Bloomberg News

Malloy Mimics Christie by Attacking Connecticut Teachers’ Tenure

February 13, 2012

Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat elected in 2010, wants to overhaul rules for giving public-school teachers tenure, introducing new standards for evaluating their performance.

Malloy, who has contrasted his approach with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s attacks on public workers’ unions, said in a speech to the Legislature that Connecticut needs to join 31 states that since 2009 have revised the system for granting lifetime job guarantees to educators. Christie, a Republican, in November proposed a similar change, making teachers more accountable for student performance.

“In this new system, tenure will be a privilege, not a right,” Malloy, 56, said in his prepared remarks. “It will be earned and retained through effective teaching, not by counting years of service.”

Malloy has called himself the “anti-Christie” for his conciliatory approach toward Connecticut state workers. Last year, he contrasted his method of negotiating concessions with the Republican’s attacks on unions.

Today he said the 45,000 teachers in Connecticut schools, which are unionized, have to only “show up for four years to get tenure,” and that they can lose that job protection by being “rated incompetent.”

Earned and Re-earned

“Under my proposal, tenure will have to be earned and re- earned,” Malloy said in the speech. “Not earned by simply showing up for work -- earned by meeting certain objective performance standards, including student performance, school performance, and parent and peer review.”

He said he’ll propose an overhaul to the Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, that will “provide career advancement opportunities and financial incentives as a way of rewarding teachers who consistently receive high performance ratings.”

The muted response from one of the state’s teachers’ unions contrasted with the rhetoric that has characterized debate on the issue in New Jersey.

“Governor Malloy has given us the starting point and now we need to work together and listen to the educators doing the work to enact legislation that improves education for all children,” Sharon Palmer, president of AFT Connecticut, said in a statement. “Make no mistake, this will require give and take from all stakeholders.”

--Editors: Mark Tannenbaum, Ted Bunker.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael McDonald in Boston at mmcdonald10@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for the story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net


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