Teachers Protest Governor Malloy’s Education Reform

Students may have noticed Staples teachers wearing black attire today. They aren’t starting a punk rock band. They’re in protest against Governor Dannel Malloy’s education reform bill, SB24.

The bill has left many teachers at Staples angered. They came together today by wearing black in order to show their solidarity, and to encourage others to learn about the bill.

“There has been minimal teacher involvement, but we are the ones affected,” said English teacher Alex Miller.

If passed, teachers say the bill would change the way that they educate their students. All classes would be taught to a new standardized test, which would be administered at the end of each academic year. The resulting scores from that test would then be used to evaluate each teacher, based on the performance of the students.

The proposed system is designed to make it easier for schools to weed out underperforming teachers, however, the way that Malloy has gone about changing the system leaves many teachers and administrators enraged.

“If administrators are doing their jobs right, incompetent teachers will lose their jobs,” said Staples principal John Dodig.

He added that he has written letters of appeal to people such as President Obama and the current U.S Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan in an effort to get the bill terminated.

“To say teachers are responsible for CMT, CAPT, or whatever test they come up with is ludicrous.”

“If we have a set curriculum, then it doesn’t matter what I bring to the table [as a teacher],” said social studies teacher Rob Rogers.

Governor Malloy defended this point at a town hall meeting held in West Hartford stating, “If you’re a good teacher, you’re only going to do better under this proposal. The status quo can not be the answer.”

The possibility of a ranking system in which the administration would put teachers into categories based on performance has also caused some concern with regards to a change in the camaraderie that is currently shared by teachers.

“I can’t even imagine the consequence that this would have on it…It’s almost impossible to imagine,” stated Miller.

While many teachers see the need for education reform, most don’t believe this bill will accomplish closing the achievement gap between rich and poor towns and cities, however some have their own ideas on how to begin a successful reform.

“They should go to achieving schools like Staples, Scarsdale, or Princeton High School and try to model what they’re doing right,” stated Dodig.