DeSombre: Criticism Of Coates ‘Ridiculous’

Maria Pereira at protest prior to Monday night school board meeting. CT Post photo.
Maria Pereira at protest prior to Monday night school board meeting. CT Post photo.

Megan DeSombre, host of the Education Bridgeport website, defends the honor of new school board member Kadisha Coates who she says is the target of unfair attacks from former school board member Maria Pereira.

What Maria Pereira and her buddies have been saying about Kadisha Coates is not only ridiculous, but also completely false.

For the past two weeks Pereira has been repeatedly slandering the board’s new appointee. She’s made countless comments disparaging her name, wrote a 600-word letter to the editor, and now she’s even teaming up with Parent Advisory Council President Tammy Boyle to organize a rally protesting Coates’ appointment before tonight’s meeting.

Why is Pereira doing all this? What exactly is her beef with Coates?

Well, according to the press release Boyle sent out yesterday announcing the rally and Pereira’s nearly identical letter to the editor, Coates is allegedly “affiliated” with ConnCAN–a pro-charter school organizations that Pereira despises.
Except, according to officials from ConnCAN, Coates has no connection to them.

When asked about Coates’ connection with ConnCAN, the organization’s CEO Jennifer Alexander told me there wasn’t any. “ConnCAN is fully supportive of parents serving on local boards of education and we congratulate Ms. Coates on her new position,” said Alexander. “While we look forward to working with her in the future, ConnCAN does not currently, nor have we ever, had a formal affiliation with Ms. Coates.”

Then of course, there’s the accusation that Coates is somehow affiliated with my blog.

Clearly, Pereira has a loose definition of “affiliation.”

My only connection to Coates is that I interviewed her back in September for a series of parent profiles. If this is what Pereira and Boyle means when they accuse Coates of being “affiliated” with Education Bridgeport!, then by that logic both Pereira and Boyle are affiliated with the Connecticut Post and Only in Bridgeport, since they’ve both done interviews with reporters from those organizations.

Bottom line? Coates might not walk lock step with Pereira, Boyle and their union buddies, so she must be stopped. Pretty scary stuff.



  1. What is ridiculous is a small group of privileged individuals think they have the right to shove their notions of quality education down the throats of Bridgeport parents and taxpayers. What day are you folks going to go home, take care of your own children and leave us alone?

    1. Yes, Baffled!

      Memo to “small group”:
      For every dollar you put into Finch and others’ campaign coffers and into distortion campaigns to promote charters (e.g., in fall of 2012, “Vote Yes” for our children, which actually was a ‘yes’ to a Finch takeover of the school board–failed!) … WHY NOT put a matching dollar into, oh say,
      (1) repairing the leaking roofs of schools, (2) providing improved educational support for the children and communities, and (3) making the governor and the legislature hold the Finch administration to the state-mandated minimum budget requirement (MBR), which while extolling the critical importance of public education and never forgetting to mention his kids attend Bridgeport public schools, Finch has failed to satisfy two years running?

  2. Why criticize a woman who is willing to serve on that ludicrous board? She doesn’t deserve to be verbally abused or intimidated. She’s a new face trying to do what’s right for the kids without throwing politics into the equation. Give her a chance!

    1. Godiva, I see your general point; but overall, the Bridgeport BOE, excluding Moales, is not ludicrous.

      When “ludicrous” becomes a fitting descriptor is when Moales is verbally attacking Ms. Baraka or even, as I witnessed this year, Ms. Siegel the BOE’s CFO. Would you believe Moales had the gall to lecture Siegel, a former math major/Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Columbia University, on accounting practices?!

      When “ludicrous” becomes a fitting descriptor is when Moales is extolling the virtues of the charter schools and adamantly stating no conflict of interest is posed by him simultaneously serving on the board of a charter school in Bridgeport and on the Bridgeport BOE.

      When “ludicrous” becomes a fitting descriptor is when Moales says at a BOE meeting he doesn’t send his kids to the public schools in Bridgeport because to do so would constitute child abuse. (Note: Moales’ wife works in the Bridgeport public schools.) Basically, BOE ludicrousness is thanks to Moales–an extension of Finch. Moales helped hurt the public schools, to make way for the charters.

