“Together we are making Bridgeport the cleanest, greenest, safest most affordable city, with schools and neighborhoods that improve each year” … Mayor Bill Finch
For nearly four years Mayor Bill Finch has trumpeted the declaration above his battle cry. “Schools … that improve each year.” Really? Then one day we all woke up to learn that city schools were a disaster. Gee, what happened, mayor? That’s the trouble with dreamy governmental slogans. They sometimes come back to bite ya.
Maybe the mayor’s misplaced spin has Hugh Bailey, assistant editorial page editor of the Connecticut Post, perplexed about Finch’s claim that no one was surprised when the Bridgeport Board of Education threw in the towel and turned city schools over to the state. An excerpt from Bailey’s column:
Bridgeport, which has a reputation built on dysfunction, is only adding to it these days. Mayor Bill Finch last week claimed with a straight face that no one in the city was taken by surprise when the Board of Education ceded control to the state. This about a decision made with no public input, in a meeting scheduled with almost no public notice.
What’s mystifying about the administration’s actions is that hardly anyone argues the basic points. The schools need help, desperately. A radical change may, in fact, be called for, and the state takeover could be the right idea. That’s not what people are mad about.
They’re mad, in part, because officials continue to cling to discredited justifications. They continue to cite school board disharmony as an acceptable reason for radical change, when everyone agrees the problems long predate the most recent board. They have yet to say what, specifically, a new five-person panel can accomplish that the disbanded six-person majority could not.
Worst of all, they either imply or state outright that the messiness of democracy is a luxury that Bridgeport can’t afford. High-performing districts have time to get bogged down in minutiae, but not here. Little did we know the major impediment to closing the achievement gap is Robert’s Rules of Order.