Board of Education to Vote on Four Charter School Proposals on Wednesday, April 2
Click here for an image from today's press conference
HARTFORD, C.T. – On Tuesday, April 1, dozens of charter school supporters from across the state – school and community leaders, clergy, parents and students - gathered at Jumoke Academy Honors at the Hartford Conservatory to urge Governor Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut State Board of Education to approve four new pub lic charter schools.
The State Board of Education will convene on Wednesday, April 2 at 9:30 am to vote on the four new charter school proposals, which include Booker T. Washington Academy (New Haven), Capital Prep Harbor (Bridgeport), Great Oaks Charter School (Bridgeport) and Stamford Charter School for Excellence (Stamford).
“By opening these four schools, hundreds of families in Connecticut can have a fighting chance,” said Jeremiah Grace, Connecticut state director, Northeast Charter Schools Network. “There are thousands of parents and students that want options now. And they deserve them.”
There is a growing, unmet demand for more high-quality public school choice options across Connecticut. With 4,276 student names on charter school waiting lists, supporters at Tuesday’s event called on policymakers to act now to provide better public education options for families.
“Somewhere along the way politics got involved in this thing we call education,” said Dr. Steve Perry, founder of Hartford’s Capital Preparatory Magnet School and applicant for the proposed Capital Prep Harbor School in Bridgeport. “The truth can change, especially when dipped in politics. Between today and tomorrow every one of us must remain diligent. Our children deserve these four options.” (Click here for a video of Dr. Steve Perry speaking on the importance of public charter schools).
Christina Grant, of the proposed Great Oaks Charter School, suggested that the opportunity presented to the State Board of Education this year is “historic.”
“We’re simple people with a simple dream,” said Christina Grant. “We think that one school can change the world. We have to get past politics.” (Click here for a video of Christina Grant speaking on the importance of public charter schools).
Leon Woods, a parent of several children in Bridgeport, urged the Board of Education to approve the four charter proposals to give more families the opportunity to send their children to high-quality public schools.
“I am a parent of both charter school children and regular district school children. I want all children to have the same opportunities my children in charter schools have had,” said Woods. “For too long, we’ve suffered in our city – education standards have been too low. We have the opportunity for that to be risen.” (Click here for a video of Leon Woods speaking on the importance of public charter schools).
In New Haven, Rev. Eldren Morrison of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church has partnered with Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE) to create the Booker T. Washington Academy. FUSE, which runs Jumoke Academy Honors, partners with the city of Hartford at Milner Elementary School and Bridgeport with Dunbar Elementary School. (Click here for a video of Rev. Morrison speaking on the importance of public charter schools).
“We are excited that there are others that are following in our footsteps,” Joe Dickerson, III, executive director, Jumoke Academy Schools. “We’ve proven over the course of 16 years that kids, regardless of skin color, regardless of income can attain at the highest level of academic achievement.” (Click here for a video of Joe Dickerson speaking on the importance of public charter schools).
Bishop Richardo Griffith of Bridgeport’s Word of Life Ministries, said that of the 4,276 names on state charter school waiting lists, 1,200 are in Bridgeport, demonstrating the demand for charter schools in Connecticut at large and Bridgeport in particular: “It’s time for them to step up to the plate and vote in favor of all four schools.” (Click here for a video of Bishop Richardo Griffith speaking on the importance of public charter schools).
Rev. William D. McCullough of Bridgeport’s Russell Temple CME church, said he has had difficulty finding a good school for his own children to attend. He asked the crowd at Tuesday’s rally, “What would it be like if there was a capital prep or a great Oaks in Bridgeport? It would change our whole city.” (Click here for a video of Rev. William D. McCullough speaking on the importance of public charter schools).
“The truth of the matter is so many families are waiting for these schools to open. This has nothing to do with their color – it has everything to do with their environment,” said Rev. Kenneth Moales Jr. with Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. “There are 32 schools in Bridgeport and 27 are failing. I can’t stop fighting for choices and quality options for children when I know that families can’t read the Bible I’m preaching from.”
”In the seven years working at our school in the Bronx that this proposed charter is modeled after, I’ve seen visitors and parents that come through our doors become speechless. I feel very proud – but nipping at the heels of that – is a lot of sadness, and shame – that what should be the standard for all children can feel so foreign,” said Tanya Ghans, founder, Stamford Charter School for Excellence. “Our students will not just be students – they will become scholars” (Click here for a video of Tanya Ghans speaking on the importance of public charter schools).
Charter supporters from cities across Connecticut plan to attend Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting to further support the approval of the four proposed charter schools.