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Pelto believes better instruction, more teachers is a bad thing

Jonathan Pelto, author of the “Wait, What?” blog, continues to ride his train to nowhere.

In a recent piece of drivel, he tries to criticize Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s  taking credit for the success of the Jumoke Academy in Hartford. Take note that Pelto, who has consistently opposed education reform, is admitting that the Jumoke Academy has been a success.

In the same post, Pelto says that Malloy’s education reform efforts had nothing to do with the charter school’s success, but says Malloy stacked the deck by creating a model charter school.

In Pelto’s words, “Wait, What?”

Instead of offering a well-deserved round of applause for Jumoke’s achievements, Pelto resorts to a nitpicking, confusing rant, with contradictions galore. It’s almost as if Pelto can’t decide which to hate more, Malloy or the reforms that are actually working to improve the lives of children.

Pelto  takes issue with the very model that is making such a difference at Jumoke. He has the gall to warn parents of Hartford students to beware that more support services and instructional assistants for every teacher actually result in higher achievement.

Isn’t that what every parent wants for their children? Better instruction and more teachers?

It was one  year ago that Malloy signed a landmark piece of education reform legislation into law (Public Act 12-116) to pave the way for more schools like Jumoke Academy. Pelto has opposed Malloy and the year-old law vehemently and repeatedly.

Pelto, unwilling or unable to admit that Jumoke and schools like it use a model that works, has whittled out a petty little place for himself, criticizing everything good. It’s really kind of sad.

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Hugh Bailey’s paranoia and scare tactics

Hugh Bailey’s recent column, “9/11 to Katrina to Connecticut,” is a perfect example of the worst kind of opinion writing — paranoid, obstructionist, baseless and twisted.

The columnist offhandedly dismisses education reform as market-driven “mania,” and says it is “only nominally about schools.” He more than hints at a shadowy agenda, perpetuated by a Bilderburg-like group dedicated to some secretive, nefarious purpose.

Bailey fancies himself a Bob Woodward, but where Woodward had evidence, Bailey has loosely tossed-around labels, scare tactics and, well, nothing else.

Education reform in Connecticut has always been and remains about providing the best education for every child in the state, regardless of their race, wealth or zip code.

Bailey condemns folks like State Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and Bridgeport School Superintendent Paul Vallas, when he should be congratulating them. They have taken on the monumental task of improving the lives of kids in Connecticut, and they deserve respect and support, not derision or divisive rhetoric.

If Bailey would simply look around Bridgeport — or New Haven, Hartford, New London, Windham, Danbury or Stamford — he would see communities fighting to make their schools better, through educator evaluations, the Commissioner’s Network, and public charter school growth.

That is the face of education reform: People, who, tired of watching students in some zip codes fail through no fault of their own, have made it their mission to make education better for every student, especially students in our lowest-performing schools.

The Connecticut Post has shown itself in recent weeks to be reasoned in its editorial opinions. By contrast, Bailey is a writer with an agenda and few facts.

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Opposition to Bridgeport Montessori school rests on double-standards

The reasoning behind opposition to a proposed Montessori school in Bridgeport is specious at best. And if those who oppose the school succeed, the real losers will be the children of Bridgeport.

The arguments are misleading: The school would provide “two adults in every classroom” to students “lucky enough to get in by lottery,” according to Eric Alicea. Pray tell, how this is a bad thing?

Alicea, by the way, is an officer on the Parent Advisory Council at Bridgeport magnet school Classical Studies Academy. Get that? He sends his own children to a nontraditional school, while opposing nontraditional schooling. He is a beneficiary of the same reforms he opposes.

Can you say “double-standard?”

The proposed Montessori would be a public school, unencumbered by neighborhood zoning restrictions, as opponents freely admit. The only barrier would be the available number of spots for kids at the school.

The school would be a public charter school, just like the Montessori charter school approved by the New Haven school board last week. Parents and officials there welcomed the idea with open arms, aware of the hugely beneficial impact the school could have.

Every student in Bridgeport deserves the quality education the proposed school could provide. It’s a terrible shame that Alicea is unwilling to let other kids get the same quality education that his own have the privilege of benefiting from.

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If you’ve got a bad idea, Hugh Bailey will endorse it

Once again, anti-education reformer, Connecticut Post columnist Hugh Bailey has provided the paper’s readership with a misguided prescription for what ails city and state schools. To no one’s surprise, that prescription includes gutting Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s education reform bill.

The legislature’s cuts to the governor’s budget include decimating the Commissioner’s Network, halting the establishment of new state-funded public charter schools, and gutting the new statewide teacher and principal evaluation program.

Apparently Bailey has no problem with any of this, writing, “Once again, the legislature’s plan is better than the governor’s.”

That is simply ludicrous.

In attempting to justify his position, Bailey claims there is no evidence failing schools need a turnaround plan. “How officials go about separating questions of poor management from lack of resources is unclear,” he writes.

Really, Hugh? On what planet?

There is no doubt that schools in poor cities like Bridgeport desperately need an abundance of support, but simply throwing money at a difficult situation has never been the solution to any urban problem.

As for teacher evaluations, Bailey wrongly argues that good teachers who are well compensated will be casualties under this system. As usual however, the esteemed columnist provides no evidence of this. Hey, why confuse things with facts?

Bailey describes education reform as “misguided.” Hugh, when it comes to the vital issue of serving Bridgeport students by implementing well-managed education reform, there is no one more misguided than you are.



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Pelto continues fight against Vallas and common sense

Jonathan Pelto’s recent daily rant includes an accusation that Bridgeport Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas is “backing off” his initial school budget request. Pelto then states that Vallas is indifferent to the need for the state and the city to fully fund Bridgeport schools.

The way Pelto draws conclusions, it’s a good thing for all of us that he’s not a police detective. We’d all be in jail.

Let’s set the stage. Pelto’s post is a rehash of Mayor Bill Finch’s search for an additional $3.3 million in education funding. This is a search that is ongoing for the city, which has yet to finalize its budget in an extremely tight fiscal year.

Pelto’s latest conspiracy theory comes courtesy of a Connecticut Post article co-written by Brian Lockhart and Linda Conner Lambeck. The ridiculously biased headline of their story reads, “Finch tries to dodge $3.3m school bill.” It’s no secret where the sentiments of the anti-Vallas, anti-reform Post editorial board lie.

In the article, Vallas said the following in response to a direct question: “Do we need $3.3 million more? Yeah … Can we live without it? If we have to, we will find a way to do that.”

To Pelto, Vallas is walking away from all of his responsibilities as the steward of Bridgeport education. But Pelto, as we know, tries to twist every reasonable statement to suit his personal agenda.

To the rest of us, Vallas’ statement sounds prudent.

Vallas sounds like someone who was asked about a worst case scenario and answered thoughtfully and directly. That sounds like a fiscally responsible leader who will employ efficient management in a dire situation. That sounds like someone Bridgeport needs.

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