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Corporate Education Reform Industry group starts radio campaign in support of new charter schools

by: ctblogger

Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 11:22:10 AM EDT

Cross post from Jon Pelto's Wait What?

Surprise, surprise... An out-of-State charter school advocacy group has started an advertising campaign to support the Malloy administration's decision to give Steve Perry his own privately run, but taxpayer funded, charter school in Bridgeport.

According to a reports from the CT Mirror and Hartford Courant, Families for Excellent Schools, Inc., a charter school advocacy group based in New York, has begun a Connecticut radio advertising campaign in support of the Malloy administration's decision to approve two new charter schools in Bridgeport.

Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. is running the radio spots to defend Commissioner Stefan Pryor and State Board of Education's underhanded effort to approve the proposed charter schools.  One of the charter schools will be run by the out-of-state Great Oaks charter school chain while the other is Steve Perry's Capitol Preparatory Harbor school.

The advocacy and lobbying group is also behind the multi-million dollar advertising campaign to undermine New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision to make New York City's public schools a high priority compared to the Bloomberg administration's approach that diverted tens of millions in public resources away from the public schools and to the city's privately run charter schools. In New York, the Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. campaign pushed to allow privately run charter schools virtually unlimited and free access to public school space.    

The group's New York advertising campaign is designed to help New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Like Malloy, Cuomo has received more than $100,000 in campaign donations from charter-school supporters in recent months.

Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. was formed by corporate education reform industry allies in 2011 and has recently expanded into Connecticut. Four of the organization's five founding board members are Wall Street hedge fund executives.  The group also shares space in New York City with the New York chapter of Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst, Inc.

As one would expect, the corporate education reform industry has been dumping millions of dollars into Families for Excellent Schools, Inc.

Among its biggest donors is the Walton Family Foundation (the Wal-Mart Family's Foundation) which has given the charter school group more than $700,000 in start-up funds.  The organization has also received at least $200,000 from the Eli Broad Foundation during that same period.

Here in Connecticut, the Wal-Mart Political Action Committee gave Governor Malloy's political operation a check for $5,000 and Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad chipped in another $8,000 for Malloy.  

One of the other foundations that have given Families for Excellent Schools, Inc. is none other than the Ray Dalio Family Foundation.

As Forbes Magazine explains, Ray Dalio is the "king of the rich hedge fund industry."  Forbes adds that Dalio, "lords over the world's biggest hedge fund firm, Bridgewater Associates, with about $150 billion in assets."

Ray Dalio is the individual who was paid $2.3 billion last year.

Ray Dalio's Bridgewater Associates is the company that Governor Dan Malloy rewarded with more than $120 million in Connecticut taxpayer funded tax breaks in return for moving Bridgewater's "world headquarters" from Westport to Stamford.

In addition to giving money to the charter school advocacy group now running advertisements in Connecticut, Dalio's foundation is also a major donor to Teach for America.

For public school teachers, parents and advocates it is becoming even clear is that with the 2014 gubernatorial election less than seven months away, Dannel "Dan" Malloy is using every opportunity to show his unending support for expanding charter schools at the expense of Connecticut's public schools.

You can also read more about this story at CT Mirror: http://ctmirror.org/up-next-ch...

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McKinney takes a page out of Boughton's playbook, flip-flops on gun control

by: ctblogger

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 10:58:47 AM EDT

UPDATE: McKinney in damage control mode...his rationale for his flip-flop is laughable at best...
McKinney told The Mirror Wednesday that his answer to a hypothetical question about a GOP takeover of the legislature and passage of a repeal bill was not a retreat from his support for the gun-control law.

