Malloy clarifies the ‘only thing you have to do is show up’ comment about teachers

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday offered a more polite take on how teachers earn tenure. His previous comment seemed to scold the profession, by saying all teachers in the state have to do to keep their job is show up.

“In my state of the state speech I used some words to describe tenure which, taken in isolation, did not do a good job of describing my feelings on the subject… Every day, Connecticut’s teachers do far more than show up,” he wrote in an opinion piece in the Journal Inquirer published Wednesday afternoon.

The Mirror reported Tuesday that teachers and their union leaders are having a hard time getting past this very public chiding of their profession, and have come out in droves to his public hearings to display that displeasure.

One teacher from New Haven has come out to five of his eight town hall meetings, each time with a sign that reads “I showed up,” mocking his comment. She’s been waiting for an appology.

Malloy’s relationship with union leaders has also been tarnished by his comment that, “basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.”

This retraction Wednesday doesn’t mean Malloy is backing down from his plans to tie teacher evaluations to whether someone earns tenure. In fact he used the opinion piece to explain why such a change is needed.

“We cannot allow classrooms to be led by teachers, and schools to be led by principals, who are not doing their fair share,” he wrote. “Some have suggested over the past few weeks that rather than reforming tenure we should be directing more resources to struggling students. That’s a false choice; I think we should be doing both.”

Roy Ochiogrosso, the governor’s senior adviser that wrote the speech, said Malloy “still feels the standard for attaining tenure is too low. The vast majority of teachers far exceed what is expected of them… That’s something we should have been clear about in the speech. I take responsiblity for that.”