During Bill Clinton’s stump speech in New Haven today, the former president did not speak at all about education and the omission, considering the circumstances surrounding the event, was surprising, to say the least.
Clinton was around to bolster Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s reelection bid and, as one might expect, his speech largely centered around the governor’s accomplishments.
“Based on what he has done, he should be reelected by 10 points or more – going away,” Clinton said, as the Hartford Courant reported. “He has proved he is a true leader.”
Clinton talked about Malloy’s work on gun control. He touted Connecticut’s economic recovery, including small business development.
He did not say word one about education. Odd, considering the venue. New Haven has been at the forefront of education reform issues, launching a teacher evaluation framework that became the basis for a statewide version Malloy helped implement.
Those evaluations recently became tied to New Haven teacher salaries, in ratified collective bargaining agreements many advocates have called “groundbreaking.”
When Malloy announced millions of dollars in funding to turn around some of our state’s lowest performing schools, New Haven, like Bridgeport was at the top of the list. The resulting school models have been innovative and interesting approaches to education that are offering new hope to students, parents and communities.
New Haven has also been an epicenter for high-quality public education options, like charter schools. Amistad, one of the state’s highest performing charter schools, calls New Haven home, and another neighborhood public charter school, Booker T. Washington Academy, will open in New Haven this year, thanks to Malloy.
All that being said, let’s be crystal clear — education must be at the very core of the gubernatorial campaign.
Under Gov. Malloy, Connecticut has made some gains on education. Turnaround schools are beginning to turn around. Parents have more options. The work of the best teachers is celebrated more and more every day.
Far be it from me to criticize former President Bill Clinton, but the omission of education was glaring and disappointing. A word from Clinton would have done quite a bit to keep education at the center of the campaign, right where it needs to be.
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