Two-Year Moratorium On Charter Schools Rejected

Bridgeport is often at the center of debate over publicly funded charter schools that run independent of traditional neighborhood schools. Opponents to charter schools argue they siphon funds from education districts. Statement from Jennifer Alexander, chief executive officer of pro-charter school organization ConnCAN:

Today (Friday), the Connecticut General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Education proceeded with Senate Bill 1096 to update our state’s charter law, but decidedly rejected language that would have imposed a two-year moratorium on the opening of charter schools in the state. In response to the Committee’s decision, ConnCAN CEO Jennifer Alexander offered the following statement:

“We are pleased that the Education Committee heard the cries of families around the state and decided to reject the two-year moratorium on charter schools that would have been devastating to so many of our most vulnerable communities. This revised bill will update Connecticut’s out-dated charter law and help ensure that Connecticut’s children will have a chance to receive the quality options they want and deserve.

“ConnCAN will continue efforts to ensure that high-quality public schools of all kinds are available for every child in the state. That goal will only be attained if Connecticut continues to invest in supporting and replicating the success students are having in high-quality, public options like charters schools.

“The rejection of the moratorium language will ensure that the nearly 4,000 students on charter school waiting lists may soon have access to high-quality alternatives in their communities. The decision will also allow the two charter schools that have been approved, but not yet funded, to have an opportunity to open their doors and provide results to children and families who demand options. It is now up to our state leaders to ensure that the state budget gives children and families that opportunity, as proposed by the Governor.

“Though Senate Bill 1096 includes needed steps towards updating our law by improving accountability for charter schools, our state’s leaders must also modernize the way we fund schools to provide sustainable and equitable funding for all our public schools. Connecticut remains an outlier among all other states in how we fund schools of choice. We need to equitably fund students across all schools and spend our limited dollars in ways that will deliver results for students.”

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15 comments

  1. Jennifer Alexander is in for a rude awakening if she thinks this fight is over.

    First, we have the 2015 elections to address. We have to defeat charter school-loving Mayor Finch and all four of his BBOE members up for reelection. I am committed to doing whatever I have to do to make that happen.

    Second, we clearly need change within the Bridgeport delegation in Hartford.

    The Education Committee didn’t hear the “cries of families,” they heard the cries of white millionaires, billionaires, Wall Street executives, investors and their highly compensated lobbyists.

    1. Ms. Pereira,
      Are the “cries of white millionaires, billionaires, Wall Street executives, investors and their highly compensated lobbyists” different from those of any other group of wealthy Americans and their “highly compensated lobbyists?”

      Did you mean to specifically target “white” people in your statement? If so, how do you see race playing into this? When you look at the makeup of our current Hartford delegation, do you see them agreeing with your statement? They should have an opinion on this as they get to face many more lobbyists in a given legislative session than you or I do, I will guess, regardless of the days we spend in Hartford.

      I have understood the role “millionaires and billionaires” have as “enemies of education” in your Bridgeport education story in recent years, but the inclusion of the adjective “white” seems to be a new direction for your story. Any comments? Time will tell.

  2. The millionaires, billionaires and Wall Street executives and investors who advocate, invest in, and/or found charter schools are “white.” Can you identify any significant investors or founders who are minority? Better yet, please list any of these “white” investors who send their own “white” children and grandchildren to the charter schools in the urban minority communities where these schools are located.

  3. Does Kevin Johnson the mayor of Sacramento count? How about his wife Michelle Rhee? They are charter school connected. Why was the use of white necessary?

    1. Andy, what these “white” millionaires and billionaires do is they use the face of a minority to promote charter schools in minority communities. As you can see, Kevin Johnson did not fund his charter school chain, one of the wealthiest “white” men in the world did, Bill Gates.
      “St. HOPE Public Schools is a pre-K through 12th grade independent charter school system that provides education to nearly 2,000 students in seven small schools. One of the schools St. HOPE impacted was Sac High, where three generations of Johnson’s family including him attended. In October 2002 Sac High was at risk of being shut down and restricted into five smaller schools due to low test scores. But by January 2003, Johnson had raised seed money from the Gates Foundation and drafted a petition to reopen Sac High as an independent charter school. On September 2, 2003 Sac High opened as a charter school with 1,450 students. Since St. HOPE’s involvement with Sac High, student performance has improved.”

