It’s not often I praise Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, but this time he got it right, nominating Andrea Comer to the state Board of Education. Comer is chief operating officer for the charter school group FUSE (Family Urban Schools of Excellence), the Hartford organization that manages Jumoke Academy. The nomination has stirred up a hornet’s nest among teacher union leadership, according to the Hartford Courant.
“It is extremely disappointing that the governor would appoint a person so into charter schools as she is,” said Andrea Johnson, president of the Hartford Federation of Teachers. “It’s just a slap in the face of every public school teacher. It’s terrible.”
Eric Bailey, spokesman for the Connecticut chapter of the American Federation of Teachers is also quoted in the Courant story as saying, “We don’t believe that her appointment to the state Board of Education represents the balanced approach necessary to ensure that the children of Connecticut are getting the kind of education they need.”
How, to quote Johnson, is the nomination “a slap in the face of every public school teacher?” Because charter schools have a successful track record? Because the union leadership, not the rank-and-file, fear the competition?
Then there is Bailey, who probably makes a good salary as a spokesman, with an even more ridiculous statement. The union doesn’t believe the nomination “represents the balanced approach necessary?” What is the balanced approach? From the union’s standpoint, it would be all union members with ties to public schools on the board and no one else.
Union leadership does not want to see charter schools or home schooling succeed. It challenges their hegemony. For too long, however, public education has gorged at the public trough. The well is now dry, but the union wants to maintain the present, decaying system, even if it means taxing the public into oblivion.
When you examine his record, Malloy has actually been supportive of public education. Some would say too supportive. Yet, open the door just a crack, and the union is ready to pounce. This time, they showed their true colors. The hope is the General Assembly won’t crack, and votes to approve Comer’s nomination.