Our greatest asset in the City of Bridgeport is our young students. These students need – and deserve – the best that the city has to offer. Our students must come first. With this in mind, Bridgeport’s Board of Education has called for a state takeover of the school system.
The decision to request the state’s help has not come easily. Yet we cannot allow the status quo to continue for our students. They deserve better.
To be blunt, Bridgeport Public Schools are not adequately serving the needs of our students. Only 1 in 4 fourth graders are reading at grade level, and 14 of our 30 elementary schools are among the worst schools in the state. The next highest city or town with failing schools is Hartford with three. Bridgeport students need our help.
The current Board of Education has not been able to impact student performance for the better, nor attend to other basic duties of running the school system. A few recent examples: The board has failed to pass a budget, and has failed to implement recommendations made in the Gibson Study that would have streamlined key functions within the school system and saved millions of dollars.
The intervention by the State of Connecticut and the reconstitution of the local school board is a responsible and appropriate action. It is our hope that when the State Board of Education takes action on this resolution, they consider appointing a reform-minded group that includes local representatives who have a stake in our children’s education. These crucial first steps are critical in putting our kids back on track.
We simply want to give our students the best we can and move forward. A state takeover is the appropriate action to take at this time and will allow our students the best opportunity to succeed in their future endeavors. We are confident that brighter days lie ahead for Bridgeport’s children.