Committed Bridgeport Board of Education Members Schedule Press Conference, Howard Gardner’s “21,000 Children Held Hostage” Op-Ed

UPDATED to include Howard Gardner’s “21,000 Children Held Hostage” Op-Ed also printed in the CT Post.

Is there a penalty for publicly breaking an oath of office?

The four non-boycotting BOE members held a press conference at 6:30 Monday evening at Geraldine Johnson School.



“You solemnly swear or solemnly and sincerely affirm, as the case may be, that you will faithfully discharge, according to law, your duties as a Board of Education (BOE) member to the best of your abilities; so help you God or upon penalty of perjury.”

BRIDGEPORT–We have critical work that needs to be accomplished in a timely matter, which includes the following:
• The search for a permanent Superintendent
• The return of 47 laid-off kindergarten paraprofessionals
• School Safety Plans for all 37 Bridgeport Public Schools
• The hiring of key administrators
• The filling of two Board vacancies

These BOE Members have abdicated their duties as mandated by state statute 10-220 by refusing to work with their elected colleagues by failing to attend regularly scheduled Board of Education meetings. We join the call of the citizens of Bridgeport insisting the boycotting members of the Board return to the table to complete critical work on behalf of our 21,000 Bridgeport Public School students.

Please join us tomorrow for a press conference:
Date: Monday, September 26, 2016, 6:30pm
  Geraldine Johnson School
  475 Lexington Avenue

Howard Gardner’s “21,000 CHildren Held Hostage in Bridgeport” Op-Ed

Once again we see the true colors of BBOE chair Dennis Bradley and co-conspirators Larcheveque, McSpirit and Interim Superintendent Rabinowitz as they demonstrate before the eyes of every citizen of this city their misguided priority. The Board members of this group have conspired to basically shut down the functions of the Bridgeport Board of Education; the work that they were elected to perform. The pretext of their motive: make a political statement against one of their members, Maria Pereira, whose style and approach one may argue against, but whose only crime against Bradley, Rabinowitz and their cohorts is that she demands that we operate by the rules, we are transparent and accountable.

To be very clear, this latest skirmish by this very irresponsible group is a subterfuge to distract from the inevitable outcome of a lawsuit that Ms. Pereira has brought against Mayor Joe Ganim. This lawsuit challenges the Mayor for overreaching his authority and unlawfully appointing Ms. Annette Segarra-Negron to fill the board seat vacated by Dave Hennessey.

A secondary reason for their boycott is the fear of not having a majority vote at regular board meetings, as Ms. Negron has ostensibly decided to no longer attend meetings of the board.

In this group’s warped minds it is more important to create a pretext of “Chaos”–we can’t conduct business with the “irreverent” behavior of Pereira–than to continue to work towards creating a better learning environment for the 21,000 children of this district. At one point or another I’ve heard Bradley, Larcheveque, Rabinowitz and McSpirit utter these words, “we need to focus on what’s best for the children.” From this time forth, these words shall echo hollow from the mouths of these individuals.

It is shameful how they are trying to derail the process with their sophomoric tactics, but it is doubly shameful that the interim superintendent is party to this embarrassment, and has ordered her staff not to attend committee meetings being held by the rest of board members who are continuing with the work of the board. How amazing, the interim superintendent has ordered her staff not to provide information to members of the board to whom she reports. I wonder how this would play out in the corporate world.

The public’s image of the board oftentimes is limited to what they receive via sound bites and video clips from the media covering regularly scheduled board meetings, but the real work of the board is being done in committees. Once again, I invite the public to go to the Bridgeport Board of Education’s website, then to Board of Education, Board of Education Meeting and Agenda and read some of the committee meeting minutes for school year 2015-2016. Please do so to appreciate which members of the board are truly committed to improving the education of the 21,000 children in Bridgeport. By their absence from these committee meetings it is obvious which members are less committed.

I implore the so-called “boycotting” members of this board to return to the table, and let’s get back to the work of the district and the interest of the 21,000 children you are currently holding hostage. Let them go! We have much work to do; including but not limited to the finding a way to get 47 paraprofessionals back into kindergarten classrooms, hiring administrators for schools without assistant principals, addressing deficiencies in our special education processes and procedures as mandated by the State’s Bureau of Special Education and completing the process of finding a permanent superintendent to provide the district with long-term leadership.

