“You have to deal with what’s given to you” isn’t how education should work, but that’s exactly how Bridgeport mom Celia Vizcarrondo feels.
On Monday night she spoke during Bridgeport’s regular school board meeting, along with other parents organized by the advocacy group Faith Acts. Faith Acts is a non-profit that’s been working for the past few years organizing parents in Bridgeport.
During her emotional plea, Vizcarrondo asked members to visit her daughters’ school to see the disparities for themselves — a promise they made to Faith Act’s parent members, but have yet to fulfill.
“I really want them to visit the schools,” said Vizcarrondo. “Put their opinion in the place of a parent where it’s like, you have no choice because they live here.”
This Is What The Opportunity Gap Looks Like
These are the kinds of things that the school board — and state legislators for that matter — should see. They should be going into the classrooms, witnessing how their decisions affect children. Not just for the photo-Op.
There’s a lot of talk of education equity and the achievement gap by Connecticut politicians, but what does that actually mean for students?
For Vizcarrondo, it’s having to send her children to schools that lack resources and support for teachers. It’s having her daughter come home with bruises because her school couldn’t find a substitute and the teacher who was assigned was dealing with two classrooms and no paraprofessionals.
“I think a lot of parents go through that,” said Vizcarrondo, explaining why she came out to the meeting Monday night to share her story. She said that she believes other parents are going through similar issues, but “either they don’t know they have a voice or they don’t know how to get it done.”
Vizcarrondo was able to get her daughter a controlled transfer, but she said the process was difficult. This solution also isn’t an option for all children.
Bridgeport may be one of the lowest-performing school districts in the state, but there are good schools. The problem is that most of them are Magnet schools with limited seats.
Vizcarrondo says that she’d like to see all schools have the equal access to resources. This isn’t the case in Connecticut, where schools are largely funded by property taxes. Magnet schools also receive a more funding than district schools, whose allocation is largely dependent on the state’s Education Cost Sharing Grant — a funding formula that hasn’t actually been used since 2013.
“I would like the board to go to the girls’ school,” said Vizcarrondo. “Go to multiple schools, go to Cesar [Batalla], go to Curiale, Roosevelt and compare the differences.”