CT lawmakers need to get out of the gate of the charter school

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Thus, organized opposition to public charter schools and the education of black, Hispanic, white, Asian and other students in need continues, as evidenced by the opinion piece by Lucas Pimentel of Latinos for Educational Advocacy and Diversity.

George Wallace Lamont, George Wallace Kushner, George Wallace Looney, George Wallace Duff, George Wallace Ritter and George Wallace Rojas concluded another legislative session in Hartford and did not give positions to approved public charter schools in Danbury or Norwalk in order that they might open.

These schools had already been approved by the Connecticut Department of Education in 2018, but there are countless politicians in Connecticut who stand at the school gate and together prevent access to educational opportunities. for poor students. Danbury Charter School is affiliated with Latinos for Educational Advocacy and Diversity and Norwalk Charter is affiliated with Stamford Charter School for Excellence, one of the highest performing public schools in Connecticut. You would think they deserve a position to open. But you would be wrong.

Why do the governor and legislative leaders look like George Wallace? In 1963, Democratic Governor George Wallace led a “school door protest” at the University of Alabama to stop two black students from enrolling in violation of the law. Brown v. Board of Ed., Supreme Court ruling reversing the Jim Crow concept of “separate but equal” that had been enshrined in long-standing Supreme Court precedent, from Plessy v. Ferguson of 1896, which had lasted for fifty-eight years.

Today, countless politicians such as Governor Ned Lamont and legislative leaders Kushner, Looney, Rojas, Duff and Ritter stand outside the school gate. Connecticut’s public school monopoly has restricted educational choice for black, Hispanic, white, Asian, and other high-needs students by limiting Connecticut’s public charter schools to only about 2 percent of the public school population, or approximately 10,000 students. These students are primarily needy black and Hispanic students seeking an alternative to the failed public school monopoly. There are more than 6,000 mostly needy black and Hispanic students on waiting lists to get into a public charter school, but haters of school choice are limiting available seats thanks to power politics of a strong faction, our teachers’ unions.

For all their good qualities, Governor Lamont and legislative leaders Looney, Duff, Ritter and Rojas cower before public teachers’ unions and deny school choice to needy black and Hispanic students. Although 20% of Connecticut’s public charter schools are unionized, if educational choice were given to Connecticut students, teachers’ unions fear there would be an expansion of public charter schools and less union dues paid to teachers. fat, happy union bosses presiding over a failing public education system.

In 2017-2018, in the Connecticut public school system, black students in grades three through eight were at or above grade level in English 31-36% and at or above grade level in mathematics 17-30%. Hispanic students in grades three through eight were at or above grade level in English 32-38% and at or above grade level in math 19-32%. In contrast, third-grade black students at Stamford Charter School for Excellence, a public charter school, were at or above grade level in English at 83% and math at 91%. Third-grade Hispanic SCSE students were at or above grade level in English at 73% and math at 100%.

Connecticut’s public school system failed BIPOC students for 40 years. The statistics are even worse for blacks and Hispanics as they “advance” through Connecticut’s public school system. In eighth grade, they were at 17 and 19 percent grade level or above in math. The numbers got worse every year. It is the result of a public school monopoly that puts teachers and their unions first and students third. What about an enlightened education system: adults before children?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. We have been duped for 40 years, and the media covers the failure of our public school monopoly and reiterates the arguments of teachers’ unions against school choice for all our students, whether they have high needs or not. . It’s a faction that Madison warned against in Federalist Papers #10 that “there is nothing to check the incentives to sacrifice the weaker party [our children/students] . . .” And our students, black, Hispanic, white, Asian and otherwise, have all been sacrificed to the power of the public school monopoly.

In Connecticut, “truth to power” and “good trouble” both stop at the door of the public union and go no further. The same thing happened after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Nothing has changed. Some people have argued that black lives matter in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, but many of those same people have strongly argued that black life education doesn’t matter, so they stand by school gate, blocking funding for already approved public programs. charter schools.

It falls to Governor Lamont to call a special session of the legislature and put items online for all public charter schools approved by the Connecticut Board of Education, after haste, that would be sailed through the legislature by legislative leaders Looney, Duff, Ritter and Rojas. Until that happens, the nickname George Wallace will stick.

Peter Thalheim lives in Stamford.

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