There is a battle shaping up between Gov. Dannel Malloy and the state’s two teachers unions over parts of the governor’s education reform plan, particularly teacher tenure. The lines started to form as two legislative committees took up parts of the plan in hearings Tuesday and one again Wednesday.
It was only months ago that Malloy took on state employee labor unions, squeezing concessions out of them in his attempt to balance the state budget although there is still disagreement over that will be achieved. But say this for Malloy—once he decides something big has to be done to help the state, his pulls no punches and isn’t afraid to step on toes; even in places where other Democrats would never dare tread. The result thus far in his first term is success in pushing his initiatives through the legislature.
The toes this time belong to the state teachers unions. Malloy has declared this legislative session, “The Education Session.” He wants to achieve many things that he says are necessary to keep Connecticut competitive into the future. The reform package includes five new charter schools, increasing the number of preschool slots and money to improve low-performing schools. But it’s the tenure issue that is getting the teachers’ backs up. Malloy wants to tie it to a new, complicated system of teacher evaluation.
The posturing has already begun. Malloy says teacher tenure is too easy to get and too hard to take away. He testified before the Education Committee that some teachers simply don’t belong in schools.
Wednesday morning at 6 am, I’ll be joining NBC-Connecticut’s Yvonne Nava and Brad Drazen to discuss the education reform issue.