With only days to go until the start of the new school year, Connecticut’s 30 Alliance Districts, the thirty poorest school districts in the state, still haven’t heard whether they are getting the additional funds that Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly promised them for this year.
But Malloy and Pryor’s pet project, the State Department of Education’s “Turnaround Office” is getting a new director.
His name…Morgan Barth.
So what is Morgan Barth’s experience when it comes to having the expertise to oversee the state-wide effort to turnaround Connecticut’s most challenging public schools?
He did a stint with Teach for America followed by some time with Achievement First Elm City and then Achievement First Bridgeport’s Middle School.
According to an internal email from Education Stefan Pryor,
“Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, Mr. Barth will serve as the Division Director for Turnaround in the Turnaround Office. He will guide all of the work of the division. Mr. Barth brings a wealth of experience as an educator and school leader – particularly in school environments that are in need of intensive intervention. Before coming to the SDE, he led improvement efforts at two of the lowest performing schools in the Achievement First Network, first at Elm City College Prep and most recently at Achievement First Bridgeport’s middle school. At Elm City, he taught fifth and sixth grade reading for four years before becoming the principal and taught fourth grade in Arkansas before coming to Connecticut in 2004. Chief Academic Office Dianna Roberge-Wentzell will continue to oversee the Turnaround Office.”
Pryor’s use of poetic license has apparently turned Barth’s teaching and administrative experience with Achievement First into something that is now defined as having “led improvement efforts at two of the lowest performing schools in the Achievement First Network.”
Interestingly, Morgan Barth’s wife is the principal of Achievement First Bridgeport’s elementary school.
So Connecticut’s “Alliance” Districts may be twisting in the wind when it comes to getting the funding they need but at least they’ll have Achievement First telling them what to do with the limited resources they do have.
Readers will, of course, remember that Commissioner Pryor co-founded Achievement First, the charter school management company and served on their board of directors until he resigned to become Malloy’s Commissioner of Education.