Normally, State Board of Education appointments are rubber stamped through by the state legislature, but this time around parents are saying: No more.
Despite all the focus on equity in the wake of the groundbreaking CCJEF v. Rell decision, it appears some very questionable language was given a pass.
During the state board of education’s January 4th meeting, State School Board Chair Allan B. Taylor said, “We don’t want to create ghettos in Fairfield,” in reference to Fairfield’s redistricting plan, according to the Connecticut Post.
Yes, the state BOE Chairman really said something that racially insensitive at a state BOE meeting. (Don’t try to find the transcript, it was wiped clean.)
Taylor was referring to a plan to redistrict Fairfield schools to correct the racial imbalance at McKinley Elementary School. About half of McKinley’s population are minority students, which is about 25 percent higher than the rest of the district. The plan included opening up spots to Bridgeport children.
Gwen Samuels, the founder of the Connecticut Parents Union, and others were horrified by Taylor’s comments.The organization sent a letter out to legislators asking for his removal as chair.
“When I think about Allan Taylor ‘s response, I automatically think about the memorandum of decision for CCJEF where Judge Moukawsher said that ultimate responsibility for Connecticut children falls on the state Department of Education,” said Samuels. “We don’t need anyone that will stereotype and prejudge a class of students.”
Gwen wasn’t alone, parent activist from Waterbury Athena Wagner spoke out against Taylor at the State Board of Education’s February meeting and at a legislative breakfast in Bridgeport.
“If Gov. Malloy would choose to keep Allan Taylor on the Connecticut State Board of Education as chairman after he referred to urban school students as “ghetto,” but removed the vice chair Theresa Hopkins-Staten, a champion fighter for what’s in the best interest for our children,” said Wagner, “then we have a serious problem.”
While Taylor got a pass, Vice Chair Hopkins-Staten was removed from her position. Meanwhile, she was instrumental in pushing to make sure that an investigation into discrimination against special education at SAND took place.
Instead, word around town is that the VP position is being handed to Eric D. Benham, the Vice President of AFT Meridan.
To read the Parent’s union’s full letter, I’ve posted it below:
Final CTPU Opposing Appointment Chairperson Allen B Taylor 02072017 by Megan Elizabeth DeSombre on Scribd