Breaking News: Citizens prevented from addressing Hartford Board of Education on Steve Perry

At tonight’s Hartford Board of Education meeting, the outgoing Chairman of the Hartford Board of Education, Matt Poland, used a procedural maneuver to prevent Hartford parents and other concerned citizens from addressing the Board about Capital Magnet School Principal Steve Perry prior to the Board’s scheduled executive session on Perry.

Claiming that citizens could only address “action items” on the agenda and that the Board’s executive session wasn’t an “action item,” Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra’s hand-picked chairman effectively prevent citizens from discussing their concerns about Perry.

Hats off to Mayor Segarra, Chairman Poland and Superintendent Kishimoto for effectively destroying the right of the citizens of Hartford and Connecticut from addressing their representatives.

Their actions speak volumes about the unholy power of the corporate education reform industry and its disciples.

  • Bill Morrison

    I went home sick right after school today. Do you know what they decided?

    • Chris

      Do tell Bill.

    • Grasshopper

      Status quo, Bill.

      Expect no miracles until the people make a bigger ruckus.

  • Mary Gallucci

    Unbelievable.
    I hope they rally. I hope the parents and citizens refuse to take no for an answer.
    Matt Poland should be ashamed of himself–if he has any shame. As for Segarra…

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    They don’t come any lower then this gang of crooks and frauds. Where is Hartford’s Carmen Lopez when we need one? State Board pulled the same crap. The thing they fear is the truth. McKinney has found the soft spot in Danny’s Plan. Any sane teacher who votes for Malloy for his $50 bribe should be deported to Rhode Island. It reminds me of the scene in Rosemary’s Baby when Mia Farrow says: “This is Real…This is really happening” after being intimate with Satan. The citizens of Hartford need to rally. Segarra makes Finch look competent and that takes much doing.

  • EduMom

    Thank you so much Jon for continuing to cover this story. I’m in Georgia. People all over the country are watching, and hoping that the parents, teachers and students join and take their schools back from corporate privatizers. You give the rest of us hope.

    • jonpelto

      thank you for your kind words…. “we have not yet begun to fight!”

  • jrp1900

    Hartford’s BOE is truly a board of “representatives.” The only problem is they are more concerned to represent the corporate reformers and their political servants than the people of Hartford. If Matt Poland continues in this heroic vein, he will never lunch alone in the future…

  • Rafael G

    Now I was very tempted to try and speak anyway however as amusing it would be to have myself forcibly removed for refusing to SHUT UP about Perry I figured I would let them talk their talk behind closed doors and see wherever that leaves us. who knows maybe they wont disappoint. If they do nothing then they will have to deal with a very forward version of myself with some harsh words directed at both the board and perry at the next meeting where apparently we may address him as a subject. in addition to the flood emails i will have coming in to those offices demanding action

    • jonpelto

      You are a hero Rafael!

      • Rafael G

        Thank you guys. I appreciate the sentiment. I’m just trying to do my part. I was trained for public speaking to some degree and born with a nose for sussing out bs. Just trying to help my neighbor hood and the kids in it

        • Linda174

          You’re one of the good guys!

    • ReTired

      Rafael, it’s not when you speak, but what you say loudly and clearly! Others will follow!

    • Grasshopper

      Rafael — Feel free to copy the local media on those emails you send to the Board of Ed. Sometimes the powers that be need to be embarrassed into doing the right thing

      • Linda174

        Excellent advice….and this too.

  • Bill S

    This is not why so many of our sons and daughters pay go to foreign lands to fight wars to protect our freedoms. I hope lots and lots of parents, future parents, and citizens in general are watching this. These cold and callous public officials are in control of our youth’s education. 20 years from now having no voice will be the only choice unless people question what’s going on and demand change.

    • brutus2011

      Here here

  • cindy

    Is Matt beholden to someone else? This is totally criminal, schools are being sold out from parents, taxpayers, citizens….totally gangster!

