To the Entrepreneurs of Conncan:
The Trumbull Education Association would like to respond to your letter of 11/18/11, notifying us that Trumbull High School has ranked in the top 10 list for low-income student performance, Hispanic student performance and African-American student performance. While we are proud of the work of our highly trained tenured and tenure-track teachers with advanced degrees in addressing and defeating the achievement gap, we do not recognize or value your opinion of our performance and we view our inclusion in your 2010 State of Education Report as an opportunistic ploy to further promote your privatized agenda on the backs of hardworking public school teachers.
While you recognize that we teachers are doing a fine job of educating all students, you fail to mention in your letter that we do it in a way that completely opposes your political and financial agenda. All of our students receive quality educations and all of our students are able to experience success because of our highly committed educators and our effective public schools operation. On 12/1/11, Patrick Riccards, your CEO, told the Trumbull Times, “Regardless of the type of school, there are things we can learn from their success. “ If our “type of school”—the public education type, is not what you stand for and something you wish to disassemble, why do you bother to put us on your list? If you recognize our work as exemplary, why do you so strongly advocate for Gov. Malloy’s radical plan for education which will dismantle the very way in which we operate?
We do not recognize your business as an educational institution qualified to assess or judge the work that we do. We realize that you are trying to build legitimacy by “rewarding” talented public educators for doing their jobs effectively. We cannot accept your opinion because we are professional educators and you are professional businesspeople. Your staff’s backgrounds range from political strategy experience to corporate retail experience. While we collectively worked for years to practice our craft and perfect our teaching, you worked to figure out a way to make money off of it.
On 2/8/12, Patrick Riccards, told the Stamford Reporter that Malloy’s troubling plan, “is not a Chinese menu; it’s all or nothing. If you break it down into components and say we like this and not that, we will get nowhere.” Not only do we find the statement to be culturally insensitive—especially coming from a company that is supposedly interested in equal opportunities for multicultural achievement—we do not understand how you could create lists valuing the work of public school teachers while still advocating for laws that will diminish their educational experience and impact their professional wellbeing. What does Conncan have to gain from the passing of this bill? It appears to be quite transparent that this is about your staff’s connection to the Achievement First business operation and the ways in which the bill will allow for private companies to have greater access to profit off of the public education system.
Therefore, your organization of politicians and businesspeople can keep your list to yourself. Our inclusion in your list is not what inspires us to succeed with all of our students; it is our drive as highly trained, highly qualified educators to provide a rich public education for our students, free of the influence of corporate agendas.
The Trumbull Education Association