Question: Theoretically, if a board of education chairwoman rallies constituents to lobby the state Board of Education at the state capitol, could that be illegal?
Bridgeport Board of Education Chairwoman Sauda Baraka did exactly that last night when she used her position as a bully pulpit against two proposed public charter schools.
It’s unethical, sure. It’s certainly an abuse of power. But is it illegal? That’s the question that must be answered.
The State Board of Education is expected to approve charter applications at it’s April 2 meeting, as well it should — there are at least four solid applications, two of which are in Bridgeport. Baraka, funded and supported by the Working Families Party, didn’t derail those applications when the Bridgeport BOE agreed to an unenforceable and ill-advised moratorium on charter schools.
When Capital Prep Harbor School had it’s public hearing last week, it was a case study in manipulation, propaganda dissemination and the suppression of dissent. Folks who tried to speak in favor of the public charter school were heckled, shouted down.
The Working Families Party used children as front-line soldiers in their ill-advised war on charters, feeding them speeches they couldn’t read in a blatant (and sad) attempt to sway public sentiment.
Anti-charter drones spread malicious, egregiously incorrect data, as they have for months.
And all in an attempt to hide the fact that Dr. Perry’s Hartford school model can actually be successful in Hartford.
All in an attempt to hide the fact that there are thousands of families on waiting lists for charter schools in Connecticut.
Which brings us back to the question: When Sauda Baraka — at a public Board of Education meeting — urges the Bridgeport public to rally against an issue in Hartford, is she breaking the law?
Again, unethical, abusive of her power and detrimental to education in this city, no doubt. But illegal? Probably not. But it’s worth asking the question.
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