Malloy to legislators: No waiting

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made clear in a letter to state legislators Wednesday afternoon that he is not interested in a one-year study period on the education reforms he is pushing. He’s also calling on lawmakers not to allow special interest groups to dictate their vote.

“I am concerned that some people think we can wait another year, or longer, to tackle the big, tough issues,” Malloy wrote the 187-member General Assembly. “Let me be clear about this: we can’t wait.”

Malloy’s plans for shaking up the education system hit a detour Monday after the Education Committee approved a bill that will either first study or significantly downgrade many of his proposals. The most controversial of those proposals — using teacher evaluations to make tenure, pay and termination decisions — would be delayed for at least a year under the committee bill.

“We can’t wait to implement an evaluation system that will make sure the good teachers in our systems have peers that are their equal,” he wrote. “I am aware change is hard and I am aware that we all have relationships and alliances that make change even more difficult. But when it comes to education reform, it’s time to put the needs of our children ahead of those relationships and alliances.”

Simply put, Malloy is not looking for a kumbaya moment, or a consensus package, as he has said before.

But Speaker of the House Christopher G. Donovan, D-Meriden, has other plans.

“I want an agreement with everyone… The teachers’ unions have a role,” Donovan said during an interview shortly after receiving Malloy’s letter. Asked if alliances will need to be broken to get real reform, the speaker, who is also running for Congress and backed by the teachers’ unions, said, “I don’t believe so. I believe in all alliances… Let’s work together, that’s my theme.”

The House Democratic caucus Wednesday met behind closed doors to discuss the committee’s modified bill, but no decisions have been made yet by House or Senate leadership on what will be included in the bill that will be brought up for a vote.