School Board Member Jessica Martinez Lobbies Her Charter School Passion “My Child, My Choice”

Board of Education member Jessica Martinez has a new job as an independent state lobbyist for 50 CAN, a national school choice organization.

Martinez’s passion is school choice “fighting for all children to experience the same educational exposure” be it magnet, charter or vocational schools. “As a parent I want to utilize my choice for my child,” a mantra she’s sharing with members of the state legislature.

She embraces “my child, my choice,” a national education advocacy group declaring “funding should follow children from one public school to another, regardless of whether that school is a traditional public school, a magnet school, or a public charter school.”

Martinez supports money-follows-the-child legislation that does not exist in Connecticut, essentially a student who attends a charter school in Bridgeport would receive state education funds redirected from the local school district.

The charter school industry is controversial in Bridgeport. Charters receive public funds but operate independently of traditional school districts. Opponents to charters argue they suck financial resources from traditional schools. Bridgeport with six has the most charter schools among Connecticut’s 23.

Half of Bridgeport’s charter schools have been placed on probation by the state Board of Education citing poor academic performance, excessive expulsion rates and exorbitant teacher turnover.

Still, Martinez argues, school choice is what’s best for parents and students. As an elected school board member Martinez says education access “does not do justice for the children.”

She cites, as an example, her son whom she had to pull out of Notre Dame, the private Roman Catholic high school in Fairfield, for the challenged Bassick High School in the city. “I couldn’t afford Notre Dame,” she says. “Now my son will not get the same educational opportunity” citing, in part, the lack of funding in the school district that’s led to cuts.

School choice, she says, would resolve the matter. The Bridgeport school budget is once again flat funded. Martinez says she’s lobbying City Council members to allocate more school funding, specifically redirecting the $4.5 million tax cut in Mayor Joe Ganim’s proposed spending plan for schools.

Martinez says she has no conflict lobbying for the charter school industry while serving on the school board, adding she received clearance from the board’s legal counsel. “There’s nothing for us to vote on for charter schools.”

In the video above posted last week on her Facebook page Martinez praises support from three members of the city’s legislative delegation State House members Chris Rosario and Andre Baker and State Senator Dennis Bradley for whom she served as treasurer of his winning campaign last year. Basically they support funding for charter, magnet and vocational schools above the financial proposal in Governor Ned Lamont’s budget plan. Additional funds were voted out of appropriations education subcommittee.

Currently there is no money-follows-the-child legislation before the state legislature, but that is something Martinez says she hopes becomes a reality in future sessions.



  1. Jessica Martinez should submit her resignation effective immediately.

    We have al elected school board member, who serves as Vice-chair and Finance Chair, serving as a paid Charter $school lobbyist. State law requires an elected school board member to do what is in the educational interest of the students in the district they represent. That does not include students of Charter $chools

    Three of the six Charter $chools are currently on probation,and on Monday, the state Board of Education renewed Capital Prep Charter $school for only three years with conditions due to their abysmal academic performance, excessive suspension rates and teacher certification issues. In fact, the Director was told it was a gift he even received a three year renewal.

    Bridgeport is the most underfunded school district in CT, which has made $40,000,000 in devastating cuts in the last three years, and is facing another $11.5 million in cuts next school year.

    Yet Jessica Martinez is lobbying for the expansion of charter $schools which last year alone siphoned away over $5,000,000 from the BPS in special ed., bus transportation, and federal funds for the six Charter $chools located in Bridgeport.

    This is just disgraceful.

  2. 50CAN was founded by Jonathan Sackler. The Sackler family owns Purdue Pharma in Stamford which is being sued by 26 states for their significant contribution to the opioid epidemic,specifically Oxycontin.

    Jonathan Sackler is also a founding member of Achievement First Charter $chool..

    If you recall, he donated $50,000 to Mayor Finch’s effort to deny Bridgeport residents their right to vote for their school board members.

    That is who Jessica Martinez is aligned with and whose money is lining her pockets.

  3. My Child My Choice is a national organization with a CT Chapter organized by Dr. Perry, who called unionized teachers “coachroaches,” and is the founder of Capital Prepratory Harbor Charter School in Bridgeport.

    Their Board is made up of Dr. Perry, FaithACTS for Education founder, Reverend McCullough, and Director of Northeast Charter $chools,,Ruben Felipe, whose son Antonio Felipe is running for State Rep. in the 130th District.

    They are all bought and paid for by white millionaires and billionaires who profit off the backs of black and brown urban school children in communities they would never spend one night in.

  4. I personally called Andre Baker regarding Jessica Martinez’ assertion that he supported “legislation” supporting “money follows the child.”

    He told me he had no idea what Jessica was talking about. He asked me if I have a bill #, which sub-committee or committee did the Bill originate from.

    It turns out there is NO LEGISLATION pending regarding “money follows the child.”

    Every parent has the right to make decisions they believe is best for their child. However, you don’t have a right to siphon away money from someone else’s child to fund your child’s education in a charter/private school where millionaires/billionaires are amassing significant profits due to federal and state tax credits

    There isn’t a single white millionaire or billionaire in CT that goes to sleep worrying about our black and brown children living in urban communities living in poverty.

