Trumbull Board of Ed Chairman Calls Teachers Union Response to an Award ‘Outlandish’ and ‘Reckless’

In the latest salvo in the controversy over an award given to the Trumbull School District, the chairman of the town’s Board of Education blasts the teachers union’s attempt to “refuse” the award and the union’s response to the reform group that bestowed it.

It all started when the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) notified Trumbull education officials that it placed Trumbull High School among the top 10 schools in the state as a positive place of learning for African-American and Hispanic students, and for students from low-income families.

The teachers union—the Trumbull Education Association (TEA)—fired off a letter to ConnCAN rejecting the recognition. The unsigned missive read in part, “…why do you bother to put us on your list? If you recognize our work as exemplary, why do you so strongly advocate for Gov. Malloy’s radical plan for education which will dismantle the very way in which we operate?…” Obviously, ConnCAN CEO Patrick Riccards called the letter “political rhetoric”—which it clearly is. The New Haven Register reported the beginnings of this story and printed the letters as well.

Enter the highly respected Stephen Wright, chairman of the Trumbull Board of Education and member of the State Board of Education. He wrote to ConnCAN and said that he was “astonished” by the TEA’s response to the award and said the union showed, “an obvious ignorance of the goals of ConnCAN, an undertone of an elitist attitude…The ConnCAN award was given to the school district not the few members of the high school staff who penned the subject letter. It’s not theirs to reject…”

ConnCAN’s Riccards also told The Hanging Shad, “The union is upset that Gov. Malloy has the courage to propose reforming teacher tenure.” As part of his education reform package, Malloy is proposing changing the way teachers achieve tenure. Currently, it’s based on service time. Malloy wants it based on performance.