It could easily be presented as a modern adaptation of a one of Grimm’s fairy tales.
The evil corporate education reformers target yet another local elementary school for closure and takeover through a bizarre scheme that would have allowed a public school principal to resign his position as a public servant, become president of his own private company and then take over control of both his old school and the new school. The principal, who is known across the land for his bullying, sexist, anti-union tirades, appears unwilling to live by the rules that apply to everyone else.
But at the very moment that the children of the land face certain defeat, parents, teachers, the teacher’s union (known as the Hartford Federation of Teachers) and other public education advocates rally together to speak out on behalf of their children, the school, the importance of public education and what is right.
And in a stunning display of representative democracy, some of the community’s elected officials see the light, change their position and join together to save the school and defeat the corporate education reformers and their disastrous plan for domination.
But this time it is not a fairy tale.
It was a real event.
And it played itself out in Hartford, Connecticut at last night’s Hartford Board of Education meeting.
It a breathtaking example of good government, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and two of his appointees joined with long-time public education supporters Robert Cotto Jr. and Elizabeth (Brad) Noel to defeat a proposal that would have given Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry a no-bid, unique contract to run both Capital Prep and SAND elementary school. The vote was reportedly 5 to 4.
As the Hartford Courant’s Vanessa De La Torre reported in an article entitled, “Hartford Magnet School Plans Rejected, SAND Proposal Dropped,”
“After hours of debate, the city board of education late Tuesday rejected two proposed magnet schools and declined to move forward with a controversial plan to turn over management of SAND Elementary School to a nonprofit educational group.
All three proposals were introduced as pieces of the state’s negotiated settlement with plaintiffs in the Sheff v. O’Neill desegregation case for the 2014-15 year. The board’s 5-3 vote will force parties back to the negotiating table.
One specific Sheff plan — one that would have allowed Capital Preparatory Schools Inc. to manage SAND and Capital Preparatory Magnet School — drew scores of supporters and critics to the Rawson School auditorium Tuesday night.
Capital Prep Magnet School Principal Steve Perry, a public speaker and author who has lambasted teachers’ unions, is listed in state corporation records as president of Capital Preparatory Schools Inc. Perry registered the company in February 2012.”
Neil Berry, the president of the PTO at SAND Elementary was extremely critical of the plan saying, “Our kids are not for sale” and telling the Hartford Board of Education not to hand SAND over to Perry’s “private entity.”
In classic fashion, rather than face the truth or even the notion that democracy has a role in American Society, Steve Perry blasted the Board of Education and the Hartford Mayor claiming that their action was somehow controlled by the local teacher’s union. Perry told the Courant, “What we’ve done is again forfeited the needs of the children for jobs.”
This after Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra announced that while he supported the Capital Prep school model, after hearing from the SAND Elementary School families, he didn’t think the plan should be “shoved down their throats.”
The two facts that stand out most from this event is that democracy still has a role in Connecticut and Steve Perry, the bully, can always be counted on to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.
The Hartford Courant article does an excellent job describing the events that took place at last night’s Hartford Board of Education meeting. You can read the entire article here: http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-hartford-sand-capital-prep-1120-20131119,0,3033953.story