CT Dems chairwoman Nancy DiNardo had this to say about McKinney's remarkable statement.
"Senator McKinney's response is tortured, at best. And, actually, painful to read. Last night he said if the Legislature sent him a bill repealing the gun control law he voted for last year he would sign it. Pretty straightforward, right? Not if you're John McKinney. When called out today on it for what it is -- political pandering -- Senator McKinney dug the hole he created last night even deeper.  He now claims he was addressing a hypothetical that won't occur. So that gives him license to backtrack on a big vote and pander to the crowd he's in front of? Senator McKinney is right about one thing- people are disgusted by politics as usual: the kind of politics he exhibited last night, and then today."


It's amazing how the Republican candidates for governor easily pander to the fringe element of their base for political points.

Last night, John McKinney joined dishonest Mayor Mark Boughton in flip-flopping on his gun control stance.

Via Connectictut Democrats:

Last night at the Quiet Corner Tea Party Patriots meeting, John McKinney said that if he were governor, he would sign legislation to repeal the gun control bill "SB 1160" if the legislature sent it to him.

"It is unbelievable that John McKinney, who voted for the gun control bill "SB 1160," now says if he were governor and the legislature sent him a bill repealing the legislation, he would sign it," said Nancy DiNardo, Connecticut Democratic Party Chairwoman. "This is political pandering at its worst."

Transcript:

Questioner: I have a few questions here from your constituents. Because one of them was, that got sent me, is if Republicans took over the General Assembly [McKinney: Right] and if they put forward a repeal of SB 1160 [McKinney: Yep], if you were elected governor, would you sign that?

McKinney: If the legislature repeals something, I think the governor owes a great deference to what the legislature does, and I would.


John McKinney and Mark Boughton=spineless politicans who will turn their backs on the majority of residents in the state who support sensible gun control in order to appease the lunatic fringe.
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Desperate Boughton goes into damage control mode...by splitting hairs

by: ctblogger

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 09:42:55 AM EDT


Oh, this is rich!

After nearly two weeks of REALLY bad press, Danbury's dishonest Mayor Mark Boughton attempts to weasel out of his previous misleading statements regarding campaign contributions he received from Lisa Wilson-Foley...contributons that he previous denied exist.

First, lets backtrack...
The New Haven Register had this to say about Boughton after the indictment of disgraced governor John Rowland.


Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has chosen "People Over Politics" as the slogan for his 2014 campaign for Connecticut governor, but on two critical issues, he's not living up to that promise.


On Thursday, former Gov. John Rowland was indicted on charges that he conspired with failed 2012 congressional candidate Republican Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband to break federal campaign finance laws. Prosecutors claim he attempted to do the same with congressional candidate Mark Greenberg, but was rebuffed.

We reported all of the key details of both the Wilson-Foley and Greenberg schemes two years ago, before the Republican state nominating convention in the 2012 race. Instead of condemning Rowland and Wilson-Foley, Mark Boughton tried to bail out her campaign, endorsing her prior to the convention and swinging Danbury's significant bloc of delegates to her.

"I don't really see it having the impact that the pundits think it's going to have," was all Boughton could muster when he asked him about it at the time. "Rowland is popular in the 5th District. I don't know about the rest of the state, but in the 5th District, he remains popular."

Hartford Courant columnist and DailyRuctions.com blogger Kevin Rennie wondered at the time what really was at play with the endorsement, considering the Rowland taint on her candidacy and Boughton's past disdain for Wilson-Foley, whom he narrowly defeated in a 2010 Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

Our guess is that Boughton got in bed with Wilson-Foley and her husband Brian for the same reason that Rowland did - because they're millionaires with a significant ability to raise money for his future gubernatorial campaign.


The accurate editorial from the Register sent Boughton into a predictable hissy fit and with a letter to the editor response which is littered with misinformation.


A recent editorial ("Mark Boughton's hypocrisy on John Rowland, guns", April 11, 2014) made assertions about my candidacy for Governor that are contradicted by publicly-available facts.


As a candidate participating in the state's clean elections program, the maximum contribution allowed to my campaign committee, Team Boughton, is $100. No one, not even wealthy individuals like Brian and Lisa Wilson-Foley or John Rowland, are eligible to contribute more than $100. The finance report filed on Thursday last week shows none of them donated to the committee.


