Governor Malloy and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s education reform and economic development strategy came into greater focus this week with news that a few months ago Stefan Pryor continued his un-ending effort to divert scarce taxpayer funds to consultants.
As previously reported, last month Pryor and his “Chief Turnaround Officer,” Debra Kushan, let go a major portion of the pool of experienced, talented professionals within the Department of Education, Pryor dumped the four Leaders in Residence and three former superintendents who have been providing Connecticut’s poorest districts with the help they’ve needed to improve their educational programing. Instead, Pryor signed a contract with Mass Insight, a well-connected out-of-state consulting company for nearly $1 million dollars.
Connecticut experts with decades of educational experience working with Connecticut educators were replaced by five out-of-state consultants with virtually no experience working with the biggest issues facing poorer school districts; poverty, language barriers and the large number of students who need special education services.
As if that outrage wasn’t bad enough, Pryor and Kurhan then announced that they were transferring the state’s experts on bi-lingual education, English language learning, multi-cultural programing, bullying and improving school climate out of the State Department’s “Turnaround Office.” This time, Alliance Districts are losing direct access to the very experts and services they need to improve academic achievement in districts that are confronting the greatest impact from language barriers, diverse populations and school climate issues.
And now comes news that, only a few months ago, Stefan Pryor quietly signed a contract for more than $1 million with a politically connected organization called the Connecticut Center for School Change.
In the “small world” department, the Connecticut Center for School Change’s Board of Directors includes Governor Malloy’s campaign treasurer, Len Miller,
Other members of the Connecticut Center for School Change include the former CEO of People’s Bank; Elsa Nuñez, the Vice President of Malloy’s Board of Regents and President of Eastern Connecticut State University; Richard Sugarman, Founder and President of The Connecticut Forum whose son just “won” a lucrative contract from Pryor and the State Board of Education to set up an “Our Piece of the Pie” charter school in Windham Connecticut. Another Board member is Dudley Williams, a senior executive at GE Asset Management who once worked for the Connecticut Department of Education and has been one of the most outspoken proponents of Malloy’s Education Reform initiative. Most of the rest of the Board turns out to be other corporate leaders and consultants
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the story behind this new contract.
More details to come…