Congressman announces $100,000 grant for charter school that fails Latinos and children with special needs
This afternoon, Congressman John Larson announced that the Jumoke Academy will be getting a $100,000 grant to support the charter school’s efforts to take over the Milner School, one of Hartford’s public schools.
Along with the press release, Congressman Larson said, “I know this funding will go towards helping our younger generations receive the education they deserve.”
Thanks to the Malloy Administration and the leadership of the City of Hartford, the public school that was once known to the neighborhood as the Milner School, is now called the Jumoke Academy at Milner.
After financially starving the Milner School for years, the City of Hartford and the State of Connecticut have suddenly “come up” with $2 million for renovations and up to $1.5 million in additional state funding to implement a “turnaround plan” for the school. Today we learn that the federal government is adding an additional $100,000 on top of that.
But, of course, the financial extravaganza overlooks the most important facts of all.
Although 25 percent of Milner’s students are not fluent in English and 40 percent come from homes where English is not the spoken language; the Jumoke Academy has NEVER accepted any Latino students and HAS NO experience with bilingual education or working with parents who aren’t fluent in English.
Furthermore, while more than 10 percent of Milner’s students have disabilities that require special education services, Jumoke has only 10 individual students with any special needs, or about 2 percent of their student body.
When the data is analyzed, it is impossible to conceive that Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, and Christina Kishimoto; Hartford’s Superintendent of Schools, could have identified a more inappropriate entity to run the Milner School.
And adding insult on top of insult, Jumoke Academy’s CEO, Dr. Michael Sharpe, recently said that he plans to prevent any new students from enrolling at the Jumoke Academy at Milner after yesterday, (October 1, 2012).
However, Connecticut’s new “education reform” law specifically requires, “the management organization to continue the enrollment policies and practices in effect at the school before it entered the commissioner’s network.”
We aren’t even a five weeks into the new school year and Jumoke Academy officials are already trying to break the law.
There is no question that Hartford’s Milner School has needed help, but it is a terrible commentary on the politics of education policy that when additional support and funds were needed, City and State leaders turned their backs.
Now, when the Milner School has been handed over to a private entity, Connecticut’s elected officials, from Hartford, from the State, and now from the federal government celebrate by giving away public funds to an entity that doesn’t report to a public board of education and has no experience with the very population that Milner serves.