professional status.” Furthermore, Ms. Kuruc stated that by eliminating the master's degree requirement “[the Governor's] proposal allows [a] greater numbers of inexperienced individuals to teach our children, and he makes it easier for out-of state teachers to migrate to Connecticut.”
Janet Settle, Little House in the Country Child Care, Ellington submitted testimony opposing S.B. 24.
Kimberly Duffy, Teacher, Easton Public Schools submitted testimony opposing the section of Senate Bill 24 that deals with tenure reform because “it bases teacher tenure in large part on students' success on standardized tests,” and these tests have proven not to be an accurate measure of a students' knowledge.
Carolyn Goerner, Teacher, West Hartford Public Schools submitted testimony opposing S.B. 24 and its proposed changes to teacher tenure.
Karen Jackson, Parent, Bridgeport submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
Geraldine Carley, Teacher, Ridgefield School District submitted testimony in opposition to the proposed teacher evolution reforms contained in S.B. 24.
Leah Neumann, Special Education Teacher, Ridgefield Public Schools submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
Lisa Hodgkins, M.Ed., Teacher submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 and stated that she is “frightened that Governor Malloy's proposed bill will hurt our kids at a time they do not need anything else working against them.
Clare Taylor, 5th Grade Teacher, West Hartford Public Schools testified is opposition to Sections 28 and 29 of S.B. 24 which center upon teacher tenure and evaluations. With regards to teacher evaluations and tenure Ms. Clare labeled “Senate Bill 24's proposal to make performance and salary increases based on the principals' sole judgment” and standardized test scores as “concerning.” Ms. Taylor, concluded, by urging the committee to include teachers in the educational reform process by stating that “teachers need to be on professional development committees, they should be encouraged to collaborate and not compete, and test scores should be used to measure student growth not teacher effectiveness.”
Pamela Hurley, Math Teacher, Torrington Middle School submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
Norma J. Marchesani, Music Teacher, Vernon submitted testimony opposing the section of Senate Bill 24 that would remove the Mater's Degree requirement for certification.
Kimberly Patella, Language Arts/Reading Teacher, New Milford submitted testimony opposing the proposed changes to teacher evaluations contained in Senate Bill 24.
Heidi Casarola, Teacher, Forbes School, Torrington submitted testimony in opposition to S.B. 24 and its suggested reforms on teacher tenure and evaluations. Ms. Cassarola declared that “tenure does not guarantee a teacher a job for life, but rather guarantees a teacher the right of “due process” and “a fair hearing between administrators and representatives of the teachers choosing…tenure prevents a teacher from being dismissed simply because a particular administrator deems a teacher to be ineffective or just does not like that teacher or the way he/she teaches.”
Cynthia Morrisey, Teacher submitted testimony in opposition to S.B. 24 and stating that she finds “it alarming that the people in our state who hold political power have chosen this path.”
Judith B. Greiman, Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges submitting testimony in “overall support” of Senate Bill 24, however, they also expressed some concerns about the proposed legislation by stating that “while overall we support the Governor's education reform agenda and know that new funds are required to achieve this goal, we have concerns about the significant cut to the Connecticut Independent College Student grant program that is being made in part to fund these initiatives.”
Jose M. Vas, 11th Grade Teacher, Danbury Public Schools testified in opposition to the section on Senate Bill 24 that would eliminate the master's degree requirement for certification by stating that in Connecticut, “we need teachers with better training, higher standards of educational achievement and richer and deeper support.”
John Settlage, Professor of Education, University of Connecticut submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 and arguing that the legislation would not be successful in closing the education gap in the State because it fails to include amongst the bill's “accountability benchmarks and performance management.”
Judy Brown, Former Teacher submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
Kara Hennessey, 5th Grade Teacher, Willington Public Schools submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 and described the legislation as a “quick fix” and not a long term solution.
Dino DeMonti, Science Teacher, West Hartford expressed opposition for the portion of S.B. 24 that would eliminate the master's degree requirement necessary to receive teacher certification because “it fuels a fire of popular belief that our children are being educated by unqualified, incompetent teachers who simply need to show up in order to collect a pay check.”
Matthew P. Valenti, Orchestra Director, Torrington Education Association President, Torrington Public Schools submitted testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 24.
