Jeff Kohut, 2011 mayoral candidate, shares a commentary urging a no vote to the ballot question.
While 2012 is a very important election year at a state and national level, it is truly a momentous year in Bridgeport.
The special importance of 2012 in Bridgeport electoral history has to do, of course, with the question of how Bridgeport’s public school system will be returned to viability in some expedient manner such that the public school children of Bridgeport will be given the academic preparation and credentials, along with the basic intellectual tools, to compete in a global economy on an equal footing with their contemporaries who have been nurtured and groomed for academic and economic success by child-centered/future-oriented homes and cultures where wealth is the means to the end of assured futures for the “next generation” (the children).
Bridgeport is near the bottom of the academic heap at all levels of consideration–state, nationally and globally.
It is important to understand, generally speaking, in the academically successful countries, the wealth of those countries is focused on achieving and maintaining optimal conditions for the comprehensive nurturing of the health and competence of the “next generation”–which, of course, will determine the future success and security of those societies.
The reason why Bridgeport’s public school system is failing is because of the impoverished state of Bridgeport’s families–most of which are living at or near the poverty level. The statistics compiled and analyzed over the past century in the United States (corroborated by statistics from the rest of the developed world) on academic failure/success at all levels of education, have, as a central theme, poverty as the unifying factor in the prediction of academic difficulty and failure.
All of the countries that have reduced their socioeconomic stratification and leveled the academic/economic playing field internally–facilitating the creation of national academic excellence and thus facilitating an ability to compete in the global economy–have incurred some impetus that has brought about internal change, which has resulted in a more functional society where government policy resonates with the higher values of the culture, in particular the tendencies of all levels of society toward family-centered/child-centered policy. World War II seemed to be the impetus that accomplished this for most of the developed world–with the notable exception of the United States, which was impelled in the opposite direction by that world cataclysm.
With the exception of wealthy/affluent municipalities, nationally our public education system has been in a declining trend during the post-World War II-to-present period, during which we have made repeated, contraindicated political decisions to sacrifice our young people in unnecessary armed conflicts while at the same time squandering their economic inheritance on the same unjustifiable conflicts. (What will be our impetus for change and national salvation?)
It is this squandering of life and economic legacy, and the shameless, intentional skewing of income levels to sustain a plutocracy through the destructive political-economic policies of the “military-industrial complex” that has left Bridgeport and its families in poverty and has left its public school system with the impossible task of providing an adequate education to the socially devastated children of the economically damned.
We are being told by our elected plutocrats our school system must be fixed in order to fix our socioeconomic problems, and in order to fix our schools we must allow the “private sector”–the nascent “education-industrial complex” (the spawn of the “military-industrial complex”), represented by agents of educational change (“turnaround experts”/education-business owners)–to come into Bridgeport and “transform” our public school system through the same private-sector wizardry that has left the school systems of Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans in virtual chaos.
Indeed, we are even being told by Mayor Finch on November 6 we should vote to surrender our voting rights for the sake of education! We are being told by Mayor Finch by relinquishing our right to vote for the membership of the Board of the Education–and thereby giving him the right to hand-pick that board–it will create more accountability for the performance of the school system.
Insanity! The Mayor already appoints the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Police Commission, the Ethics Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals et al.. Is he ever held accountable for the failures and misdeeds of these boards?
The only thing that will ever turn around or transform our public school system–or any failing public school system–into a truly functional, productive institution will be the elimination of family/child poverty in the community. This can only happen in Bridgeport when President Obama, Governor Malloy, Congressman Himes, Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy and Mayor Bill Finch determine Bridgeporters are deserving of the tens of thousands of good, Bridgeport-based, living wage jobs that are needed to lift all Bridgeport families out of poverty and rebuild Bridgeport’s tax base.
Vote NO! to Bridgeport Charter Change. Vote NO! to surrendering your voting rights on November 6.
Bridgeporters: use your vote before it’s too late.