A must read – Voters have spoken: No corporate school reform by Wendy Lecker

Wendy Lecker, Education Advocate and columnist for the Hearst Connecticut Media Group, has a must read column in yesterday’s Stamford Advocate and CT Post…

“In this age of instantaneous global communication, it is incredible that a simple message sent by voters in Bridgeport has not reached leaders in Hartford, just 50 miles away. On Nov. 6, a rare event in modern politics occurred: democracy prevailed over money. Average citizens defeated a Bridgeport charter revision proposal backed by a veritable who’s who of well-endowed corporate education reformers. This David-vs.-Goliath victory is also significant because it was the first time a core education reform strategy was put directly before Connecticut voters — and voters rejected it.

Recall that in July 2011, Mayor Bill Finch, the charter lobby ConnCAN, founders of Excel Bridgeport, and the chair of the state Board of Education engineered a secret and illegal takeover of Bridgeport’s elected board of education. After Connecticut’s Supreme Court invalidated the scheme, Mayor Finch again attempted to strip voters of their right to an elected school board with a revision to the city charter calling for an appointed board of education. This time, Finch called in the big guns. In addition to Excel Bridgeport and ConnCAN, the revision got support from the Connecticut Council on Education Reform, a business group, and national figures like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and failed DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.

These “reformers” poured over a half a million dollars into ads, videos and pamphlets saying “Vote Yes.” They lauded the “progress” made in Bridgeport by the reformer Superintendent Paul Vallas, who left his previous districts, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans, in crisis. The hallmarks of Vallas’ tenure in Bridgeport so far have been adding an inexplicable and cruel three weeks of standardized testing, and increasing spending on administration. The “Vote Yes” group also made a host of false claims, ranging from assertions that only an appointed school board would help renovate buildings, to declarations that an appointed school board would lead to improved student outcomes, strict accountability for officials and increased parent involvement.”

Read more: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Voters-have-spoken-No-corporate-4048264.php#ixzz2CgCFx0qV


  • LaurieLima

    It is tiresome to watch attempts at education reform that are catamount to expensively “grasping at straws”

  • jschmidt2

    3 weeks of standardized testing is ridiculous. You are only benefiting the testing companies. One day of testing twice a year should be enough. And any decent teacher can assess the children without the test.

    • Linda174

      However, then the eduvultures wouldn’t be able to profit off the children, who are merely props.

  • Apartheid First

    Three weeks of standardized testing in reforming districts is an understatement. Administering and scheduling the Smarter Balance Tests and other assessments require Herculean effort. Since the tests are complex and often involve computers, there are passwords to set and check. Time on computers must be rationed in poorer schools, so all schedules are thrown into chaos. The test might freeze, or toss the user off… so, start again..
    And let’s not forget all the money wasted on so many needless computers and techno-sops. Upgrades, software, wireless… blah, blah.
    You get the message. No more spelling quizzes or chapter tests, I guess those assessments don’t count.

  • LaurieLima

    “How I Raised Successful Children in a Turbulent World 1990-2012” also available at Barnes and Noble.com, lulu.com, amazon.com and kindle.