NEWS FLASH: Pryor reportedly giving Hartford’s Clark Elementary School to Washington D.C. Charter School Chain

Sources close to Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor report that the Charter School loving Commissioner of Education has committed to give Hartford’s Clark Elementary School to Friendship Charter Schools Inc., a major charter school management company based in Washington, D.C.

Malloy’s Commissioner of Education recently announced that he has “accepted” Hartford’s Clark Elementary School into the Connecticut State Department of Education’s “Commissioner’s Network.”

Although the law requires an inclusive “turnaround” process that is supposed to include local parents, teachers, school officials and community members, multiple sources, including one close to Stefan Pryor, report that Malloy’s Commissioner of Education has already decided that the final “Clark School Turnaround Plan” MUST be to hand the day-to-day operation of the Hartford elementary school over to Friendship Public Charter School Inc.

The Friendship Public Charter School chain is made up of six charter schools in Washington D.C. and another four schools that the company runs in Baltimore, Maryland.

Donald Hense, who is the Founder and Chairman of Friendship Public Charter Schools Inc., is a long time charter school advocate.  In 2011, Hense was an inductee into “the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame” at the annual meeting of the National Charter Schools Conference.

According to Internal Revenue Service reports filed in 2011, Friendship Charter School Inc. provided Hense with a compensation package of approximately $300,000.

In that year, the company had revenues of $71 million and expenditures of about $67 million.  Of its revenue, $60 million came from tuition fees paid by the city governments of Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland and another $9 million came from other government grants.

Like many charter school management companies, the Friendship Charter Schools Board of Directors is made up of corporate education reform industry executives and their allies.

The Friendship Charter School Inc. Board includes Gregory Prince (President, Educational Services Associates), Carol Thompson Cole (President & CEO, Venture Philanthropy Partners), Deborah McGriff (Partner, NewSchools Venture Fund), Chris Whittle  (an education entrepreneur who founded the ill-fated Edison Schools and now serves as the chief executive officer of Avenues: The World School, “a planned international system of independent pre-K-12 schools) and Kevin P. Chavous (CEO of the Chavous Group, an education reform consulting  and public relations group).

The President of Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) not only serves on the Board of Friendship Schools, but the education reform investment company has also played a major role in funding Friendship Schools and its aggressive expansion plans.  Venture Philanthropy Partners also invests in a variety of other charter school management companies including KIPP.  KIPP owns and operates a chain of 141 charter schools in 20 states.

Friendship Schools is also closely associated with the NewSchools Venture Fund, a corporate funded financial investment company that is “committed to transforming public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs.”

In the “small world” department, one the NewSchools Venture Fund Board members includes none-other-than Jonathan Sackler, who played a vital role in the creation of Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s Achievement First charter school management company and is responsible for the creation of ConnCAN and 50 CAN.  Sackler and his wife are two of Governor Malloy’s biggest campaign contributors having donated the maximum allowable amount of $10,000 each.

Assuming Malloy’s Commissioner of Education is successful in forcing Hartford to turn Clark Elementary School over to the Friendship Public Charter School Inc.; Hartford will be home to yet another “no excuses” school that is widely known for its harsh disciplinary policies.

One of the Friendship Public Charter Schools made the news in 2012 when a Washington D.C. television station ran the story entitled,  “Teacher at Friendship Public Charter School Accused of Taping Visually Impaired Student To Chair; Teacher has been placed on administrative leave.”

According to the media report;

“A teacher at Friendship Public Charter School has been placed on administrative leave after allegedly taping a nine-year-old visually impaired student to a chair.

The alleged incident happened Wednesday afternoon during an after school tutoring program at the Friendship Blow Pierce Junior Academy Campus in Northeast.

Christian Washington, a fourth grade student, says he asked his teacher if he could get up, and when he did for a second time, the teacher first threatened to tape him to his chair, and then did. Washington says he was wrapped with the tape several times around his chest and his legs. He says he was embarrassed.