      In the next year she’s filling in for Bagley, Coates will prove herself an independent, intelligent and committed contributor to the BOE … or not. The voters will decide then, not Moales and four other men who do not even blink an eye at the BOE meetings when Moales attacks people. But then why would they stand up to him? They were sure they needed his vote to overthrow Ms. Baraka for the chair of the BOE. Let’s see how well Moales respects the new leader, and how well the new leader keeps Rev Ludicrous in check.

    2. Godiva 2011, Kadisha Coates is so willing to serve on the “ludicrous” board and she is “trying to do what’s right for kids without throwing politics into the equation,” she missed her first Special meeting scheduled for 5:30 PM tonight, as did Andre Baker and Kenneth Moales Jr.

      The Regular BBOE meeting was called to order promptly at 6:30 PM and although she was identified on the BBOE agenda as being recognized as the new BBOE member early on in the meeting, she and Andre Baker walked in together after 7:00 PM and after Fran Rabinowitz acknowledged her as the newest BBOE member. Moales never even showed up.

      Do you consider this to be responsible and professional behavior for a new BBOE member?

  3. Pete, please check Linda Lambeck’s twitter account for yesterday. She confirmed Indra Sen, the former director for the defunct FUSE at Dunbar School has been hired by Mayor Finch as deputy CAO at an annual salary of $90,000. If you remember, Kadisha Coates attended her BBOE interview with his wife and she is employed by a teacher fellowship program that works directly with charter schools.

    And who else was in attendance at last night’s BBOE meeting? None other than two ConnCAN staff members including the ConnCAN staff member who escorted Ms. Coates before the SBOE in April to testify on behalf of additional charter schools in Bridgeport. The same ConnCAN staffer who was seated next to her at the SBOE meeting and held Ms. Coates’ baby while she testified.

    I know, it is all a coincidence and Kadisha Coates has no “formal affiliation” with ConnCAN because Megan Dishonor and Jennifer Alexander say so. If you or anyone else believes that, I have a Congress St. Bridge I would love to sell you.

    1. Here is a link to the SBOE meeting held on April 2, 2014 in which Kadisha Coates arrived after her name was called during public comment, therefore a ConnCAN paid staff member asks the SBOE to allow her to speak. Warning, it is a very lengthy video.
      State Board of Education April Meeting (Date Recorded: 4/2/2014)
      Length: 6 hr 30 min

  4. In closing, the five BBOE members who voted for Kadisha Coates took a shellacking during public comment last night, but none more than Dave Hennessey and Andre Baker. Parents and community members spoke against Kadisha Coates serving on the BBOE and it appeared Andre Baker kept leaning over to comfort her. After the meeting was over, Andre waited patiently for her and they exited the building together.

  5. Lennie, can you please let me know when either Tammy Boyle or I have been interviewed by you? I honestly have no recollection of the imaginary interview referenced by Megan Dishonor.

    Does anyone notice how Megan Dishonor does not dispute Kadisha Coates is affiliated with Families for Excellent Schools?

  6. Maria,
    I am not pro-charter but according to Linda Lambeck “a small group who protested outside the city school board meeting.” This is hardly the thousands you claimed were outraged by the board’s actions.
    My count in the photo is about eight; give or take.
    You lose credibility when you exaggerate to this degree. Or another way of saying it is it appears you are lying.

  7. Maria, JML asked you this on November 6th and you still haven’t responded. I would like to know the answer to his concerns as well.
    John Marshall Lee // Nov 6, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Ms. Pereira,
    You state the Mayor has “illegally underfunded the BPS for three consecutive years to the tune of between $8-$9 million dollars.”
    As a writer and speaker to the City on matters financial, would you share the details of your statement, please?

    First, illegal underfunding of the schools is a strong statement since on some basis, the City, the BOE or its agent and the State of CT is funding more than 80% of the money flowing to City Schools (aside from Federal Nutrition funds). I would appreciate the basis of that statement, and who may be the Sheriff with whom to file such a complaint?

    Secondly, you mention $8-$9 Million and I am not sure whether this is an annual number or cumulative for three years. Would you please explain?

    Thank you for being one of very few voices to keep alive the issue of financing the school systems of the three largest cities in the State in very different fashions. Whether problems with educational cost sharing, Alliance District special funding, and/or court cases like Sheff v/ O’Neill, the State because of its education leadership role has a problem that demands resolution.

    Perhaps with the gubernatorial election behind the incumbent, focus on the broad topic of school funding fairness can be addressed for the benefit of all the youth in Bridgeport and around the State. Time will tell.


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