My Commentary on The Atlantic’s Coverage of the Bridgeport School Board Election

On Tuesday, The Atlantic offered a one-sided commentary on Bridgeport’s Board of Education primary election results.

The article opens with the statement: “Progressives and unions say a primary in Connecticut last week shows momentum is turning against the corporate-backed charter-school movement.” [The Atlantic, 9/17/2013]

Of course, unions and the Working Families Party would promote their cause by calling last Tuesday’s results “momentum” in their battle against “corporate reform.” It’s a nice narrative, but if “communities were mobilizing” to defeat Vallas and other reformers, then wouldn’t more of them have mobilized their way to the polls?

It’s sad. The turn-out in last Tuesday’s election was a mere 11-12%. Even at Dunbar, there were only a few hundred voters. That’s low even for Board of Education primaries in Bridgeport.

Low turnout in primaries can be symptoms of many things. Disenfranchisement, complacency, even contentment. Low turn-out elections, however, do not show referendums.

The real lesson to learn from last Tuesday’s low turn-out election: We need greater community engagement on educational issues.

What do you think?

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