Tag Archives: Steve Prigohzy

School consolidation as disaster capitalism

School consolidation would set up an artificial fiscal disaster that could force the “unified” public school system to turn to private foundations for funding, at the price of control of public education by private entities. This is disaster capitalism, or the shock doctrine, right here in Valdosta and Lowndes County.

What’s the Shock Doctrine? It’s been around for a long time, but Naomi Klein researched it for her book of the same name. It’s

“the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies still reeling from shock”
She was writing mostly about wars, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters. Locally here we haven’t had any of those. But we may be about to create a disaster, a shock, at the ballot box in November, if voters fall for the school “unification” snake oil.

What’s the next step after CUEE has accidentally revealed that Continue reading

Chattanooga deja vu —Karen Noll

Received yesterday on How did we get here? apparently referring to Barbara Stratton’s comment since reposted as Hauntingly familiar Tennessee Waltz. -jsq
After reading the Ed Weekly article, [slightly earlier version quoted here, referred to here. -jsq] I was struck by a very strong dejavu feeling. I checked the date twice and only to realize ( twice) that this consolidation went on more than 15 years ago.

The city schools were in bad shape financially and educationally in Chatnooga city. That is the major difference with our situation here. As much as some want you to believe that Valdosta city schools are not doing well, there are many that can point to the school improvement plan and it being recognized as one of the best in the state, or other notable achievements that differ front the view of VCS propagated by the folks on CUEE.

Other than that we are looking at the same issues; racial segregation, neighborhood schools, professional development monies in the different district, curriculum changes, busing to attain integration requirements, and the concerns about redistricting and moving kids to other schools.

Again this was 15 years ago, yet we are now faced with the same issues. At the time of the article consolidation had passed (19k to 21k). Teachers and parents Interviewed expressed concern about the poor kids of the city not getting a fair shake because the county (largely white) schools had little connection to the issues of the city kids. We would be faced with that just on a smaller scale.

The other strange likeness to this 15 year old consolidation is that Steve Prigozhy seems to have some very vague notions of school reform today that he did back then. These notions have been found to be less than successful in the ensuing 15 years.

Distancing himself from his failures does not make him a success at anything but manipulation of facts. The education of my children is not going to be reformed by a man that spins the truth and panders to the wealthy.

Thank you for sharing the Edweekly article.

-Karen Noll

Hauntingly familiar Tennessee Waltz —Barbara Stratton

Received 3 October on How did we get here? -jsq
Very well said JC.

On Thursday 9/29/11 CUEE called a special meeting of their Education Task Force at the City Hall Annex. Reading on and between the lines of the VDT article it appears the new, more agressive tactic is to call into question the conduct and accountability for goverance of education of the Valdosta City Board of Education. Under the leadership of Steve Prigohzy they seem to be heading toward usurping this goverance from the elected school boards to another entity they can control. This is hauntingly familiar if you read an article titled Tennessee Waltz from the Education Week Teacher.

(If you go to the Education Week Teacher website it will say the Tennesse Waltz article is only available to registered guests, but registration is free.)

Leadership for the post consolidation planning was forcibly taken from the county superintendent and given to the Public Education Foundation of Chattanooga, TN, which was headed by CUEE’s own Steven H. Prigohzy. His specialty seems to be powering school consolidations and overseeing the resulting planning which does little to improve the academic or financial conditions of the public schools (actually these get worse). It does however provide the perfect climate for pulling grant monies to establish the magnet schools he also specializes in.

-Barbara Stratton

The Tennessee Waltz article seems to be a slightly later and slightly revised version of the article I referenced in Steve Prigohzy, guru of Chattanooga-Hamilton Co. school consolidation, as quoted recently by Smart Memphis.


Steven H. Prigohzy, All-Star and Best-Paid Educator!

We have an all-star athlete class educator advising us, with an all-star athlete salary! Hm, I wonder how much CUEE is paying him?

A Sun Life Financial press release of 26 February 2011, Exceptional Students & Nonprofits, All-Star Team of Pro Athletes, Corporate & Education Leaders Tackle Lagging High School Graduation Rates at Sun Life Rising Star National Summit,

“Steven H. Prigohzy, education advocate and developer of one of the country’s first open magnet schools.”
Well, that sounds like the Steve Prigohzy of CSAS in Chattanooga, whose Public Education Foundation advised the consolidated school system there.

