Lawmakers Express Cautious Support For Governor's Education Bill

Mar 15, 2012

School board members held their annual Day on the Hill in Hartford Wednesday. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed cautious support for the Governor’s education proposals.

Democratic Representative and Education Committee co-chair Andrew Fleischmann outlined areas of agreement, including expansion of preschools.

"I expect we will have expansion of early childhood education. Not just the 500 additional slots the Governor’s talking about. I’m hopeful that we may be able to do more this year."

Fleischmann said he expects to see change to the proposals around teacher tenure and evaluation that would ensure that methods of evaluation are fully vetted and validated. Meanwhile, House Republican Leader Larry Cafero said he’s been one of the Governor’s biggest critics, but applauds Malloy’s education reform bill.

"And I believe that this Governor, by putting this education reform issue squarely on the table, I believe he has done this state a great service."

Cafero would like to see the bill divvied up so individual proposals could be voted up or down. Governor Malloy received a polite and generally warm response, but lately that’s not always the case. The Governor has been traveling around the state promoting his education reform package

I'm Uma Ramiah.

Teachers in New Haven turned out in droves Tuesday to protest Malloy's Senate Bill 24. Hundreds of teachers gather in the auditorium at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven to hear Malloy describe his plans for education. They didn't have many nice things to say to their Governor.

The teachers jeered Malloy in part over worries about a section of the bill that proposes a new system for evaluations. They say it will focus too much on standardized test performance, and put undue pressure on already struggling educators. But Malloy says he worked with the state teachers unions to create the new evaluation system. And, he says, people aren't seeing the bigger picture.

"And by the way we're spending all our time talking about a tiny portion of this document."

Teachers, he says, are ignoring other substantial parts of his lengthy education reform bill -- like increased funds for professional development and early childhood care.

Malloy did find some solid support on Tuesday with groups of administrators, parents and students. Some held signs in support of the bill reading, "Fix our Broken Schools -- support Senate Bill 24."

For WNPR, I'm Uma Ramiah with the Connecticut Mirror.