Tag Archives: teachers

Challenges and Changes Ahead for Public Education

school-buses-005-2xThe decision on CCJEF (Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding) vs Rell lawsuit was announced and should have significant impact on educational funding in Connecticut.  The decision is far reaching and looks to change not only how schools are funded but also priorities in funding allocation.

Here are the key components of the decision:

  1. A ruling that it is NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL for the state to have a public education financing system that is NOT based on the amount of money it takes to provide every child equitable access to an adequate educational program.
  2. A ruling that the present system for funding public education in CT is unconstitutional because it is irrational.  The judge gave the State 180 days to submit to the plaintiffs in the case a system that is rational.
  3. An apparent ruling that the State has to develop a system for requiring students to actually demonstrate that they have mastered specified content and skills before being awarded a high school diploma and a requirement that there be a State graduation exit exam established for this purpose.
  4. An apparent ruling that the current system for teacher evaluation be revamped so that compensation is based on the results of teacher evaluation.
  5. An apparent ruling that would require the State not to program for children whose special needs are so severe that education cannot materially influence the quality of their lives.

Appeals in the case are likely but it would appear at this juncture all school districts will face significant changes in the future.  Under the ruling, gone would be the days of social promotion and high school diplomas presented with little basis in merit.

Teacher compensation currently structured by contractual obligations rather than individual productivity or merit would be changed to a system based on results of teacher evaluation.  In the land of steady habits, it will be difficult to facilitate real change and not window dressing to institute a realistic system of evaluation and compensation.

Special education would no longer be required for children whose needs are so severe that education cannot materially influence their quality of life.  This may not be as clear cut as it sounds and remains open to some interpretation.  Currently special education costs for a single student can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The “irrational” system for funding education must be changed in Connecticut.   The new formula, under this decision, will not be based on a false premise of a constitutional guarantee to provide every child equitable access to an adequate educational program.

One thing for sure lobbyist and special interest groups will be active to pressure our legislature to preserve, protect and promote their positions as new policies are written.


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Arrested Child Development A Parental Problem

2 girlsTimes have changed and student interaction is learned on a different level than it was a generation ago.  There has been a basic change in the development of interpersonal communications and behavior.

Today in our schools teachers are commonly called upon to address perceived actions of a bully.  Teachers are not only teaching but acting as arbitrators, negotiators and counselors to resolve student conflicts. Why are we seeing this changing role of teachers?

It is not uncommon today for children to spend their leisure time centered on computers, television and isolated video games.  A generation or two ago, children would be found outside actively engaged with other children.  Sandlot games of baseball and football were a common sight and with them came interpersonal experience.

Children in the past learned to communicate and resolve issues on the playgrounds and backyards of the neighborhood.  They learned to cope with rejection, hard feelings, conflicts and they did it themselves.

Today without the experience of youthful interaction, when the reality of life hits the children of this generation with negative emotions they are more likely to seek guidance or resolution with the intersession of an adult.  They don’t know how to cope with the feelings and emotions of negativity.

Contributing to the lack of development is the “helicopter parent” hovering over every aspect of life to assure their child is protected from any upsetting emotional experience.  Too many parents in attempting to protectively nurture their children actually deny them the experience to learn the coping skills of real life.

Watching a child grow can be a trying time for the parents.  The tears of an emotionally hurt child are equally upsetting to a loving parent.  It is easy to react as a parent protector and intercede to “fix” the hurt, but it doesn’t always help in the development of the child.

It should be noted in families with closely aged siblings there is natural conflict arising from time to time that isolated children never see or experience.  Those trying times of family life are actually a natural teaching tool ultimately providing valuable life experience.

The solution for better childhood interpersonal development skills is not found in supervised sports leagues or books it is found only in the experience of real life.  It is found in conflict and hurt feelings, it is found in the school of hard knocks.

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One Question

Several years ago during the reaccreditation of Coventry High School several recommendations were made among them were curriculum changes.  However, one item that got little notice at the time was attendance.  It was found that students attended school about 96% of the time and teacher attended about 92% of the time.

We have been told that curriculum has been improved.  We have not been told there is any progress in having teachers show up for work on a more consistent basis.  The cost of substitute teachers is a factor in the budget and attendance should be a factor on any job.

