Earlier today, BY A VOICE VOTE SO THAT NO ONE WOULD NEED TO BE ON RECORD, the Connecticut House of Representatives confirmed Governor Malloy’s nomination of Andrea Comer to serve a four-year term on the State Board of Education.
Comer, who works as the Chief Operations Officer for the FUSE/Jumoke Academy charter school management company, and previously worked for Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s Achievement First, Inc, one of the nation’s largest charter school management companies, will be filling the State Board of Education seat that was most recently held by an official from the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education.
Late word from some Democratic legislators was that the Malloy administration promised that the next two State Board of Education nominations would be of pro-public education supporters if Democratic legislators looked the other way and voted for the appointment of the charter school executive.
As a member of the State Board of Education, Comer will be in a unique position to directly and indirectly help her employer and the charter school industry continue their ongoing privatization efforts.
FUSE/Jumoke Inc. already collects millions of dollars in state funds distributed by the State Department of Education and has major expansion plans. Just last year, Commissioner Pryor and the State Board of Education directed that Hartford’s Milner elementary school be handed over to Jumoke to manage.
The decision to give one of Hartford’s public schools to the Jumoke Academy was not only lucrative for the Jumoke Academy but was even more noteworthy because the Milner elementary school has been one in which half the students come from households that didn’t speak English and fully one in four students weren’t fluent in English. The Jumoke Academy, by comparison, has never had a single bi-lingual student during its many years of existence and has consistently failed to provide educational services to its fair share of special education students.
The decision to nominate and confirm a high-ranking charter school executive to Connecticut’s education policy board is seen as yet another attack on Connecticut’s school teachers, the teacher unions and the 99% of student who attend public district schools.