    HARTFORD BOARD OF ED received almost $2.8M from Gates Foundation to support public/charter
    – Nov. 2012
    http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2012/11/OPP1067462

    Then, Matt is a board member of the Urban Libraries Council which has received almost $3.5 M from Gates Foundation since 2001($2.9M of it came after 2011 when he started)

    http://www.gatesfoundation.org/search#q/k=urban%20libraries%20council&contenttype=Grant

    • guest

      according to connecticut state law this is totally legal.

      • Linda174

        Gates doesn’t donate…he controls. Play Bill’s way and give up your data or no payoff. In Gates we don’t…..

        • Linda174

          Trust:

        • msavage

          I don’t get why so many seemingly intelligent people still buy the official story about Bill Gates. Two years ago my son came home from sixth grade passing on stories from his teacher re what a great philanthropist Bill Gates was. I had to sit my son down and have a talk with him re how everything isn’t always as it appears on the surface–how Bill Gates has unlimited amounts of money to PAY people to spread the message he wants them to hear. Why do so many people neglect to look beneath the surface–STILL–TWO YEARS LATER! It’s infuriating!

        • ReTired

          For Bill and Melinda, money is power. They’ve fooled a lot of people in their quest to help children of the world.

        • Linda174

          Snow days are dangerous for the deformers. Two part series on the Gates foundation and leveraged “philanthropy”. Part one here:

          http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/07/the_gates_foundations_leverage.html

        • Linda174

          Part two…Gates and Education control via “philanthropy”:

          http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/07/the_gates_foundations_educatio.html

        • ReTired

          Informative information.

      • guest

        Legal does not equal right.

        • guest

          The person I was responding to said it was criminal. I responded that it was legal. I did not say anything about the wrongness or rightness of it. Although I don’t see what’s wrong with a board discussing personnel issues in executive session: it protects the privacy of the person being discussed, which if you were that person you would feel is right. There is time for a public forum at a board meeting. This wasn’t a public forum meeting. Last week was that meeting. I don’t care how much you hate the guy being discussed, there is nothing wrong with such a law.

        • Rafael G

          except this isnt JUST a personnel issue this is a public issue that has been brought attention by numerous agencies and newspapers around the country

        • Grasshopper

          Pro Tip: Do not tell them what you’re going to talk about before you do it. Keep your message direct and succinct so that if they cut your microphone, you have already said the most important thing that needs to be said. If they say you can’t, remind them who they represent.

        • Rafael G

          And the last meeting that allowed it was snowed out so it doesn’t really count does it?

        • guest

          No the board meeting was re-held last week. The public part at which you could have ranted some more about how much you hate steve perry. The executive session was re-scheduled for yesterday and said Steve Perry personnel matter. So yes, it does really count. Like him or hate him, he has as much right as you or I to have his personnel issues discussed privately. Don’t worry, if they’ve fired him, you’ll know soon enough.

        • Linda174

          I wonder if he utilized his union rep? He should have, the very union he complains about. Of course, until they are useful to him. Perry protects and promotes Perry and Perry only. Union roach!

        • Ebony in Hartford

          Excellent question.

        • Rafael G

          Its not just about firing him. Its about removing his brand of education from ct. Like the energy drink “cocaine” and synthetic marijuana “k2” both were all the rage after a while people saw it was no good and lawmakers pulled them as best they could from shelves. If he does lose his job in Hartford he shouldnt be given another school in bridgeport to do the exact same bullshit

        • MC

          What does this have to do with privacy? Did the public have ample opportunity to voice concerns prior to the “executive session”? In my opinion this move by HBOE is a cunning tactic to avoid their guilt via neglect of this debacle from going on public record.

        • guest

          IT was a BOE workshop. Last week was the public meeting. And there will be another sometime later this month and the month after that. Not every meeting of the board is a public one and appropriate for public complaints. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not saying the public has no right to address the board. I’m just saying last night’s meeting wasn’t the forum for that. What’s the issue here? I don’t get it.

      • Rafael G

        No one shall read Common-Prayer, keep Christmas or saints-days, make minced pies, dance, play cards, or play on any instrument of music, except the drum, trumpet, and the jaw harp.

