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McKinney Calls On Education Commissioner To Resign

by Christine Stuart | Feb 4, 2014 6:34pm
(6) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education, Election 2014

Christine Stuart photo

Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield

In a hastily called press conference, Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, called for the resignation of state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.

Outside the Capitol press office Tuesday, McKinney, who also is running for governor, said it had nothing to do with Pryor’s personality or anything he did specifically. He just happens to be the head of the Education Department, which has been charged with implementing the new teacher evaluation system and Common Core Standards.

The confluence of the two new systems have since been slowed by the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council, which received a federal waiver to delay implementing a new computer-based test and a new teacher evaluation system that relies more upon student performance and classroom observations than in the past.

“We can’t go forward if teachers and administrators don’t have faith and trust in the people who are charged with implementing those reforms,” McKinney said.

He said he decided about an hour before the press conference to call for Pryor’s resignation. Pryor just happens to be the head of the state agency that’s in charge of implementing these changes, which have caused an uproar among educators, McKinney explained.

“I don’t believe it can go forward successfully under his leadership,” McKinney said of the education reforms adopted in 2012 by the General Assembly.

But Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration made it clear that getting rid of Pryor was not an idea they planned to entertain.

“Time and again, Senator McKinney has proven that there is literally nothing he won’t say if he thinks it will bring him press attention,” Malloy administration Chief of Staff Mark Ojakian said.

“While the administration is working with teachers and parents to improve public education, John McKinney is working to further his political ambitions by scoring political points at the expense of Connecticut’s children,” Ojakian said. “It’s beneath his office and, frankly shameless, even for him.”

McKinney said he was made aware of the problems with the state Education Department and the rollout of the education reforms when he attended a Connecticut Education Association regional meeting of teachers on Jan. 27. More than 500 teachers and administrators expressed their frustration at how the new systems were being implemented.

He said they weren’t just frustrated with the evaluations or the Smarter Balance tests, they were “frustrated with how this was being implement.”

“And the fact that people in our Department of Education weren’t listening to them,” McKinney said. “That clearly, formulates in the person of the commissioner, fairly or unfairly.”

Allan Taylor, chairman of the state Board of Education, disagrees.

“I am confident that the entire State Board of Education rejects the call for Commissioner Pryor’s resignation,” Taylor said in a statement. “Commissioner Pryor is helping to bring Connecticut education to where it needs and ought to be. He has tackled all challenges with great skill and extraordinary energy.”

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(6) Comments

posted by: Joebigjoe | February 4, 2014  9:55pm

Just so away McKinney. You lack character and word is getting around to not vote for you, so save your breath.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | February 4, 2014  10:04pm

DrHunterSThompson

At the risk of making another benign and obvious comment and getting censored by the corporation:  this is another example of why McKinney is not anywhere near qualified for even the job he has, let alone higher office. Can you be anymore uniformed?

HST

posted by: Mopar | February 5, 2014  6:41am

Mopar

Why should Pryor resign just because McKinney says so?
Heck, 600,000 Connecticut gun owners (also known as voters) have been calling for McKinney to resign for the last 10 months and John still hasn’t taken the suggestion.

posted by: Charlie Puffers | February 5, 2014  8:04am

Thank you John McKinney.  I probably disagree with 90% of what you propose but I agree with you 100% on this.  Pryor needs to resign. Please ask for Perry’s resignation next.

posted by: 27Reasons | February 5, 2014  5:44pm

I may not agree with McKinney all of the time, and EVEN IF POLITICAL, I commend him for these statements! Stefan is a pusher of the corrupt educational ‘reform’ agenda. Their main goal is to destroy public education and teacher certification value, while flooding the market with charters.

posted by: ABC | February 5, 2014  9:00pm

What a Rino.  Probably has no clue that he just handed the primary to Foley.