The battle for control of Hartford’s Clark Elementary School has become a case study in how the corporate education reform industry works.
On one side are the heroic parents and teachers who are working tirelessly to save and improve one of Hartford’s local neighborhood schools.
On the other side is the money, greed and arrogance that drives the corporate education reform industry.
The effort to run over the will of the local community and hand Clark Elementary School over to a charter school management company is being led by Stefan Pryor, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, and Morgan Barth, Pryor’s “Turnaround Director,” who illegally worked as a teacher and administrator for Achievement First, Inc before being appointed to his present position by Pryor.
As Wait, What? readers know, Stefan Pryor co-founded Achievement First, Inc. and Achievement First, Inc. has received more money from the Malloy administration than any other charter school operator.
With the help of Hartford’s out-going superintendent, Christina Kishimoto, Pryor and his band of education reformers tried to work a deal to close Clark Elementary School and hand the school and all of its taxpayer funds over to Achievement First, Inc.
Clark Parents and teachers fought back and derailed to the effort to give the school to Achievement First, Inc.
As the following links reveal, Stefan Pryor and Morgan Barth then concocted a plan to hand Clark Elementary School over to a large Washington D.C. charter school company called Friendship Charter Schools.
The only thing standing in their way was a state law requiring that parents, teachers and the local community had to play a role in selecting a “turnaround” model and there was little interest in a Washington D.C. charter school company that had virtually no experience running schools with a large Latino population, a significant number of English Language Learners and a large special education population.
But now, according to sources close to Pryor and Barth, rather than work with the local community to identify a turnaround model that is actually appropriate for Hartford’s Clark Elementary, Malloy’s State Department of Education is telling the parents, teachers and local community that they must accept the charter option or the school will receive no additional funds or support mandated under the Commissioner’s Network Program.
The arrogance being displayed by Malloy’s appointees is truly breathtaking. Never in a million years would these bullies treat White, suburban communities they way they are treating a community made of African Americans, Latinos and other Americans of color.
State Department of Education sources confirm that Stefan Pryor and Morgan Barth are giving the Clark School community an ultimatum.
Their choice – go with one of our hand-picked charter schools or get nothing.
The racism and discrimination against the Clark School community is nothing short of criminal
But if members of the Connecticut General Assembly don’t intervene, the Malloy administration will get away with destroying another urban neighborhood school.
For background, here are some of the previous Wait, What? posts on Clark Elementary School.