        So is that

      • cindy

        Wow! The law needs to be changed. How can a BOE member serve two masters?? Parents versus Corporate interests.

    • Grasshopper

      Of course he is!
      He’s an appointed member of the board and running the library with no experience as a librarian. Talk to some of his employees there. It’ll open your eyes as to how unlike any other place the HPL is now.

      • Linda174

        So a non-librarian who leads a library is the chair of a public school BOE comprised of non educators leading teachers into a labyrinth of unfunded mandates that will miraculously improve schools and close the resource/opportunity/income gap?

        Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

        (All except Cotto, that is)

        • Ebony in Hartford

          DING!

      • Luv2Teach

        He’s not a certified librarian?!?!?

        • Linda174

          No, he is not!

        • MC

          …and that explains why sooo many of his schools are ill equipped with adequate libraries.

          Failing schools are manufactured in Hartford. Disgusting.

          As for Poland wasn’t he VP of Human Resources at the Courant? Hmmmm…..

        • Linda174

          Even Betances, the reading lab school, doesn’t have a library. Capital prep is a bunch of books thrown in a room, including 50 shades of grey. Football equipment is a priority.

  • Andrea Wilson

    Having been on the Executive Board of a union — when we went into executive session this was how it went there as well. That being stated: If you want to be heard, why not put a press conference together? Personally, I am curious and I suspect some members of he press would be as well.

  • Say No to Mr Greed Steve Perry

    Steve Perry is not just a “Hartford” problem. Systematically Steve Perry is cherry picking at the poorest school systems to privatize first but see the thing about “greed” it spreads and soon it will be contaminating your suburbia schools. People we need to wake up. Our children’s public schools are slipping away from underneath us. The very institutions that educated most of us are becoming a thing of the past.
    Yes Matt Poland drinks the “Privatization” and “Steve Perry” kool-aide however it takes “1” concerned parent or citizen to make a difference and that entail “1” has turned into hundreds. Poland thinks if he keeps denying our right to speak we will go away. Sorry this just brings Hartford parents, suburbia parents and concerned citizens more in solidarity.

    • Linda174

      Bràvo….keep at it. They can’t deny all of you forever. They hope you will weaken and back down. Don’t! Send this to Kishimoto and Poland.

  • speaking up

    Does anyone know when we will hear of the decision(s) made by the BOE last night? I was at the meeting and attempted to sign up to speak. When the procedural maneuver was explained to me I walked back to my seat… and then turned back around and spoke to Mr. Poland and Ms. Kishimoto, quietly, at their table. I let them know that I was very disappointed not to have been given a chance to voice real issues that I have experienced with Dr. Steve Perry BEFORE they held their executive session. They again explained the procedures that were being followed and let me know that I would have an opportunity to speak at the next meeting on February 18.

    I have personally sat, waited and spoken in HPS and State DOE offices describing what was going on at Capital Prep. I have filed complaints with these 2 offices and I have sent emails describing these complaints to Hartford BOE. I did receive one call from a HPS administrator (who is no longer in CT) apologizing for what my child experienced and suggesting that action might be taken. This was in 2011 and I have received not one word of response since then. I attempted again last night to speak up and was not able.

    In the meantime, Dr. Steve Perry is spreading his version of what’s going on in “his” (Hartford Public) school, and he is garnering more support – using an increasingly passionate, adversarial (hate-filled) approach.

    It is my hope that speaking up here, on Jonathan’s site, will help to get the version that is NOT Dr. Steve Perry’s out. It is my hope that someone from a media outlet will allow us to counter what he is selling. See below for tweets this morning…

    After tweeting that you’re one of my educational icons, I’ve received so much hate back. YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT!

    Block them bro. Evil can’t be given audience. Stay poz and stay focused on kids, they deserve your attention, not evil.

    yes, the second you agree with something, the responses are relentless… Smh” They hate kids.

    I had no idea advocating for kids by holding educators, parents & pols accountable would be such a threat.

