On Nov. 6, city voters will decide if they want to allow Mayor Bill Finch to appoint school board members or continue the current process of electing them. Finch has been making the rounds urging a yes vote on the charter revision question. The mayor this week attended a panel discussion and the screening of the film “Won’t Back Down” that chronicles efforts to reform a failing school. See details released by the mayor below followed by a commentary by Hugh Bailey, a member of the Connecticut Post Editorial Board, who expresses suspicion of the motives of Excel Bridgeport, a school-based organization that supports a mayoral-appointed school board.
Mayor Bill Finch and StudentsFirst hosted a screening and panel discussion of the major motion picture “Won’t Back Down” on Tuesday in Bridgeport.
The Hollywood film, which stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, is based on real-life events, and opens in theaters nationwide today. The movie portrays two mothers–one a teacher–working to transform their kids’ failing inner city school. Opposed by powerful bureaucracies, they challenge the status quo to make sure their children receive a quality education.
Following Tuesday’s screening, Mayor Finch served as moderator of a panel discussion which featured State Representative Charlie Stallworth; Amy Marshall, Principal at Beardsley School; Jessica Martinez, parent advocate; Maria Zambrano, executive director at Excel Bridgeport and George Parker, senior fellow at StudentsFirst and former president of the Washington Teachers Union.
Topics covered during the discussion included giving parents more options with their child’s education, talent support and recruitment and the progress seen in Bridgeport schools during the last ten months, which include hiring a nationally renowned Superintendent in Paul Vallas, cutting the school’s deficit and the establishment of a Parent Engagement Policy in partnership with parents like Ms. Martinez.
Bailey’s commentary and link to full article below:
The goal is the same–helping Bridgeport students. So why the mistrust?
Members of Excel Bridgeport, the well-connected recent arrivals on the education scene, must be asking themselves this question. They just want better outcomes in one of the worst-performing districts in the state. Why do they inspire such suspicion?
The answer starts with the company the organization chooses to keep.
Last week featured a special event with the mayor of Bridgeport promoting what’s been called “a set of right-wing anti-union talking points disguised (with very limited success) as a mainstream motion-picture-type product.”
That was from the online magazine Salon about the school-reform movie “Won’t Back Down,” screened last week at a Bridgeport theater, and it’s one of the kinder reviews out there.
Read more here.