I am reblogging Jonathan Pelto’s latest post about how the will of the people has been circumvented here in CT. Please read and share this story.
CT deserves a Commissioner of Education who is also an educator. All states deserve that. What has happened in CT shouldn’t happen in a democracy. This is a scam. These “reformers” should not be allowed to move from state to state causing disruption, distraction, and destruction. This has to stop. At the very least, they should have a background in education.
This is the least we the people should demand for our children and grandchildren.
In preparation for the Connecticut General Assembly’s 2015 constitutionally required veto session, Democratic legislative leaders announced yesterday that no votes would be taken on whether to sustain or override the nine bills vetoed by Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy during this year’s legislative session.
The most noteworthy of the bills that the Democrats are unwilling to bring up for a vote is PA 15-176, which was House Bill 6977, AN ACT ESTABLISHING QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION.
The legislation requires that any person serving as Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education have an appropriate education degree and teaching experience.
The legislation arose in response to Governor Malloy’s decision to name Stefan Pryor, a charter school founder and corporate education reform industry advocate, to be his first commissioner of education, despite the fact that Pryor had no educational experience.
Stefan Pryor’s performance as Malloy’s Education Commissioner led both Democrats and Republicans to call for legislation requiring future leaders of the state department of education to have the requisite education experience.
The General Assembly’s Education Committee held a public hearing on House Bill #6977 and went on to pass the legislation by a vote of 32 – 0.
At no time did Malloy or his administration testify against the bill or publicly announce any opposition to the concept.
The bill went to pass the Connecticut State Senate by a vote of 36 – 0 and the Connecticut House of Representatives by a vote of 138-5.
In the end, only one Democratic legislator voted against the bill.
With its passage, HB6977 become Connecticut Public Act 15-176.
But despite the overwhelming level of support displayed for the bill by the Connecticut General Assembly, Governor Malloy vetoed the legislation.
And now, in a disturbing and rather pathetic effort to appease Governor Malloy, the Democratic leadership in the Senate and House has announced that, after speaking with the Democratic members of the two chambers, there will be no vote to override or sustain Governor Malloy’s veto.
Instead, the bill will simply die.
To read about the bill go to: Malloy vetoes bill requiring that education commissioner have education experience, for news coverage about the decision not to even vote on Malloy’s veto see: CT Dems shameful display of cowardice on Malloy’s Education Veto (updated) and news coverage at General Assembly Won’t Override Malloy’s Vetoes (CT Newsjunkie), Democrats will not attempt to override Malloy vetoes (CT Mirror), No Veto Overrides Planned By Legislature (Hartford Courant)
The Democratic legislators’ lame and unsettling decision to not even allow a vote on whether to override Malloy’s veto of AN ACT ESTABLISHING QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION (PA 15-176) came as a shock to Connecticut’s two teacher unions (the CEA and AFT-CT) who claimed ownership of the bill and used its passage as some strange indicator that their endorsement of Malloy’s re-election effort was acceptable because he was now being taken to the “wood shed” for his historic abuse of teachers and the teaching profession.
But the underlying issue isn’t about Malloy vs. the teacher unions or about whether Dannel Malloy’s temper and thin skin led him to veto a bill, out of the blue, despite its nearly unanimous support.
The issue really isn’t even about whether state government should or should not require that the commissioner of education have appropriate teaching experience.
The fundamental issue at stake is the result of the decision by the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly to prevent a vote on whether to override Malloy’s veto.
The decision by the legislative branch to walk away from its duty to check and balance the executive branch reflects the growing politics of appeasement that has enveloped our political system and it is a situation that should be of concern to everyone across the political spectrum.
The foundation of the United States’ system of government is the inclusion of the system of checks and balances to guard against unwarranted authority. It is an inherent part of both the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Connecticut.
As James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper No. 47,
The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
In a 2006 Washington Monthly article on the danger of executive power, Bruce Fein wrote about Madison’s concept explaining,
The most conservative principle of the Founding Fathers was distrust of unchecked power. Centuries of experience substantiated that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Men are not angels. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition to avert abuses or tyranny. The Constitution embraced a separation of powers to keep the legislative, executive, and judicial branches in equilibrium. As Edward Gibbon wrote in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: ‘The principles of a free constitution are irrevocably lost, when the legislative power is nominated by the executive.’”
“The principles of a free constitution are irrevocably lost, when the legislative power is nominated by the executive.”
Governor Malloy is wrong to have vetoed the bill requiring that the person responsible for running the state department of education have educational experience.
But the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly have done a far greater disservice by refusing to even vote on Malloy’s veto. Their unwarranted decision to appease Malloy means that they have handed their constitutionally mandated legislative authority to the executive branch of government.
And that is something every Connecticut citizens should be very concerned about.