Sen. Boucher on WCBS Radio: Next State Education Commissioner Must Be An Independent Voice

August 20, 2014

Article as it appeared in CBS New York

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor is stepping down, according to a statement released Monday by Gov. Malloy’s office.

According to the statement from Gov. Malloy’s office, Pryor is “actively seeking new professional opportunities.” He called it a “true honor” to serve Malloy, the State Board of Education and the people of Connecticut. He said a lot has been accomplished over the past nearly three years, acknowledging “the work has not always been easy.”

Gov. Malloy appointed Pryor in Sept. 2011, which some critics claim politicized the post, WCBS 880’s Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported.

Sen. Toni Boucher, who served on the state board of education, is among those who feel the next commissioner should be the choice of the education board.

“He made it his choice to choose the commissioner so that has added a certain level of politics to this. And that’s my concern, that whoever the next commissioner is that they be an independent voice,” Sen. Boucher said.

“If this doesn’t happen, the danger we face is that Connecticut would be perceived as too political, too hot to handle, and that perception could lead to a failure to attract top educational talent to Connecticut,” Boucher said.

Sen. Boucher says Commissioner Pryor worked diligently to serve in the best interest of Connecticut students, but was being asked to do too many things over a short period of time.

Pryor came under fire from teachers and parents for the state’s efforts to impose Common Core, new education standards and guidelines, among other changes.

Malloy’s office said there is no set timeline for Pryor’s departure.