There are several problems with Boughton's rant, in which is attempts to give the impression that Wilson-Foley did not contribute to his quest for governor.

For one, the NH Register never stated that Wilon-Foley or people connected to her contributed to Boughton's campaign...again, this is what the paper stated.


Our guess is that Boughton got in bed with Wilson-Foley and her husband Brian for the same reason that Rowland did - because they're millionaires with a significant ability to raise money for his future gubernatorial campaign.

As several people pointed out, this statement from the Register is CORRECT.

Kevin Rennie points out that Wilson-Foley DID contribute to Boughton's campaign.


Republican gubernatorial Mark Boughton hopeful is caught in his own web. The popular Danbury mayor's tight alliance with disgraced Republican Lisa Wilson-Foley (formerly Wilson Foley) is undermining his bid for governor a month before the party nominating convention. He's having trouble explaining the $375 maximum contribution he received last fall from Wilson-Foley and her nursing home magnate husband Brian Foley.

And as I reported, this isn't the first time Wilson-Foley and her husband gave the maximum contribution (1,000 dollars) to Boughton's run for mayor in the summer of 2011...and as someone who knows a thing or two about Boughton's lust for money, trust me when I say that the contributions and the mayor's sudden love for a person he despised in 2010 is no coincidence.

In response to being caught red-handed in a boldface lie, Boughton's campaign goes into damage control mode and the dishonest one attempts to "clairfy" his previous rant.

The paper wrote an editorial this week criticizing Boughton for, among other things, his prior support for Wilson-Foley and receipt of help from her.

Boughton responded with a letter to the editor saying his campaign had not received funds from Wilson-Foley, her husband or Rowland. That's true, though he did receive money to his exploratory committee from Wilson-Foley and Foley.

Candidates in an exploratory committee can accept up to $375, according to state rules. Those candidates wishing to participate in the citizen's election program can only accept donations up to $100 in "qualifying donations" that can follow them when they become a declared candidate. They can't take donations greater than $100 with them to the formal committee. Therefore, money donated by Wilson-Foley and her husband are not included in his current campaign, and were spent when he was deciding whether to run.

"None of them (Rowland, Wilson-Foley, Foley) have contributed to our committee. The exploratory committee, with was a different committee is already closed and operated under different rules from the candidate committee," [campaign manager Heath] Fahle said. "Those funds would have been spent in the pursuit of testing the waters to see if there was sufficient support for the mayor's candidacy statewide."


Talk about splitting hairs after being caught in a lie...I swear, you can't make this stuff up!
 
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Malloy's public school privatization effort hits Stamford

by: ctblogger

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 14:36:09 PM EDT

Cross post from Jon Pelto's Wait What?

Malloy administration gives Bronx charter school chain a green-light to "save" Stamford.

The Malloy administration's extraordinary efforts to increase the number of charter schools and privatize even more of the state's public education system took a giant leap forward at the last State Board of Education meeting.

In a farce that included Malloy's Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, just happening to have a written resolution approving four new charters rather than the promised two, the corporate education reform industry drive to undermine Connecticut's public schools surged forward.

Malloy's "hometown" of Stamford was one of the latest victims in the inappropriate and under-handed strategy that has been displayed by Commissioner Pryor and the State Board of Education.

When it comes to "education reform" the Malloy administration's watchwords seems to be, "grab the candy before you are thrown out of the shop."

The following piece was written by Stamford Board of Education members Jackie Heftman and Polly Rauh.  It was first published in last Friday's Stamford Advocate.

Democracy loses in charter school fight

On April 2, we went to a show trial in Hartford. Actually it was a meeting of the State Board of Education (SBOE). Sitting in the audience and later watching it on CT-N, we were reminded of the trials held in places with authoritarian dictatorships, where the outcome is decided long before the meeting begins.

