Bridgeport Parent Makes Pitch For Charter School Funding

As the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee considers funds for public education, the charter school advocacy group The Coalition For Every Child has released a new video featuring a city parent urging funding for the proposed Capital Prep Harbor charter school.

The Coalition For Every Child asserts 2,058 children would be denied the opportunity to receive charter access if funding is not provided. Charter schools are publicly funded but operate independently from traditional neighborhood public schools.

Charter opponents argue they siphon funds from needy traditional districts. Charter advocates contend the schools provide better choices for students and parents with higher graduation rates.

“There are more than 2000 kids just like Pernell,” said Kara Neidhardt, a spokesperson for the Coalition For Every Child. “All our legislators need to do is follow the governor’s lead and support great schools.”

In the video ad titled “Aisha,”  a public school parent from Bridgeport makes an emotional pitch for her son, Pernell, to attend Capital Prep.

“Pernell is very outgoing. He’s very positive. He’s been working very hard. He’s a straight A student. Pernell is everything I always wanted to be and more. I really am looking forward to my son attending a good high school. If Pernell cannot attend Capital Prep, it would be devastating. Pernell would be another statistic here in Bridgeport.”

According to the Coalition For Every Child, more than 3,600 students are on waiting lists for charter schools in Connecticut with 40,000 students statewide who currently attend schools where the majority of students don’t read, write or do math on grade level.



  1. But all of this gave me a great idea. I think BEA and UB should submit a joint proposal to open a charter school on the UB campus.
    Now that could really get inside Finch’s head.

  2. One must wonder where “Aisha” has been. Suddenly a Bridgeport parent appears in a video promoting Dr. Perry’s new charter school. Is she currently a charter school or true public school parent?

    ‘Aisha,” I suggest you review Dr. Perry’s graduation rates at the magnet school in Hartford he is principal of. Over a third of the students who are in that school in the 9th grade never graduate from that school, however his attrition rate is not calculated in his graduation rates. One must ask, if Dr. Perry is all he claims to be, why does a third of his students leave his school prior to graduation?

    1. “Aisha,” you should also know although the only Hartford Magnet School that has an extended school day and school year is Dr. Perry’s school, the black students in his magnet school perform WORSE than the black students in the Hartford Public Schools as a whole.

      In addition, he is the second to last magnet school in standardized test performance in all of Hartford. The only school that performed worse than his was only open one year and only had a fourth-grade cohort.

      And last but not least, he significantly underserves the neediest students who are significantly harder to educate, and they are also the most expensive to educate because of the extra supports they need. This includes poor, special education and ELL students.

      He is not a savior, he is a complete and absolute charlatan.

  3. In addition, if I asked “Aisha” to explain just the basics about charter schools and to support her claims with data and facts that Dr. Perry’s school will provide a better education that a traditional public high school, I bet she couldn’t do it.

    Unfortunately, many of these parents are not knowledgeable and are ill-informed. All they know it they are flattered they have been asked to be featured in a video that will be played throughout CT.

    ‘Aisha,” stop letting these highly compensated charter school proponents funded by millionaires and billionaires use you. Yes, I said use you because that is exactly what they are doing.

  4. For a second, let’s set aside the “which is better” debate and the public vs charter funding and the politics.
    True–this parent may be getting “used” by the Charter groups. But these groups would not gain any traction with these parents if the parents believed in the BPS system. The charter school reps target those passionate, involved parents and they make those parents feel like charters are the better alternative. But the fact is this, those parents do not have any hope or faith in the BPS system. That has been the case for a long time, not just recently. In the past, Bridgeport parents had programs where kids were bussed to schools out of town so their children were not part of the BPS. Some parents sacrificed and put their children through private school, but that is not an option for the majority of Bridgeport parents. Perhaps it is just a negative perception of the BPS, but to some it is their reality. It could be feedback from their own children, their dealings with a particular school, or whatever. But something must be done to hear their message and do what is necessary to have them keep their children in the BPS. Unfortunately for them, once they voice their opinion they then are thrust into the Us vs Them fight and villainized. We do not see these issues in suburban towns, they all put the pressure on their local BOE’s to run the school correctly and funded.
    Back to the funding. The city and state owes it to Bridgeport to fund the BPS at comparable levels to other large cities. Fund the charters if you wish, but not at the expense of the public school system.
    Politicians paying lip service to the funding issue, but not setting aside or securing the proper funding is asinine. I’m willing to bet there are more parents trying to get into the Magnet schools and not Charters. Probably a lot of duplication on those waiting lists. And that is one area where I think the anti-charter groups and the BOE need to work on – aggressively expanding the Magnet program to include more BPS students. The Magnet lottery system is really no better than the Charter selection process. Both have created a segregation of sorts, the haves (Magnet) and the have nots (BPS). I’m no education expert, but I don’t know of any of our suburban neighbors that have a similar split (Magnet/traditional) in their schools. I would say though, instead of demeaning these parents, do more to engage and educate them in a positive way. Their passion could be used to help the BPS, not run from it.

  5. Lifelong Bridgeport, paid charter school proponents target ill-informed parents.

    Last year over 6,000 children applied to gain entry to Bridgeport magnet schools. 5,200 were placed on a waiting list and are only counted once.

    Charter Schools claim there are 3,600 students on their waiting lists statewide, however if a child applies to three different charter school they are counted three separate times on their waiting lists. Pure Charter School PROPAGANDA!

  6. Lifelong Bridgeport, the facts are I attend 95% of BBOE meetings, I attend PAC meetings, education forums, etc., I have never seen this “Bridgeport parent” at any education event. And I have been actively involved for six years now.

    There is no divide in Bridgeport between Magnet/Traditional schools because they are all Bridgeport Public schools governed by an elected school board. The only magnet school in Bridgeport not governed by the BBOE is Six to Six.

    When someone decides to allow themselves to be featured in a piece of charter school propaganda, they have to take the criticism that may come with it.

    As you can see, the video is funded by Families for Ex$ellent Shysters that utilizes “stipends” to pay parents to advocate for charter schools. In their most recent available tax filing, they spent close to $100,000 on “stipends” in that year alone.

  7. Maria–I know the Magnet/traditional schools are governed by the BOE, and I know the relationship between the parents is not adversarial like it is Charter vs. Non Charter. My point was the number of children on the waiting list (5200) shows the BOE should also look into expanding the Magnet curriculum to allow more to take advantage of it.


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