Editor's note: More information on Malloy's proposed education reform has been added to this article, as well as a poll.
Asking for boldness and big ideas, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy urged lawmakers and business owners to come together and commit to "nothing less than a full-scale economic revival."
One of the main elements of Malloy's plan involves reforming schools to allow incentives for the best teachers, to restructure tenure so that it has to be continually earned and to provide more money to troubled schools.
"Today tenure is too easy to get and too hard to take away," Malloy said in prepared statements made available to the press. "I propose we do it a different way. I propose we hold every teacher to a standard of excellence."
"We cannot and will not fix what's broken in our schools by scapegoating teachers. But nor can we fix it if we do not have the ability to remove teachers who don't perform well in the classroom in a timely fashion," he said. "In this new system, tenure will be a privilege, not a right. It will be earned and retained through effective teaching, not by counting years of service."
Cash Going to the Lowest-Performing Districts
Under his proposed $128 million education agenda, 80 percent would go to the worst districts. In order for the schools to get the money, districts would have to "embrace key reforms," with tenure changes being one of them.
Malloy's plan includes allocating $40 million to newly established "alliance districts" that would be made up of 30 of the state's lowest-performing school districts.
To receive funding, each alliance district would need to successfully implement a reform plan subject to approval by the state Department of Education.
In the proposed plan, no town in the state would receive less funding from 2011-12 levels but the bulk of the money would go to the alliance district schools.
In ten years, Malloy said he sees Connecticut -- which has the largest achievement gap in the US -- as a leader in biosciences, precision manufacturing and a "Mecca for digital and sports entertainment."
He acknowledged detractors in his closing comments, saying that cooperation is necessary.
"Some people will surely say an economic revival is beyond our grasp, that I'm asking too much, that I'm setting an expectation that is too high. They'll say we should be content to just make progress," Malloy said.
"I say those people are dead wrong."
Pam Landry contributed to this report.
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