The resolution that the SBOE was considering was for one more state charter school in New Haven and Bridgeport. The public agenda listed a discussion item of an additional charter school in Stamford and one more for Bridgeport. We were there to speak in opposition to another state charter school in Stamford. The Stamford Board of Education had passed a resolution at its March meeting not supporting the charter school application.

The SBOE approved the two charters in New Haven and Bridgeport, and then Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor magically produced a resolution for approval of another charter school in Bridgeport and Stamford. Both were unanimously approved. Indeed a sad day for democracy in Connecticut.

Some of the things that were put on the record were simply wrong and some were outright lies, and they should not go undisputed. If Stamford is going to be dragged into a fight over a charter school, we should begin with an understanding of the facts.

Pryor was adamant that the funding for charter schools is a separate stream of money and does not take funding away from the traditional public schools. In fact he proudly asserted that more money has been allocated to the Alliance Districts. Alliance Districts are the 30 lowest performing districts in the state. Stamford, New Haven and Bridgeport are Alliance Districts. For Stamford the allocated amount is less than $3 million dollars which is less than 1 percent of our budget. Is he kidding? What is there to be proud of? That money will get eaten up in additional transportation and special education costs for the new charter school.

The money that comes to cities and towns to help fund public schools is based on an Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula which is grossly underfunded to the tune of almost $700 million dollars this year.

[A Wait, What? note to readers:  According to the CCEJF school funding lawsuit and other experts, Connecticut's school funding formula is actually $1.5 to $2 billion underfunded leaving an unfair and disproportionate burden on local property tax payers and severely limiting resource in many Connecticut school districts].

But there seems to be money to fund state charter schools. Between Fiscal Year 2013 and Fiscal Year 2015, $233 million has been set aside to fund state charter schools. That money could have been added to the ECS stream bringing it closer to what the formula requires.

The second sad occurrence that afternoon was when Charlene Reid, head of the state charter school that wants to open here, told the SBOE that in her meetings with Stamford BOE members over the past couple of months it was suggested that because she was black she was incapable of writing the application. She also said she was accused of being a racist because she wants to open a segregated school and had experienced "micro aggression" during her time in Stamford.

We have neither met Ms. Reid nor been asked to attend a meeting with her and could find only one board member who did meet with her. No one who spoke at the public hearing in Stamford maligned Ms. Reid. Our opposition to the charter school has never been personal. She also said parents were "petrified" to publicly state their support, but when parents had the opportunity to speak at the SBOE meeting, where there is obvious support for charter schools, no one spoke. No one from Stamford said they wanted this option for their children. In fact Stamford Parent Teacher Council members came to the SBOE meeting with more than 700 petition signatures in opposition to the charter school.

Ms. Reid accused unnamed Stamford officials of having no plan to address inequities and only wanting to ignore the problem. That flies in the face of our Alliance District Improvement Plan, approved by the SBOE, which directly addresses the closing of the achievement gap. In fact in the past six years the achievement gap in the Stamford Public Schools has been reduced by 13.5 percent. Ms. Reid says the Bronx Charter School for Excellence has closed the achievement gap for all subgroups. The achievement gap is the difference between the standardized test scores for White students vs. Black and Hispanic students.

Her claim that the gap has been closed at her school is meaningless when there are no white students attending. She can claim that she has boosted the achievement of her students, but she can't claim she has closed the achievement gap. She also belittled Stamford Superintendent Winifred Hamilton's commitment to diversity in spite of the fact that our schools are balanced to within 10 percent of the district average, 31 percent of our administrators are minorities and we are constantly working to increase our minority teaching staff. It is obvious that she hasn't visited any of our schools. Ms. Reid told the SBOE that she is looking forward to a collaborative relationship with SPS and our superintendent! Really?

Ms. Reid acknowledged that her school in the Bronx is 100 percent minority and 85 percent economically disadvantaged and this is the model she would bring to Stamford. If for no other reasons, we oppose this charter school coming to Stamford.

