2012 Connecticut Teacher of the Year David Bosso of Berlin told Governor Malloy during a town hall meeting last night, that his proposal affects teacher morale and is demoralizing.
Bosso said, “A focus on teachers and evaluation is hurting teacher morale, and, when teacher morale declines, teaching and learning suffer, and this needs to be avoided at all costs.”
Bosso continued saying, “I am proud to say I am an expert and feel good as a teacher when I am supported, respected, and valued. I am more than the test scores of my students.”
Governor Malloy said he’s not to blame for poor morale. “Don’t blame me for bad morale because I am not the person who told you I was going to take certification away, and I am not the person to take due process away.”
“What makes morale tough is when people are told that I want to take away certification and there’s nothing in the bill that does that, or when people are lead to believe that their union didn’t vote for an evaluation framework, and that I’m a bad guy for trying to invent an evaluation framework,” said Malloy.
“I don’t think there’s a one size fits all approach to morale,” he continued. “The biggest morale problem in schools is when everybody is not pulling their weight.”
But, in fact, the Governor’s proposal in his Education Bill #24 calls for a system that ties subjective local evaluations by principals to both teachers’ certification and renewable tenure. The new Substitute SB 24 does not contain that provision.
Southington veteran teacher Marcia Stavola attended the meeting with five of her colleagues from Southington High School and expressed her concern over the governor’s proposals. As a teacher with 38 years of experience, she says she doesn’t feel respected.
“You can’t say that because my students—because of the classes that I have, do better because of me and don’t do as well because of a colleague who is equally as qualified.” She said there are many variables and that a colleague could have students in his or her classes who have more personal issues, (including chronic absences, drug abuse, and dysfunctional families), than she has in her classroom. But despite that fact, she said, “both teachers are evaluated the same way, and that isn’t fair.”
The governor agreed there are variables, and lots of them. However, he said, “The framework which your union agreed to has ample space to address those.”
The governor said people have decided to concentrate on what they don’t like and ignore what they actually agree with. “This is good for everyone because it’s happening in other states.”
In a give and take, the governor said to Stavola, “You’ve known a teacher or two in your life who stepped backwards, who failed to perform at the level they once did.”
She responded that in 38 years she could only come up with three teachers who fit that description, and said that they were let go under the present evaluation system.
“Then you have better teachers than I did,” said the governor.