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School Choice Advocates Muscle Up In Federal Court

August 24th, 2016 · 18 Comments · Education, News and Events

From Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post:

A group of parents, including the president of the Bridgeport District Parent Advisory Council, has filed a lawsuit alleging that Connecticut’s restrictions on magnet schools, charter schools and school choice programs are unconstitutional and have forced thousands of low-income and minority students to attend low-performing schools.

In all, 11 Connecticut parents and students from Bridgeport and Hartford filed the federal suit Tuesday against Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, state Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell and others.

Jessica Martinez, the District PAC president in Bridgeport has lent her name and her 13-year-old son, Jose’s to the suit. The group is aided by Students Matter of Menlo Park, California. According to Students Matter, the state’s restrictions have deepened one of the largest achievement gaps in the country.

Full story here.

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18 Comments so far ↓

  • Maria Pereira

    Jessica Martinez is the President of the Parent Advisory Council for the Bridgeport Public Schools and she is the lead plaintiff in this lawsuit advocating for more charter schools that took $6 million dollars away from the BPS just this year alone.

    I heard her on a press conference call specifically speak about the need for more charter schools.

    • John Marshall Lee

      Maria,
      Each of us cares about Bridgeport children and their future. We go about the goal in different ways. But we often provide facts or information that is otherwise less known or unknown to the OIB audience.
      A recent statistic that is circulating says there may be about 25,000 youth in Bridgeport from age 5 to 19, the range for participating in public schools generally. The goal of public dollars is to prepare those entering especially those who because of language, family circumstances or economic reasons may be inadequately prepared for Kindergarten and to see steady process through the following 12 years to be entitled to receive a high school diploma. Public dollars both State and local taxpayer supported are the revenues for Bridgeport.

      When you indicate Charter schools took $6 Million dollars away from the BOE directed system, can you share the number of students in Bridgeport charter schools who benefited from the $6 Million dollars? And can you calculate the cost per student represented by that dollar amount and how it compares to what the BOE is dealing with? Time will tell.

  • Maria Pereira

    Looks like experts in constitutional law think this lawsuit is a bust. Considering Jessica Martinez is their lead plaintiff it isn’t surprising.
    ctmirror.org/2016/08/24/ct-to-be-a-test-case-for-education-rights-under-u-s-constitution/

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I think it is time we put more funds into charter schools. The Bridgeport school system is a shambles and the kids are getting less than what they deserve.
    The BOE is a dysfunctional board that was mistakenly elected by the people of Bridgeport. There is not one person on that board who should be reelected.

  • flubadub

    Charter schools are known to cherrypick applicants and take very few special education students. There is also lax oversight and transparency on their private spending of public funds. They are known to “counsel” students to withdraw from the school early in the semester when they do not feel that student will excel rather than work with the student to improve, keeping the dollars provided from the state and returning the student to the general school system. Charters brag about their high graduation rate and college placement, but if a charter starts a freshman class of 100 and “counsels” out 40 it really has a 60% graduation rate.

    • Maria Pereira

      Exactly, flubadub.

      I had a new Kindergarten parent who enrolled her five-year-old autistic son into Achievement First call me this morning.

      She found my number on the BBOE website but like many parents did not understand Charter Schools are not governed by the BBOE. Her son has been enrolled for just one week, yet AF staff have called her every single day to ask her to leave her job to pick up her child because “he is too much” and “we cannot handle him.”

      They have stated AF might not be the best fit for her son. This is what Charter Schools are well known for. They repeatedly call parents to come to school for behaviorally challenged students which places the parent at risk for losing their job. They indicate the school might not be the best fit and the “gentle push” is made to exasperate the parent so they withdraw the student and place them into their neighborhood public school.

      In addition, it is highly likely this child would or will perform poorly on standardized tests, therefore they do not want to serve this child, which then inflates their standardized test scores while that child lowers the test scores in their neighborhood school. Now the Charter Schools will scream to the high heavens how much better their test scores are, yet they significantly underserve ELL, Special Ed., and impoverished students who are the most difficult to teach, perform the worst on standardized tests, and are the most expensive to educate.

      Don’t believe the hype!

    • BOE SPY

      flub, this is the idea. Spend the most on whom will give you the best return. Isn’t that what the Magnet schools do? Isn’t this what the best universities do? How about honors classes? Is this a bad thing?

      There is nothing that stops anyone from reaching the top of their potential except the person. We should reward and encourage those who have the courage to achieve that potential. Let these kids go to schools with like-minded peers who want to succeed in their education and lives. If any student wants to be where they are, do what they do.

      Besides, once you argue Charters are better because of their success, Maria will take one or both of two different stances. 1- They cherry pick their students. Not fair. 2- They are not better because this list of schools is just as good as regular BPT schools.

      Basically, Charters are better because they are smaller. Each kid represents a larger percent of the student body. If you give one kid a little bit of help it makes a bigger difference to the total performance of the school. The important thing about Charters is they do the same job at a cheaper rate.

      Maria is a little too conservative to allow herself to accept different approaches to education. Her only approach is ‘we do what we always have and spend more doing it.’ Even though BPT spends more per student than many districts and is dead last in success, she does not see a problem with the process.

    • barney

      Actually since teaching at Roosevelt over the past few years I have lost several students to charter schools. The students I lost were not the top performers nor the best behaved. Also many did have needs for which they received services.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    flub, at least we know 60% received a good education. On the flip side the last figure I read was we have a 60% dropout rate.

  • Gary Tobin

    Charter schools are for financial profit.
    Public schools are for community profit.
    Publicly funded private “for-profit” schools simply take away funding and resources from the true public education systems.
    The U.S. Dept. of Education and Common Core is the death of our children’s education. Using political agendas as the national curriculum is the education in our America. Bill Gates (and his like and there are many) purchased the nation’s public education system from our nation’s elected politicians, both parties.
    Local community education systems make our country a great place.

    • BOE SPY

      Then you would have to ask yourself a question, Gary. How are Charter schools doing the job for the same or less than the public schools and making so much profit? This would imply there is a tremendous amount of waste in the public school system.

      Common Core has a number of good aspects. The idea everyone in the 6th grade should be learning the same thing regardless of where they are is a good idea. This prevents state or local school systems from increasing student scores by making the test easier. Regional district could try to improve student matriculation by making the 6th grade the 5th grade. A school district could simply teach kindergarten to every grade. Every kid passes and every kid graduates. They have 13 years to learn A,B,C and 1,2,3. No child left behind is a bad idea but Common Core?

      Local community education systems make our country a great place if that place is Darien. In case you have not noticed, BPT is not that great a place. The state of BPT’s educational system is one of the major reasons for that.

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