Bridgeport · Hartford · Students

Pelto’s Imaginary Controversy Might Come at High Cost to Clark Students

One glance at Jon Pelto’s blog would reveal a serious, almost obsessive, vendetta against Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.

His recent series of “reports” on Hartford’s Clark School turnaround committee makes it clear, Pelto does not care who gets caught in the cross-fire of his sensationalist scandal-mongering — even if those in the cross-hairs are children at one of the state’s lowest performing schools.

Clark School in Hartford, a chronically under-performing school, was invited by the state Department of Education to apply to this year’s cohort of the Commissioner’s Network.

The Commissioner’s Network is a program to help turnaround failing schools by providing additional support and funding. During this process a school’s turnaround committee, made up of teacher, parent and district representatives, develops a turnaround model.

Without any evidence whatsoever, Pelto “reported” that the state Department of Education gave an “ultimatum” to Clark School’s turnaround committee, forcing them to choose Washington D.C. based Friendship Charter School as their model.

This, of course, was not even close to the truth.

Here’s what really happened: The turnaround committee was given the opportunity to tour several different schools, including Friendship Charter in D.C.

Jon Pelto figured this was a great way to drum up some scandal and set about to fear-mongering. He actually asked parents and teachers on the turnaround committee to halt all discussions with the State Department of Education.

To recap: Instead of encouraging the turnaround committee of a failing school to continue working on a school model, Pelto would rather see the school and the students lose out on this opportunity — because sticking it to Pryor is much more important than getting resources to students.

I’m glad Pelto has his priorities straight!

According to the Hartford Courant, the Department of Education is allowing Clark School’s turnaround committee some additional time to decide a school model, with the warning that their acceptance to the Commissioner’s Network is on the line. [The Hartford Courant, 3/19/2014]

Here in Bridgeport, Pelto raised a ruckus when Dunbar school was about to join the Commissioner’s Network. Thank goodness sense prevailed, and the turnaround at Dunbar has already begun, with parents, teachers and students all claiming a better school climate and renewed hope.

It would be a shame if Hartford’s kids lost out on the promise the Commissioner’s Network offers, because of Jon Pelto’s unfounded accusations.



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