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Hartford Superintendent Getting Pass on Yearly Evaluations, Despite CT Law

Question #1:  Must Connecticut teachers and school administrators have state certification?

Answer:  Yes, it is mandatory. Unless you are Paul Vallas or one of a handful of other politically connected elites.

Question #2:  Must Connecticut teachers and school administrators be evaluated?

Answer:  Yes, it is mandatory. Unless you are Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto.

The Connecticut license plates claim we are the Constitution State.

The phrase refers to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut which were adopted in 1638 and was our historical commitment to the notion that were the first to recognize that to be free one must be a state or nation where the rule of law rises above the "rule of men."

And here we are 375 years later and we are witnessing the steady erosion of our historic dedication to that fundamental truth.

Take for example the latest news from Hartford.

State law requires that every local board of education "shall evaluate the performance of the superintendent annually in accordance with guidelines and criteria mutually determined and agreed to by such board and such superintendent."

The concept is pretty clear: Every year, Connecticut communities shall evaluate the performance of their superintendent of schools.

But as a result of special deal between Hartford's Board of Education Chairman Matt Poland and Hartford's Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, the leader of Hartford's school system will go without any evaluation this year AND next.

Meanwhile, starting this year, as a result of Governor Malloy's new education reform bill, it is mandated that teachers must go through an extensive evaluation process...every year.  And a poor annual review will start that teacher down the path of losing their job.

But what is mandatory for Connecticut's tens of thousands of teachers is suddenly optional for the highest ranking "educator" in Hartford's school system who is pulling down $238,000 a year plus benefits.

This latest news comes via a story in this afternoon's Hartford Courant. Vanessa De La Torre, a Courant reporter who covers Hartford, writes:

The city board of education will not conduct an evaluation of Superintendent Christina Kishimoto for the final two years of her three-year contract...Kishimoto recently asked the board to waive its annual review of her performance for 2012-13 and 2013-14, board Chairman Matthew Poland said. Poland agreed with Kishimoto and notified board members on Monday that the decision was finalized."

No discussion, no vote, just an agreement between Board Chairman Poland (who is appointed by Hartford's Mayor) and Superintendent Kishimoto.

The rules in Hartford are clear: Evaluations for everyone except for the person responsible for actually running the school system.

The Hartford Courant article adds, "Poland said he consulted with one of the city's lawyers, Assistant Corporation Counsel Melinda Kaufmann, before waiving the superintendent's evaluations..."

The Courant goes on to explain, "Board Secretary Robert Cotto Jr. said he disagreed with the decision to forgo the annual review and requested his own legal opinion in a letter dated Sept. 23 to Saundra Kee Borges, the city's corporation counsel.

'Evaluating employees at least annually is sound practice and wise policy,' Cotto wrote. "For boards of education, it is also important to evaluate superintendents in order to monitor his or her current work and as a record for future legal or employment considerations.'"

As Robert Cotto Jr. went on to observe, "a lot of people are going to have some problems with the idea that the person who makes the most money in the city is not going to have an evaluation for two years."

But that is because Mr. Cotto and many other people still think of Connecticut as the Constitution State where the rule of law rises above the rule of men.

But that concept seems to be a bit outdated when you consider what is going on when it comes to the certification and evaluation of Connecticut's school teachers and administrators.

You can read the full Hartford Courant article here:  http://touch.courant.com/#sect...

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