I should congratulate Maria Pereira! She finally got her way.
To the detriment of 21,000 Bridgeport children, she’s finally pushed Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz out of the district. Good Job.
With her help, Bridgeport became the third urban school district this month to abruptly lose its superintendent mid-year.
In her resignation letter, sent on Wednesday and addressed to school board chair Dennis Bradley, Rabinowitz says she’s stepping down because of Pereira’s “negative crusade.”
The scathing letter calls out Pereira for her abusive behavior toward staff and community members, as well as her opposition against RULER, a program that focuses on socio-emotional growth in the district, and her support for damaging policies, including the firing of all School Resource Officers and changing the walking distance for elementary school students from 1 mile to 1.5 miles.
“I can no longer allow my energies to be diminished or focused on fulfilling mandates from Maria Pereira that detract from the focus on what’s best for our children,” writes Rabinowitz.
Honestly, who could blame her? Pereira has been relentlessly maligning the superintendent for years.
In an email to Linda Lambeck with the Connecticut Post, Pereira applauds the decision saying, it “provides us with the opportunity to move forward with a permanent superintendent that has a record of success in an urban school district.”
An opportunity to move forward? Unfortunately, I doubt it.
This isn’t the first time a superintendent has been pushed out of the district. It’s not even the first time that Pereira was the architect of the departure. She helped push out Paul Vallas. Now it’s Rabinowitz’s turn.
This isn’t just a Bridgeport problem either. A similar situation has played out in New Haven.
I have a burning question: How many school leaders will need to be pushed out by hostile boards of educations before the state starts to take responsibility for education? How many students will have to go through a revolving-door of superintendent before someone steps in?
If you’d like to read Superintendent Rabinowitz’s letter. As originally posted on Only in Bridgeport, here’s the full text:
“Since March of 2014, I have been honored and privileged to serve as Interim Superintendent of the Bridgeport Public Schools. This period of time has been an incredible experience of shared passion, commitment, love of children and the City of Bridgeport.
Together, the Board of Education, teachers. administrators and parents have accomplished a great deal in this time. We have found new and more effective ways through the RULER Program to hold our children’s social and emotional needs and development as paramount in their educational experience. We have worked hard to establish a culture that values and fosters the worth of every person and champions belief in self, kindness and caring for others.
I am m proud of our work to raise the achievement level of all of our students. We have accomplished significant growth in literacy, mathematics and science across this system. We are certainly not anywhere near where we can be but it is a promising start. I believe in the talents and commitment of our staff, parents and the community to settle for nothing less than success for every child.
I had intended to further these efforts and assist the Board in the selection of a new superintendent with the goal of having Bridgeport Public Schools becoming a model urban district. But this has become impossible for me. I think many of you already know why and, if not I will do my best to explain because each of you deserves an explanation.
Sadly, one Board member, Maria Pereira has been relentless in her negative crusade to undermine and discredit much of what we have built for children in this school district. She has been blatant in not supporting the RULER program. focused on the social and emotional well-being of students.
She has torn apart this Board in a way that is incredibly detrimental to the children of Bridgeport. And most importantly, I cannot stand by and condone her undermining the basic safety of the children in our care through her advocacy for removal of School Resource Officers (SROs), having young children walk one and a half miles to and from school and elimination of after school programs, which keep our children safe. She has created anarchy in the name of democracy resulting in failed governance on the part of the Bridgeport Board of Education.
The Coalition for Justice and Equity of Funding (CCJEF) decision was a step in the right direction for the children of Bridgeport and I am very proud to have been part of this lawsuit for our children. The decision also spurred me on to work for the children of Bridgeport and Connecticut in the best way possible. I can no longer allow my energies to be diminished or focused on fulfilling mandates from Maria Pereira that detract from the focus on what’s best for our children. I will not stand by and watch a Board being pulled apart and staff, parents and community members being belittled and harassed–through e-malls, slurs, bullying and intimidating behavior that even by Board policy would be considered unacceptable for our very own students. I believe I can do more for all of you by seeking other professional opportunities to work on your behalf; therefore, I will resign my position effective December 30, 2016. I will continue to work for the children of Bridgeport as Interim Superintendent until then and will do my best during that time to ensure an effective transition.
However, please know that my heart remains with the Bridgeport school community, and I hope to be able in some way to continue to be helpful to the many people of goodwill here who want the best for the children of Bridgeport.”
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