For Connecticut Kids, Academic Success is What Matters Most

Riddle me this: Why are a few bad decisions made half a lifetime ago still relevant in a story about a man who has devoted his life to improving education for the kids who need it most?

That’s what puzzled me about the Hartford Courant’s latest piece about Michael Sharpe who, as it turns out, served some time in California several decades ago.

Nearly 30 years later, we are supposed to ignore the fact that Sharpe’s Jumoke is one of the best schools in the state? We’re supposed to ignore the fact that black kids have a better chance for academic success at Jumoke than at almost any other school in Connecticut?

If a Bridgeport school principal can get caught on video dragging a student down a school hallway and still be employed by the school district (remember Carmen Perez Dickson?), doesn’t a 30-year-old case deserve to be forgotten by now?

In fact, Dr. Sharpe should be seen as a role model, warts and all.

About 30 years ago, Dr. Sharpe did something he told the Courant he was not proud of. He committed a crime and served his time.

Since then, Sharpe has devoted his life to improving education for kids in Connecticut. He has had some amazing success.

When compared to other public elementary and middle schools, Jumoke is ranked number 10 in the state for African American student performance, according to the Connecticut Department of Education.

Whatever happened or did not happen 30 years ago, it seems that Sharpe has been a profound and important piece of the educational puzzle in Connecticut, providing a high-quality education for kids who might otherwise fall through the cracks.

That is why Dunbar’s partnership with Jumoke is so important. That is why Jumoke’s partnership with Hartford’s Milner school has been so effective.

Anything else is a distraction.



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