  5. By the way, Jessica Martinez’ neighborhood school is now Bassick High School which means she can no longer serve on the 137th DTC.

    She also registered her address on Noble Avenue with the state Ethics Commission which is not possible if her neighborhood school is Bassick HS.

    Paging Brian Lockhart from the CT Post.

  6. Charter Schools are “private schools. ” Let the parents pay couple of thousand dollars for charter school/private school education. As soon as that happens,Jessica Martinez will disappear. Charter Schools are discrimination.

    1. To top it off, Jessica Martinez was canvassing the lower east side with Claudia Phillip’s on behalf of Antonio Felipe just 5 days ago.

      Claudia Phillip’s is the Bridgeport Community Organizer for Northeast Charter Schools. Her boss is Ruben Felipe, Antonio Felipe’s father.

      Antonio Felipe was the Treasuer of Build CT. A pro- Charter $chool PAC that billionaire Alice Walton donated $100,000 to help elect Dennis Bradley.

      Claudia Phillip’s became the Treasuer of Build CT when Antonio Felipe relinquished the role.

      Connect the dots…

  7. Charter $chools are the most racially segregated schools in the U.S., CT and Bridgeport.

    The NAACP passed a resolution in 2016 which stated that they wanted a halt on even one more Charter $school being opened in the U.S.

  8. Another corrupt Bridgeport Politician.

    Taking money to work against the interests of the public schools, while elected to the BOE.
    She is just as bad as or worse than the flat funding mayor and city council members,
    Boot her out

  9. Maria,send a cake to her Noble ave address,see if she answers the door,and while your at it,make her take a urine test!.She can run,but she can’t hide..

  10. Jessica Martinez says “she has no conflict lobbying for the charter school industry while serving on the school board, adding she received clearance from the board’s legal counsel. “There’s nothing for us to vote on for charter schools.” There in lies the rub. Using our public dollars with no oversight or transparency. You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig. Charter schools are pigs feeding at the public trough.

    1. The assertion that the Board of Education does not vote on matters related to Charter $chools is absolutely false.

      Whenever a Charter School operator applies with the state Board of Education to open a school in any municipality, the local school board must review the application, hold a public hearing and vote in support or opposition of the school board before the state Board of Education votes on the matter.

      Whenever a Charter School located in Bridgeport is up for renewal, the BOE has the right to vote in support or in opposition to the renewal.

      In 2017, Dr. Perry wanted to amend his Charter to add an additional campus in Bridgeport which would have cost the Bridgeport Board of Education an additional $100,000 in bus transportation costs. We had just balanced our budget by making $16,000,000 in cuts.

      A Special Meeting was called where the Board voted against it before the state Board of Education voted on the matter.

  11. It has come to my attention that Classical Study’s Magnet School sent a letter to 22 of the 49 seventh grade students that they were failing and could be sent back to their home school. Almost half of the 7th grade students failing, is that an indictment of the Bridgeport school system, the teachers, the parents or the principle?

    Now ask yourself as a parent, do I leave my children in this mess or do I try something different like a charter? Someone has some explaining to do, someone needs to be fired and someone needs to get into Classical Studies Magnet School to find out what the hell is going on and explain why is almost half of their 7th grader’s failing!! This is a damn shame that demands an explanation!!

  12. I have NEVER heard of any Magnet school reassigning 22 students in an entire school, nevermind a single grade.

    In addition, there is a detailed process that must be followed in order to reassign a magnet school student in which a parent had the right to appeal all the way up to the Board of Education.

    This simply doesn’t appear plausible.

  13. Maria, letters went out today to the parents of the 22 students. My grandson goes there and although he didn’t receive a letter several of his friends did. Again, is that an indictment of the Bridgeport school system, the teachers, the parents or the principle? This is a damn shame that demands an explanation!!

  14. Maria, my bad letters were not sent instead parents were talked to individually and a parent recorded said conversation. Other than that what I said earlier in my posts is what the parent was told.

    1. Donald,

      A couple of things. If it is that many students failing something would have been done about it before now. Meaning there is clearly a serious breakdown if half the class is failing.

      We just had report card conferences, and students were not allowed to take home their report cards after the fact if parents missed the scheduled days last week. What that means is parents would have known already.

      Let’s say all of this is true, and these kids did have to go back to their district school and they did….the money would actually follow them as opposed to a charter deselecting a student and the charter keeping the money.

  15. How many unethical and dishonest elected officials and appointed officials do we have in Bridgeport?

    First, Councilman Castillo failed to pay approximately $15,000 in insurance premiums which left taxpayers holding the bag.

    Second, it is alleged he used his stipend to buy four tires for his vehicle

    Finally, I have now received credible information that he has over $300 in unpaid parking tickets and Danny Roach is trying to use his position as the Chair of the Police Commission to take care of Castillo’s parking tickets.

    The FBI has to investigate this unethical conduct.


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