Karen Maxwell, Jane Soto, and Jaime Maynard, Pre-Kindergarten Teachers, East Hartford International Magnet School submitting trstimony urging the Committee to reject Senate Bill 24 and stating that “teaching is not a business and should not be run as such….teachers work with human beings and a plethora of societal conditions that create situations and impact student performance in ways outside of the educator's control.”
Kim Hanson, Chair, New Fairfield Board of Education submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 and stating that “our (the State's) problem is not public education; public education is simply the first place that the horrible effects of poverty get measured and thus become apparent…formalized and mandated teacher evaluation methods will not overcome poverty in districts with high incidences of poverty and will almost certainly waste money, administrators' time, and teachers' time on task in schools where poverty is not a large issue.”
Lisbeth Dizney Kurjiaka, 5th Grade Teacher, Weston Public Schools submitted testimony opposing Section 31 of Senate Bill 24 which pertains to teacher evaluations and certification. According to Ms. Kurjiaka, “basing teacher salaries on certification undermines the importance of education…in doing this, the proposed bill devalues advanced degrees that teachers earn to improve their skills… these new certification levels will allow greater numbers of inexperienced teachers into our schools teaching our children.”
Mary Edwards, Science Teacher, West Hartford submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 and stating that “teachers cannot and should not be made the scapegoats of something of which we have no control over and that is home.”
Kathleen N. Boland, Teacher, Trumbull Public Schools testified in opposition to Senate Bill 24, in particular, the sections of the bill concerning tenure reform. According to Ms. Boland, “teacher tenure does not protect the bad teachers and keep them in their jobs; instead, teacher tenure protects the good teachers and allows them to continually do an outstanding job educating tomorrow's leaders…without teacher tenure, the teacher loses his or her important voice. We can't let that happen.”
Mark C. Carroll, Cromwell submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 stating that “the Governor's proposal displays a clear disregard for the high standards that Connecticut teachers currently meet to maintain their professional status…it would, in fact, lower standards by bringing about an end to the current certification system, eliminating the master's degree requirement, and allowing greater numbers of inexperienced individuals to teach our children.”
David Anderson, Teacher, South Windsor submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 and urging the Committee to “to consider the proposals recommended by the CEA as ideas that truly would enrich the great educational opportunities we have here in Connecticut and to address the generational poverty and the breakdown of the family as the true underlying cornerstones of the achievement gap.”
Marian Carson, Middle School Teacher submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 and stating that “we already have a good, effective system of evaluating our teachers and even if a teacher has “tenure”, if they start to perform poorly, there is a valid, fair system to evaluate and document inefficiencies…I f the teacher does not correct them, they can be fired.”
Dr. Anne E. Campbell, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Fairfield University submitted testimony expressing her “deep” concerns over S.B. 24, in particular, the proposed changes in the certification standards and requirements.
J. Ranelli, Old Lyme submitted testimony in opposition to S.B. 24.
Ronald Cordilico, Legal Counsel, Connecticut Education Association testified in opposition to Section 29 of Senate Bill 24 which affects teacher tenure. Mr. Cordilico cited that main reason for the CEA's opposition to this section as being because it leaves tenure and teacher certification based upon evaluations that “are not clearly defined.” For example, the section is unclear on when and how often such evaluations are to occur.
Melanie Guerin, Music Teacher, Hartt School submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
Sandra VanAusdal, World Language Teacher, Joel Barlow High School submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 because she fears “that the proposed bill will crush this spirit among the very people who can provide perhaps the best perspective for meaningful and successful learning.” Ms. VanAusdal concluded by urging the Committee “to consider revising this plan so that the voices of the teachers are heard.”
Stephanie Wanzer, Special Educator, Cooperative Educational Services submitted testimony opposing Section 28 of Senate Bill 24 which would eliminate the master's degree requirement for certification.
Shannon L. Perreault, Torrington submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 and describing the legislation as being “ill-conceived,” “dangerous,” and “counter-productive.”
Scott Minnick, Teacher, Glastonbury Public Schools submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 stating that if the legislature were to pass this bill, it would succeed only in helping to “drive good teachers out and dissuade future ones from entering the profession.”
Kathy Martin-Ocain, French Teacher, Torrington High School submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 because she had “concerns” over how evaluations and testing would be conducted.
