Pelto to Malloy – Dump Pryor and Comer now before they do even more damage to public education in Connecticut

Pelto to Malloy: Dump Pryor and Comer now before they do even more damage to public education in Connecticut:

Jonathan Pelto, the Education and Democracy Party’s candidate for governor called on Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy to fire Stefan Pryor, his Commissioner of Education and remove his political appointee, Andrea Comer from the State Board of Education.

Pryor, who co-founded Achievement First, Inc. the large charter school management company has masterminded Malloy’s unprecedented effort to expand charter schools in Connecticut, including the schools Pryor helped to create.

Andrea Comer, who serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Jumoke Academy/FUSE charter school management company is one of Malloy’s appointees to the State Board of Education.  During her tenure, Jumoke Academy/Fuse has received a series of no-bid contracts to run local elementary schools in Hartford and Bridgeport as well as being selected as the manager of a new charter school in New Haven.

“In recent years, Connecticut taxpayers have paid Jumoke Academy/FUSE charter school management company, and their disgraced CEO Michael Sharpe, in excess of $53 million dollars. Over the past week we’ve learned that not only is Jumoke Academy/FUSE’s CEO a convicted felon, having served about 5 years in prison for embezzlement and tax evasion, but he also falsified his resume by claiming that he had a doctorate when he didn’t even complete his graduate degree,” Pelto said. “Stefan Pryor’s relationship with charter school companies and State Board of Education member Andrea Comer’s direct financial connection with Jumoke Acadmey/Fuse invalidate their ability to protect the interests of Connecticut’s students, parents, teachers, school districts and taxpayers.”

“It is bad enough that more than $50 million in scarce public funds have been turned over to Jumoke Academy/Fuse, but unless immediate action is taken to reverse the Malloy administration’s bad policy decisions, the series of no-bid contracts and State Board of Education votes will mean literally hundreds of millions more will be given to this charter school chain,” Pelto concluded.

Pelto has repeatedly raised concerns about Stefan Pryor’s conflict of interest on his blog, Wait, What? as far back as January 11, 2012 and he used his blog to focus on Andrea Comer’s conflict of interest as soon as Malloy had nominated Comer in the winter of 2013.

In February of this year Pelto penned a blog entitled, Connecticut Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor must go.

As evidence as to why Pryor must resign or be removed, Pelto wrote,

Pryor’s management of the Connecticut Department of Education has become the personification of what happens when arrogance, elitism and corporate-driven interests replace a commitment to honesty, transparency and doing what is right for the people public officials have a sworn duty to serve.

From the moment Stefan Pryor arrived in Connecticut, the Malloy administration’s education policy has been consistently designed to destroy local control, belittle and demean teachers, reduce parental involvement, undermine our public schools and divert scarce public resources to out-of-state consultants and carpetbagging staff. Pryor’s tenure has been dedicated to a preoccupation with turning our schools into little more than standardized testing factories.

Pryor began his tenure by using no-bid contacts to pass out millions of dollars in public funds to out-of-state companies for the purpose of developing Malloy’s “education reform” initiative and transforming the State Department of Education into a gravy train for the corporate education reform industry.

Pryor helped Malloy develop and push through the most anti-teacher, anti-union, pro-charter school education reform bill of any Democratic governor in the nation.

Malloy and Pryor’s legislation and policies were founded upon the inappropriate use of the Common Core, the mandated introduction of a huge and faulty Common Core standardized testing scheme, an inaccurate and unfair teacher evaluation program and a “Commissioner’s Network” and system of “Turnaround Schools” that are reducing parental involvement, destroying local control and are primarily designed to privatize public schools.

In example, after example, after example, Stefan Pryor and his “team” have consistently put their political agenda ahead of what was best for the students, parents, teachers and public schools of our state.

Pryor has dedicated himself to hiring his personal friends, giving out millions of dollars in contracts to out-of-state, politically-connected companies, putting his “Turnaround Office” in the hands of Morgan Barth, a person who illegally taught and worked for Pryor’s charter school management company (Achievement First, Inc.) for six years and relentlessly and consistently doing the wrong thing for Connecticut’s system of public education.

The quintessential example of Pryor’s dismal and idiotic approach to governing was his decision to let go or transfer ten State Department of Education, Connecticut-based experts on improving schools and replacing them with an unending series of inexperienced, out-of-state consultants who have no meaningful experience or understanding of how to close the achievement gap in our largest and poorest school districts.

[Full February 6 2014 Wait, What? post can be found here:]

According to Pelto, the latest scandal involving Michael Sharpe and Jumoke Academy/Fuse only reinforces the fact that it is well past the time when Governor Malloy should remove Pryor and Comer from their policymaking roles within the Malloy administration.

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

  • 27Reasons

    Next to acts like these, Rowland looks like an outstanding citizen. How in the world does Malloy get away with this all-out-abuse of law?!?

    • Bill Morrison

      “All it takes for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” He gets away with it because all we do is cry over our blog sheets. Where are the demonstrations? Where is the public outcry? We have really done nothing to take the issue to the public.

      In the meantime, their side buys public air time on television through commercials. They manipulate the newspapers to print their side of the story not ours. They do everything they can to manipulate public opinion while we limit ourselves to commenting on blog sheets.

      The obvious result of our own inaction is that evil is winning.

      • 27Reasons

        “Those who show apathy towards public affairs shall be ruled by evil men.” Plato
        We certainly don’t lack apathy, but indeed we must be involved in action. While I do tend to spout online, I am taking action with some of the groups below. We need more and more teachers to rise up and stand together.
        With the betrayal of AFT, combined with the emergence of Jonathan’s campaign, and groups like BAT, CAPE, & NPE; pressure is mounting on CEA to make the right moves.

        • jonpelto


        • Bill Morrison

          The problem is that, while there are many splinter groups taking small-scale action, there is little in the way of concentrated effort. We need to actually become organized and coordinated in our efforts.

          I had proposed to Melodie Peters two years ago that she use her position as President of AFT-CT to help organize us to fight back. She became very belligerent towards me. It is one thing for her to support the nurses when they go on strike and picket, but heaven forbid that she help teachers do precisely the same thing! Under Melodie Peters, AFT-CT has become decidedly anti-teacher! Their betrayal

          was made manifest by her refusing to allow equal access to Jon.

  • Philip Stull

    And in other news CT falls to 46 in business friendly states.
    CT not going in right direction, so it is time for a change.
    Pelto-Murphy 2014

  • Charlie Puffers

    And speaking of resignations, after the Sharpe fiasco in Hartford it’s time for Segarra, Poland, Wareing, and Colon-Rivas to do the right thing and resign. Why serve on a board of education if you don’t believe in public schools?

    Board members have a moral obligation to make sure the limited resources are NOT going to line the pockets of charter school and Teach for America executives who have no direct contact wiith students.

    Ditto for most people working in central office. Get rid of them and fully fund the schools. Too many chiefs down there who can’t put a coherent sentence together when presenting at BOE meetings. It’s a disgusting waste of money.

  • buygoldandprosper

    Like the TOTAL FAILURE Christina M. Kishimoto, these charlatans get promoted and move on. Very much like Dan Malloy, come to think of it! Stamford could not wait to get rid of him!
    Unless and until voters and citizens wise up, nothing will change.
    Vote PELTO 2014

  • buygoldandprosper

    Shhhh! It’s a secret!

    “A charter management group that runs five public schools in Connecticut refused on Wednesday to release information about any possible severance deal with former CEO Michael M. Sharpe.”
    Just wait until Perry and Moales have their way with you!

  • buygoldandprosper

    With luck he will share the same cell with O’Garro…but not likely. This is Connecticut under Dan Malloy!!

    “But on Wednesday, in response to questions from The Courant, FUSE said through a spokesman that it was not obligated to release salary or severance details because it is “a private, non-profit organization.”
    Your tax dollars…hard at work. The good DOCTOR will take care of you!

  • buygoldandprosper

    “Regarding the former CEO’s resume, what the board knew or didn’t know isn’t important now,” Bellafiore said in an email. “What’s important now is the education of the students at schools with which FUSE is engaged. That’s the focus of FUSE’s team and the FUSE Board going forward.”

    Upward and onward!!

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”…

  • buygoldandprosper

    Very much like OJ…could pigmentation actually be part of this whole thing???
    What kind of sick world do we now live in WHEN MY KID IS VETTED FOR A SUMMER JOB MORE THOROUGHLY THAT DOCTOR SHARPE????
    Malloy, Pryor…the WHOLE ADMINISTRATION has been a joke!!

  • cindy

    We need real leaders and educators, NOT follow-the-leader grifters!

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    There is potentially a major fraud at work here. Pryor must go, Comer must go, and Dannel must go with his army of overpaid ass kissers. He has made John Rowland look like Abraham Lincoln. Connecticut does not need a clean up, we need an exorcist. Something has to be done before Stevie Wonder Perry, Holy Moly, and Finchy bird get their talons into one more school.

  • jrp1900

    What a game is being played! Stefan Pryor, a non-educator, is appointed education commissioner. 53 million public dollars are handed over to a private company headed by a fraud. A key player in that private company is appointed to the State Board of Education. The preferred policy of the commissioner and his minions is to create more private schools. In the meantime, they are resisting legal efforts to equalize funding of public schools in Connecticut. The privatizers say it is all “for the children,” but money is flowing to “consultants” and “experts” of every variety. Meanwhile, in many public schools the money isn’t there to purchase texts books for children and buildings are crumbling for want of maintenance. You just can’t make this stuff up!

    Yes, time for Pryor to go and Andrea Comer should use her seat on the State board to advocate for ALL Connecticut’s children. Otherwise, it’s time for her to go as well…

    Incidentally, what does it say about the judgment of Pryor and Comer that they could not make Sharpe for the fraud that he is?

    • Bill Morrison

      “Incidentally, what does it say about the judgment of Pryor and Comer that they could not make Sharpe for the fraud that he is?”
      I’m sure that they did realize that he is a fraud . . . Pryor and Comer are frauds themselves!