Bridgeport parent leaders responded forcefully to an attack on their schools by Jennifer Alexander, the leader of ConnCAN.
Alexander claimed that charters in Connecticut outperform public schools and that 65,000 students are trapped in failing public schools. She certainly knows the corporate reform script.
The parent leaders wrote:
“As Bridgeport public school parents and elected parent leaders, we find it insulting that a paid charter school proponent is attempting to speak on behalf of a community she has no involvement with. Ms. Alexander does not have a child in the Bridgeport public schools, does not reside in the city of Bridgeport and does not pay Bridgeport taxes.
To Alexander’s claim that charters outperform public schools, the parents wrote:
“In reviewing the data of the six state charter schools that service Bridgeport students, it is abundantly clear that these six schools do not reflect the demographics of our traditional public schools. These six schools collectively underserve children with disabilities, English language learners and students receiving free/reduced-price lunch. By underserving these student populations, in some cases by double digits, they are able to claim that they achieve higher test scores.”
Bridgeport parents understand that ConnCAN represents fabulously wealthy individuals who use the public schools as a plaything. They wrote:
“ConnCan is funded by some very wealthy individuals. Their main purpose is to advocate for charter schools and their expansion. We are Bridgeport public school parents and elected parent leaders who volunteer our time and service. We do not receive a dime in compensation for the advocacy work that we do.
“Until Ms. Alexander can say the same, we recommend she speak for herself and not for those of us that are in the trenches fighting and advocating for our children’s education every day.”
The heartening aspect of this letter is that regular parents are seeing clearly what the game is. They understand that ConnCAN doesn’t care about their children. They recognize that the end game will be a publicly funded dual school system, with one free to exclude or push out kids it doesn’t want.
They are fighting for their children, for their community, for public education, and for democracy.