Alexander Russo is first to the post on a story that immediately struck me as odd, too. It concerns the ongoing battle between Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the state teachers’ unions. It is headlined, “Malloy’s education consultant arouses union fears.”
Who is this dastardly corporate evildoer? Checker Finn? Rod Paige? Lisa Keegan?
You have to descend nine paragraphs into the story to learn his name: Jonathan Gyurko.
The unions are afraid of Jonathan Gyurko?
Gyurko is currently the co-founder and senior vice president of policy and strategic planning at Leeds Global Partners, a New York-based firm specializing in educational issues as “attractive investment opportunities.” OK, if you’re a union officer, that’s worrisome.
A spokesman for the state education commissioner explained: “To procure (Gyurko’s) services, it was necessary to engage his consulting firm, Leeds Global Partners. Mr. Gyurko has assisted the commissioner with several matters, including the development of the governor’s education proposal and frequent coordination with teachers’ representatives and other stakeholders. He is uniquely positioned and qualified to carry out such duties.”
Inexplicably, the reporter doesn’t mention how Gyurko is uniquely positioned and qualified. Sharon M. Palmer, president of AFT Connecticut, noted “Gyurko seems very knowledgeable on education issues.”
He should be. He was a senior advisor to the president of the United Federation of Teachers, who at the time was Randi the Anguished, current president of AFT. He co-founded the Green Dot New York Charter School, a joint venture between UFT and Steve Barr.
Aha! you say. But now he’s gone over to the Dark Side! Well, it didn’t seem to be a problem last October, when UFT invited Gyurko to speak at its conference “Fulfilling the Promise: Building a Progressive Charter School Movement.”
Gyurko wasn’t hired to privatize the state schools, but because he knows firsthand how union officers think and operate.
On second thought, that must be pretty scary for them.