Nearly every lawmaker in the General Assembly voted to create minimum qualifications for the state’s education commissioner. But Governor Dannel Malloy decided to veto the bill and now the state’s largest teachers union is now asking the legislature to override the veto.
The only public comment against the plan was made by ConnCANN, an education reform organization with pro-charter school leanings. For Mark Waxenberg, Governor Malloy’s veto is a sign that he’s more aligned with so-called corporate reform efforts than what’s best for public education.
“With that group being the only opponent, and their testimony almost aligning with the governor’s veto message, it leaves one to wonder why the governor took this position,” he said.
Waxenberg heads the Connecticut Education Association, a union that represents about 43,000 teachers. Waxenberg wants lawmakers to overturn Malloy’s veto.
Republican State Representative and education committee ranking member Gail Lavielle agrees.
“I think that the bill sets very good policy in a moderate way and a reasoned way. So I would like to see it go forward," Lavielle said.
The bipartisan bill would require the education commissioner to have five years of experience as a teacher and three as an administrator, and hold an advanced education degree.
It came after Stefan Pryor resigned as education commissioner at the end of last year. Malloy picked Pryor even though Pryor had had no education experience outside of starting a charter school in New Haven.
In his veto statement, Malloy said the bill took too much power away from the governor's office.
The bill "encroaches on the purview of the chief executive of the state to select a candidate whom s/he deems the best candidate to lead the department and implement the Governor's education policy initiatives," the statement read.
Here's the entire veto message:
To override the veto, Democrats have to agree to take an override vote to the General Assembly, and it would require a two-thirds vote to become law. The governor's office declined to comment beyond Malloy's public statement.