Hartford

State Announces Hartford Desegregation Victory, But Is it Really A Victory?

Last week, the state Department of Education announced that more Hartford Public School students attend racially diverse schools than ever before. More than twenty years after the landmark Sheff v. O’Neill case, the city is finally making headway toward its goal of desegregating capital city schools — but there is more to the story. As… Continue reading State Announces Hartford Desegregation Victory, But Is it Really A Victory?

Bridgeport

Bridgeport Board Of Education Appoints New Interim Superintendent

It looks like the Bridgeport Board Of Education is capable of agreeing on something — yesterday evening the school board met as a nine-member panel for the first time in months for a special board meeting, where they unanimously voted to appoint Aresta Johnson to the position of interim superintendent. Johnson, a Waterbury native who… Continue reading Bridgeport Board Of Education Appoints New Interim Superintendent

In the State · New Haven

A Tale of Two Realities: Education Advocates Hash Out Differences At NAACP Hearing On Charter Schools

In October, the NAACP ratified a resolution supporting a nationwide moratorium on charter schools — garnering both criticism and praise. On Saturday afternoon, both sides came together.

The NAACP’s National Task Force for Education Quality held the first of seven hearings, at the Omni Hotel in New Haven, Connecticut, seeking input from their members, parents and teachers. The task force was organized by the NAACP’s National Board of Directors after the charter school resolution was ratified. 

At times heated, over 200 attendees looked on for nearly four hours while both sides debated the merits of charter schools. One agreement did seem to emerge: While the room was deeply divided, many spoke of quality as paramount — unfortunately, it was the facts where viewpoints diverged.

The “elephant in the room”

“Being pro-public does not mean I’m anti-charter,” said Ph.D. Edward Joyner, a member of the New Haven Board of Education, who was one of six expert speakers at the event. “But, there should be quality indicators.”

Joyner, who said he fully supported the NAACP resolution, argued that charter schools were not being held to the same standards as district schools. His argument fell in line with other “pro-public” speakers, who decried charter schools for allegedly diverting resources away from district schools while cherry-picking their students.

On the other side of the issue, charter school advocates denied cherry-picking — something which Connecticut’s NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile called the “elephant in the room.”

Cherry-picking, or expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate was actually among the five recommendation laid out by the NAACP’s charter resolution.   

“The notion that public schools engage in any type of segregation is absolutely false,” said Jeremiah Grace, the Executive Director of Northeast Charter School Network, in response to the NAACP’s recommendation. “Public charter schools have no legal or possible way of selecting their students. Admission is determined by a blind lottery.”

Not everyone agreed. Shonta Browdy, chair of the NAACP Greater Hartford branch’s education committee, who also spoke at the hearing, said she’s witnessed local charter schools counsel out students. “They come in droves,” she said of low-performing students pushed back into the public school system after October 1st.

The story may be more complicated.

When asked about admission to his school, Dr. Steve Perry, founder of Capital Prep Magnet in Hartford and Capital Prep Harbor Charter School Bridgeport, said that students were admitted by lottery. He then explained that no matter the school, a certain level of support must be granted to students with IEPs, though even district schools send some students with severe needs out of the district to private outplacements.

Perry’s not wrong. Bridgeport Public Schools, for example, spends $16,150,000 on tuition for students in out of district placements. While there has been anecdotal evidence that certain schools have “counseled” students out, most studies have not found any compelling evidence this is an overarching trend.

The focus on school type is a distraction

Yale University Professor of Child Psychiatry James Comer took a different position. To Comer, the NAACP’s focus on school type was a distraction from the real problem. “That’s not the problem.”

The real problem, in Comer’s view, is that schools are not child development centered. “The energy that we lose by focusing on the wrong thing is not available to focus on providing experiences that would support the development of children,” said Comer.

Others echoed Comer’s sentiments — “This is not an either/or debate,” argued Grace during his testimony. “In fact, this is a with/and situation, in which black families should have the right to choose the school environment that will best serve the needs of their children.”

“I couldn’t imagine a world where the NAACP says let’s pause. Let’s have a moratorium on the Harlem Children Zone or Community Roots in Brooklyn, or all these wonderful and lovely charters schools that are doing great work by our students” said Tenicka Boyd, a New York City parent and organizer for Students First NYC.

“This doesn’t exist in a world of power points and statistics,” said Boyd while describing the situation of parents she works with. “This impacts real students and real students lives.”

 

 

In case you’d like to view it, the entire NAACP Task Force On Education Quality hearing on charter schools can be viewed here.

In the State · Waterbury

Why Are Top Schools Being Left To Fight For School Funding? Brass City Parents Rally Against Cuts

It’s become an unfortunate, perennial event. Every year families whose children attend charter schools are forced to fight to retain their school’s funding — and, it appears the fight for funding next year has already begun. On Tuesday, students, parents, and staff at Brass City Charter School in Waterbury rallied, urging state lawmakers to reject $11 million… Continue reading Why Are Top Schools Being Left To Fight For School Funding? Brass City Parents Rally Against Cuts

New Haven

New Haven Public Schools Face $4.6 Million Budget Deficit

From the New Haven Independent:  The school district is facing a $4.6 million deficit in its current budget, one it is confident can tackle, but it is concerned about a bigger, scarier deficit looming next year. That’s what the Board of Education learned from Interim Superintendent Reggie Mayo and Chief Operating Officer Will Clark during… Continue reading New Haven Public Schools Face $4.6 Million Budget Deficit

In the State

Connecticut Attorney General’s Office Files Motion To Dismiss School Choice Suit

There hasn’t been much news coming out of the Martinez v. Malloy suit – until now. The suit, filed by Bridgeport and Hartford parents in August, challenges the Connecticut’s restrictive school choice laws, which the plaintiffs say “knowingly and actively prevent students from accessing even the minimally acceptable public school options.” The aim of the Martinez lawyers is… Continue reading Connecticut Attorney General’s Office Files Motion To Dismiss School Choice Suit

Bridgeport

FaithActs Hosts Community Forum With MOST Of Bridgeport’s Board of Education

On Monday, November 21, 2016, FaithActs for Education, is hosting a community forum with the Bridgeport Board of Education. The event will take place at Cathedral of Praise, 45 Gregory Street, Bridgeport, CT, at 6:00 PM. “Bridgeport deserves better from its elected Board of Education,” reads the organization’s press release, likely in reference to the… Continue reading FaithActs Hosts Community Forum With MOST Of Bridgeport’s Board of Education

Bridgeport · In the State · New Haven

Connecticut Clergy To General Assembly: It’s Time To Fix Broken School Funding System

On Monday afternoon, a group pastors gathered on the steps of Grace Baptist Church in Norwalk, calling on Connecticut’s General Assembly to take immediate action to fix the state’s broken school funding system. “I implore each citizen of Connecticut to rise up,” said the Rev. Carl McCluster of Shiloh Baptist Church in Bridgeport. “Not against the fair… Continue reading Connecticut Clergy To General Assembly: It’s Time To Fix Broken School Funding System

In the State

Education Bridgeport is going statewide!

You may have noticed Education Bridgeport.com has been relatively quiet recently. That’s because I’ve decided to make a change. After over three years of blogging almost entirely about Bridgeport schools, I have decided to broaden the scope of my site. I will continue my work through a new site which is launching today: EducationConnecticut.org. Right… Continue reading Education Bridgeport is going statewide!

In the State

Poll Shows Majority Of Connecticut Voters Want Legislature To Act On CCJEF Decision

Despite the recent backlash against Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s ruling, it turns out the majority of Connecticut voters agree with his decision. According to a poll released yesterday by the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), two-thirds (68%) of Connecticut voters support the intentions of Moukawsher’s decision. This might come as a bit of… Continue reading Poll Shows Majority Of Connecticut Voters Want Legislature To Act On CCJEF Decision