We care about all public school students receiving a high quality education in a diverse setting of students of all colors and socioeconomic backgrounds. All Stamford students deserve no less.

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Boughton caught misleading the public AGAIN

by: ctblogger

Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 22:27:56 PM EDT

Cross post from HatCityBLOG

Nice try Rennie but you only scratched the surface...

For the rest of the state, this must be comical but for someone who has followed the antics of Danbury's most dishonest mayor for a number of years, it's just another day in the life of following a person who has a hard time telling the truth.

Seems like Mark Boughton went into his too-common meltdown mode over someone exposing his hypocrisy...a hypocrisy that residents in Danbury witness on a daily basis.

Here's what Boughton had to say about the most recent criticism from the New Haven Register regarding his connection to Lisa Wilson-Foley.

A recent editorial ("Mark Boughton's hypocrisy on John Rowland, guns", April 11, 2014) made assertions about my candidacy for Governor that are contradicted by publicly-available facts.

As a candidate participating in the state's clean elections program, the maximum contribution allowed to my campaign committee, Team Boughton, is $100. No one, not even wealthy individuals like Brian and Lisa Wilson-Foley or John Rowland, are eligible to contribute more than $100. The finance report filed on Thursday last week shows none of them donated to the committee.


Typical Boughton...attempting to mislead the public might work in Danbury where the local media has been asleep at the wheel for years but it won't fly where media outlets refuse to drink his Kool-Aid.

In his rant against the New Haven Register, Boughton attempts to cry foul claiming that Wilson-Foley never gave a contribution to his campaign...which is not only false but NOT WHAT THE PAPER CLAIMED.

Here's what the NH Register CORRECTLY STATED.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has chosen "People Over Politics" as the slogan for his 2014 campaign for Connecticut governor, but on two critical issues, he's not living up to that promise.

On Thursday, former Gov. John Rowland was indicted on charges that he conspired with failed 2012 congressional candidate Republican Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband to break federal campaign finance laws. Prosecutors claim he attempted to do the same with congressional candidate Mark Greenberg, but was rebuffed.

We reported all of the key details of both the Wilson-Foley and Greenberg schemes two years ago, before the Republican state nominating convention in the 2012 race. Instead of condemning Rowland and Wilson-Foley, Mark Boughton tried to bail out her campaign, endorsing her prior to the convention and swinging Danbury's significant bloc of delegates to her.

"I don't really see it having the impact that the pundits think it's going to have," was all Boughton could muster when he asked him about it at the time. "Rowland is popular in the 5th District. I don't know about the rest of the state, but in the 5th District, he remains popular."

Hartford Courant columnist and DailyRuctions.com blogger Kevin Rennie wondered at the time what really was at play with the endorsement, considering the Rowland taint on her candidacy and Boughton's past disdain for Wilson-Foley, whom he narrowly defeated in a 2010 Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

Our guess is that Boughton got in bed with Wilson-Foley and her husband Brian for the same reason that Rowland did - because they're millionaires with a significant ability to raise money for his future gubernatorial campaign.

Before we go into details, lets backtrack...

In the summer of 2010, Boughton and Wilson-Foley were in a primary battle for the LT. Gov ticket and the mayor had a hissy-fit as Wilson-Foley littered the city of Danbury with her lawn signs. Needless to say that Boughton had nothing good to say about Wilson-Foley but as everyone in Danbury knows, the way to Boughton's heart is by filling his pocket with campaign contributions...and Wilson-Foley did exactly that in a BIG WAY.

Upon reading Boughton's laughable letter to the editor to the New Haven Register, he would have readers and supporters believe that Wilson-Foley never gave a penny to his campaign for governor...which is true but (in typical Boughton fashion) highly misleading.

