Privatization and the systematic defunding of our public schools

Privatization and the systematic defunding of our public schools

Fairfield University hosts timely panel discussion on education reform on March 31

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (March 4, 2015) – Four well-known voices in education reform will discuss the timely, sometimes controversial subject in “Add Tests and Stir: Education ‘Reform’ in the 21st Century,” a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 31, at Fairfield University. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Barone Campus Center Oak Room and is sponsored by Fairfield’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP).

Seating is limited. To reserve a seat, contact

Event organizers hope it will attract educators and parents and spark meaningful discussion and action around several crucial topics, said Robert Hannafin, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions. The School hosted a related event, “Are We There Yet? The Assault on Public Education in Connecticut,” in December.

“There is no question that public education – historically the great equalizer and beacon of hope for the most disadvantaged among us – is being threatened by private investors whose motives are not always altruistic,” said Dr. Hannafin.

The panelists come to education reform from a wide range of perspectives.

Wendy Lecker is a senior attorney at the Education Law Center, where she oversees work on school funding and other school equity issues in New York. She is co-counsel in Maisto v. State, a school funding case brought against New York State on behalf of parents and children in eight small cities in New York. The trial in that case ended several weeks ago and a decision by the court is expected in a matter of months. Lecker was staff attorney for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity during its landmark school funding case against New York State. She is also an education columnist for Hearst Connecticut Media Group, a public school parent in Stamford, and the former co-president of Stamford’s Parent Teacher Council.

Jonathan Pelto, who as been active in Connecticut public policy, advocacy and politics for 40 years, waselected to the state House of Representatives in 1984, when he was a senior at the University of Connecticut. Over five terms, he rose to the level of deputy majority leader and was a member of the Appropriations and Education Committee. Since then he has worked as a communications strategist, developing and implementing public relations, media relations and advocacy programs aimed at educating, persuading and mobilizing targeted audiences. His clients have included many of Connecticut’s most significant nonprofit organizations, corporations, associations and unions, as well as Native American tribes. He has also managed or worked on numerous political campaigns and he writes the popular blog “Wait What?”

Thomas Scarice has been the superintendent of Madison Public Schools since March 2012. He led a “re-visioning” process upon his arrival that has served as the blueprint for all continuous improvement efforts there, with an eye to preparing all learners for the challenges of work and citizenship. The process involved a series of community “education summits” and led the school system that prioritizes putting ideas into action, solving authentic, complex problems, communication and collaboration and resiliency among all learners. Prior to his tenure in Madison, Scarice served as the assistant superintendent of the Weston Public Schools and as principal of the interdistrict Two Rivers Magnet Middle School.

Yohuru Williams, Ph.D., is associate vice president for Academic Affairs and professor of history at Fairfield. He is the author of “Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights, Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven” (Blackwell, 2006) and “Teaching U.S. History Beyond the Textbook” (Corwin, 2008) and the editor of “A Constant Struggle: African-American History from 1865 to the Present, Documents and Essays (Kendall Hunt, 2002). His scholarly articles have appeared in The Black Scholar, The Journal of Black Studies and Black History Bulletin, among other publications. He is the editor of several other publications, including the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s 2002 and 2003 Black History Month publications, and is a sought-after speaker at academic events across the country and is frequently quoted in the media about history and education.

Posted On: 03-09-2015 03:03 PM

Volume: 47 Number: 201