Jennifer Alexander, the CEO of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) gets paid a lot of money to be the spokesperson for the Connecticut charter school industry and their corporate education reform allies.
Doing that job earned her $224,000 in salary and benefits in 2014. Her board of corporate elite even gave her a $25,000 bonus that year, all so that she could continue to push their pro-charter school, pro-Common Core, pro-Common Core testing and anti-teacher political agenda.
However, while Jennifer Alexander spends plenty of time inside the Capitol lobbying legislators and working with the Malloy administration, she has refused, to date, to accept an offer to debate the real problems and issues facing Connecticut’s public school children, parents, teachers and schools.
Not that long ago, UConn actually invited me to participate in a panel discussion about the very issues facing Connecticut’s public schools. Other participants were to include both Jennifer Alexander and Jeffrey Villar, the highly paid executive of the Connecticut Council on Education Reform, another charter school industry front group.
However, within 48 hours of the invitation being sent, UConn suddenly cancelled the panel. And when it was rescheduled months later, no invitation to me was forthcoming.
Meanwhile, thanks to Governor Dannel Malloy and the Democratic controlled General Assembly, while Connecticut’s public schools are being hit with the deepest cuts in state history, Malloy and his administration are shoveling even more scarce taxpayer dollars to privately owned and operated charter schools that have consistently refused to educate their fair share of children who require special education services or those who need extra help learning the English language. These charter schools even allow a significant number of uncertified teachers and staff to “educate” the children they claim to serve.
One would think that being paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year would give Jennifer Alexander the courage and conviction, or at least the obligation, to actually come out and debate the issues.
But in Malloy’s Connecticut, honesty and transparency are useless terms and those paid to defend his positions choose to remain hidden inside their golden temples.
Thus, I renew my request and offer.
Ms. Alexander, we’re waiting with baited breath. Come out and debate.
Or perhaps Mr. Villar would be willing to defend the reformers’ indefensible positions.
How about it Jen or Jeffrey?
This is an important election year, why not accept my challenge and debate the issues so that Connecticut’s voters have the information they need to make informed decisions.