UPDATE: Talk about Fourth of July fireworks, Linda Conner Lambeck reports in the Connecticut Post that Superintendent of Schools John Ramos and Mayor Bill Finch are asking the state to seize control of the Board of Education. Basically they’re saying it’s a mess, we cannot make it work under the existing structure. No argument here. But if you’re a mayoral candidate it opens the door to scream that the responsible parties who could not make it work–Finch and Ramos–are still in charge, and have failed the kids. Will Finch opponents stick their heads in the sand or rise up? Could the mayor’s polling data show public support for a state takeover? And why do I get the feeling that Maria Pereira, the number one Finch irritant on the BOE, dropped a dime in the phone to the Post before Finch could spin it?
Lambeck’s article here.
The Connecticut Working Families Party elected two members to the Bridgeport Board of Education. From WFP:
Bridgeport Board of Education Members React to Potential State Takeover
Working Families Party Members Call Move Undemocratic
Two Working Families Party members on the Board of Education reacted strongly today to a request from School Superintendent John Ramos to have the State Education Commissioner take the unprecedented step of reconstituting the Bridgeport Board of Education.
Under legislation enacted last year, the State Board of Education can authorize the State Education Commissioner to take over a municipal school district if schools fail to make progress.
Critics of the plan say it appears to target a vocal minority of the Board, while the real failure lies with the Superintendent John Ramos. Working Families members Sauda Baraka and Maria Pereira, along with Democrat Bobby Simmons, have opposed some moves by the majority, including layoffs and school closings, as well as some real estate transactions.
“Having a vocal minority is not called ‘dysfunctional;’ it’s called democracy,” said Board member Maria Pereira. “The Superintendent and the majority of board members are capable of moving their agenda with or without us. They just have to answer some questions from the minority, as well they should. But if they can’t–or don’t want to–govern, they can freely step aside.”
“It’s the 4th of July and this is America. We don’t un-do elections. In our democracy, people dictate to the government, not the other way around,” said Board member Sauda Baraka.
Baraka and Pereira say that the continuing poor performance of the public schools is why they insist on asking questions of the administration.
“Our schools continue to struggle and the children continue to suffer from that. So of course we’re going to raise our voices and ask questions–that’s what we were elected to do,” said Baraka.
Working Families Party, Connecticut’s fastest-growing independent party, fights for economic fairness for working class and middle class families. The WFP evaluates the records of all candidates and supports those who fight for issues like creating good jobs, making healthcare more affordable, ensuring access to paid sick days, and quality education for all.