Kevin Egan, President, Waterbury Teachers Association testified in opposition to Section 31 of Senate Bill 24 which addresses teacher evaluations. According to Mr. Egan, “testing should be used for diagnostic purposes, to help students and teachers, but instead, it has turned into a deadly weapon that is used to punish teachers and schools,” and this bill continues that trend. Quoting Diane Ravitch, Mr. Eagan stated that, “judging teachers by test scores demoralizes teachers and will lead to narrowing of the curriculum—so that the districts where children have the lowest scores will have more time for test preparation and less time for the arts, less time for history or civics, less time for science, less time for physical education…the children who need a great education the most will get the least.”
Anna Pirri, 7th Grade Math Teacher, Ridgefield Public Schools submitted testimony opposing the section of Senate Bill 24 that would eliminate the Master's Degree requirement by stating that “continuing education is crucial to performing at a professional level and achieving success in the field.
Patrick Ryan, 2nd Grade Teacher, Guilford Public Schools submitted testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 24.
Mary Keegan, Stamford Public Schools submitted testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 24 and stated that “Governor Malloy's Education Reform plan is very, very unfair to hard working teachers who voluntarily work many extras hours each week beyond the classroom day.” Rather than supporting Senate Bill 24, Ms. Keegan implored the Committee to instead support the Connecticut Education Association's positive reform plan.
William During, Bilingual/ESL Teacher, Stamford Public Schools submitted testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 24 and stated that “Governor Malloy should stick to that which he does best, politics, and middle level management.”
Bill Schultz, High School Teacher, Broad Brook Public Schools submitted testimony favoring teacher evaluation and tenure reform, however, not as proposed in S.B. 24. Mr. Schultz, stated, “I am fully in support of teacher evaluation and tenure reform, as long as it is done correctly…using standardized test results (CMT and CAPT) is not the correct way.” According to Schultz, these tests are not the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of a teacher because they “evaluate the overall status of the child, a status determined more by parenting and social issues than by their current teacher.”
Camille Eskell, Teacher, Westport Public Schools submitted testimony in opposition to S.B. 24, specifically the sections that pertain to teacher certification, evaluation, and salaries. On the subject of teacher evaluations, Ms. Eskell stated that leaving “the way a teacher is evaluated for tenure to one person, the principal is dangerous and prohibitively unfair, especially in view of the proposed limitations on arbitration.” Ms. Eskell also expressed opposition to the section of the bill that would eliminate the master's degree requirement for those individuals who are seeking to become certified teachers.
John Evans, English Teacher, Trumbull Public Schools submitted testimony opposing S.B. 24 and stated that “the Malloy plan is supposed to close the achievement gap, but I believe it will do the opposite…communities that value teachers with advanced degrees and experience are going to seek these teachers out, and pay highly for them…this will lead to a greater disparity between districts, as the best and most qualified teachers will move to districts that value their educational background and graduate experience, and the less qualified teachers will only work in lower paying districts.” Mr. Evans, also criticized the plan for failing to address many of the other factors, such as a student's home life, which have a huge effect on student performance by stating that “Malloy's plan does not address the fact that student achievement hinges greatly on family life and home support…we can blame teachers all we want, but the fact of the matter is that students are more successful when they come from homes that encourage reading and value education…if anything, we need to think about how we could develop more early intervention programs before students even enter the public schools.”
Janice M Bacewicz, Teacher, Tolland Public Schools submitted testimony opposing the education reforms contained in S.B. 24.
Diane M. Walsh, Mathematics Teacher, Coginchaug Regional High School submitted testimony in opposition to S.B. 24 and labeled the Governor's remarks comments that “teachers just show up” as being “far off base.” Ms. Walsh went even further, stating that Senate Bill 24 will “cause an environment of fear and mistrust” amongst fellow teachers because “If teachers are competing for rankings, not only will teachers balk at the prospect of teaching those lower-level disconnected students, but there will also be a lose of any sense of collaboration between colleagues.”
Joe Zipoli, Mathematics Teacher, Guilford Public Schools expressed opposition to S.B. 24, specifically, the sections that call for reform to teacher tenure. Mr. Zipoli praised the idea of tenure and stated that “tenure allows teachers to give personal interpretations of material within their disciplines without fear of intimidation, solely because their opinions and conclusions might be controversial.”
Joe Butkovsk, Technology Teacher, Stamford Public Schools submitted testimony describing S.B. 24 as “a thinly disguised method to save money at the expense of our children's education.”
Dr. Armand A. Fusco, Guilford submitted testimony opposing Governor Malloy's education reforms in S.B. 24.
