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Do the Winners Appeal? Plaintiff Superintendents Falter in Education Funding Victory Dance.

The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) is having some second thoughts about the plaintiff association’s victory whoops in Wednesday’s education funding decision. Joseph J. Cirasuolo, Ed.D. (they do love their suffixes in education), executive director of CAPSS, sent a worried memo to members on Thursday. It does not set forth the talking points of winners. It is the first stirrings of an organization that realizes its claims do not match reality. The poor wretches must have spent Wednesday night slogging through the sloppy decision searching for an island of thought in that sea of musings and nonsense. They did not like what they found.

Winning plaintiffs do not appeal. Yet there it is in the memo below. There has been no order for what the plaintiffs wanted: billions more money. An appeal may be required to because “some of the judge’s apparent rulings go beyond the scope of the case before him.”  And there’s no $2 billion a year.

There is also this: “An apparent ruling that would require the State not to program for children whose special needs are so severe that education cannot materially influence the quality of their lives.” The superintendents and their fellow plaintiffs must be wondering what they have wrought. Under the equivalent of an education eugenics order, their future may be with conferences on “How to Deny Disabled Students an Education”. Don’t expect many to put that on their resumes. With Wednesday’s victory whoops and preposterous declarations of virtue fading, this may be their lasting legacy.

Expect more plaintiffs to start contemplating what “victory” means.

Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2016 11:58 AM
Subject: CCJEF Decision

As I’m sure you know by now, the judge in the CCJEF Trial announced his decision yesterday.  He did so in an opinion that is approximately 250 pages long and that took him over two hours to read, word by word, from the bench.
CAPSS staff with assistance from attorneys and the staff of the lobbying firm that CAPSS has retained will examine the opinion in detail.  At this point, however, it seems apparent that the decision has the following major components.

1.      A ruling that it is NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL for the state to have a public education financing system that is NOT based on the amount of money it takes to provide every child equitable access to an adequate educational program.  CCJEF argues that such a system is unconstitutional and the judge seemed to disagree with this argument.

2.      A ruling that the present system for funding public education in CT is unconstitutional because it is irrational.  The judge gave the State 180 days to submit to the plaintiffs in the case a system that is rational.

3.      An apparent ruling that the State has to develop a system for requiring students to actually demonstrate that they have mastered specified content and skills before being awarded a high school diploma and a requirement that there be an State graduation exit exam established for this purpose.

4.      An apparent ruling that TEVAL be revamped so that compensation is based on the results of TEVAL.

5.      An apparent ruling that would require the State not to program for children whose special needs are so severe that education cannot materially influence the quality of their lives.

These components were articulated in a context in which the judge expressed his opinions on a number of educational matters.

It is difficult to predict accurately at this time what will happen next for the following reasons.

First of all, we will have to learn whether either party in the case will appeal any aspect of the decision.  A portion of the appeal may well be based on a contention that some of the judge’s apparent rulings go beyond the scope of the case before him.

Second, we will have to determine what aspects of rulings will serve as supporters of CAPSS public policy objectives such as the implementation of mastery-based personalized learning and which are contrary to CAPSS positions such as the imposition of a requirement that all students pass a high school exit exam before being allowed to graduate from high school.

As these and other considerations unfold, I will keep you informed.

If you have questions in the meantime, please get back to me.

Joseph J. Cirasuolo, Ed.D.
Executive Director
CT. Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS)

September 9, 2016   9:20 am   Comments Off on Do the Winners Appeal? Plaintiff Superintendents Falter in Education Funding Victory Dance.

Hair Raising: Moukawsher Decision Declares War on Special Needs Students.


The state’s most vulnerable children, their families and their advocates are about to learn what a nasty piece of work is Thomas G. Moukawsher. The state court judge’s rambling “Cicero brief” ruling on state education funding garnered extensive press attention on Wednesday. The haughty and erratic decision takes direct aim at the state’s special education funding. The decision includes a cruel call for the abandonment from public schools of some students coping with the most serious disabilities. Expect a ferocious reaction from the compassionate when spin fades and the public and policymakers absorb the details of the decision and the chilling philosophy that informs . This is far more than a tussle over a cabana at Groton’s Shennecosset Beach Club, where the disputatious former Democratic state party committee factotum is a member. Those at risk cannot concede this critical struggle in the shadow of other education funding issues.

