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He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Gets A Mention

by Melissa Bailey | Jun 17, 2014 4:58 pm

(19) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Schools, State, Campaign 2014

Melissa Bailey Photo The head of a national teachers union praised a “dear friend” and third-party candidate who was barred from addressing a labor convention—then made a case for why delegates should instead support a governor who has angered teachers.
Harry Potter/ Chion Wolf Photos.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), made that case Tuesday at the Connecticut AFL-CIO’s 10th Biennial Political Convention at downtown New Haven’s Omni Hotel, where, according to script, delegates unanimously endorsed Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s reelection run.

Weingarten got behind Malloy, too—after mentioning Jonathan Pelto, an education blogger and former state legislator who recently joined the governor’s race. Pelto, a relentless critic of Malloy, especially on education, is trying to get on the ballot as a third-party candidate under the new Education and Democracy Party. Pelto has played Lord Voldemort in the script of the convention of the last two days: Convention organizers refused to let him speak and in some cases shuddered to say his name, portraying him as the evil third-party spoiler who could snatch the margin of victory away from Malloy in a tight rematch with Republican Tom Foley.

When she heard a reporter utter the would-be spoiler’s name, AFT CT President Melodie Peters declined a press interview and walked away.

“Pelto?” she said. “I’m not talking about Pelto.”

Lori Pelletier, head of the AFL-CIO of CT, didn’t allow Pelto to address the convention. “Third parties don’t win. They spoil,” she said. She limited the invites to the two majority party-endorsed candidates, Malloy and Foley, who appeared Monday.

The specter of Jonathan Pelto emerged Tuesday, when Weingarten gave a keynote speech right before delegates endorsed Malloy.

Weingarten called Pelto “a dear friend of mine.”

“He’s done a lot of good work,” Weingarten said of Pelto in her convention address. Then she made a case for why delegates should not endorse him or vote for him.

Malloy has angered teachers, particularly though remarks in 2012 that in order to get tenure, teachers just had to “show up” to work. Through his blog, Pelto has hammered Malloy and his education commissioner, Stefan Pryor, on their connection to charter schools, endorsement of the Common Core and other attempted reforms. AFT leaders have endorsed Malloy, fearing the election of a Republican governor less friendly to labor. Pelto is targeting rank-and-file teachers who disagree with Malloy’s education policy and public remarks.

On the Omni stage Tuesday, Weingarten obliquely referenced Malloy’s “just show up” remark that alienated teachers.

“Yeah, I don’t like some of the things he has said either,” Weingarten said. But Malloy has increased education spending, she noted. And she said Malloy has led Connecticut to become a national model of how to use new evaluations to improve the teaching workforce—without eliminating tenure. She also applauded Malloy for raising the minimum wage and standing with striking workers at the Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London.

She said the gubernatorial election is not about “helping a friend” but about picking the best candidate.

Weingarten elaborated on her stance after she left the stage.

“Jonathan and I have been emailing for the past few days,” she said. “I love Jonathan Pelto. He and I have worked together in the past,” because they both write and speak about education and are active in social media. She said she told Pelto she would mention his name at the convention.

Pelto “knows I am strongly in favor of working for Malloy—because of what he has done, and because of the stakes” in the race.

If Malloy loses reelection, she said from the podium, Foley will “Wisconsinize Connecticut”—dismantle the rights of organized labor.

She was asked about Malloy’s remark in 2012: “In today’s system, basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.”

“There are a lot of people who say things they shouldn’t say,” Weingarten said. She said she has discussed the remark with Malloy and he sounded “very regretful.” And she said Malloy didn’t end up eliminating tenure—he found a way to make it easier to fire tenured teachers based on poor evaluations, but he didn’t get rid of their right to due process, she argued. She said Malloy has “been out there” supporting community schools, early childhood education, paid sick leave and a higher minimum wage—all factors important to the labor movement and the middle class overall.

Malloy wasn’t at Tuesday’s convention.

Pryor Experience

In his absence, union members offered a coded rebuke of his choice for education commissioner. The rebuke came from the Connecticut AFT, which represents 29,000 workers in the state, including 10,000 teachers.

