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Connecticut Education Association News Release
September 27, 2012
McMahon's Fiscal Direction Has Teachers Sounding the AlarmDocument review also yields basis for unprecedented perjury complaint
With time running short before Election Day, the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) has seized the initiative to shed light on the dire fiscal consequences for students and schools that would ensue if Linda McMahon were to head to the U.S. Senate.
"McMahon would take public education over a fiscal cliff," says CEA President Sheila Cohen. "She clearly doesn't understand the vital role that federal funding plays in providing quality education in Connecticut; in fact, she ignores the obligation Washington has to help us close our achievement gap," adds Cohen.
McMahon is running for U.S. Senate against U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy whom CEA has endorsed in the race. Debates between McMahon and Murphy commence shortly, with the first scheduled for October 7.
Cohen explains, "CEA is releasing our concerns today in an effort to make sure these concerns provide context for the debates and get the focus they deserve in the all-important debates where pressing issues will finally be put on the table."
CEA has compiled McMahon's public statements to date that indicate a planned, dramatic retrenchment in federal support for public schools if she has her way.
Cohen says, "We've connected the dots, and we estimate her plan will make a 15 percent average annual reduction in federal education funding for critical programs. This includes programs that serve our most vulnerable youngsters—from those living in poverty to children with special needs—and many leadership programs touching nearly every aspect of effective teaching and learning. Under McMahon's one percent budget solution, all federal education funding to Connecticut would be eliminated by 2020."
It's widely agreed that the stimulus program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), adopted by the U.S. Congress in 2009, averted educational disaster by preventing the layoff of vital teachers and the skyrocketing of class sizes. As a member of the State Board of Education, McMahon was supportive of Connecticut accepting the ARRA funds, but subsequently she questioned whether ARRA was appropriate fiscal policy.
Cohen points out, "All indications are that McMahon would cast students and teachers adrift, while characterizing only deficit reduction as the nation's priority. Vital education programs cannot be the source for deficit reduction while millionaires and corporations benefit from tax cuts and loopholes. And, let's not forget, only a country that makes education a priority is bound for economic success."
In public statements, McMahon has opened the door to dismantling the U.S. Department of Education. "That's dangerous thinking," says Cohen. "From civil rights to educational improvement such an action would turn back the clock on our nation's priorities at the very time that other nations are strengthening their educational systems, putting their countries on firm economic footing."
While her budget plans are of major concern, issues continue regarding the veracity of comments McMahon has made over the years and her related commitment to Connecticut's schools. In the past week alone, news reports have uncovered facts that lead to questions concerning McMahon's integrity on matters relating to her appointment to the State Board of Education.
Perjury inquiry appears to be unprecedented in education arena
CEA has concerns that McMahon may have committed perjury in her testimony under oath when she sought appointment to the State Board of Education, a seat for which she had little to no qualifications. It is also a post from which she resigned after serving only one year. Given the critical nature of this issue, CEA has asked the State Attorney General, State Board of Education, and the State Ethics Commission to investigate.
A copy of a state questionnaire, which was notarized and certified by McMahon as to its veracity, reveals that McMahon answered "no" to several questions to which the answers apparently should have been "yes." She also listed her degree as a "B.S. in Education," when, in fact, she received a B.A. in French.
"We are calling on the state to investigate the testimony and questionnaire submitted by McMahon during her nomination process," says Cohen. "Integrity seems to be at issue here, and the documented facts cry out for a formal and careful review," she continued.
The Connecticut Education Association represents 43,000 teachers in Connecticut.
For further information, contact Nancy Andrews at 860-725-6317, email@example.com.