    The world, even twitter, has more good ppl than mean. Do not be discouraged evil & hate will never win, ever.

    Their hatred brings us together, strengthens our resolve. They miscalculated. They’re swelling our ranks.

    • Rafael G

      Swelling our ranks indeed! There are more and more parents around here learning about him and his antics. We just keep swimming. More fish will join the school. Nice meeting you last night btw. We will get our turn don’t worry

    • Luv2Teach

      The way we respond to Perry’s fans can make a big difference in whether we help them open their eyes to the facts…or simply make them close their ears. If we respond respectfully, with dignity and facts, people are more likely to consider our message. Open a dialog, not a dispute.

      Remember, some of us once held out hope that Perry was truthful, capable and worthy of being placed at the head of the school. Now that we know otherwise, it does kids no good if we attack the people who don’t know yet that Steve is not what he’s convinced them he is.

      They’re good people looking for answers that haven’t seemed to come from others, so – with the help of his intensive pr campaign – they’ve latched onto Perry as their hero. If we simply attack and post harsh Tweets, we feed Steve’s attempt to tell others that we’ve simply “haters.”

      • Linda174

        Here are some facts. Compared to other HPS magnets his scores are average to low average.

        • Linda174

          And this

      • Linda174

        And here

      • speaking up

        I agree. I once held out enough hope that I allowed my child to spend 35+ hours each week in a building where harm was being done to him.

        I am not attacking any of the people who don’t know yet about Dr. Steve Perry. I understand completely the dream that they are buying from him. It’s a beautiful dream and those of us who know that it isn’t a reality have a responsibility to tell those who don’t. Dr. Steve Perry talks about “school choice,” but an uninformed choice can cause children harm.

        I have attempted to enter a number of dialogues with a number of parties to discuss this subject. Dialogues require two parties, and this has not occurred as yet. In the meantime, Dr. Steve Perry is characterizing anyone who disagrees with him as “evil,” “racist” and filled with “hatred.” My intent is not to attack anyone who has only heard one side. My intent is to make the other side available for anyone who is willing to hear.

        I hear what you are saying about posting harsh tweets, and I agree with you on this, too. I will remember your words and take more care with what (and where) I share. I am very much not a hater; I posted these tweets because I am concerned to see the increasingly adversarial approach that Dr. Steve Perry is taking in his approach to selling “his” school. His twitter account says that he has 40,100 followers. If 99.9% of these followers have nothing but the best of intentions, that leaves 40 who may not.

        • jonpelto

          Thank you very much for your sensible comment and for putting the whole picture in perspective. I ask the readers to re-read this comment and refrain from any more attacks on each other. There is a difference between health debate and personal attacks. Any comments that are personal attacks will be deleted and since it takes me a while to catch up with messages, if any readers sees an comment that is a personal attack rather than a constructive comment please alert me immediately.

          Again, “Speaking up,” thank you for putting this discussion in proper perspective.

  • cthusky

    Thanks Jonathan for all your coverage! Teachers are not buying Malloy’s bribes!

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    Malloy orders non-essential state employees to not report to work (so speak quietly and don’t wake him up)

  • Linda174

    HOW BILL GATES HAS GROWN TO INFLUENCE PUBLIC POLICY: Though Gates is stepping down from leading Microsoft, he won’t be stepping back from influencing Washington, Stephanie Simon reports. So far, his foundation has spent about $5 billion on education projects in the U.S. ($1 billion on scholarships alone). Gates and his foundation staff “have assembled an agenda and a mechanism to achieve their objectives, plain and simple,” said Scott Thomas, dean of the education school at Claremont Graduate University. They’ve shown, Thomas said, that “you can leverage foundation resources to really affect federal and state policy – and the funding that comes along with that.” He’s also a major donor to the Clinton Foundation. More from Stephanie and Erin Mershon: http://politi.co/1iqwuvQ

  • Rafael G

    And for the record. I’m not just some angry parent. I represent this city from the tattoo of HTFD on my knuckles to the plaques and awards in my office