Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Stefan Pryor ’93, ’06JD: A turnaround plan for Connecticut schools.

The phrase “Connecticut schools” might conjure images of blond children, green lacrosse fields, and black Lexuses. Despite Connecticut’s wealth, however, “our performance is getting eclipsed by other states, and we have the largest achievement gap in the country,” new education commissioner Stefan Pryor ’93, ’06JD, told a Wall Street Journal blogger.

“It’s shameful.”

Governor Dannel Malloy, who appointed Pryor last fall, has proclaimed school reform a top priority this year. A recent Education Week report card gave Connecticut near-failing grades for school accountability, college readiness, and the achievement gap. The state’s education website minces no words: “Nearly 1 in 5 Connecticut students does not complete high school in four years,” one headline declares. Below that: “Mathematics and Reading Results Reveal Many Concerns for Connecticut.”

The son of public school teachers, Pryor held his first government position, on the New Haven Board of Aldermen, as a Yale undergraduate. Later he cofounded a New Haven charter school and sat on the board of its parent organization (prompting conflict-of-interest accusations from some critics), then went to work for his law school friend Cory Booker ’97JD, mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

This week, Pryor announced a departmental reshuffling. Without spending more money, he will create new positions for chief accountability officer, chief talent officer, and—most ambitiously—chief turnaround officer.

Filed under education, Connecticut, milestones, controversy, human resources
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