  4. I’m not trying to defend Maria, but the vast majority of the billionaires and millionaires in America are white. Steve Mandel, a billionaire living in CT is one of the biggest supporters of charter schools. Michelle Rhee started Students First, a charter advocacy and investment firm after she sabotaged the D.C. public school system.

    Certainly, it’s not only white folks who have invested in the charter industry. Stephen A. Smith (ESPN) and Pitbull (hip hop artist) come to mind as investors in charters.

    Sadly, it’s a safe bet to invest in the charter industry since the returns are damned near guaranteed. This is why you see wealthy investors putting money into these types of schools.

    1. Eric, Stephen A. Smith is interested in serving on Dr. Perry’s proposed charter school in Harlem NY. I could find nothing that stated he was a significant financial backer. Considering his highly offensive and controversial remarks regarding domestic violence, he and Dr. Perry sound perfect for each other.

      I saw a news clip about Pit Bull’s charter school in Florida. Looks like he has “invested” in the school. He is used as the face because of his popularity with the Hispanic community. Please read this troubling article about both him and his school. He is clearly there as part of the advertising/hype and to perpetuate the charter school myth. He certainly isn’t in any way informed.
      www .npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/10/15/234683081/is-pitbull-mr-education-rapper-opens-charter-school-in-miami

    2. Eric,
      Will you please explain how “wealthy investors” earn nearly guaranteed good returns enough to “invest” millions or more into Charter Schools here in CT? It’s a simple question I have asked before but have never received an answer on OIB.

      Yours is a newer voice. Since you see wealthy investors putting money into Charter schools you suggest are investments, but rather aren’t they charitable contributions for which under normal circumstances they get a tax deduction? If funds are provided to charitable entities, why do you talk about “returns” unless you are referring to satisfaction in seeing some students in some schools making educational process?

      Where do you see millionaire or billionaire financial support of Charter School reform, among other initiatives, to be “damned near guaranteed” returns to the wealthy individual? How do they cash out? How do you see the returns represented? Time will tell.

      1. There is a federal tax credit regarding charter schools. The average investor will double their investment in seven years and triple it within 10. The tax credit requires the charter school be opened in impoverished urban communities which is why they are rarely opened in middle-class or affluent suburbs.

        I have posted a link to a Forbes article regarding this previously. You simply chose to ignore it.

  5. I encourage every single person who reads OIB to read this incredibly revealing article about who is really behind the privatization/charter school battle in NY.

    These nine men have three things in common:
    1) They are all billionaires
    2) They are all hedge fund elitists
    3) They are ALL “white”

    I am sure there is a fourth thing they all have in common, too. None of them have their own children or grandchildren enrolled in the charter schools they fund, promote or invest in located in the poor urban communities in NY where charter schools are exploding.

    PLEASE READ THIS!
    www .thenation.com/article/201881/9-billionaires-are-about-remake-new-yorks-public-schools-heres-their-story

    1. An excerpt from that “Nation” article:
      Manipulative from the Start

      It is interesting to note that even back in 2010 at the height of their naïveté about education-reform politics, the hedge-fund reform coalition never considered attempting to build a movement actually centered on the needs and input of students and parents. In fact, internal e-mails from Education Reform Now seem to conceive of parents, particularly parents of color, as objects to authenticate their preconceived plans, rather than active participants and decision-makers within their reform club.

      For example, in this 2010 e-mail from former Houston [charter school movement] Trustee Natashi Kamrani to [New York-based] Education Reform Now’s Joe Williams presumably asking for someone to sign onto a pro–education reform op-ed, Williams briskly responds, “I don’t have any Hispanic voice that I can deploy right now.”

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