The Connecticut Post’s Tale of two cities

While one Connecticut Post article yesterday featured Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas saying “I am going to keep this job till someone says I can’t,” Hugh Bailey, an editorial writer at the paper was observing in another piece that, “At school reform’s center, a resounding ‘no’.”

As Hugh Bailey so clearly noted in his commentary piece, while Mayor Bill Finch says “I want to keep Paul Vallas…He’s going to stay as long as I can keep him here,” the people impacted by the policies being foisted upon them by Finch and Vallas are clearly saying NO!

Bailey highlights the fact that while Paul Vallas says he is “making progress,” a prime example of Bridgeport’s rejection of the Vallas/Finch education reform agenda could be seen at Bridgeport’s Dunbar School.

Earlier this year, in a deal between Paul Vallas and Stefan Pryor, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, the Bridgeport’s Dunbar elementary school was handed over to a charter school management company based in Hartford, Connecticut.  Jumoke Academy and its parent company, FUSE Inc., are now being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to “turnaround” the Dunbar School.

For years, the State of Connecticut and the City of Bridgeport have failed to properly fund Dunbar and other schools in high poverty areas of the state.  However, instead of treating Dunbar and its students, parents and teachers fairly and providing the schools with the funds it needed, Vallas, Pryor and the other leaders of the education reform industry movement not only hired a well-connected company to run Dunbar, but then – and only then – provided millions of dollars in new funding for the school and its students.

None of those involved in this sham ever told Dunbar’s parents that the COO of Jumoke Academy/FUSE Inc., is a member of the State Board of Education.   And Finch, Vallas, Pryor and Malloy certainly never explained to the community that the state could easily have made the extra investment in Dunbar without having to turn management of the school over to a private entity.

But what is clear after reading Hugh Bailey’s commentary piece is that the voters of Bridgeport are not fooled by Vallas, Pryor, Finch and Malloy.

As Bailey writes, “There were six candidates running for school board last week. Three, endorsed by the city’s Democratic Party, were vocal supporters of the current superintendent and the changes his team has made. The three challengers were just as outspoken in opposition. At Dunbar, the three endorsed candidates received 67, 73 and 79 votes. The three challengers received 231, 216 and 212 votes.

The facts speak for themselves.  At the very school that serves as the symbol of the Vallas’ “progress” and his approach to public education, the candidates opposed to Vallas and the corporate education reformers did THREE TIMES BETTER than those endorsed by the Democratic Party establishment and who are committed to individuals and an agenda that is undermining public education in Connecticut.

Paul Vallas said, “”I am going to keep this job till someone says I can’t.”

Putting aside the fact that the Connecticut Superior Court has already ruled Vallas can’t keep his job; if public officials were looking for messages, the voters of Bridgeport sent a pretty clear one last Tuesday about who needs to be looking for new jobs…and at the top of that list was Paul Vallas, Bill Finch, Stefan Pryor and Dannel Malloy.

You can read Hugh Bailey’s piece at:http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Hugh-Bailey-At-school-reform-s-center-a-4814723.php while you can read the piece about Vallas at:http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Vallas-says-I-am-making-progress-4814988.php.

  • Linda174

    Last three paragraphs of Ravitch Reign of Error,

    Yes, we must improve our schools. Start now, start here, by building the bonds of trust among schools and communities. The essential mission of the public schools is not merely to prepare workers for the global workforce but to prepare citizens with the minds, hearts, and characters to sustain our democracy in the future.

    Genuine school reform must be built on hope, not fear; on encouragement, not threats; on inspiration, not compulsion; on trust, not carrots and sticks; on belief in the dignity of the person, not a slavish devotion to data; on support and mutual respect, not a regime of punishment and blame. To be lasting, school reform must rely on collaboration and teamwork among students, parents, teachers, principals, administrators, and local communities.

    Despite its faults, the American system of democratically controlled schools has been the mainstay of our communities and the foundation for our nation’s success. We must work together to improve our public schools. We must extend the promise of equal educational opportunity to all the children of our nation. Protecting our public schools against privatization and saving them for future generations of American children is the civil rights issue of our time.