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Jessica Martinez Brings Passion To School Board Race

May 10th, 2017 · 16 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, Education, News and Events

Martinez, Fasano

Martinez, left, at a recent education forum that included state legislators Len Fasano and Chris Rosario.

Jessica Martinez, the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s moratorium on magnet and charter schools, says she will be a Democratic candidate for Board of Education. Strap in. It’s gonna be a wild battle.

She brings a spirited school-choice mantra to the campaign at odds with the equal passion of school board member Maria Pereira who is opposed to charter schools that run independently of traditional school districts. Pereira, in the second year of a four-year term, will likely back a slate of school board candidates opposed to Martinez’s philosophical views. Pereira is also Democratic leader of the Upper East Side 138th District.

In a recent column that appeared on the website of ConnCAN, a pro charter school group, school parent Martinez writes:

At its heart, Martinez v. Malloy is about ensuring every child, regardless of their background or zip code, receives a world-class education and an equal opportunity to succeed. In the case, we challenge Connecticut’s outdated, broken laws that prevent new magnet public schools and charter public schools from being built and opening their doors. We are also challenging the state’s Open Choice program, which penalizes school districts that accept students from inner-city school districts. Each of these policies are barriers to opportunity and perpetuate inequity in our state, effectively widening our state’s achievement and opportunity gaps.

Just like my fellow plaintiffs and I did by filing Martinez, parents must get involved in the fight for quality public education. And they must get involved now.

It appears her way of additional involvement is entering the race for school board. Many Democratic primaries for City Council and school board will take place in September.

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16 Comments so far ↓

  • Steven Auerbach

    This will be very, very interesting. I know that Jessica Martinez and Maria Pereira are polar opposites. Martinez is a bridge builder and I support a parents right to choose an appropriate school for their child. Not every qualified child can get into one of our cities amazing magnet schools. Why should a child that gets support at home and is ranking tops in their classrooms while disruption is continuous. I would suggest BOE members spend time in classrooms as a requirement to see what our teachers have to deal with.

    I know many teachers that will not be back in the fall. I think Jessica Martinez will be an amazing addition to the BOE. She is absolutely passionate about the children in our schools. She also may support charter schools but her own child goes to a Bridgeport Public school and that6 will resonate with voters. She can say that her child is currently a student in the Bridgeport Public schools and I can say he has been a student of mine often. A very respectful young man , I might add.

    Jessica also serves on the Democratic Town committee. Here passion will take her far. I have told Maria Pereira on many occasions when we used to meet for coffee that this Jessica Martinez has the same passion as you do and she will go far. Well, that was a long time ago and Jessica Martinez has been engaged and learning and has a huge group of supporters. I am proud of her and hope she does very well. She will be a welcome breath of fresh air on the board and I wish her well!

    • Steven Auerbach

      Here –Her

    • Maria Pereira

      Steve, Jessica Martinez has such a “huge” group of supporters; that when she attended Regular BOE meetings to deliver her “PAC Report”, she would sit with paid charter $chool employees, staff, and/or parents.

      The vast majority of active PAC parents that attended Regular BOE meetings REFUSED to sit with her and would sit together in a separate cluster.

      There are close to 30,000 BPS parents, and the vast majority of the time she had to sit with one-three charter $chool parents.

      That is pretty telling.

  • Maria Pereira

    There is just sooooo much to work with here…

    Last year, when Jessica Martinez was President of the district Parent Advisory Council, she came to the microphone to deliver her “PAC President’s Report”. She was stating that she had informed all the school PAC Presidents that she had notified them they had to submit their forms authorizing expenditures by April 15th so that the funds could be expended by “June 31st”.

    I felt it important to state the following:

    “Ms. Martinez, we do not have 31 days in June, and we never have”

    Everyone sitting in the room behind her started laughing. I even saw high-level administrators trying to conceal their laughter. She started speaking very loudly about Federal Title I covenants to counteract her embarrassment, I explained her assertions regarding Federal Title I was also incorrect and she became even louder.

