Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When Black Politicians Stand Up For Our Kids

 RiShawn Biddle with an article which show the key role black politicians in CT played in getting a much more reform-oriented bill passed – and how they should be a model:

For the past two months, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy's school reform agenda had been torn apart by his fellow Democrats controlling the state legislature. Thanks to aggressive lobbying efforts from the Nutmeg State's National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers affiliates (and memories of what happened two years ago to then-Rep. Jason Bartlett after he teamed up with what is now the Connecticut Parents Union to successfully advocate for the passage of the nation's second Parent Trigger law), the state legislature's education committee all but ditched Malloy's proposed teacher quality reforms and expansion of charter schools.

Legislative leaders in that state have proven to be so pusillanimous that they all but kowtowed to the NEA during one of its rallies.

But as it turns out, at least half of Malloy's reform effort may actually survive. Why?

Largely because of the legislature's Black and Latino caucus offering up its own support of Malloy's original plan last week through their own set of proposals. By unveiling their own proposals, the group (which includes state representatives Gary Holder-Winfield and Billie Miller) stood up to the NEA and AFT affiliates, and called out the legislature's education committee – along with state House Speaker Christopher Donovan and Senate President Pro Tempore Donald Williams, who engaged in last month's embarrassing display of poor leadership.

More importantly, their endorsement — coming just as the legislative session is coming to an end — gave Malloy and grassroots reformers on the ground enough well-timed support to force legislators to come up with more reform-minded legislation. Whether or not the new version will be a strong step toward systemic reform is a different question entirely.

The leadership showed by Holder-Winfield, Miller and their colleagues on behalf of Connecticut's poor and minority children is absolutely commendable. And it is an example Black politicians elsewhere should follow.


When Black Politicians Stand Up For Our Kids



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