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Malloy Urges 'Economic Revival,' Education Reform

HARTFORD, Conn – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday called for an “economic revival” and $128 million in sweeping education reforms targeted to raise achievement levels in underperforming schools and districts.

As part of his annual State of the State address to the General Assembly, Malloy called for a dramatic overhaul of the teacher tenure system to ensure the best teachers are in classrooms across Connecticut.

Malloy said while the state has made considerable progress during his first year in office, legislators should not settle just for economic recovery, but instead seek economic revival. But he said last year was one of the state’s most challenging ever.

“We had one of the largest per capita deficits of any state in the nation, there had been no net job growth for 22 years, state government was bloated and broken, our relationship with our fellow state employees was on an unsustainable course, and the citizens of Connecticut had no faith that Hartford was any different than Washington, D.C., in its attempt to do the will of the people,” he said.

“In short, we were facing a crisis of massive proportions."

“One year later, it turns out that by taking that less-traveled road we have passed through the crucible of that crisis. In the process, we’ve brought positive, far-reaching, meaningful and systemic change to Hartford,” he said.

To address those issues, the governor noted that he worked with the legislature to cut a billion dollars in spending, negotiated a historic $21.5 billion concession agreement with state employees, raised revenue and increased the state’s contribution to its pension system.

“First and foremost, we grew jobs in Connecticut last year – 9,400 new, private sector jobs were created, the first year of job growth since 2008.  We brought honesty and transparency to the state’s books by moving to GAAP. We stopped borrowing money to pay for operating expenses, and we stopped deferring our pension obligations.  That stability gave the private sector the predictability it needed to make investments and create jobs.

Malloy outlined a vision for Connecticut that maintains recent efforts to stabilize the state’s finances and continues to pursue the job creation policies that he insisted have begun to spur economic growth.  The governor also announced the final part of his education reform agenda – an overhaul of the state’s tenure system so that it rewards quality teachers, “not just those who have been in the profession the longest.”

Education reform must be an integral part of making Connecticut great again, the governor said.

Of the total funding for the education agenda, nearly $103 million, or 80%, would go to high-need districts, he said.

Malloy’s proposals have addressed many areas in need of reform, including:

•              increasing the access to and quality of early childhood education slots

•              allocating new funding and implementing new approaches that will improve low-performing schools

•              expanding slots for public schools of choice, including charter schools

•              removing red tape and other barriers that stand in the way of local school districts

•              repositioning vo-tech schools to promote job readiness and job linkages

•              improving teacher preparation so professionals have the skills they need to excel when they enter the classroom.

“The best evidence of the change we’ve brought to Hartford can be found in some of the arguments we’ve been having around here lately.  Instead of arguing over how many billions of dollars of debt we’re incurring by deferring our obligations, we’re arguing over how many billions of dollars we’re saving by meeting those obligations on time,” Malloy said.

Look for a story later about reaction to Gov. Malloy's State of the State address on MSC websites.

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