Cathy Delahanty Teacher & President, Greenwich Education Association, Greenwich Public Schools testified in opposition to S.B. 24 stating that it “tried to do too much too quickly,” and that the State needs “to allow the teachers, the ones who are in front of [our] children, to make the most important decisions about success and improved achievement.” She suggested that the Committee consider basing education reform on the CEA's “A View from the Classroom” reform package.
Mary Loftus Levine, Executive Director, Connecticut Education Association testified in opposition to S.B. 24 and stated that “the governor's bill in its current form raises more questions than it answers…it appears to be built on the theory that if you just focus on unproven experimental ideas, take away collective bargaining, and create an untested system of certification, evaluation, and tenure-our problems will be solved.”
Elizabeth Garrity, 5th Teacher, Willington Public Schools submitted testimony on Senate Bill 24 regarding teacher certification and evaluation. Ms. Garrity expressed her opposition to the section of the bill that would eliminate the master's degree requirement for teachers seeking certification.
Carol Guernsey, Norwalk submitted testimony criticizing the educational funding that the Town of Norwalk was receiving under the current ECS Formula. Ms. Guernsey stated that it is her opinion that “the current ECS formula unfairly distributes monies throughout [the] state.”
Cindy Tellgmann-Caruk, Science Teacher, West Hartford Public Schools submitted testimony opposing Section 29 of Senate Bill 24 which pertains to tenure reform.
Brian Calhoun, Grade 7 Language Arts Teacher, Cromwell Public Schools focused his testimony on Section 31 of S.B. 24, which pertains to teacher salaries based on certifications. Mr. Calhoun expressed his opposition to the proposed changes in S.B. 24 by stating that he was “concerned that tying teacher observations to certifications and salaries could create a highly competitive school environment and inhibit collaboration among colleagues,” because, “under Governor Malloy's proposal teachers will inevitably have to create and implement superior lessons than their colleagues to earn top ratings from building administrators and top pay from school districts.”
Faith Sweeney, Literacy Specialist, Greenwich Public Schools submitted testimony opposing the section of Senate Bill 24 that would eliminate the Mater's Degree requirement for teachers.
Margaret Youmatz, Teacher of English as a Second Language, Vernon Public Schools testified in opposition to Senate Bill 24 and stated that she found the proposed legislation to be “insulting” and “appalling.” On the issue of tenure, Ms. Youmatz stated that she does not believe that the current system needs to be reformed because, “tenure is certainly no guarantee of a lifetime job; detailed evaluation instruments are in place to weed out underperforming teachers if only administrators would fully utilize those instruments as intended.”
Tanya Platt, Third Grade Teacher, Danbury Public Schools testified in opposition Section 28 of Senate Bill 24 which pertains to changes in the teacher certification process. According to Ms. Platt, “the certification process we have in place works, and works well,” and if the state were to change that process, “the proposed changes would weaken the quality of teachers that are attracted to our schools and would place an unfair level of power on the decisions made by one supervisor.”
Taylor Miller, Student, University of Hartford Teacher Preparation Program submitted testimony in support of Senate Bill 24 and stated that the proposed legislation “makes teaching a more competitive profession, geared toward finding the best and bringing them into teaching.”
Wally Hauck, Ph.D., Certified Speaking Professional, Milford supported the idea of education reform, but stated that he does not believe Senate Bill 24 proposes the types of changes needed to eliminate the achievement gap in Connecticut. According to Mr. Hauck, “teaching is not learning,” and “no one can be taught something they do not wish to learn.” Therefore, we will not be able to successfully eliminate the growing achievement gap in Connecticut, “until [the States] creates a different learning environment for students that provides them with autonomy about what they want to learn and minimizes the unintended consequences of extrinsic motivators such as grades and test scores.”
Brian Walsh submitted testimony opposing S.B. 24 and stating that “as a citizen of the state of Connecticut [he is] appalled at the recommendations Gov. Malloy is making to reform education.” Mr. Walsh criticized Governor Malloy's depiction that tenure guarantees a teacher job security simply for “just showing up.” Instead of alienating teachers and those who may be considering a career in teacher, Mr. Walsh stated that “we should be encouraging the best of the best to enter this honorable profession…taking rights away from teachers coupled with a low pay scale will not entice top graduates from universities to jump into the classroom.”