“She was laughing. Everybody in the class was laughing at me,” Washington says…

No doubt about it, the Malloy/Pryor “we know best” strategy of privatization of our public schools continues to be the cornerstone of Malloy’s education reform policies.

  • ReTired

    Unbelievable what people do to our children all in the name of reform! Guess we can now add the state of CT to the list of those states enriching and lining the pockets of charter school czars!

  • jschmidt2

    There is only one solution for this problem- in November.

    • jonpelto


    • Linda174

      Goodbye Dannel, goodbye Stefan.

  • Seepless in Bridgeport

    Pay to Play, the State Motto of Corupticut. Stefan Pryor’s 1st educational commandment: Count em and Feed em.

  • Linda174

    Vote out Malloy to get rid of Pryor.

    • Fed Up in Hartford


      • Linda174

        I just ordered 50 via Another frequent poster did as well. Send Jonathan your email and I will send to you as soon as I have them…should be within five to seven days. Ok?

        • R.L.

          You are very welcome! I have another 50 arriving any day now. I gave my first 50 out in one day.

        • Linda174

          Mine are being printed now. I may order more, too. Stay in touch. Down w/Dannel.

        • Bill Morrison

          I have one of mine posted in my classroom on my Wall of Civil Disobedience.

  • Poetic Justice

    Tragic – can this be stopped?

  • JMC

    Hmmm… let me think. Privatizers from Washington D.C.Hmmm…there’s got to be a connection somewhere.

    • Linda174

      Yes..Obama’s basketball buddy with ZERO teaching experience.

      See here:

  • Linda174

    Please send your email or home address to Jonathan for this bumper sticker. First come, first serve. I got the idea from RL who posts here frequently. We can both order more if there is an interest.

  • Castles Burning


    Jonathan writes, “Although the law requires an inclusive “turnaround” process that is supposed to include local parents, teachers, school officials and community members, multiple sources, including one close to Stefan Pryor, report that Malloy’s Commissioner of Education has already decided that the final “Clark School Turnaround Plan” MUST be to hand the day-to-day operation of the Hartford elementary school over to Friendship Public Charter School Inc.”

    Jonathan you clarify what law this is and if, as Poetic Justice ask, can this be stopped or at least protested.

    On top of all of the factors noted above is the OBVIOUS DISRESPECT and TOTAL DISREGARD to the Clark Elementary School community who valiantly stood up for their school and their rights.

    Goodbye does not seem like enough–for Malloy or Pryor. Tar and feathering is out of fashion . . .

    Right now my ire is focused on Pryor as he is the one planning the destruction and with the connections to “make it happen”–no matter what, i.e., without “due process.”

  • educationmatters

    From Hartford Pirates: The meeting for interested education advocates will be next Wednesday, February 19, at the Hartford Public Library from 6:30 to 7:30. The format will be a brief introduction, and then break into smaller groups to work on thoughts and ideas for the issues we face and creating priorities. I am attempting to reserve space at another location on February 26 to continue the discussion. Please attend if you can – bring children if you have to – we need to create a plan of action.

    Is there anyone from Clark that wants to be there – let them know!

    • Bill Morrison

      I am also hosting another OPT OUT meeting in my classroom at Hartford Public High School a week from Saturday at 12:00. My room is directly across from Hartford Public Library. Please join us!

      • Mary Gallucci

        well, that’s revolutionary! Thanks.

        • Bill Morrison

          If anyone objects, I will simply transfer the meeting directly across the hall to Hartford Public Library. That, sir, is not unethical. However, out of consideration for the patrons of the library, I will hold it in my classroom.

        • Realityed

          Wow. So you pick and choose how the no use of public resources for political purposes rule is followed? Huh. If Capital teachers were to do this there would be 50 different reports and grievances filed by your ilk.

        • WEP55

          Capital prep teachers aren’t allowed to speak: they’re under threat of being fired and “never teach anywhere again.” Isn’t that right, Steve? They remain captives, sell their souls, or leave the profession. Does your school have the highest teacher turnover rate in the state? (I’m sure you’ll spin that stat to your advantage.)

