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The Dalio Education Partnership: Where Did It Go Wrong?

Bridgewater Associates Chair Ray Dalio speaks in Beijing in March 2019.
Ng Han Guan
Bridgewater Associates Chair Ray Dalio speaks in Beijing last year. On Tuesday Gov. Lamont announced that the $300 million public-private Partnership for Connecticut, begun by Dalio and his wife to support public education, was ending after just one year.

The difference between public and private sector standards is to blame for the demise of Connecticut’s educational partnership with hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio. Governor Ned Lamont pulled the plug on the partnership on Tuesday, after disciplinary action against its newly hired CEO was leaked to the media.

House Republican Minority Leader Themis Klarides was one of four state legislative leaders on the board of the Partnership for Connecticut. She had opposed its setup because board members weren’t required to abide by the state’s Freedom of Information Laws.

“The four leaders, who were mandated by state statute by the way to sit on the board, had to abide by these laws, and the rest of the board which numbered way more than five, got to be exempt from these laws.”

Democratic Senate President Martin Looney was also on the board. He helped Lamont win legislative approval for the partnership last year. Looney acknowledges that there was a public transparency problem.

“I think that going forward we will probably look in advance at maybe developing rules in advance for this kind of partnership, if another one is ever to be created. In order not to have the situation of trying to deal with it in an ad hoc way.”

Looney says the short-lived partnership does have a lasting achievement. It distributed 60,000 laptop computers to high school students in the state’s most needy school districts to enable distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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