JoAnn Manes, Chemistry Teacher, Danbury Public Schools expressed opposition to S.B. and urged the Committee to instead “work with our Connecticut Education Association and Boards of Education to retain the high standards that are characteristic of the teaching profession in our great state.”
Joan E. Venditto, Director of Education Programs, Albertus Magnus College submitted testimony opposing S.B. 24, specifically the section of the bill that would require students, who are seeking to become certified teachers, to maintain a B+ grade point average.
Dr. Daniel A. Long, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Wesleyan University
Middletown testified in opposition to Sections 28 and 30 of S.B. 24 expressing that he has “reviewed the best research on the achievement gap and teacher evaluation models and can say with certainty that the current proposed educational reforms will do almost nothing to narrow the achievement gap and will lower the average achievement in CT for all students.” According to Dr. Long, using standardized tests to evaluate teachers is ineffective, unfair and counterproductive.” Dr. Long went even further stating that “the main problem with education in Connecticut is not teachers…teachers in the state are among the best nationwide, due in large part to the state's rigorous credentialing standards…the problem with education in Connecticut is income inequality, not teacher quality.”
Jacob Werblow submitted testimony is opposition to S.B. 24.
John L. Cattelan, Connecticut Federation of Catholic School Parents submitted testimony relating to sections of S.B. 24 that he feels will have a direct impact on Catholic Schools in Connecticut, in particular Section 26 concerning teacher certification and Section 35 which focuses on early childhood education. In regards to Section 26, which creates a “Master Educator Certificate,” Mr. Cattelan stated that he believes this section with “harm the ability of [Catholic] schools to retain highly qualified teachers,” because it excludes nonpublic school; teacher from obtaining this type of certification.
Rita Gruener submitted testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 24.
Lisa Caldwell, 4th Grade Teacher, Madison Public Schools submitting testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 and stating that “many of the proposals in Education Bill 24 not only undermine our profession, but are disrespectful and lower our [teacher's] professional status.”
Lisa Urso, French/Spanish Teacher, Regional School District #4 submitted testimony oppsing Senate Bill 24 and stated that the legislation “would prevent many would-be teachers from entering the profession, and it may even cause many aspiring teachers to seek employment “outside of Connecticut.”
Lori Pelletier, Secretary-Treasurer, Connecticut AFL-CIO submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24 in its current form.
Robert Fand submitted testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 24.
Keira Kowalczyk, Sixth Grade Teacher, Ridgefield Public Schools stated that while she agrees with Governor Malloy that changes are needed in the teaching profession, she does not feel as though S.B. 24 goes about doing so in the proper manner. Ms. Kowalczyk argued against eliminating the Master's Degree requirement for certification, stating that it will only result in under-qualified teachers be allowed to enter into the classroom. She also expressed concern over teacher salary reform. According to Ms. Kowalczyk, under the proposed plan, “the cost of living will always continue to rise…without stable teacher salary increases, teachers will struggle to pay their mortgage and will not be contributing to the local economy.”
Harry Rosvally, Jr., President, Connecticut Science Supervisors Association submitted testimony in support of the overall “goals” of S.B. 24.
Jennifer Migiano, Ph.D., Chemistry Teacher, Stamford School District submitted testimony opposing S.B. 24 and stating that “nowhere in this bill are students and parents being held accountable in attendance and effort (performing homework)…there are four parts to a child's education: the child, parents, the teacher and administration…[the State is] trying to address the last two without any substance on the first two.”
Lisa Roche, English Teacher, Torrington Public Schools submitted testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 24.
Heather Reed submitted testimony stating that she is “extremely upset over S.B. 24.” Ms. Reed criticized the portion of the bill that would eliminate the master's degree requirement for certification stating that if a “master's degree is no longer required, then you [State] will be hiring people who have not had a chance to deeply study effective best practices.” Second, she condemned the section of the bill that would eliminate the special education coursework requirements for prospective teachers, because, “teachers must have a firm grounding in special education in order to better individualize instruction for ALL students.” Furthermore, Ms. Reed also criticized the bills' proposal to base certification on teacher evaluations, because, “teachers will be more concerned with putting on “dog and pony shows” for administrators rather than using the evaluation process as a mode for furthering their professional development.”