Dennis Bradley, Joe Larcheveque and Kevin McSpirit, it is better to return to the business at hand, and have the public question if you are the “empty suits,” as portrayed by my colleague Pereira, than to continue in your folly and remove all doubts.



  1. All parents need to wake up and show up! No matter what political party you support. We need to let our three elected officials know we elected them to show up to work. Mayor Ganim you need to show up as well and let your APPOINTEE know you appointed her to show up and do the job she was appointed to do.

    I will show up Mr. Mayor because as stated in my letter of interest attached with my resume for the open board seat I believe that there is important work to be done. I wonder Mr. Mayor who else was interviewed for this position? Your handpicked replacement leaves a lot to be desired. What did she expect? A welcoming tea party? If she did she was not paying attention enough to hold the position in the first place.

  2. Wait a minute, FAITHACTS FOR EDUCATION is holding a rally at 6:00pm Geraldine Johnson School 475 Lexington Avenue Monday Sept. 26, 2016 and now the four non-boycotting BOE members are calling a press conference at 6:30 this evening at Geraldine Johnson School. Let’s hope this doesn’t turn into a shouting match. I’m not sure about this.

  3. I posted on OIB we were holding an event at Geraldine Johnson School on Monday BEFORE FaithActs for Education issued their press release on Friday.

    In fact, I believe they organized their event because of my posting.

    FaithActs for Education has NO authority to be on school property because the Board has that authority under CT state statute.

  4. FaithActs for Education claimed to be non-partisan and elected officials were invited but would not be allowed to speak, however Dennis Bradley attended and was given the microphone. Hmmm.

    Dennis was alone again, no Larcheveque, no McSpirit, and no Negron. Hmmm.

    The Director of Northeast Charter $chools from NH, all five paid staff of FaithActs for Education that includes three who do not live in Bridgeport, attended. Stallworth showed up late as usual, charter school parents and children attended, etc.

    If you peeled them all away, there were not even 25 Bridgeport adults present.

    Howard, Ben, Sauda, and myself stood together and united, again. Every attendee was a Bridgeport resident who was not on the payroll of any organization.

    Some of the FaithActs for Education attendees came over to our event and were respectful. Once it ended, the husband of a FaithActs staff member tried to bait me with a Facebook posting and I simply stated I was not interested in speaking with him and just walked away.

    I had another FaithActs employee approach me. I asked where was your organization when we were fighting for the $15 million we desperately needed so our 21,000 students weren’t faced with crippling cuts? She said she was there and present. I asked which forum or event did she attend regarding the $15 million needed. She stuttered and stumbled because she was caught in a blatant lie.

    I guarantee you if the six charter $chools in Bridgeport were facing a $15 million deficit; they would have been out in force.

    I excused myself and as I was leaving this woman physically grabbed me by the arm. I told her laying your hands on anyone, but especially someone you just met is not acceptable, and could be a basis for arrest.

    She apologized and I left.

  5. I happened to be at Geraldine Johnson School. I was there at the beginning of the FAITHACTS presentation. There was a lot of emphasis on Faith but some of the statements were undoubtedly pointed towards Maria Pereira, especially when I heard the use of the word “bullying.” There is ONE UNDENIABLE FACT; Dennis BRADLEY was there with the FAITHACTS groups from the beginning as they were setting up, so Dennis Bradley and this group are intractably intertwined. I will give credit to some members of the Faith group who came over to the “Pereira” group and there was interaction between the groups. Dennis Bradley did not come over. Some people did approach Bradley during the Faith time but he was almost by himself most of the time.

  6. Of course their mantra is I’m a “bully.” The goal is if they repeat it enough it will stick.

    The Channel 12 videographer was leaving the FaithActs prayer event and heading over to ours when Pastor McCullough, the President of FaithActs, literally ran down a hill to stop him so he could be interviewed on camera. I am not kidding.

    The same Pastor McCullough featured on a mail piece with Dennis Bradley in his State Senate bid.

    Bottom line is we did not have anyone attend our event on any payroll or with the offer of a free t-shirt.

    We had true public school supporters, parents and activists at our event. Bobby Simmons even graced us with his presence.


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