No Joke: Year 2 Alliance District “kickoff” tomorrow despite Pryor’s failure to get money to Alliance Districts

Although Connecticut’s school districts are over 100 days into the fiscal year and more than six weeks into the school year, a number of Connecticut’s Alliance Districts still haven’t heard whether their “grant applications” have been approved by Commissioner Stefan Pryor and his hapless Turnaround Office.

Other Alliance Districts have heard funding is coming but still await the actual funds they need to implement programs that were supposed have started weeks ago.

All this and more is a direct result of Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s unending effort to do away with the State Department of Education’s professional staff and replace them high-cost, out-of-state consultants.

As Wait, What? readers are well aware, Commissioner Pryor dumped the State Department’s Leaders in Residence and expert retired superintendents and replaced them with a contract costing taxpayers nearly $1 million.  In place of trained, Connecticut experts, Alliance Districts were given the “help” of a company called MassInsight and their string of young, inexperienced consultants who have been unwilling or unable to get the job done in a timely fashion.

The only light at the end of the tunnel is the fact that the MassInsight contract ends in just over four months, but watch for Pryor to try and sneak through a contract extension despite Malloy’s ongoing promise that he is actually committed to helping Connecticut’s thirty poorest school districts.

The next chance for Connecticut’s 30 Alliance Districts to watch the parade of consultants will come tomorrow when Commissioner Pryor and his uncertified Division Director for the Turnaround Office, Morgan Barth, “will welcome Alliance Districts to the Year 2 kickoff convening.”

The event is billed as an opportunity for the Connecticut State Department of Education to “provide a vision for the second year of the Alliance District program, including a description of Year 2 priorities and how the CSDE plans to support districts. We will also highlight and celebrate successful strategies and improved outcomes in several districts.”

Scheduled to take place tomorrow at New Britain’s Institute of Technology and Business Development, Alliance District superintendents and district leadership will be regaled by a variety of consultants and corporate education reformers.

Considering the catastrophic failures associated with the Common Core standards, Common Core curriculum and Common Core testing, one of the “not to be missed” sessions will certainly be the one called, “Aligning Curricula to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)” with presenter Dianna Roberge-Wentzell, the State Department of Education’s Chief Academic Officer.

Another session, entitled “Change Management Workshop,” will be run by Morgan Barth himself.  Barth is the former Achievement First teacher and principal who allegedly worked illegally as an uncertified school teacher for six years.

Other consultants participating tomorrow include individuals from the Connecticut Center for School Change, The New Teacher Project (TNTP) and Mass Insight – all of whom will explain to Connecticut superintendents, principals, teachers and others how to do their jobs

Meanwhile, word on the street is that Alliance Districts should NOT be expecting to see any checks tomorrow.  Funds that the consultants haven’t taken will be distributed at a later date.


  • Dove

    Tomorrows event should be entertaining if nothing else. If my memory serves me correctly, this process started in July. Districts were informed this process is going to be smoother than last year and definitely better than prior years since there is new Sheriff in town.
    Does anyone know which Alliance District Grant Applications have not been approved? I wonder what they have in store for these districts. Will they be moved to a secret location, to find out what they need to submit. Clearly what they submitted did not meet Mass Insights,
    Mr. Pryor or Mr. Barth’s approval. Wait a minute, that’s right they resubmitted their application based on the feedback from Mass InSight, Mr. Pryor and Mr. Barth. Let the games continue.
    I wish I could listen to Mr. Barth presentation, I am sure he will talk about all the great things he did as an uncertified administrator.

  • Castles Burning

    I wish that I were able to attend this “kickoff” to hear the advice given. I wonder if there will be time to get to the explanations of why no funds.