Jack Chiaramonte, Chairman, Norwalk Board of Education submitted testimony opposing S.B. 24, as well as the funding that the City of Norwalk receives under the current ECS Formula. Mr. Chiaramonte questioned why, under the current ECS Formula, Norwalk and Stamford, two cities that have the highest populations of students in the state, receive the LEAST amount of funding per student while cities like Danbury, which have the third highest percentage of students, receives over 2 ½ times more funding than Norwalk.
Maria Manso-Garcia, Spanish Teacher, Trumbull submitted testimony opposing Senate Bill 24.
Gray Wanzer, Social Studies Teacher, Enfield Public Schools testified in opposition to S.B. 24 and stated that “Changes to the current structure of incentives, tenure, and evaluations for teachers will help to water down the profession and make true school turnarounds for the neediest students much less likely.” Regarding Section 18 of the bill, which calls for extra incentives to be awarded to teachers who are identified as “exemplary,” Mr. Wanzer stated that “while the idea may be enticing to those who believe a business model should be applied to schools, research shows that this does nothing to bolster student achievement.” Mr. Wanzer, also criticized, Section 29 of the bill, which focuses on tenure reform by exclaiming that “what tenure really means to a teacher is intellectual and professional freedom… it helps protect teachers from heavy handed evaluators who may have personal, philosophical, or budget minded differences.”
Peter Borofsky, Manchester submitted testimony opposing S.B. 24 stating that “this bill is lauded as a cure for the ills suffered by our state education system when in fact its stated goals will not only worsen our already difficult educational situation but potentially lead to the demise of our hopes for our children to have quality education.”
Joe Koniushesky submitted testimony urging the Committee to reject S.B. 24 because it “is not educational reform, but rather “educational suicide.”
Joel Robert Farrior, an 8th grade teacher from Montville, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill. He shared insight on his father and the impact his father had on his life and career. He stated his beliefs that failing students are a product of their home environment and not necessarily in relation to the teachers they have. Joel insisted that if a child wants to receive a good education they have the opportunity already in CT to do so and its up to the family and community of a child to value education and improve it.
Peter Carlson, a 6th grade teacher in Stratford, testified in opposition to several sections of the bill. He disagreed and questioned sections 28, 29, 30, 31 and 33.
Representative Larry Cafero submitted testimony in opposition to several aspects of the bill especially those that would impact the state financially. He did however agree with the intent of the bill and the necessary reform that is needed for Connecticut's education system. Cafero expressed his readiness to work closely with the Governor, Education Department and Democrats too properly to expand important opportunities and reforms for Connecticut's students and teachers.
Rich Baez, a fifth grade teacher at New London Public Schools, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill. He questioned sections 29 and 30, not understanding how they would benefit students and stating they were unclear.
Robert Keplesky, a math teacher in Vernon, submitted testimony in opposition of the bill. He stated that he was insulted and alarmed by some of the Governor's remarks on the bill and is concerned that the bill will deter quality teachers from coming to CT.
Samantha Verbickas, a teacher, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill giving a story of her experience as a teacher. She is however in support of reform and putting children first.
Sandra VanAusdal, a World Language Instructor at Joel Barlow High School, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill. She stated that she feels the bill could affect teachers in a negative way.
Sharman Wheatly, an Art teacher at Wilton Middle School, spoke in opposition to the bill. Though being for Education reform Wheatly believes the bill could hurt teachers and detour teachers from CT.
Silvia Bettega, a teacher in Farmington, submitted testimony against the bill citing her concern about the drastic changes to education. Bettega believes the bill is damaging to teachers and will be counter productive.
Lora Rossomando, the President of the Stamford Education Association, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill. Rossamando felt the bill would be damaging to teachers and gave several stories of experiences she has had with teachers.
Shannon Baldino, a language arts teacher in Cromwell, submitted testimony against the bill urging the committee to listen to CEA.
Silvia Cancellieri-Adams, a music teacher in Bridgeport, submitted testimony in opposition to sections 28 and 31. She stated her outrage to change the certification standards for the state.
Sue Haynie, a member of the Norwalk Board of Education, submitted testimony in support to the bill. She believes that teachers are an important aspect of a student's academic performance and that ensuring they are qualified and of high-quality is very important.
Susan DeBisschop, a social studies teacher, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill, specifically related to teacher tenure.
Suzanne and John Gaskell, Teachers at Madison Public Schools, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill, but in favor of education reform.
Susan Miller, a Wilton teacher, submitted testimony against the bill, urging the committee to carefully consider the proposals and to look at them from a teacher's perspective.
