In a commentary that also appears in Education Connecticut, newly elected Board of Education member Jessica Martinez shares why she ran and what she hopes to accomplish.
Today, I am extremely honored to announce that I have been elected to the Bridgeport Board of Education. I am eager for the opportunity to represent all parents and students in Bridgeport, and I hope to be an advocate for our community as we move the district forward.
In Bridgeport, we are chartering a new path–a path that values the voices of families in our community. We have worked hard to ensure we will be heard, but the work does not stop here. We still have a long way to go. But this is a fight worth fighting because if our efforts are successful, our students will be successful, in the classroom and in life.
I know what our students can achieve if given access to the right tools. I have seen firsthand the inequality in our school system, perpetuated by broken, outdated policies that only serve as obstacles preventing student achievement. And I think it is unacceptable that schools in the City of Bridgeport–and throughout the State of Connecticut–continue to perpetuate a system that increases inequality.
That’s why I ran for Bridgeport Board of Education. It’s also why I’m a Plaintiff in the case, Martinez v. Malloy. Filed on behalf of myself, my son, and other Connecticut families with the help of the national nonprofit organization Students Matter, Martinez v. Malloy seeks to challenge anti-opportunity laws that limit the opening of new public schools and cap the enrollment at existing excellent public schools. These policies harm thousands of students, including my son, who has remained on a waitlist for a magnet school year after year.
As both a member of the Bridgeport Board of Education and a Plaintiff in Martinez v. Malloy–I will continue to be a voice for parents in Bridgeport and across the state who are demanding answers for a broken system. I will work to prevent our district and our state from continuing policies that hurt students of color and students from low-income families and completely disregard our children’s right to a great public education.
It is time for Bridgeport and for the State of Connecticut to do more to ensure every student across the state has access to great schools. I am honored–and eager–to be a leader in this effort.