        • Bill Morrison

          “Dr.” Perry/Realityed,
          I had not thought of it that way, so, therefore, I will hold my meeting in another location to be announced. I am also typing this on my computer using my private Wi Fi in my car, using my lunch time, which is my time. Will you match my effort?

        • jonpelto

          Well said, please see my latest post for the follow up to his comment

        • educationmatters

          It’s the highest in the state. His spin is he’s never in the school so he’s not responsible

        • educationmatters

          I’m sure no one will object if you bring it into the parents meeting at the public library next Wednesday.

        • Bill Morrison

          Who is the point of contact?

        • educationmatters

        • Kerri

          If it’s in the library it will make the meeting seem more open to the general tax-paying public, such as myself. There is absolutely no reason why it can not be held in Hartford Public Library.

        • Bill Morrison

          I will ask permission from the library staff just to remain above board. This is a key difference between the corporate education reformers; their opponents will always hold the moral high ground. I, for one, will not be sleazy.

      • Realityed

        Um, so you be posting that here? Pelto will write an expose how your are using public school resources for political purposes. Isn’t that unethical?

        • educationmatters

          “you be”/ Jesus Steve, can you please take a grammar lesson or two? It’s embarrassing that a high school principal can’t seem to type in proper English.

          How is it political? He is educating parents on their options with regard to testing…nothing political about that.

        • Bill Morrison

          Mr. Ed,
          From what college or university did you earn your doctorate? I would be embarrassed to demonstrate the illiteracy to your extent. You are supposed to represent the font of wisdom as a principal. Instead, you demonstrate a pride in your understanding of the English language. For shame!

        • Kerri


          How is it political for parents to learn about their rights? Parents have the right to decide if their children attend sex ed. They have the right to opt children out of this abusive standardized testing system we have.

        • educationmatters

          Wait – you’re using public time and resources to complain about someone using public time and resources. Wow….

        • Bill Morrison

          Actually, no public time will be wasted no matter where I hold the meeting . . . it is on Saturday. I assumed even Mr. Ed understood this.

        • educationmatters

          Not you – idiot boy…

  • Bill Morrison

    Thomas Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence that it is the right of the citizenry to alter or abolish any government that is unresponsive to the needs of that citizenry. When is the Revolution coming?

  • speaking up

    How and why are Hartford Public Schools being turned into charter schools? Who could/can stop it? Can the state (Pryor) “trump” local officials, or could locals stop state agendas?

    Why is HPS announcing a “new school” when it’s a charter school?

    I guess I’m asking which came first the chicken or the egg, but I’m trying to understand how this could be stopped. November ’14 leaves a lot of room for more schools to be handed over.

  • speaking up

    Hartford Public Schools Community Forum?
    announces “Lighthouse School Community Forum #1” on Wednesday, February 19 from 5:30-7:00 PM at Mark Twain Branch Library (Hartford Public High School). (refreshments from 5:30-6:00 and presentation from 6:00-7:00)

    Announcement says:
    “More about the Lighthouse School Initiative
    An existing Hartford neighborhood school will be selected as a Lighthouse School after a rigorous application and screening process. The selected school will remain a neighborhood school and will receive $2.25 million over three years to improve strategies, methods and best practices proven to be effective in increasing student achievement. The selected neighborhood will also benefit. The Lighthouse School initiative seeks to stabilize a neighborhood’s residential patterns based upon the attractiveness and quality of the school in the neighborhood.”

    “For more information please contact Karla Cruz, Manager of Family and Community Engagement at 860.695.8537

    • Mary Gallucci

      You natives will be converted by the missionaries whether you like it or not!

    • Name

      The announcement was given to classroom teachers at Hartford schools and they were to be distributed to the students to take home to their families.

      • speaking up

        Is Clark the first “Lighthouse School?”
        The “Community Forum” announcement includes time for refreshments and a presentation. How about questions/comments?