We all know that teachers work very hard and are contracted to teach 182 days per year, have summers off, and vacation days whenever school is not in session.  Simple math indicates if they are in school 92% of the time then they are out about 8%.  If we take 8% of 182 we find that nearly 14 additional days are taken off.  That is almost 3 weeks of teaching.

If the system is doing better with curriculum, and our students are making the honor roll in large numbers, albeit CMT test scores have not reflected huge progress but that could be due to other factors.  The one question for today is……….

Do Coventry teachers still skip school at the same rate of about 8% or have we made progress in getting them to attend work?



Notice:  Due to recent computer problems the Opining Quill has had to limit activity and access on the internet we are working hard to get back to normal.

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The post for August 8th talked about the cost of promises and the question was asked, “Are you willing to pay more taxes for the promises of pandering politicians?” Today we look at who is paying for the most recent promise delivery. Would you believe the poor will pay for the rich?

When you live in town and receive food stamps comparing yourself with a teacher in Coventry making on the average over $62,000 you consider them rich. When 55% of American families have at least one member that has lost a job or had their income reduced you think times are tough. So where should our priorities be when it comes to our federal budget?

We have had declining enrollment in our schools and over 80 local students have voluntarily left Coventry to attend Windham Tech. and many others have chosen other out of district schools for their high school experience. So it should not surprise anyone that we have fewer teachers. There are times when layoffs are a reflection of good judgment and a wiser use of resources. The roll of education is to teach not to maintain employment.

This past week the President signed a $26 billion emergency jobs bill with $10 billion being directed toward teachers. Does it surprise anyone that it comes just before an election and that the money is to support unions that have supported the Congressional majority? How much money and labor will now be donated by those union members to support those candidates that just paid off a promise? But wait where did the money for this emergency money come from just who will be paying this bill?

A large chunk of this cost will be paid for by reducing food stamp benefits for the poor. So let me understand this clearly a disabled veteran living on basic needs and receiving food stamps will have their food budget reduced so that teachers will not have to accept wage reductions or layoffs?

The greed of these unions accepting this money brings to mind the quote of Marie Antoinette “Let them eat cake”. The public employee unions have become out of touch with reality and their demands are no longer in the best interest of this nation. When we as a nation turn our backs on those most in need and divert resources of basic life support for our needy to support union jobs for political advantage we are headed in the wrong direction.

When and if any of this money comes to Coventry we as a community should be looking at our priorities and making a statement about our priorities. Are we as a community going to take money from our most needy to support our wants?

Our teachers in Coventry are now in negotiations for a new contract, do you have any idea what they want? What are the priorities? Should the Board of Education disclose what the demands of our teachers are? How realistic are requests for raises or more benefits? Will we as a community have to cut support to our most needy to pay for more increases? Where do you stand and what are your priorities?




Local positions available, our average full-time employee makes $64,000+ annually and receives a full liberal benefit package.  Our employees have at least 15 weeks of vacation time every year.  For the most part our dress code is causal however you must be able to work without direct constant supervision.

Work time will usually be between 7:00am and 3:00pm and may or may not be constant. Some positions enjoy multiple 35-40 minute breaks during the work day depending on workload.  In some cases we will provide you with additional help to assist you in your duties.

There is additional work available to some employees and you can receive some additional compensation.  The additional work would be at your option and is not in anyway required.  Our average employee shows up for work less than 95% of the time but our clients are here on a more regular basis.  You do have paid sick days available over and above your other time off and your workload will be performed by a temporary worker so work will not pile up while you are out.

We consider holiday time to be time off so you will not work holidays or weekends.  Currently our staff is looking for a wage increase so you may expect that the above average salary will be increasing in the near future.

If you think this opportunity looks too good to be true in this economy think again. You are the employer and you are paying the bill with your tax dollars.  Yes it is time for the teachers of Coventry to negotiate a new contract so while the above is informational the salary level may be once again increased.

How much is enough?  Do high wages mean a better education?  Why have we cut textbooks and not salaries?  There are far fewer students now than five (5) years ago so what has the impact been?  Have you ever noticed the number of Coventry elected officials with ties to the educational unions?   Get your checkbooks ready because we all know it’s not for the teachers the spending increase will all be  “for the children”.

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