Suzanne Kalish, a first grade teacher at Ridgefield Public Schools, submitted testimony against the bill, specifically section 29 where she discussed her opinion on teacher tenure an evaluation.
Ted Goerner, Science Teacher at Sedgwick Middle School in West Hartford, submitted testimony against the bill, specifically section 30 dealing with teacher evaluation and salary.
Karen Schweikert-Mangino submitted testimony against the bill, stating her disappoint with the bill and its attack on teachers.
Albert Ciuffo, a teacher in Stamford, submitted testimony against the bill stating it should be rejected unless it is rewritten with a more reasonable approach to education reform.
David Telep, a technology teacher in East Haddam, submitted testimony against the bill. Telep stated is belief that the bill's implementation should be delayed until more research is done on the teacher evaluation system.
Jacqueline Kelleher, a resident of Bridgeport, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill. Kelleher went through her concerns with many different parts of the bill and asked many questions.
Jeanine Schneider, a 3rd grade teacher from Easton, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill. She cited several proposals in the bill that she is completely against and stated her belief that quality education is extremely important and necessary.
Mark Reinders, a 4th grade teacher from Ridgefield, submitted testimony against the bill and offered his version of what should be done to the bill to make it better.
Rich Novack, a High School English Teacher in Fairfield, submitted testimony against the bill, specifically sections 28, 30 and 31. Novak supports reform but believes the bill is damaging to teachers.
Robert Wyllie, a middle school art teacher in East Hampton, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill. Wyllie believes section 33 should be completely eliminated.
Sharron Weand, a Connecticut teacher, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill. Specifically sections 28-31.
Tom Defranco, Dean of the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, submitted testimony in favor of several aspects of the bill.
The Town of Eastford Board of Selectmen submitted testimony against the bill, specifically Section 11. They believe the section would penalize small towns.
Timothy Eaton-Koch, an art teacher at Stamford High School, submitted testimony against the bill, specifically section 28.
Valerie Lofland, a teacher in Naugatuck, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill, specifically section 23 and 28.
Wendy Lecker, a parent, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill. She stated her complete support of education reform and making the school system better for her three children. Lecker went into great detail on aspects of the bill that she opposed or believed should be modified and citied her beliefs.
Yvette Budrow, a Career and Technical teacher in Hamden, submitted testimony in opposition to the bill, specifically section 29.
The African-American Affairs Commission submitted testimony in opposition to the bill and made several suggestions on how to make it better.
Michelle Lorince, Spanish Teacher, East Lyme Public Schools:
Stands opposed to Senate Bill 24, specifically due to Section 28 and Section 29.
Katherine Wilson, School Finance Specialist, League of Women's Voters:
Oppose several elements of the proposed changes to ECS funding grants in the Governor's bill.
Erik Savoyski, Teacher, Danbury Public Schools:
Stands opposed to Senate Bill 24, and the concentrated authority placed in the hands of the commissioner of education. Urges committee to adopt CEA's positive reform plan as an alternative.
Anne Pasco, President, Fairfield Education Association:
Strongly opposed to the Governor's bill, feels that Governor Malloy has a lack of understanding of tenure, and a fundamental disrespect for both teachers and education.
Dawn Pilkington, Kindergarten Teacher, Easton:
Stands in opposition of Senate Bill 24, and fears basing achievement on standardized test scoring is not a pathway to success.
Dana Liberatore, Third Grade Teacher, Stamford:
Oppose changes to the Master's degree requirement for teachers, and tenure reform.
Frank Carrano, Chair, Branford Board of Education, President, CCJEF:
Oppose Senate Bill 24 due to the various ECS formula changes, which the Connecticut Coalition for Justice feel have been hastily proposed and lack well researched underpinnings.
Bart Russell, Executive Director, Connecticut Council of Small Towns:
Stand in opposition of forcing small district consolidation, diverting resources away from traditional public schools, allocation requirements, and the bill's lack of addressing special education funding.
Richard Murray, Vice President of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education:
Opposed to public school funding of $1,000 dollars per pupil for children attending charter schools, and the proposal to reduce ECS grants for school districts with 1,000 students or less whose per pupil expenditure exceeds the statewide average.
Constance F. Poulin, Special Education Teacher, Vernon Public Schools:
Opposes changes to tenure reform, and urges the committee to consider changing the policy to align with CEA's proposal to streamline the dismissal process.