Edward Leavy (pictured above), secretary-treasurer of AFT Connecticut, was one of a series of speakers who got behind a resolution that implicitly rejected Pryor as unqualified for the job. Pryor, a former New Haven alder, never held a full-time teaching job. He attended Yale Law School and co-founded Achievement First’s first charter school. Before moving back to New Haven, he was deputy mayor for economic development in Newark.

The resolution, authored by the AFT and adopted by the convention, didn’t name Pryor. But it called for education commissioners to be certified to teach, lead a school, and lead a school system. That means they should have an 093 certification—the same certification school superintendents need. Usually that means having had 80 months of teaching experience, or else a waiver.

Leavy said he disagrees with Malloy’s choice of Pryor as commissioner, and of their support for charter schools. “I don’t think charter schools are the best vehicle” to improve the school system as a whole, Leavy said. That’s an argument Pelto has made relentlessly.

But Leavy, who taught in the state vocational technical high school system for 23 years, said he won’t vote for Pelto over Malloy.

“Jonathan Pelto is going to be the Ralph Nader” of 2014, he said. “All he can do is take votes from Malloy.”

“We have to be very careful of a protest vote,” Leavy said, or “we’re going to end up with Foley.”

Leavy added that while he agrees with some of Pelto’s critiques, he also admires Malloy’s handling of other issues, including the state labor concessions the governor negotiated after his election.

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posted by: Brutus2011 on June 17, 2014  7:43pm

Baaa-loney…

I will not vote for Malloy.

Pelto has my vote.

Malloy is one and done.

posted by: Threefifths on June 17, 2014  8:03pm

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), made that case Tuesday at the Connecticut AFL-CIO’s 10th Biennial Political Convention at downtown New Haven’s Omni Hotel, where, according to script, delegates unanimously endorsed Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s reelection run.

This says it all.

Randi’s sellout record catching up to her… ‘Weingarten… knows more about betrayal than she is willing to admit…’

Jim Horn - December 20, 2013

http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=4689


Lori Pelletier, head of the AFL-CIO of CT, didn’t allow Pelto to address the convention. “Third parties don’t win. They spoil,” she said. She limited the invites to the two majority party nominees, Malloy and Foley, who appeared Monday.

Abe Lincoln was a third party candidate for president.

But Leavy, who taught in the state vocational technical high school system for 23 years, said he won’t vote for Pelto over Malloy.

“Jonathan Pelto is going to be the Ralph Nader” of 2014, he said. “All he can do is take votes from Malloy.”


Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 01:30 PM PST.

The Ralph Nader Myth

Al Gore did not win his own home State.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/06/1260721/-The-Nader-Myth#


You want to see the want to see the real deal on these union leaders.


Presidents of the Teachers Unions Exposed.

 

http://youtu.be/FwA04N2HsPw


Vote Pelto over Malloy.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on June 17, 2014  9:42pm

Pelto is NOT a spoiler; he is a candidate.
Using the term “spoiler” betrays the sense of entitlement that the current major parties share.
We need more than the standard 2 voices on an issue and third party and fourth party candidates change the agenda and force the contenders to address the issues raised.
You go Pelto!!

posted by: uconn fan on June 17, 2014  9:50pm

All due respect to both Randi Weingarten and Ed Leavy, both of whom I have great admiration for and appreciation for what they have done and will continue to do for AFT members; but seriously - if everyone who says various takes on “a vote for Pelto is a vote for Foley” would just be quiet and vote for Pelto along with the rest of us AFT members, we can elect Jon.  So many people in positions of power are writing Jon off, while the groundswell of the rank-and-file grows behind him.  Will someone PLEASE ask us commoners how we feel?  Our leaders seem to be afraid of what they will hear if they ask.  We have over four months to build Jon’s candidacy.  We need the chance and we need to get going.

posted by: OccupyTheClassroom on June 17, 2014  11:09pm

No way I’m voting Malloy. Pelto all the way!

posted by: anonymous on June 18, 2014  8:10am

CT needs to elect someone:
1. willing to raise taxes on the rich in a meaningful way
2. who won’t spend $400,000,000 to widen highways near Waterbury even as Metro North is literally collapsing, taking the rest of the CT economy with it.

