Governor Dannel Malloy was in Washington, D.C. on Monday to talk about Connecticut’s education reform initiatives. He spoke at a forum hosted by the conservative free-market think tank, the American Enterprise Institute.
Malloy said that for many years, Connecticut state government took a back seat on school change, while neighboring states like Massachusetts were moving forward with education reform. Now, he said, the state is trying to catch up.
"You want a new evaluation system," Malloy said. "You want a new way of distributing additional dollars; you want to hold people accountable for how those dollars are being spent. You want to change the tests that we’re going to use to measure ourselves by, and you want to institute Common Core. Doing all that at once, that’s a hard job."
Malloy was asked about the big takeaways on school reform. "I think some things are harder to do as a Democrat," he said. "And some things are harder to do as a Republican. And I think education reform, generally, has been a harder thing to do as a Democrat with a Democratic legislature. That was the real test in Connecticut. So I had to fly in the face of what many would consider tradition constituencies for a Democratic office holder."
Malloy said education reform only works with buy-in from all stakeholders, including teachers. And he repeatedly praised the work of Connecticut’s educators. "They just need the support," he said, "and we need to get everybody pulling in the same direction together. That’s what I’ve tried to do. I’ve probably used the wrong language more than once; I know I have. But when things aren’t working -- and they weren’t for black kids, and brown kids, and poor kids in our school system -- then you have to change direction."
Malloy said education is no longer about the old rhetoric of offering students an “opportunity to learn.” Now, he said, it's about measuring ourselves by academic success.
Watch the full video below from the American Enterprise Institute: