Monday, October 24, 2011

New State Schools Chief Begins Today, Declaring 'We Are Tired Of The Lack Of Progress'

Ed warrior Stefan Pryor has started as the new ed commissioner in CT and is sure to bring about big reforms:

The heralded and long-awaited arrival of Stefan Pryor as Connecticut's new education commissioner — he begins work Friday — is a bitter reminder of how little progress we've made solving our most persistent failure.

We talk endlessly about our economic future, and yet tens of thousands of children in urban schools are still falling behind, not learning and dropping out. There are few, if any, larger obstacles holding Connecticut back.

What, I wanted to know when I met with the commissioner-to-be this week, could Pryor possibly do that governors, previous commissioners and hundreds of educators haven't already done to tackle what is the nation's greatest achievement gap?

"I think there is a recognition that this is a special moment,'' Pryor responded, explaining that it his good fortune to be working for an impatient governor who has promised an education agenda during his second year in office.

"The sense I get from everybody — the education associations, the union leaders, the advocacy group leaders, the legislators, the state board members — is that we are tired of the lack of progress. We are ready for a shift forward."

Though Pryor was cautious and guarded during our chat, it was still clear that education policy under the 39-year-old Yale graduate may shift seismically in coming months. This is a man, after all, who made an early name for himself as the founder of one of Connecticut's most successful charter schools, the Amistad Academy in New Haven. More recently, Pryor was a top aide to Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

Above all, Pryor was brought here to create change.


New State Schools Chief Begins Today, Declaring 'We Are Tired Of The Lack Of Progress'

4:57 p.m. EDT, October 6, 2011,0,7064059.column

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