Neither Malloy nor Foley are going to support the first item.  They are both from Greenwich-Stamford as are most of their key advisors.

Malloy should be held accountable on the second item.

Other stuff is pretty much window dressing.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on June 18, 2014  8:25am

My vote is going to Pelto. He may know the issues better than most do up at the capital because his watchdog work over all these years.

I know several SEIU people in this city who usually go party lines. This year they will not be. And they say they have spoken to others who are not.

Go Pelto!

posted by: cedarhillresident! on June 18, 2014  8:28am

oh and one more thing….

“Jonathan Pelto is going to be the Ralph Nader” of 2014, he said. “All he can do is take votes from Malloy.”

Reality is many of your members are not going support Dan…..the question is why are you not back the will of your people?

posted by: Threefifths on June 18, 2014  9:50am

Lori Pelletier, head of the AFL-CIO of CT, didn’t allow Pelto to address the convention. “Third parties don’t win. They spoil,” she said. She limited the invites to the two majority party nominees, Malloy and Foley, who appeared Monday.

My bad.The working family party is a Third Party.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on June 18, 2014  10:01am

Ralph Nader was never the “spoiler” the Democrats labeled him to be. There is a substantial amount of research proving that Nader took slightly more votes from the Republican candidate than he did from the Dems.

Nader was a convenient scapegoat for a less than exciting candidate, a dull campaign and a catastrophic decision to let the election be decided by the Supreme Court, rather than demand a recount in Florida in districts where voters were made to wait hours to vote or polls closed early.

Democracy was stolen that day and the Dems rolled over and played dead.

Fortunately many of us can read and don’t rely on political handouts or parroting of myths by the lazy media. But it’s time to stop using Nader as the scapegoat. So I"m calling out the Dems on this one.

Polls show Americans want new parties because the duopoly works for the monied interests that fund their bloated campaigns and talk change, but manage to avoid it.

Go Pelto!

posted by: Noteworthy on June 18, 2014  10:37am

The reaction of AFT CT President Melodie Peters is just plain pathetic. This follows of course, the refusal by and labeling of Pelto as a spoiler by Lori Pelletier, head of the AFL-CIO of CT. Union leaders are so myopic and self absorbed. They don’t believe in choice and treat their members are sheep to be herded rather than encouraged to vote, to educate themselves on the issues and make a choice.

Are union bigs even interested in education? Or just themselves and political power?

posted by: InPassing on June 18, 2014  11:04am

Oy vey politics.

Why has this little man not been exposed many years ago? It must be mentioned with great clarity. Jonathan Pelto is nothing more than a hyperbolic and vitriolic mouthpiece paid for by the teachers unions, now with political aspirations likely at the behest of his employers. Not a worthy candidate for governor, that is certain, but good enough for further rabble-rousing and to intimidate the opposition. 

Education (a worthwhile one) can not only improve the lives of the children it seeks to edify but the world at large. A proper education helps us better relate to ourselves and the world. So if you’re afraid of the words “education reform” than you are likely not interested in helping anybody but yourself. I must input though, that the current attempts at education reform are insufficient. I am not an educator nor a politician just a student with an open mind. 

A well written article on effective approach to education reform in other countries
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2014/06/american_schools_need_better_teachers_so_let_s_make_it_harder_to_become.html

posted by: Razzie on June 18, 2014  12:00pm

The issue here isn’t whether Pelto will be a “spoiler” or not. To me the greater issue lies in whether or not the union leadership should be stifling a bona fide candidate’s ability to get his/her message out to the voting public. Pelto is a credible candidate with strong views on education and other social issues of import to the voters. He has meaningful criticisms of Malloy and the way the Malloy Administration has been run. Those criticisms deserve to be shared and heard … regardless of whether they are harmful to the union’s hand-picked candidate. The question of union endorsement is not, and never has been, an issue in this election year. The Malloy endorsement was predetermined by an entrenched Union leadership that rarely cares what the democratic wishes of its membership may be. So what’s the danger in allowing Pelto to speak? And with all the justly deserved public criticism of the unions running roughshod over the democratic process, I just don’t get it!!

posted by: cedarhillresident! on June 18, 2014  12:00pm

InPassing

totally disagree on your thought of Palto.