    Do you think an elected school board members should know how many days are in a month when our third graders are required to know the same information?

    • Steven Auerbach

      I have never once seen Jessica Martinez respond to one of Maria’s character assassinations. Whether is is Jessica or Dolly. However, I do know that what goes around comes around and yes karma.

      Now, I would prefer everybody play nice, but my gut tells me that the reign of Maria is about to take a left turn and that pains me to say, but, it is what it is. Not by my hand or lips. To be clear!

      BTW, if we randomly went to any Bridgeport high school, I will bet that 75 percent of the students could not tell you how many days there are in June. They couldn’t tell you the county they live in or who is the secretary of state or Vice President. Just saying!

      • Maria Pereira

        Steve, please stop trying to be so sanctimonious. Did you read your own comments to Robert Tiexiera???

        No, she doesn’t respond here, she just emails me nasty messages to my personal email after I directed her not to do so, which forceced me to contact the BPD. They then informed her that if she contacted me again she would be arrested.

        In today’s world, it would take less than sixty seconds to simply Google something simple like how many days there are in June. What it speaks to is that she knew she would be speaking, it wasn’t surprise, and she still was unprepared.

        Stating facts isn’t character assassination, it is simply stating the facts. I didn’t exaggerate or embellish, it happened as described.

        • Steven Auerbach

          Maria you shouldn’t respond to me mentioning your ass wipe- Robert Texeira you should heed what I say. Not by my lips or my hand. I am dealing with you. It was you I was talking to and I said it would pain me. Although it shouldn’t. . I am just always amazed how people are afraid for some reason to give yu a dose , but then again, You do possess a very admirable quality of a thick skin. It has served you well.

      • Maria Pereira

        Maybe, but even those high school students could Google it.

  • Ron Mackey

    Oh my god, stop the press, Jessica Martinez said that there were 31 days in the month of June, Ms Martinez needs to be tar and feather.

  • Bob Walsh

    Thank you for your input Steve.
    And thank you for helping Bridgeport become the worst school district in the state. Congratulations!

    • Steven Auerbach

      Bob, I love the city of Bridgeport and unlike any teacher or BOE member I have been in over 28 schools. I have chosen only to work the BPT school system and I have seen first handd the good the bad and the ugly. I have always engaged myself with the students though most could care less. The good news is that it helped me make the decision to not become certified and thi will be my last 5 weeks giving my time and effort. Well, the good news is that I had the opportunity to visit every neighborhood daily. Now I choose to focus on me and the last chapter of my life. I am not responsible for the sad state of affairs in the district. Pushing kids ahead that can not spell and read as well as problem children in the classroom is just about as sad as it gets.

  • Maria Pereira

    Jessica Martinez was elected as district PAC President in November 2015. She publicly invited BOE members to attend a monthly DPAC meeting. I attended one the following month.

    She gave us her first DPAC Report in December and shared that the first order of business was to create bylaws. Bylaws are critical to the governance of any organization.

    It was an absolute free-for-all. She knew nothing about running a meeting, parents were shouting at her and each other. Parents just started walking out.

    The Parent Convention was held in June, and the Parent Convention Committee REFUSED to recognize her at the convention & refused to let her speak. I thought that inappropriate and told those parents they were wrong, but they refused.

    She attends the next Regular BOE meeting and comes before the BOE to bash the Parent Convention stating it was the “worst” convention in the PAC’s history and had the “worst attendance” in the conventions history, but at least it was decorated “pretty”. She proceeded to thank two Parent Center staff members for their work on the convention, but did NOT acknowledge the parent volunteers on the Convention Committee. The BOE meeting erupted.

    About twelve months after she was elected, no bylaws had been presented to the DPAC for a vote and no bylaws were in place, therefore EVERY monthly meeting was chaotic.

    Less and less parents attended, and in the winter, without any notice on the agenda and without a quorum; a motion was made to dissolve the DPAC Executive Board. Jessica Martinez supported the motion, it passed with 7 – 9 votes vs. 5 – 6 votes, and then they just got up and walked out.

