Bridgeport BOE Should Focus On What Really Matters

You know it’s bad when the chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education calls out fellow members for neglecting the community.

During Monday night’s meeting, Dave Hennessey used his chairman’s report to admonish the BOE for a recent pattern of ignoring the “processing.”

Unfortunately, the process isn’t the only thing the BOE has been neglecting.

For an entire month, the BOE has spent a large majority of their meetings arguing over the renaming of Columbus Day – a result of one of the snap decisions Hennessey was talking about.

Without any public input or notice, last month the BOE voted unanimously to rename the holiday ‘Indigenous Peoples Day.’ Since then, the issue has been so contentious that it’s incited shouting matches, and last Monday even halted a meeting:

I want to be clear. I understand that Christopher Columbus is a divisive figure who ignites very strong emotions.

For many in the community, Columbus represents imperialism, the whitewashing of history and the decimation of indigenous peoples. For others, the celebration is intrinsically connected to their cultural heritage and local history.

I don’t want to diminish the very real concerns and feelings of Bridgeport residents on either side on this issue; however, why was this the focus of the BOE?

Why was an entire month’s worth of meetings spent bickering over a purely superficial change; one that has no effect on citywide celebrations, or what’s being taught in district classrooms?

An entire month where there has been little discussion of how to fix the district’s $3.5 million budget gap.

An entire month and still there is no plan on how to raise student achievement in a district where only 9.1 percent of students scored proficient or above on the math portion of state exams.



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