And the phrase “Education Reform” to me has become just that a phrase. After decades of hearing this at election time from people running for governor, mayor leg. rep, congress, and senate….all it is, is a catch phrase. 

Call me jaded but I honestly think that as long as we get the big bucks from the feds for our under educated children…we will continue to not do real reform….we will just dress it up in a different way as we have been and will continue to do.

If I remember correctly it was ansonia (or some other city in CT…the succeed in reform and turn there schools around….and lost millions in federal doe once they did. So do you think CT or New haven really want reform knowing that all this money and jobs tied to it will go away once they have succeeded.

posted by: PH on June 18, 2014  1:39pm

Wow, clearly not a lot of history teachers among the commenters, or at least not ones that understand irony. Voting for Pelto is voting for Foley. See: Nader, Ralph, Florida 2000. The irony is that Dubya won because of a hopeless 3rd party candidate (Nader) siphoning off votes that most likely otherwise would have gone to Gore. Bush won, and implemented a law most educators hate: No Child Left Behind. Despite this experience, we are preparing to do it all over again on the state level! To show their displeasure at Malloy, voters toss just enough hopeless votes to Pelto and Foley could eke out a win. And Foley is no friend of teachers, public schools, public funds, or government employees! So as you delude yourself into thinking that there is something to be gained from getting Pelto up to 3% of the vote, realize that you are greatly increasing the odds that you are voting in a George Bush clone into the governor’s office. A vote for Pelto is a vote for George Bush, Tom Foley, and even worse educational and labor policies than we currently have.

posted by: Threefifths on June 18, 2014  8:38pm

posted by: InPassing on June 18, 2014 11:04am

A well written article on effective approach to education reform in other countries

This country always talks about Finland’s School Success.

Read this.

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland’s School Success
Anu Partanen Dec 29 2011, 3:00 PM ET


The Scandinavian country is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence.


The answers Finland provides seem to run counter to just about everything America’s school reformers are trying to do.

For starters, Finland has no standardized tests. The only exception is what’s called the National Matriculation Exam, which everyone takes at the end of a voluntary upper-secondary school, roughly the equivalent of American high school.

Instead, the public school system’s teachers are trained to assess children in classrooms using independent tests they create themselves. All children receive a report card at the end of each semester, but these reports are based on individualized grading by each teacher. Periodically, the Ministry of Education tracks national progress by testing a few sample groups across a range of different schools.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/what-americans-keep-ignoring-about-finlands-school-success/250564/


posted by: PH on June 18, 2014 1:39pm

A vote for Pelto is a vote for George Bush, Tom Foley, and even worse educational and labor policies than we currently have

And a vote for Malloy and Foley will be the same.Both are no friends of teachers and State works.

My bad. Red pill and blue pill both are the same.

posted by: Xmichael on June 18, 2014  11:08pm

I’m tired of all the school reform jazz I’ve heard and paid for over the decades. Nationally, Connecticut is #2 in property taxes. As a rolling average, nationally, property taxes are 5% to 6% of income, but in Connecticut, property taxes can easily be double, triple, and even quadruple of the national averages. I pay 15% of my income to West Haven and you in New Haven know how bad you have it. Taxation is very regressive in Connecticut,  the lower your income, the bigger percentage of your income you pay into the Connecticut tax system. I’m afraid the pre-K issue is going to eat into any chance for property tax reform.  Connecticut taxation is not based on fair share, it’s just highway robbery.

posted by: mechanic on June 19, 2014  9:28am

I won’t say they should endorse Pelto, but I can’t believe after everything Malloy has said, let alone what he’s done, that they would endorse him, and by extension, Stefan Pryor.

posted by: ms2676 on June 19, 2014  10:29am

Why would you not consider voting for Mr. Pelto? He has the heart and the interests of the people on his mind, unlike Mr. Malloy,  who has raised our taxes, and worse, has ruined the small business here in CT. I don’t mind a liberal Governor, but I do mind a communist, which is what he will become if he gets re-elected.

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