What about this, is this just a coincidence of names? Empire Center for New York State Policy put out a press release of 8 October 2009,

According to the data, the highest paid non-professional school employee (outside New York City) was Steven H. Prigohzy of the New York Institute for Special Education, who was paid $230,000.
It turns out it’s not a coincidence. In a paid death notice in the New York Times, BLOOM, FRANCES R., 18 January 2005, Continue reading

Results of PEF’s plans for Chattanooga/Hamilton Co. schools?

The partnership between Public Education Foundation, headed by Steven H. Prigohzy, and the consolidated public schools in Chattanooga and Hamilton County, Tennessee continues. So, how have all those great plans for improving education worked out?

First, let’s look at PEF’s own History webpage,

In 1994 Chattanooga city voters voted to turn responsibility for education over to the county, requiring the two systems to merge. At the request of the Hamilton County School Board, PEF surveyed 3,300 area residents and convened 135 community members – educators, civic and government leaders, residents, parents and students – to help shape the vision for the new school system. When the newly consolidated system emerged in 1997, the partnership with PEF continued.
Interestingly, Prigohzy is no longer listed as board or staff with PEF. Maybe we should ask them why….

So, what came of all this consolidation in Chattanooga? It must be great, considering PEF’s Board Approved 2005-2010 Strategic Plan for Great Public Schools,

In the years 2005 – 2010, Hamilton County Public Schools will meet or exceed national benchmarks for excellence with continuous, measurable improvement in reading, mathematics, and in the numbers of students who progress smoothly from grade to grade, graduate from high school and go on to college or career-path jobs. Because of this sustained progress, Hamilton County will be recognized among the very best mid-sized public school systems in America. The community will be justifiably proud and more and more people will understand and support the investment necessary for great public schools. The Public Education Foundation will be instrumental in these achievements as a champion of school transformation and will devote its expertise and fundraising capabilities to the Hamilton County Public Schools as a catalyst for bold ideas that create real and positive change.
Sounds great!

But an outside study shows a different result. Kontji Anthony wrote for WMCTV, 23 January 2011, Study offers glimpse at possible impact of school consolidation, Continue reading

Steve Prigohzy, guru of Chattanooga-Hamilton Co. school consolidation

We’ve seen that Steve Prigohzy’s magnet school, CSAS, was started in 1986. Chattanooga school consolidation with Hamilton County, Tennessee was in 1995. And look who was waiting to tell them what to do: Chattanooga, 1995: City Referendum on Consolidating Schools, and No Legislative Interference, by Smart City Memphis, 1 January 2011, quoting Education Week 2 August 1995,
A month after the election, the board voted to ask the Public Education Foundation to help frame the new system. The move was partly on the advice of educators in Knoxville, who faced a raft of problems after consolidating rapidly with Knox County eight years ago.

The foundation, one of the wealthiest local education foundations in the country, has worked closely with educators in both the city and county. Its president, Steven H. Prigohzy, is a dynamo with a clear vision of where he’d like to take education in the new system.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a county

Continue reading

Steve Prigohzy’s magnet school

CUEE’s paid expert from Chattanooga, Steve Prigohzy, started and ran a magnet school in Chattanooga, much like the one in Troup County that is still causing extra costs and consternation eighteen years after unification. Prigohzy’s school also used prison labor to avoid spending on local labor.

After reading Barbara Stratton’s piece about Steve Prigohzy screening a movie about magnet schools, I wondered, who is this Steve Prigohzy, anyway? CUEE never showed us his resume, as near as I can tell, and they’re a private organization, so they don’t have to. But his tracks are all over the Internet.

Cynthia M. Gettys and Anne Wheelock wrote for The New Alternative Schools in September 1994, (Volume 52, Number 1, Pages 12-15) Launching Paideia in Chattanooga,

With the board’s approval and support from the Lyndhurst Foundation, a committee outlined the necessary steps to develop a Paideia school for Chattanooga students. First, the group hired Steve Prigohzy as the school’s planner, promoter, and educational leader. Prigohzy looked for teachers who were lifelong learners themselves. “I would ask teachers to talk to me about a book they were reading that I shouldn’t miss. I wanted people who were acting out their curiosity about the world,” he said. Prigohzy also sought teachers whose appreciation for discourse would sustain the school as a community of learners. Limited public confidence, especially in the city’s middle schools, influenced the planning.
They must have liked him, because he was hired as its principal, according Jessica Penot and Amy Petulla in Haunted Chattanooga, Continue reading