Charter Question Supporters Claim Opposition Is Trying To Hijack Vote

With the election just days away the charges and counter charges over the Nov. 6 charter question will intensify. From Parents for Progress:


“Coalition to Protect a Broken School System” misleads parents with false claims and inauthentic support

An outside interest group is misleading Bridgeport voters about Tuesday’s charter revision referendum and threatening to reverse the progress the city’s public schools are making, a group of Bridgeport public school parents said today.

Parents for Progress, who strongly support Tuesday’s referendum to keep public school progress going, today called out the group that should be known as the “Coalition to Protect a Broken School System” as a hypocritical organization that neither consists of nor speaks for Bridgeport public school families. The group has inundated voters’ mailboxes with flyers making false claims about the referendum and featuring people they claim are local activists yet are NOT local parents.

The “Coalition to Protect a Broken School System” is primarily funded by outside interest groups such the Connecticut Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and the Working Families Party, all of which are based outside of Bridgeport and have a stake in blocking the kind of reforms that have begun to bring positive change to the city’s schools.

“None of the people featured in their mailers is a current Bridgeport public school parent nor do they represent the desires of parents in this city,” said Jessica Martinez, a Parents 4 Progress leader and Bridgeport public school parent. “It’s disgraceful that groups that claim to speak for families could mislead them in this way, in an effort to protect their own hold over our public schools and the failed policies they’ve supported for decades. Luckily voters are smarter than that and that’s why on Tuesday, progress will prevail over politics.”

“If this group has a plan to improve our schools then they should come forward with their ideas rather than try to hold parents and students hostage to past policies that have left our children unprepared and underperforming,” said Susie Harrison, a Parents for Progress member and Bridgeport public school parent. “We urge all Bridgeporters to vote Yes on Tuesday because this charter revision is the best hope we have for keeping our classrooms moving in the right direction.”

A yes vote would help build on the progress made over the past year under the leadership of Superintendent Paul Vallas and a state-appointed board of education. Vallas and the appointed board closed a $19 million budget hole without having to layoff teachers or gut high school sports programs, expanded school options and gave parents more opportunities to participate in their children’s education.



  1. What a freaking joke these people from Parents for Progress are. They are complaining about an organization that is a grass-roots organization made up of everyday parents and taxpayers. We have to scrape together funding to get literature to the public while the organizations in favor of a charter change will spend close to $4 million dollars trying to take our voting rights away.
    The spokesperson quoted here is talking about the Federation of Teachers; last time I checked most Bridgeport teachers belong to that organization. The Working Families party has three elected members on the BOE.
    These groups that want a charter change for the most part come from the suburbs and are fighting for potential dollars if the mayor gets his way.
    Having attended a majority of the budget hearings and all of them concerned the education budget, I never saw a parent from these outside groups nor did I see Jessica Martinez at any of these meetings. The Budget and Appropriations committee flat-lined the BOE budget for five years and did not increase that budget by $1.00 in those five years. Where were these people when this was done five years in a row by the Finch administration?
    Who the hell are these people who want to take my right to vote? What’s next, the mayor appoints council members? Just so you know I have four grandchildren in Bridgeport schools.

  2. Good for these parents for exposing the hypocrisy of the no “coalition.” No one on the no side is a current Bridgeport parent and now that parents are speaking up for better schools for their children they get attacked? The no leadership should be ashamed of themselves. Calling Bridgeport parents “outsiders?” It’s so ridiculous it’s funny!

    Andrew Fardy: Do you go to BOE meetings every month? Probably not, so how do you know the parents from this group aren’t at those meetings? Do you even know what these people look like??? How can you accurately say you’ve never seen any of them at meetings??? You don’t, so don’t make assumptions you can’t verify.

    Oh and don’t tell me you and your friends are a “a grass-roots organization” that has “to scrape together funding to get literature to the public.” You are getting $150,000 from outside special interests. The two BIGGEST labor unions in the ENTIRE country!!! That is hardly scraping by!!! And if your grandkids attend Bridgeport Public Schools, chances are they are attending a failing school (most are in this city). You should be running to the polls on Tuesday to vote yes for their future instead of for the status quo system that has failed to provide a quality education to Bridgeport students including your grandkids.

  3. Booster,
    First if you are going to take me to task get you facts straight. Here is what I said above:

    “Having attended a majority of the budget hearings and all of them concerned the education budget, I never saw a parent from these outside groups nor did I see Jessica Martinez at any of these meetings.”
    Budget hearings, get it? I did not mention BOE meetings. We are still a grass roots organization even with the $150K. Compared to what the outside groups are giving to the yes forces we got chump change. The school my grandkids are attending is not a failing school.
    If you believe the outside forces are in this for the kids I have a bridge for sale, care to buy it?

  4. *** Just “who’s zooming whom?” The yes folk don’t have a clue if they really think Finch taking over the reins of the BOE and appointing his own nine members is going to make the drastic change needed to completely turn things around! The elected BOE who seemed to have most times six pro-admin members vs three anti-admin members and (other than argue important issues at times) still managed to pass most of the school administrations important needs and wants. And today still have the edge on the pro-admin side so Vallas would not have such a hard time getting things done towards improving things for the kids! Besides, whether it’s elected or appointed, don’t they both want what’s best for the kids in the end? Maybe the only difference is the appointed BOE will be more of a Vallas and the Mayor’s rubber stamp type board in concerns about money, jobs, employee contracts, etc. while the elected BOE would questions things more, listen to their constituents and school parents and in the end still look to do the right thing for the kids! Also, all this credit the Mayor’s taking for new schools that have been on the drawing board for years and the work put in by the school board committee along with so-called more books the kids don’t read nor are the curricula for those books being followed by the teachers is poppycock to put it mildly. The “lost of citizen’s votes” over vague claims of change and holding the Mayor accountable if things don’t work out on the BOE is not about the kids in the end, it’s about money and power! Just who hires or fires Vallas or Finch should they fail, a Mayor appointed BOE? And with no Mayor citizen’s recall, should Finch decide in three years he does not want to run for a third term in office, just how do the citizens of Bpt hold the Mayor accountable for continued failure? If the “elected BOE” needs some positive tweaking on its operation it should come from not only the school admin. and the Mayor but also the teachers, students and parents along with the pro-education and interested community citizens who voted the members in! It takes a community working together to help improve our urban city schools for our kids, not one man calling all the shots without any accountability in the end for failure. It’s not as simple or clear cut as the vote yes advocates think, nor is the loss of your right to vote for a nine member BOE the ultimate solution towards positive change. Government in general, national or local seems to get more and more involved in the daily lives of its citizens; taxes, laws, education, etc. affect most of us during our lives with very little input from the average citizen. As Americans, past, present and future, blood has been sacrificed by many for the simple right to vote! We as a people wish to step forward not backward in our decision making towards any type of changes. Losing or giving up your right to vote period, is taking a step backward! *** YOUR VOTE COUNTS SO EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT ON NOV. 6, 2012 BY VOTING “NO!” ***


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