From my perspective we have two critical points in the current Connecticut education crisis that must be dealt with first during the General Assembly’s 2017 session: One, the Common Core State Standards — developmentally inappropriate for many of our children, especially those in the elementary years. And Two: Measuring our children using the new state mastery test, which lacks psychometric test validation and reliability.
“Pension Spiking” is the term used to describe the common practice whereby state and government employees contrive to boost their pensions in the last years of their employment. Pension spiking has been going on for years throughout the country, but it has been raised to a new level in Connecticut during Gov. Dannel Malloy’s two terms. By appointing a number of loyal Democrat legislators to judgeships or other high ranking positions in his administration, he has “spiked” their retirement benefits.
History rarely bothers with prisons. Famous crimes get plenty of coverage, but not their aftermath. If a notorious defendant is sent off to the pokey, he, like his fellow inmates, is soon out of sight and mind. And yet, the treatment of crime and criminals is a vastly important and complex issue, at the core of societal values and beliefs, a test Winston Churchill said, of a country’s civilization. It also represents massive expense. Gordon S. Bates has done Connecticut a big favor by holding a mirror up to the state’s criminal justice history.
So much information to process to make informed decisions in a short amount of time: budget cuts everywhere, systems continue to fail our children and families regarding livable paying jobs, institutional racism/ageism/sexism/etc., affordable housing, brown fields destroying our environment, fear of terrorists attacks in a place we all call home, access to affordable quality childcare in all spaces and places…the list goes on and on! Our fight for equity where? How important is it to the collective us? Why are we letting this system dictate our destiny when we never signed up for this?
Connecticut residents and lawmakers grappling with the state’s fiscal challenges should start the New Year with one goal in mind: to build thriving communities across our state. Economic development policy should focus on investing in our people and our workforce by protecting the public systems such as education and health care that undergird a strong economy . Despite the headline-grabbing “business climate” rankings that bear little relationship to economic growth or actual tax climates, there’s more to economic development and tax policy than rates alone —businesses seek educated and productive workforces because it pays off.
President Obama has been largely a “sidelines-quarterback.” His nickname of “No-Drama Obama” was earned by a full eight years of never getting out of first gear and assiduously refusing to exert and effort beyond the minimal. However, now it seems that he has suddenly come to life and is rushing to get some things put on his list of accomplishments. He came back from his latest vacation apparently with the intention to finally get some things done in his last few weeks. It seems as if he would like to be remembered for perhaps more than the president who has taken the most vacation time, spent the most on vacations (nearly $100 million), and logged more rounds of golf than any other president in history
In a few days the Mastery Examination Task Force will be submitting its Final Report and Recommendations to the Connecticut Legislature’s Education Committee which had asked for a study of student assessment practices in our public schools. Having monitored the progress of this task force during its one-and-a-half years of meetings, I contend that their findings were predetermined at or even before the task force began its deliberations.
We’re going to see a lot of changes in Connecticut television news in 2017. New Haven’s ABC affiliate, WTNH, is getting a new owner for the second time in two years. WFSB, the state’s top-rated news station, is reportedly cutting back on sports coverage – eliminating dedicated sportscasts at 6 p.m., and instead only giving sports a few minutes of coverage at 11 p.m., and only on Wednesdays through Sundays. And News 12 Connecticut plans to begin broadcasting its shows from studios in New Jersey, starting in March.
As we come to the conclusion of another calendar year, we face the elimination of the State of Connecticut’s participation in funeral honors for our military fallen. Again, it’s a budget line item that exemplifies insensitivity and callousness toward the providers of our freedom and our way of life in this country.
Most of the legislation the General Assembly passed in 2016 has already taken effect, but there are a handful of laws that go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. Here’s a look at some of the most important legislation that will ring in the New Year: