What exactly does Maria Pereira gain from forcing her way onto Achievement First’s Board of Directors? What are her ulterior motives?
These were some of the many questions asked by upset public charter school parents who came out in full force to Bridgeport Board of Education’s Monday night meeting to oppose the appointment of Pereira, current state house candidate and notorious charter school opponent, to their board of directors.
To give you some background, in March, Chair Dennis Bradley appointed members of the board to act as his designee on the governing councils of the six public charter schools in Bridgeport, including Pereira, who volunteered to sit on the Achievement First Board of Directors.
Though past boards have never done this before, there is technically a provision in state law that allows local school board chairs to appoint designees to charter school governing boards. Of course, this was almost entirely orchestrated by Pereira and her allies, who found the section of law justifying the appointments and repeatedly demanded that the chair appoint designees.
Considering Pereira’s past actions and her role in pushing for this policy, charter school parents’ concerns are more than valid.
This is a woman who has openly lobbied against the opening of charter schools, has said that she wants to see them completely banned and has even repeatedly stated that she doesn’t consider charter parents “Bridgeport parents”— as if they don’t live here and their children don’t matter.
It’s glaringly obvious that Pereira’s push to sit on Achievement First’s Board is just another calculated move to undermine charter schools and the work they’re doing. As if this wasn’t suspect enough, she’s specifically targeting one of the most successful charter schools in the district.
“I have no fight with the traditional public schools,” said parent Melissa Baez who called Pereira “toxic.” “We welcome a Board of Education member to our Achievement First Board, but I would like someone else”
Baez sentiments were echoed by other parents, including parent leader LaQuita Boles, who said that she’s enthusiastic about developing a partnership between the school district and Achievement First, but has serious reservations about Pereira.
“This individual has dramatically shown over the years, in our community, how she has a clear agenda to divide our education platform,” said Boles. “This is clearly not in the best interest of children.”
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