Will Pols Sign The Bridgeport Children’s Bill Of Rights For Education?

The Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition will conduct its annual meeting for regional politicians tonight (Tuesday) at Mount Aery Baptist Church, 73 Frank Street, to address a variety of issues involving city kids. This time, however, they’ve added a new wrinkle: A “Bridgeport Children’s Bill of Rights for Education.” After discussion, all forum participants will be asked to sign the children’s bill of rights. Will they?

BCAC is one of those important social irritants that exists–beyond raising awareness about issues impacting children–to make politicians sweat. This is a group that keeps score.

The group’s Executive Director Mary Pat Curran Healy knows something about political life. Her father Hugh Curran served as Bridgeport’s mayor from 1965 to 1971. Mary Pat, like her predecessor Marilyn Ondrasik, tries to focus pols on the current state of city kids in the areas of education, health care, safety, finances and communication, and what they can do about it.

As the future for managing Bridgeport schools will be decided by the Connecticut Supreme Court, BCAC wants to keep decision makers focused on the things that matter irrespective of who will be in charge. Statement from the preamble to the Bridgeport Children’s Bill of Rights for Education:

We have developed a set of principles that we believe are the prerequisites for a successful school system in Bridgeport. Regardless of whether the decision of the State Department of Education to reconstitute the Bridgeport Board of Education is upheld or overturned by the courts, we believe these principles should form the basis for all decisionmaking going forward …

Bridgeport Children’s Bill of Rights for Education
The children of Bridgeport have a right to:
• A district-wide school culture that promotes Mutual Respect, ensures Student Achievement, and fosters a holistic Commitment to Excellence for all students in all grades, pre-kindergarten through graduation.
• Strong Leadership at the district, school, and classroom level to ensure Consistency, Equity, and Sustainability across all schools in implementing policies and best practices with a focus on systems reform and student achievement.
• Schools that are Safe, free from violence, bullying, and environmental hazards.
• Sufficient Financial Resources to provide a high-quality and equitable education for all students, together with Fiscal Responsibility to ensure that funds are used effectively and efficiently.
• Stability and ongoing Support for all school staff to promote a positive working environment for teachers and a successful learning experience for students.
• Representation on the Board of Education by parents of children currently in the school system and individuals who represent the faces and cultures of the Bridgeport community.
• Open lines of Communication among the Board of Education, the superintendent, Central Administration, parents, students, and the community.
• Transparency in the decision-making process of the Board of Education, Central Administration, the superintendent, the Mayor’s office, and the State of Connecticut.
• District-wide Accountability to students and families.
• Community Engagement and Empowerment to provide opportunities for parents to participate in decision-making at the school and district level.

A Call to Action:

We urge all policymakers, teachers, administrators, parents, and community leaders to always put these core principles at the forefront of their actions and decisions affecting the students of Bridgeport. Now more than ever, we call upon policymakers at all levels to use these principles as the compass that will determine the future direction of the Bridgeport school district. All decisions and policies affecting the students of Bridgeport should promote the objectives set forth in these principles. The future is now, the time has come, and the people of Bridgeport can no longer be silent: our children’s education is at stake.

About Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC)

The Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC) is a coalition of organizations, parents and other concerned individuals committed to improving the well-being of Bridgeport’s children through research, community education, mobilization and advocacy. To learn more, visit www.BCACCT.org.



  1. Someone needs to help these kids … their families are often their first obstacles to a good education … once in school, the teachers rightfully claim a hard time teaching if the sugar loading has them off the walls … but there is no good excuse for poor performance on the part of the school system itself … there is plenty of professional guidance in how to make a school work … perhaps not so much on how to get the willingness of the staff to go the extra mile … this year, I have heard of many kids left standing at the bus stop while the bus never showed up … In previous years, there was talk of the schoolbook money going missing, leaving the children without textbooks … Get it fixed or get out and let someone do it who can.

  2. While all laudable for any school systems not just Bridgeport, this is just “kumbaya,” feel-good stuff. Here’s what should be included:
    1. Senior administration who are not just platitude-spouting hacks like Ramos. Bridgeport ain’t Westport and it needs strong administrators who can handle unique, tough, urban schools. Central’s Andy Karcich comes to mind.
    2. Teachers and administrators need to look & behave as professionals, not like they just came from the soup kitchen.
    3. We have what many consider (me included) a large BOE and City maintenance set-up. Clean up the outside of these schools so they do not look as dumpy as the squalor that exists around some of them. Pisses me off every time I drive by Bassick or Kennedy Stadium. Same with inside cafeterias, hallways, etc. Get management demanding these properties look like beacons of hope. If they can’t get lazy incompetent or “connected” custodians to do the work they are paid for … outsource.
    4. There’s education, there’s facilities and operations. Superintendents and principals are primarily responsible for educating … Not maintaining buildings, constructing buildings, food service, transportation, etc. Get them out of those areas and hire people who know what they are doing … Not politically connected hacks like the HR director or Rosa Correa’s nephew coming back for another bite at the apple.

    Too many middle-class families have either voted with their feet or sent their kids to private schools. Apathy and acceptance of mediocre management has filled the void.

    Time to make things happen!

    1. Yesterday it was a Fairfield Metro Station (official name) that opened after years of development, design, planning, conservation issues, and hiccups around financing, but it opened. And today … so much in Bridgeport “awaits preparation” … and your point is perhaps hopefully and optimistically the municipalities are alike??? Or there is an upward surge in the basics of our economy that will ground the development of a “second” Bridgeport station? Or what are you saying for real?

      And then you reference political firepower. and you lose me. Yes Virginia, Bridgeport is a single-party City and the Democratic party rules. But when the local leadership can’t muster more than 25% of those registered to the polls, and this is observed election after election, regionally and Statewide, where is the “firepower” to get things from Hartford or Washington DC (relative to what we might get if we truly had power of any type)? Or if we had a AAA rating rather than a Fitch A?

      And Fairfield Metro is also an example of what happens when the economic marketplace changes and the taxpaying portion of the project does not get off the ground until … some time in the future … when things get better … and the only real development is kept alive by the State advancing additional funds to the project and causing Fairfield to be the safety net for environmental problems and to lose first call on the parking fees it had expected to reap. That’s a taxpayer project. One Million Dollars for plans for a project that is years and years away, maybe (remember the Bridgeport Archive room of all the plans for Bridgeport that have been futured, featured, and stayed rolled or folded, gathering dust? … Time will tell.

  3. Pathetic that only 4 of our delegation showed up … come on. Guess that’s what happens when the election cycle is over. Should have held this in October and EVERYBODY would have been there promising the world! Once again … Bridgeport gets what Bridgeport deserves …


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