Date: Jun 30, 2013 10:00 AM
Author: Domenico Rosa
Subject: Taxpayer-Funded Educational Reforms Abuse Children

The following Letter-to-the-Editor was published in The Hartford Courant, 30 June 2013, Page H13. The web site contains a slightly different and shorter letter at:

http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/letters/hcrs-15392--20130616,0,481650.story

An article about the suspensions at the Achievement Frirst charter school is at:

http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-suspension-report-0606-20130605,0,581765.story
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Taxpayer-Funded Educational Reforms Abuse Children

What a travesty. At the same time Gov. Dannel P. Malloy appeared as speaker at an educational conference in Cleveland touting his educational reforms, the crown jewel of his efforts, Achievement First, made the front page because of its educational abuses, including an outrageous number of suspensions--199 suspensions compared with an average of 10 in kindergarten and first-grade students in other Hartford schools. The school was also cited for punishing rule breakers by identifying them with white shirts and requiring other children to shun them. In other times the white shirt might have been a scarlet letter, Jewish star or pink triangle. What are they teaching our children? Where was the oversight for these past four years?

Malloy's educational reforms go wrong because people who have little or no experience in education are making decisions that affect children. That includes management firms and consultants that have been awarded contracts to aid in the reform efforts and corporate-sponsored advocacy boards. It also includes the Commissioner of Education, who was a co-founder of Achievement First, the Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools and the Governor.

Many children have been harmed by their uninformed decisions. Will these people share the consequences?

Margaret Rick, West Hartford
The writer is a retired elementary school principal.

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