Monday, July 17, 2006

Education discussion turns chaotic

More chaos in New Haven. Good for ConnCAN! We need a lot more forums like this one, in which the entrenched forces of the status quo show their true colors -- and which draw a lot of media coverage.


Education discussion turns chaotic

Maria Garriga, New Haven Register


-NEW HAVEN — What was supposed to be an ordinary panel discussion about the achievement gap in education disintegrated Saturday into a wild fracas with city school officials and parents — led by the superintendent — shouting down panelists.

As two police officers stood by at a Southern Connecticut State University student center, nearly 100 New Haven school officials, parents and supporters said they were sick of the schools being portrayed as ineffective.

"You’re attacking New Haven," shouted parent Essie Barrows, mother of a student at James Hillhouse High School.

"You’ve got to target parents and not the school system," she said.

This was the second time this month that school officials disrupted a meeting about public school reform. Two weeks ago, public school teachers and principals attended a meeting by an advocacy organization called Teach Our Children and blasted the group for its protest of a New Haven principal who had been arrested for drunk driving in February.

Supt. of Schools Reginald Mayo said he flew in from San Francisco to attend Saturday’s forum. The panel was organized by ConnCAN, a nonprofit group that supports public school reform and charter schools.

Mayo and Brian Perkins, president of the New Haven Board of Education, circulated through the crowd and did not attempt to quell the uproar.

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