Here is a stark and scary reminder of just how the corporate education reform industry’s tentacles reach into the public policy making process. In this case, a senior official with the charter school advocacy group ConnCAN corresponding – on a state account – with the Governor’s Director of Communications about a potential restraining order to stop Freedom of Information requests that are producing “negative press” for the corporate education reform industry.
[Background Info: Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D), Illinois candidate for Lieutenant Governor Paul Vallas, and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) who personally chose Vallas are serving the same financial interests of the financiers of Tea Party extremist governors who are selling-out public schools and our children. Read more HERE. -KP]
Malloy administration considered “restraining order” to stop FOI requests?
In what may be the single most bizarre development yet in the Malloy administration’s war on teachers and public education and their ongoing commitment to secrecy, a recent Freedom of Information request has produced an email between Governor Malloy’s Director of Communications and a senior official from ConnCAN, the charter school advocacy group, in which they discuss what appears to be the Malloy’s administration’s effort to get a restraining order to prevent FOI requests about Malloy’s education reform efforts.
In the email to Governor Malloy’s Director of Communications, ConnCAN’s Jordan Fenster wrote,
Just following up on our conversation today. Any info you may have on a restraining order of any kind against Jon Pelto, (requested by the administration) would be great. It may have something to do with SDE, considering all the FOI requests and negative press he’s been throwing in that direction.
My cell number, if you lost it, is XXX-XXX-XXXX.
The email is dated April 23, 2013, which coincides with a series of Wait, What? posts about the $35,500 public opinion poll that ConnCAN conducted to help make Malloy’s education reform initiative appear more popular.
It was also the time-period in which Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, was engaged in his extended effort to help Paul Vallas circumvent Connecticut law so that Vallas could remain as head of Bridgeport’s School System.
While getting “negative press” may be annoying to politicians, the notion that Governor Malloy’s administration would consider pursuing a “restraining order” to prevent Freedom of Information requests is extremely disturbing considering the fundamental right that citizens have to get access to public information.
Even the notion that government officials would consider corrupting the legal system to quell political opposition is chilling.
Interestingly, the disk of emails that was released by Malloy’s office as a result of the recent FOI request does not contain any other communication that mentions a possible “restraining order” against me or the Wait, What? blog.
However, an FOI request that was submitted to Commission Pryor and the State Department of Education on the same subject remains unanswered.
ConnCAN is the charter school lobbying group that led the record-breaking $6 million lobbying and public relations effort in support of Malloy’s education reform initiative.
Jordan Fenster is the senior writer and editor for ConnCAN. Before he worked for ConnCAN, Fenster worked as the political reporter for the New Haven Register.
For the full Wait, What? post go HERE.
– Jonathan Pelto is a brilliant defender of public education for all children; he also defends honest government.
After corresponding with Jonathan for quite some time, meeting him in person at the Network for Public Education National Conference at the University of Texas in Austin in March where he led a panel about using the power of social networking was a great experience. We who attended learned a lot from him. We admire him for what he is doing to help defend public schools against the flood of corporate money attempting to profit by monetizing children, closing schools, etc.
Read his full bio HERE.
With his sleeves rolled up and working hard, Jonathan Pelto delivers as he leads an NPE National Conference panel which included Ruth Conniff, Editor of the Progressive Magazine; Mike Klonsky, DePaul University Professor and National Director of Small Schools Workshop; and Darcie Cimarusti (not pictured), blogger extraordinaire of Mother Crusader.