Teachers had reached a state of alarm late Wednesday night by the decision’s call for mandatory testing and performance evaluations. The plaintiffs will begin to tear themselves apart when members realize if the decision is ever implemented plenty of towns that consider themselves chronically shortchanged will be losing funding to the cities that already receive a large portion of state education money. Leave it to a leftwing elitist like Moukawsher, who sends his child to private school, to make a mess of the state’s public schools in an anti-democratic screed. State legislators are astounded that a Superior Court judge would order them to rework the state’s public education system within 180 days. Some of them are wondering if the grasping judge will threaten to hold all 187 of them in contempt next winter.

Court watchers are still remarking at Moukawsher’s raw display of narcissism by reading his long decision from the bench for more than three hours on Wednesday. Insiders know the amateur stagecraft served as a launch for the diva Moukawsher’s latest bid for a seat on the Federal bench. A vacancy is about to open with the August announcement of Judge Robert Chatigny’s retirement  from the United States District Court, District of Connecticut after 22 years on the bench.

The china-and-glassware totin’ Moukawsher (he brings them to court for his lunch, to the bemusement of colleagues), may be hoping attention from the school funding case will mute the fury of a group of judges aware of an incident at the Norwich courthouse while the jurist with a startling case of entitlementitis was assigned there. The Norwich saga has been the subject of much discussion by a group of judges who dine at regular intervals and ruminate over doings in the Judicial Branch. What Moukawsher served Wednesday will give them and plenty of others indigestion until the case reaches on appeal a court more sober and competent.

September 8, 2016   1:51 pm   Comments Off on Hair Raising: Moukawsher Decision Declares War on Special Needs Students.

Ackert’s In. Popular Republican State Representative Announces Challenge to Klarides.

Dangerous Liaison Leads to Caucus Challenge.

Dangerous Liaison Leads to Caucus Challenge.

Coventry Republican state Representative Tim Ackert will challenge incumbent House Republican Leader Themis Klarides to lead the minority caucus when the new legislature convenes in January. Klarides’s erratic work habits, iffy grip on issues and close relationship with House Majority Leader Joseph Aresimowicz have caused many Republican legislators to become restive with their leader.

Ackert is seeking a fourth term from his eastern Connecticut district. In making his announcement, Ackert declared, “I am seeking the position of Leader to provide a much needed change to the current practices that have kept Republicans from making a larger impact for the State of Connecticut. I want our Republican members to be involved in key decisions to help lift Connecticut from one of its worst economic positions in recent memory. We have many talented caucus members who are ready and able to step up and make the changes necessary to improve our state. I am ready to give them that opportunity. A key point in my decision to run for Leader came in the waning moments of the 2016 legislative session. Our members were forced, by our current leadership, to vote on a consent calendar with little or no information on what they were voting on. This lack of leadership forced Republican House members to make a decision to support, oppose or abstain on dozens of bills without any knowledge about their content. Putting our members in such a precarious position will not happen under my leadership.”

Ackert is giving voice to caucus members who believe Democrats such as Aresimowicz, Senate Democratic staffer Vincent Mauro and former Malloy chief of staff Mark Ojakian enjoy an unseemly amount of influence with Klarides that far exceeds any wielded by her fellow Republicans in the caucus.

September 7, 2016   3:07 pm   Comments Off on Ackert’s In. Popular Republican State Representative Announces Challenge to Klarides.

Janet Polinsky Would Enjoy Hearing from You.

Former state legislator and DPUC commissioner Janet Polinsky is unwell but brave. According to an email from Janet’s friend Susan Keane, Janet believes “her days are numbered,” though she feels certain that she will be among us to see Donald Trump properly defeated in November. The Democrat with the unforgettable voice likes hearing from her friends by email. You can send her a message at naboi1@aol.com.


September 1, 2016   9:00 am   Comments Off on Janet Polinsky Would Enjoy Hearing from You.

Peter Lumaj Preparing for 2018 Bid.

Fairfield lawyer Peter Lumaj will spend the holiday weekend making final preparations for a 2018 bid for statewide office. It will be Lumaj’s third attempt. In 2012, he launched a long shot candidacy for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate. Two years later, was the Republican nominee for secretary of the state and ran a credible campaign against incumbent Denise Merrill. Lumaj made many friends among the party faithful during that campaign and has tended to those new relationship in the past two years.

Lumaj is said to be contemplating a race for governor.

In response to an inquiry, Lumaj wrote Daily Ructions:

“I have not filed any paperwork yet, but am working to put the final pieces together of an official exploratory effort. I am taking the reminder of this week and the long holiday weekend to sort out the remaining details and will have the final conversations with my family and advisors soon after.”