Michael A. Pavia, Mayor, City of Stamford:
Opposes the lack of ECS funding allocated to the city of Stamford, and urges for a more equally proportional formula.
Richard A. Moccia, Mayor, City of Norwalk:
Opposes the lack of ECS funding allocated to the city of Norwalk, and urges for a more equal rate of distribution among the districts of the state.
Mary Loftus Levine, Executive Director, Connecticut Education Association:
Objects to the restrictions placed on the collective bargaining rights of teachers, and therefore asks that Senate Bill 24 be reconsidered.
Ray Rossomando, Connecticut Education Association:
Opposes portions of Senate Bill 24, such as requiring specific policy proposals as a condition for receiving increased ECS funding, and folding funding for charter schools into the ECS formula, “money follows the child” proposals.
Angela Simpson, Teacher, Westport, CT:
Opposed the bill, and urged the committee to reject Senate Bill 24 due to the weakening of tenure retention, diminishing of certification requirements, which will allow for less qualified individuals teaching our children, and therefore damaging the education system.
Bernard Josefsberg, Superintendent of Schools, Region 9:
Opposed Section 11 of Senate Bill 24 concerning small district consolidation due to this section of the bill penalizing small districts such as Easton and Redding, which have long since been consolidated.
Karlen Shupp, English Teacher, Trumbull Public Schools:
Opposes Senate Bill 24 and believes Governor Malloy's plan will “cripple everything educators have been working for since the seventies”.
Jeff Bridges, Town Manager, Wethersfield, CT:
Asks for the committee remove the requirement for districts to send an addition $1,000 per pupil for children attending a charter school from Senate Bill 24.
Jill Williams, Science Teacher, Vernon School District:
Strongly rejects Senate Bill 24 due to the reforms the bill would make to base teaching salaries on certification.
Matthew Quinones, Student, Stamford:
Argued for a more just ECS formula to ensure Stamford receives a greater share.
.Sharon Huynh, Teacher, Weston, CT:
Objects to Section 28 of Senate Bill 24.
Joyce Ward, Teacher:
Opposes changes to tenure in the Governor's bill.
Sharon Palmer, President, American Federation of Teachers:
Objects to the changes in collective bargaining rights throughout the bill, arguing the changes would impede continuing efforts to retain teachers to work in the neediest districts. Palmer notes concern with the “extraordinary” powers given to the Commissioner of Education, and urges caution from the committee.
ALSO SPOKE IN SUPPORT OR OPPOSITION:
Gary Richards, Wilton Public Schools
Taralyn Fonseca, Teacher, Wilton Public Schools
Steven A. Colarossi, Member, Norwalk Board of Education
Sandy lefkowitz, Director, Westport Cinema Initiative
Tyler Lemoine, President, Southington, FFA
Robert Peterson, Student, Woodbury, CT
Robert Cotto Jr., Connecticut Voices for Children
Robert J. Clements, Ellington, CT
Paul S. Timpanelli, President & CEO, Bridgeport Business Council
Patrick Foley, Teacher, West Hartford
Orlando Rodriguez, Sr. Policy Fello, Connecticut Voices for Children
Daniela Giordano, Public Policy Director, NAMI-CT
Maximo Medina Jr.
Lais Lima, Student, The Bridge Academy
Karla & Bill Schultz, Broad Brook, CT
Joseph Campolieta, Teacher, Torrington Public Schools
Jody Ian Goeler, Superintendent, Region 14 Schools
Jill E. Bongiolatti, Mathematics Teacher, Explorations Charter School, Winstead, CT
Jeane Deming, Ridgefield, CT
William M. Bloss, Chairman, Guilford Board of Education
Dr. Jacqueline Kelleher, Bridgeport, CT:
Bianka Kortland-Cox, President, Connecticut Association for the Gifted
Bob Heffernan, Executive Director, Connecticut Green Industries Council
Bonnie Kent, Mother, Wallinford, CT
Carolyn Goodridge, CT Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents
Charlie Dow, Student, Common Ground High School
Christa Roth, Student, Nonnewaug High School
Chris Moore, Middletown, CT
Christine Rowan, Parent of Autistic Child, Connecticut Resident
Connecticut Even Start
Sal Luciano, Executive Director, Council 4 AFSCME
Reported by: Richard Eighme, Ryan Rogers, David Giglio
Date: April 11, 2012