Analysis of Governor's education bill

S.B. 24 An Act Concerning Educational Competitiveness
Governor Malloy proposed his vision of education reform in S.B. 24.  

You can read the entire bill here.

While there is substantive agreement on many issues, including quality early childhood education, improved teacher preparation programs and increased autonomy for our state’s technical high schools, AFT Connecticut has concerns about many other parts of the bill.  Below is a summary of key provisions in SB 24.

This bill requires the State Department of Education’s Performance Evaluation and Advisory Commission to continue its work on developing a statewide model on teacher evaluation.  AFT Connecticut has a seat on this committee.

  • Requires PEAC to use 4 designations in teacher evaluation:  Below Standard; Developing; Proficient; Exemplary. Does not define these terms.
  • Defines “effective” as:
    • Initial certificate holders: developing, proficient or exemplary
    • Professional and master certificate holders:  proficient or exemplary
  • Links teacher performance evaluation ratings to tenure and certification.  See below.

Currently, teachers receive tenure, the right to due process, after successful completion of 4 years of teaching.  This bill eliminates that standard and instead links tenure to performance evaluation.

  • Teachers who have received 2 exemplary ratings during 3 years, or a combination of three proficient or exemplary ratings in 5 years will receive tenure.
  • Expands teacher probationary periods from 90 days to 1 year.
  • Replaces “inefficiency or incompetence” with “ineffectiveness” and adds “unprofessionalism” as reasons for dismissal.  Defines “ineffective” as “below standard” for non-tenured teachers and “developing” or “below standard” for tenured teachers.
  • Limits a dismissal hearing to 8 hours in front of a single, impartial hearing officer, board or subcommittee of the board of education and limits the decision to only whether the evaluation process was followed.
  • Tightens the hearing timeline.

Changes the overall certification system and links movement between certificates to teachers’ performance evaluations.  Eliminates the existing initial, provisional and professional certificates and replaces them with:

  • Initial Certificate: Based on completion (with at least a grade of B+) of a 4-year BA or Master’s program approved by the State Board of Education and is valid for 5 years.  It can be renewed for one year for a maximum of three renewals.
  • Professional Certificate:  A teacher must have completed TEAM and attained tenure (received 2 exemplary ratings during 3 years, or a combination of three proficient or exemplary ratings in 5 years) in order to receive a professional certificate, which is valid for 5 years.
    • Renewed for teachers who receive a combination of at least three proficient or exemplary ratings within 5 years.
    • Those who do not have at least three proficient or exemplary ratings within 5 years must complete at least 30 credits of graduate credit in an evaluation informed course of study program in order to renew the professional certificate.
    • Teachers who do not have at least three proficient or exemplary ratings or have not completed 30 graduate credits as specified, shall be issued an initial certificate.
    • Eliminates the requirement for a Master’s degree or 30 credits beyond a BA
  • Master Certificate:  Requires 5 years of teaching, a Master’s degree in an “evaluation informed” program approved by the State Board of Education and at least 3 “exemplary” ratings in the last 5 years of performance evaluations.

Other changes to certification:

  • Dilutes reciprocity standards.
  • Eliminates CEUs and instead requires that professional development be delivered by districts in response to needs identified by performance evaluations and focused on improving teacher and administrator effectiveness in raising student achievement.
  • Districts must continue to provide 18 hours of professional development annually without cost to teachers.


  • Increases the number of state charter schools from 17 to 22.
  • Establishes local charter schools and limits the scope of collective bargaining for local charter school teachers to wages, leave time, vacation and insurance benefits.
  • Provides $500,000 to each local charter school for start up costs.
  • Increases state per pupil funding for charter schools and requires local districts to provide $1,000 per student to local charter schools.
  • Requires new charter schools to recruit, admit and retain all kinds of students, including special education students, English language learners and students with behavioral problems.

Ranks and classifies all state public schools into 5 performance categories.  Creates a network of the 25 lowest performing schools and provides conditional funding to implement interventions and reform strategies prescribed by the Commissioner of Education, such as:

  • Having the Commissioner assume duties of the Board of Ed or have a private entity manage school operations.
  • Directing district education funding to the Commissioner to allocate as he deems necessary.
  • Selecting a turnaround model.
  • Employing extended day and extended school year.
  • Offering weekend classes.
  • Providing teacher and administrator professional development.
  • Employing teachers in the Commissioner’s Network by mutual consent.
  • Offering financial incentives for exemplary teachers to work in network schools.


  • Requires new salary schedules aligned with new certification standards to be negotiated effective 7/1/14.
  • Makes additional compensation for master certificate holders and those with exemplary ratings negotiable.
  • Requires movement through teacher salary schedules to be based on “effective practice”.
  • Exempts incentives offered to teachers in Commissioner’s network schools from collective bargaining.
  • Limits the scope of bargaining for local charter school teachers.


  • Creates the first-ever school board for the Connecticut Technical High School System
  • Provides $500,000 for new supplies and equipment
Teacher Evaluation We support the creation of fair, continuous, comprehensive local evaluation frameworks that are developed collaboratively with teachers and provide for teacher development. AFT and CEA have provided a joint proposal to reform local teacher evaluation processes. The plan includes opportunities for struggling teachers to improve with intervention plans tailored to address weaknesses identified by the evaluation process.
Tenure & Dismissal Proceedings We oppose extending the length of time for probationary employees.  We oppose linkages between teacher performance evaluations and tenure. AFT and CEA have provided a joint proposal to streamline dismissals for ineffective teachers who fail to improve.
Certification We oppose linkages between teacher performance evaluations and certification.  We support the elimination of CEUs and the requirements to link professional development to teacher evaluation outcomes. AFT will work with the General Assembly to reform teacher preparation programs that can be used as a basis for updating certification standards.
Charter Schools We support increased accountability for charter schools. AFT will work directly with legislators to tighten accountability language for charter schools and make it apply to all new and existing charter schools.  We will also advocate for successful charter schools to share their best practices with all public schools.
Commissioner’s Network of Low Performing Schools We support interventions for consistently low performing schools. AFT will work directly with legislators to insure that interventions are research based and their impacts are fairly bargained.
Collective Bargaining We oppose all attempts in all settings to limit or abrogate the rights of teachers to collectively bargain. AFT will work directly with legislators to insure that collective bargaining is used as a vehicle to create workable reforms rather than limit the rights of workers.
Technical High Schools We support the proposal to create an independent school board for the Connecticut Technical High School System, but differ on what the composition should look like. Working with the SVFT, we have proposed alternative language about a different board composition.

AFT CT (American Federation of Teachers Connecticut) is committed to improving the quality of education for every child in the state. Education reform issues like teacher tenure, teacher certification, teacher evaluations, early childhood education, charter schools, school funding and more need input from all educators. PreK-12 teachers, paraprofessionals and school related personnel are working every day to improve learning and help students to grow. From urban schools in Connecticut, such as Hartford, New Britain, New Haven and Meriden, to suburban schools, such as, Bloomfield, Simsbury and Waterford,  to regional school districts, our members are working to provide quality education.