In his State of the State address, Governor Dannel Malloy called on legislators to take bold steps to reform Connecticut’s public schools. He addressed the highly-charged issue of teacher tenure, and called for an overhaul of the system.
"Today tenure is too easy to get and too hard to take away."
Governor Malloy outlined six principles for education reform, but devoted the most time to teacher tenure.
"I propose we hold every teacher to a standard of excellence. Under my proposal, tenure will have to be earned and re-earned. Not earned simply by showing up for work, earned by meeting certain objective performance standards including student performance, school performance, and parent and teacher peer reviews."
The Governor stressed the importance of constructive discussion around the tenure issue.
"Now let me be clear. In having that discussion, Connecticut will not join the states trying to demonize or antagonize their way to better results. And we won’t get drawn into making a false choice between being pro-reform or pro-teacher. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am both."
Proposals to overhaul or abolish teacher tenure have sparked protests in states like Florida and Wisconsin. Christina Samuels covers Connecticut school policy issues for Education Week Magazine.
"I think what he was trying to do was explain very carefully that we are not trying to come up with something that ends up like Wisconsin. Or you know some of the other states where this has been a really difficult and contentious issue."
Governor Malloy also called for enhanced access to early childhood education, an additional 50 million dollars for the Education Cost Sharing formula, and a new Commissioner’s Network comprised of the states’ lowest performing schools.