I am excited about this effort as we move forward, but am firmly committed to helping both the Connecticut House and Senate Republicans achieve legislative majorities in 2016.

Lumaj would be the first among what many be a platoon of candidates for the Republican nomination for governor, each thinking 2018 is the year.

August 31, 2016   2:04 pm   Comments Off on Peter Lumaj Preparing for 2018 Bid.

News You Can Use: That FBI Tip Line.

Corruption-Bridgeport-BillboardMore than one restive Daily Ructions reader has inquired about sharing information with law enforcement that may be relevant to ongoing investigations. The FBI, lead agency in the corruption test force, has two numbers in Connecticut. There’s the normal 203-777-6311. There’s also the famous declaration of war on corruption line: 800-CallFBI. Those phone numbers do have caller ID, but they are not enhanced. If you want to make an anonymous call, you should engage the caller ID block option on your phone before you call. Your phone number will not appear on the screen at the other end.

You can also share your information by emailing tips.fbi.gov.

This post should help the people of goodwill who have been uneasy for two years over the heavy-handed campaign fundraising tactics one campaign used with unsettling frequency.

Follow Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s advice: If you’ve seen something, say something.

August 31, 2016   1:40 pm   Comments Off on News You Can Use: That FBI Tip Line.

My Column: Chris Rock for First Debate Moderator. Invite Him.


It makes sense. Read it here.

August 24, 2016   3:26 pm   Comments Off on My Column: Chris Rock for First Debate Moderator. Invite Him.

Danbury’s Praxair to Europe in Mega Merger.

Malloy and Boughton

There goes Praxair. The Danbury gas giant is about to merge with fellow giant Linde, of Munich and will lose its corporate identity and Connecticut headquarters. Handelsblatt has the story. New headquarters, according to the story, is likely to be in London, the Netherlands or Ireland.

You may recall much hip-hooraying on the eve of the 2014 gubernatorial election when Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Danbury’s Mark Boughton met to tell the world of Praxair’s big plans for Connecticut. No one mentioned a flight to Europe.

The Handelsblatt story will give Malloy and Boughton a chance to explain how their individual economic plans for Connecticut cope with blows like this one.

August 23, 2016   3:35 pm   Comments Off on Danbury’s Praxair to Europe in Mega Merger.

Shaban Campaigns from Cloud Cuckoo.

How delusions blossom under the summer sun. It’s only August and Republican John Shaban is weaving a fantasy in his shoestring race for Connecticut 4th Congressional District seat against Democratic incumbent Jim Himes. With a great big helping of push polling against Himes, Shaban is just 0.6% behind, according to a campaign survey that drenches your screen with flop sweat. You can read the mercy poll here.

Wait, there’s more. A tranche of 20% of the Republicans surveyed has not made up their minds–even after being pushed. These, Shaban and campaign manager Jason Perillo believe, are destined to come home to the Weston state representative. Don’t count on it fella. It’s not that kind of year. At least that many will be put off by Shaban’s support of loathsome demagogue Donald Trump.



August 17, 2016   4:50 pm   Comments Off on Shaban Campaigns from Cloud Cuckoo.

Advice From Aspen on Connecticut Heat Wave.

The Democratic Governors Association is meeting in Aspen. The beleaguered head of the money raising, influence peddling organization, Governor Dannel P. Malloy, has advice on how to cope with Connecticut’s heat wave from his luxury perch in Aspen, where it’s a delightful 70 degrees.

Here’s Malloy’s advice for those who haven’t flown to Aspen and paid a big fee to sit in the audience at a bogus “policy panel.”


        Residents can call 2-1-1 to find their closest cooling center

(HARTFORD, CT) – With excessive heat forecasted to continue over the next few days and heat advisories issued for most of the state, Governor Dannel P. Malloy is asking people to take precautions and to call 2-1-1 if they need information on cooling centers in their town or city.

 The current forecast is calling for hot and very humid conditions to continue today through Sunday with highs in the mid 90’s and the heat index between 100 – 110 F range. 

“High temperatures can be dangerous for your health, especially for the elderly, young children, and people who work outside,” Governor Malloy said. “Remember to keep cool and follow common sense. Please drink lots of water, stay in the shade, and monitor those who are at greatest risk when temperatures are extremely high.”

August 12, 2016   2:19 pm   Comments Off on Advice From Aspen on Connecticut Heat Wave.