After working for more than a year, Mayor Bill Finch has finally succeeded in ensuring that the voters of Bridgeport will have the opportunity to change their City Charter, this November, and wipe out Bridgeport’s democratically elected board of education once and for all.
According to Finch, the initiative’s strongest supporter, shifting control of Bridgeport’s Schools away from democratically elected citizens and, instead, giving the power and control to him, is the best way to get “adult politics out of education.”
In today’s story, written by the CT Post and Hearst Newspaper’s Brian Lockhart, Finch claims that giving him and his appointees control of the school budget and the responsibility to hire top school administrators is, “probably the most important thing the citizens can do … to return civility to the governance of our children’s education and get adult politics out of it.”
While a handful of mayors around the state, including the mayors of Stamford, New Haven and Hartford have all made similar and success power-grabs to control the largest part of a communities’ local budget, virtually every other one of Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns has remained committed to the notion that local education decisions should be made by locally elected citizens.
In a telling comment, one Bridgeport Councilman urged his “colleagues to remain engaged” in the effort to pass the charter changes because “the opposition will be working very hard to defeat it.”
Does he mean the people who believe in that pesky notion that here, in the United States, we’ve dedicated ourselves to the cumbersome system of self-governance and democracy for more than 236 years?
Adding insult to injury, the Mayor and his City Council even worded the charter change resolution in such a way as to ensure that no reasonable voter could possibly understand that was at stake or what they were voting on.
Instead of having a simple vote on whether citizens want the Mayor or a democratically elected board of education to set education policy in Bridgeport, the Finch administration played with the wording of the resolution to the point where Bridgeport’s voters will be asked whether they support or oppose “education governance reforms.”
“Education Governance Reforms?”
Forget America’s history of fighting to preserve democratic ideals. Forget the hundreds of thousands of Americans who made the supreme sacrifice to help preserve those ideals. Let’s even dismiss that as Americans, we believe in the importance of passing on to every generation the belief that, in the United States, citizens have a right to control government and not the other way around.
Instead, let’s accept Mayor Finch’s theory, for a moment, that by allowing him to make all the decisions about Bridgeport’s public school system, the children will be better off because he will be able to take “adult politics out of education.”
So let’s get this right. Bill Finch should be in charge of Bridgeport’s schools because he will take “adult politics out of education?”
There is a reason for the phrase, democracy is messy and cumbersome, but the alternative is even worse.
Read the full story here: http://m.ctpost.com/connpost/db_43463/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=Pz9ckZ6s&full=true#display