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Connecticut Commissioner of Education Heading to New Post in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Governor-elect Gina Raimondo has announced that she will nominate outgoing Connecticut Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor to serve as Rhode Island’s secretary of commerce. Read more from The CT Mirror here. Read a statement from Connecticut State Board of Education Chair Allan Taylor here.

  1. Nick #

    “The commissioner generated praise…” Really? All this crook generated was more business for the companies he helped found and other charlatans like Paul Vallas and Steven Adamowski, as they attempted to strip mine education in our state. No parent, teacher, taxpayer, or child will miss this snake oil salesman.

    December 16, 2014
  2. Linda #

    Gina Raimondo’s husband Andy Moffitt was Cory Booker’s roommate.
    Moffitt is a member Stand for Children Board of Directors

    Moffit is a Senior Practice Expert and member of core leadership team for McKinsey & Company’s Global Education Practice.

    “Since co-founding the Global Education Practice in 2005, Andy has worked with multiple large urban districts, state education departments and charter management organizations to markedly improve system performance and close achievement gaps.

    He co-authored a recent book, Deliverology 101: A Field Guide for School System Leaders (Corwin Press, 2010), which describes key success factors and steps in driving results in global school system reforms.

    Before joining McKinsey, Andy was an elementary school teacher in an inner-city school in Houston, Texas as a corps member of Teach For America.”

    From a recent article in the Progressive:

    The Corporate Education Reform Industry effort to buy control of Public Education

    The Corporate Education Reform Industry effort to buy control of Public Education

    This year’s election season provided a series of textbook examples of how corporate education reformers used their personal fortunes to contaminate the democratic process.

    Let’s begin with the little state of Rhode Island, where former hedge fund owner and charter school champion, Democrat Gina Raimondo was elected governor with 40 percent of the vote in a three-way race—one in which there was an unprecedented level of campaign spending.

    Raimondo, who as Rhode Island’s state treasurer won national acclaim from conservatives for successfully dismantling the state employee pension fund, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors associated with funding the education reform movement and profiting from the charter school industry. Her running mate, Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee, one of the state’s most vocal supporters of charter schools, was elected lieutenant governor with help from many of the same donors.

    Over the course of her gubernatorial campaign, Raimondo collected checks from many of the major players in the charter school and “education reform” movement, including donations from billionaires Eli Broad and members of the Walton Family. (The Broad Foundation and Walton Foundation, along with Gates Foundation, are the primary funders behind the overall education reform movement.)

    Another billionaire, former Enron executive John Arnold along with his wife, not only donated directly to Raimondo’s campaign and her political action committee, called Gina PAC, but the couple’s $100,000 check made them the largest donors to the American LeadHERship Council, a Super PAC affiliated with Raimondo. The second largest donor to the Super PAC was Eli Broad with $15,000.

    A proponent of doing away with public employee pensions, Arnold also donated as much as $500,000 to an advocacy group called Engage Rhode Island, which spent approximately $740,000 lobbying for Raimondo’s successful assault on public employee pensions. Over the past three years, the John and Laura Arnold Foundation has donated more than $100 million in support of charter schools and entities involved in the corporate education reform industry, including being one of the largest contributors to Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Educational Excellence.

    Raimondo’s success in raising funds from the charter school industry includes at least $50,000 from the members of the board of directors of Achievement First, Inc., the large charter chain that recently opened a school in Rhode Island, adding to their existing schools in Connecticut and New York.

    Jonathan Sackler, an investment manager and heir to the Purdue Pharma fortune, is not only a founding member of Achievement First, Inc, but a founder of a national charter school advocacy group called 50CAN. One of 50CAN’s related entities, 50CAN Action Fund, dumped $90,000 to run TV commercials to help Raimondo’s running mate win his primary race.

    As a result of the Citizens United case and IRS regulations, the 501(c) (4) Foundation 50CAN Action Fund can accept unlimited donations from contributors and can participate in political campaigns and elections.

    December 16, 2014
  3. Linda #

    Good riddance and this was predictable. The RI Govenor’s husband was roommates with Cory Booker. He and Pryor go way back. Someone had to find him a job. Interesting he didn’t want to teach. Let’s get a real educator and it’s also time to turn around the state board of education starting with Taylor.

    December 16, 2014
  4. Paul E. Doniger #

    Great news; will we now, finally, get a commissioner who actually respects teachers?

    December 16, 2014

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