UPDATE: A mayoral forum hosted by the faith-based group FaithActs for Education featuring supporters of charter schools and several local clergy members will focus on education issues tonight (Thursday) 6:30 p.m. at Cathedral of Praise, 45 Gregory Street in the South End. Register here. All candidates running in the November general election have been invited to attend. Joe Ganim and Mary-Jane Foster have opted out of the debate citing scheduling conflicts. Mayor Bill Finch will attend.
Republican Enrique Torres and petitioning candidates Tony Barr and David Daniels, all of whom will appear on the November ballot, have committed to attend. The forum will be moderated by Jason Newton of WTNH and Frank Recchia of News 12 Connecticut.
The organization’s Executive Director Jamilah Prince-Stewart had worked at the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, the education reform group focused on closing Connecticut’s achievement gap. ConnCAN has been a high-profile public education advocate pushing policies to further more school choice such as charter schools and classroom accountability. Finch is a proponent of charter schools that receive public money but operate independently of traditional school districts.
“FaithActs is proud to host this important forum, where each candidate will be able to explain how he or she would improve education for Bridgeport’s 23,000 children,” said Bishop Derek Calhoun, Senior Pastor of New Vision International Ministries and FaithActs’ board chair, in a statement. “Voters need the candidates to be clear and specific because our children’s education is too important to be treated otherwise.”
“Bridgeport citizens need to feel a tremendous sense of urgency from the people who want to be our next mayor,” said FaithActs founder Pastor William McCullough of Russell Temple CME Church. “Our parents and children cannot wait for another 5-year plan. They need real hope and real solutions.”