- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, a Republican candidate for governor, on Tuesday called on Connecticut’s education commissioner to resign, saying he has failed to implement Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s key education initiatives.

McKinney said proposals for Common Core curriculum standards and new teacher evaluations received “limited input from teachers” during “an overly ambitious schedule.” Ultimately, McKinney said, Malloy and Commissioner Stefan Pryor lost the confidence of parents and educators across the state.

Also, he said the rollout “has been met with confusion and frustration” by teachers, administrators and parents.

“As we take a step back and reassess the implementation of education reform in Connecticut, I feel it is imperative to do so with new leadership,” said McKinney, who recently attended a meeting with about 487 Fairfield County teachers organized by the Connecticut Education Association. He said many expressed their frustration over the changes.

Malloy, a Democrat, has not said whether he will seek reelection.

Allan Taylor, chairman of the State Board of Education, expressed confidence in Pryor.

“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,” he said in a written statement.

Malloy’s chief of staff, Mark Ojakian, said the administration is working with teachers and parents to improve public education while McKinney “is working to further his political ambitions by scoring points at the expense of Connecticut’s children.”

Last week, Malloy and other Democratic officials urged the group that developed the new teacher evaluation system to provide educators more flexibility in implementing the system, saying they’ve heard concerns since the beginning of the school year that “too much change is hitting their classrooms at once.”

“Teachers and administrators are feeling burdened and together we must take action to relieve this pressure,” the group wrote.

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