Governor Dannel Malloy will take his case for education reform directly to Connecticut residents through a series of town hall meetings.
It's the same format the Governor used last year, when he took his "shared sacrifice" budget on the road in a series of town hall type meetings. Now the issue is education reform. His 163-page education bill offers additional funding for failing schools, removes red tape for local school districts and expands access to early childhood education.
Malloy hopes to convince residents that his package will fix what's broken in the state education system. He says that's why he chose Hartford as the first stop on his tour.
"I think Hartford in many ways is emblematic of the difficulties we're having," said Malloy. "Only 42% of 8th graders in the Hartford School system in its entirety are reading at a proficient level. That's true in a lot of our urban and poor environments and we've got to do something. We know what works in these systems and how to turn these schools around. We know we have great models but we've really lacked the courage to implement those models across the state where they're needed."
But Malloy's plan is not without critics, most notably teachers, who are opposed to the Governor's plan to have them re-earn tenure over the years by meeting certain criteria. Currently a teacher is eligible for tenure after four years of service.
"We want to make sure that every teacher who's in a building is performing at a reasonable standard and that they're not letting their students down and quite frankly, that they're not letting their fellow faculty members down," said Malloy. "That's a big difference between what they're saying we're trying to do and what we're actually trying to do."
The Governor has scheduled meetings in West Hartford, New Haven, and Windham, as well Wednesday's event in Hartford, but plans to expand the series to 16 towns throughout the state.