OIB asked readers to submit questions for presentation to State Senate candidates Ed Gomes, Andres Ayala and Ernie Newton. OIB has published their respective responses to five questions. We now share the responses to like questions so readers can compare answers starting with the proposal for a mayoral-appointed Board of Education. See below:
Q. The Charter Revision Commission has formulated a question that will appear on the November ballot asking city voters to approve a mayoral-appointed Board of education. As an educator, do you support an elected BOE or one appointed by the mayor?
I am to the core of my being opposed to a Board of Education appointed by the Mayor (this mayor or for that matter any other mayor). My whole life has been dedicated to the empowerment of people, on the job, in the neighborhoods and in government, anything that takes power away from the parents, citizens and taxpayers to decide the fate of our public schools and puts it in the politicians at city hall removes public accountability. The so-called “Education Reformers” who want to take over our schools and turn them into profit centers are just dying to get their hands on the Bridgeport Board of Ed. They don’t believe in parent participation, vilify our dedicated teachers and claim all the reforms come from so-called leaders like Michelle Rhee who have never spent a year in a classroom. I opposed their reforms in Hartford and I oppose their power grab here in Bridgeport!
Unlike my opponents who don’t want to ruffle feathers and regardless of the outcome of the primary I will be working hard to defeat the Charter Revision.
As an educator I know students in Bridgeport deserve a better education system. Thus, I would support a process which ensures we select the most qualified BOE members who can implement important policy reforms to deal with the fundamental problems our school system faces. Historically the Board of Education members have been handpicked by major political parties in Bridgeport. In many instances the members who have been selected have no background experience on important education issues which the system faces. Thus, I applaud the work of the Charter Revision Committee for bringing this important question forward to the voters in Bridgeport. The Committees recommendation must be acted upon by the City Council and then the voters of Bridgeport. I look forward to the residents of Bridgeport making this most important decision.
My position is that any solution that gives our kids better tools in their education is positive. I think the issue of our city’s education has finally come to a boiling point and it’s up to the people to decide which direction it should go. I am a big proponent of supporting the will of the people. I do believe strongly that local, community people know best about the qualities they are looking for in leaders. Whether they are appointed or elected, the people of Bridgeport should have the loudest voice in any major decision facing our City and its education system and those people should be the ones serving.