What Boughton didn't inform the readership is that Wilson-Foley gave to his gubernatorial exploratory campaign as well as pull every trick in the book to give Danbury's mayor as much cash possible for his mayoral campaign in 2011. Given the bitterness between the two just a year prior, and Boughton's history of being involved in questionable fundraising tactics, it would be fair to assume that Wilsonm-Foleys  the contributions were in exchange for the mayor's endorsement (which happened FOUR days before the Republican convention) and the lion share of Danbury's delegate support in 2012.

On July 7th 2011, Lisa Wilson-Foley (a.k.a. Boughton's nemesis), gave the mayor a the maximum amount of cash you can give to a mayoral campaign contribution in a reporting period...1,000 dollars.

Oh, it gets better...

During the same reporting period, Brian Foley (Lisa Wilson-Foley's husband) also threw the maximum campaign contribution amount to Boughton's cause.

Later in 2012, Boughton "suddenly" became Wilson-Foley's biggest cheerleader and handed the congressional candidate the lion share of delegates from Danbury to her cause, although news of Wilson-Foley's disturbing connection to Rowland was already well known among politicos in the state and among the delegates at the Republican Convention.

...and remember, this happened before the maximum contributions Wilson-Foley and his ilk gave to Boughton's gubernatorial exploratory committee which was reported by Kevin Rennie.

Boughton's dishonesty comes as no surprise to me since I know a thing or two when it comes to Danbury's dishonest mayor's past questionable actions when it comes to shaking the money tree.

Here's a complete copy of Boughton's campaign Oct 10 2011 finance report...I wouldn't be shocked if I'd find more contributions to Boughton from people connected to Wilson-Foley in other reports during 2011...

Post updated at 7:10 AM.

 

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Malloy brags about his support for $10.10 minimum wage, but takes campaign money from Wal-Mart

by: ctblogger

Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 09:23:20 AM EDT

Cross post from Jon Pelto's Wait What?

If you've been getting Dannel "Dan" Malloy's recent campaign emails you know that the incumbent Governor is using his recent support for a higher minimum wage to raise money for his re-election campaign.

What doesn't show up in those emails is the fact that the Malloy campaign operation accepted a $5,000 check, last October, from WAL-MART STORES INC. PAC FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT.

The check was deposited into one of the Democratic State Central Committee's checking account on October 9, 2013.  This is the account Malloy and his campaign are using to side-step Connecticut law that restricts candidates from accepting political action committee money if they are participating in Connecticut's public financing system.

Taking $5,000 in blood money from the Wal-Mart PAC is in stark contrast to Malloy's orchestrated "campaign photo op." a few weeks ago.  As CT Mirror reported on March 26, 2014,

With partisan votes on a pocketbook issue that the White House and Connecticut Democrats hope will mobilize voters this fall, the General Assembly voted Wednesday for legislation that would raise the state's $8.70 minimum wage to $10.10 by January 2017.

The bill, which was approved 21-14 in the Senate and 87-54 in the House, became an instant political talking point for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and President Obama. Malloy is to sign the bill Thursday evening at Cafe Beauregard, the New Britain restaurant where Obama dined before a minimum-wage rally three weeks ago.

[...]

"I am proud that Connecticut is once again a leader on an issue of national importance. Increasing the minimum wage is not just good for workers, it's also good for business," said Malloy, a first-term Democrat facing re-election.

And in an email the Malloy campaign sent out yesterday, Malloy writes,

"Together, we have created new private sector jobs and we became the first state in the nation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. The progress we've made for the people of Connecticut has been great, but there is more to do. We cannot afford to turn back now!

To win, we need to hit certain fundraising benchmarks and the next one is to raise $20,000 by midnight on Monday.  Your gift goes directly toward helping us qualify for public financing. Chip in $5 or more right now >>

There is still so much more work to do if we're going to secure Connecticut's future.

I am counting on you to help me qualify for public financing. Then the fundraising emails stop and we move on to the next phase of our campaign: grassroots organizing.

In other words, all is well... donations from Connecticut voters who support the minimum wage in one pocket, a check for $5,000 from Wal-Mart in the other.

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