    What leader of an organization publicly bashes the very organization they were elected to lead?

    If you can’t handle running the parent organization which only meets once a month as a full body, and met once a month as an executive board; how are you going to serve effectively on the most important board/commission in the City of Bridgeport which is responsible for an over $260,000,000 operating budget and the academic achievement of over 21,000 students?

  • Bob Walsh

    Is this a quiz?
    What leader of an organization publicly bashes the very the very organization the were elected to lead?
    Um…. Tbe Bridgeport Board of Ed when they voted to dissolve!

  • Maria Pereira

    Bob, the Board of Education didn’t define themselves as “dysfunctional” and throw in the towel; it was Barbara Bellinger, Tom Mulligan, Leticia Colon, etc. who did so.

    Sauda, Bobby, and myself made it clear that we were up for the challenge and that those members that weren’t should resign. The illegal takeover was simply about removing an elected school board which is ALWAYS the first step before massive privatization. Paul Vallas was always part of the long-term plan to make every school in Bridgeport a Charter $chool.

  • Maria Pereira

    Now, let’s go through the panelists because it is just too enticing.

    First, we have Jessica Martinez, A former employee of Ex$ell Bridgeport who was let go. This organization is primarily funded by Greenwich billionaire Steve Mandel whose employee, Megan Lowney, serves on the board of Ex$ell Bridgeport and was heavily involved in the illegal takeover. Nate Snow, Director of Teach for America, also serves on the Ex$ell Bridgeport board.

    She founded “Parents for Progress” which was an arm of Ex$ell Bridgeport and served as Mayor Finch’s number one cheerleader in support of a Charter Commission to remove an elected school board in favor of a mayoral appointed school board. Let that sink in! Jessica Martinez did everything in her power to support voters and residents having the ability to elect their school board members, but now she wants voters to go to the polls to elect HER to the school board. Hypocrisy?
    She is the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit funded by a Silicone Valley billionaire which claims that CT needs to have more charter $chools and magnet schools. This same Silicone Valley billionaire challenged teacher tenure in California because it was bad for “kids”. I am sure it had nothing to do with union busting that benefits billionaires.

    She was elected as president of the DPAC and did not accomplish a SINGLE thing before quitting and walking out on the very parents she claimed she served.

    Then we have Len Fasano, leader of the Senate Republicans whose party just introduced their own state budget that reduced the Bridgeport Board of Ed. ECS allocation by $2,000,000. Nice.

    Then we have Kenneth Moales Jr. who doesn’t pay his bills, was caught billing the BOE for daycare services he never provided, got caught by the SDOE, and had Vallas keep it hush, hush, all while he was the BOE Chair. There is much more I could write, but I need to move on.

    Then we have Charter $chool extraordinaire, Chris Rosario who holds press conferences with charter schools about how they need more money, but has NEVER done a single thing for the BPS.

    Then we have a pastor from Hamden. It’s often those who preach about God that you have to watch the most.

    And, last but not least, we have the CEO of CanCON, Jennifer Alexander. An organization founded by Jonathon Sackler who is the CEO of his parent’s company, Purdue Pharma. They make Oxycontin that can be linked to thousands of Opiod deaths in this country. in addition, Sacker wrote a $50,000 check to Finch’s PAC to take our right to vote away for our school board members. She was the Chair of the PAC that backed Katy Bukosky, etc. for the BOE in 2013.

    P.S. And, who is the convention moderator for this event as identified on the banner overhead? None other than Charter $chool supporter financed by the charter $chool industry, Charlie Stallworth.

    That was fun!

  • Mojo

    *** BOE is going to need more than just “passion” to become creditable in the eyes of the Bpt. Public. *** And when are the House & Senate Republicans in D.C going to stop looking the other way concerning Trump & his Admin’s cover-ups just to maintain their political power? Enough is enough, all republican office phones and emails should be lighting up from voters wanting a independent investigation already on the Russian & the personal tax cover-ups by the Trump Admin. ? *** Dump Trump ***

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