Lawmakers continue to work on a compromise education reform bill that they hope Governor Malloy and the legislature can agree on. One key lawmaker believes the two sides are not that far apart.
Administration officials have been meeting behind closed doors with top leaders to craft the next version of Governor Malloy’s education reform package. In March, lawmakers made significant changes to the original proposal, including a delay in overhauling teacher evaluation and tenure.
But House Education Committee Chair Andy Fleischmann says the issues now under discussion centers more on timing. "We all agree that there needs to be a movement to a new evaluation system and to a standard that says ineffectiveness, not incompetence, needs to be the basis for getting teachers out of a classroom. I do not see some kind of chasm separating the administration and the legislature."
Meanwhile as the private talks continue, outside there’s been a lot of very public discussion.
"Governor Malloy’s education plan. Its like a bad science experiment..." The Connecticut Education Association has launched TV, radio and print ads saying the Governor has failed to listen to teachers.
2012 Teacher Of The Year David Bosso was a guest on WNPR’s Faith Middleton Show. "For me and I think for most teachers the biggest issue is this sense of respect that I think over the last few decades has begun to erode."
But Representative Fleischmann says parties to the talks are elected officials whose job it is to listen to all the stakeholders and fashion policy. "For all of the clamorous debates and advertisements and so forth, the focus of elected officials is the best interest of children who are not getting the education they deserve. Period. And that all of the rest is heat and noise that sheds little light..."
Governor Malloy has said he’ll not sign a weakened version of his bill.
The regular legislative session ends at midnight on May 9th.