Any Kangaroo Warriors Out There?

Christopher Peak PhotoA challenger for the Board of Education has a new name for his supporters: “kangaroo warriors.”

Jamell Cotto, who’s challenging incumbent Board of Ed member Edward Joyner for an elected seat, unveiled that name at Ward 25’s Democratic Town Committee meeting at Edgewood School on Thursday evening. The two candidates (along with the mayoral contenders) took turns adressing the gathering to try to drum up support for a party endorsement at next month’s nominating convention.

Cotto spoke first. Describing himself as “a parent, not a politician,” he suggested that more voices need to be involved in the school board’s governance. He promised that his first action, if elected, would be creating an oversight committee of parents.

After receiving regular trainings on the budget, cultural competency and restorative practices, this panel would have the chance to exert veto power over board decisions.

“One day, I was staring at the map of New Haven, trying to figure out ways to beat Dr. Joyner, and I realized that the map of New Haven looked like a kangaroo,” Cotto said. “So I said, ‘Wow, that’s perfect.’ “Let us cradle our broken educational infrastructure like the kangaroo cares for its joey. Let us stand together and demand a change by saying no to 40 years of bad practices, saying no to hidden agendas, and personal vendettas at the expense of our children and communities. Let us become kangaroo warriors together.’”

In his campaign, Cotto is presenting himself as a new face ready to bring fresh perspective and to change the dynamic on the Board of Ed. (Click here to read a full story on the two campaigns.)

When his turn came to speak, Joyner subtly referenced his opponent’s relative lack of experience.

“First of all, Jamell, good job,” he began, adding. “I want people to know that I taught his aunt.”

Then Joyner portrayed himself as an educational expert who’s willing to make tough decisions. He claimed he convinced James P. Comer, the famed Yale psychiatrist who stressed that schools should foster children’s social development, to conduct experiments in urban areas. He said he has consulted school systems across the country and the globe.

“I’m 70 years old, but I have a record of what I’m running on. You don’t have to guess with me,” he said. “All you have to do is Google my name. You won’t found out that I’ve ever stolen anything from anybody, that I ever choked anybody, that I ever lied to anybody, that I ever, ever extorted money from anybody. You’ll find out that I’m a man who’s been married for almost 50 years with two children, grandchildren and a community of young people that I have mentored not just here but around the country.”

“I have the ethics, I have the time, I have the experience,” he concluded, “and I have the commitment to keep moving this board forward.”

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posted by: Parentandnhpsgraduate on June 16, 2017  12:36pm

Yes, Mr. Cotto!! I am a kangaroo warrior! I too want to do away with 40 years of a broken educational system because of fighting amongst adults, and bad practices! All at the expense of my childs’ education!! I will walk with you because we need a new face, change with how this board has done things, and change for the sake of our children!! Thanks Mr. Cotto, for vowing to do this and committing to our. Children in New Haven that are struggling daily in the broken system we have!

posted by: FacChec on June 16, 2017  1:31pm

Mr. Cotto describing himself as “a parent, but fails to describe his children or what school they attend. He says he is not a politician, but here he is addressing a political party seeking the Democratic nomination. Mr. Cotto’s Platform is centered around his way to beat Dr. Joyner: “I realized that the map of New Haven looks like a kangaroo,” It does not look like a Kangaroo when you consider that his districts only include:  Wards 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25 and 26. Mr. Cotto wants to re-invent parent oversight “He promised that his first action, if elected, would be creating an oversight committee of parents. Please be advised Mr Cotto, before you attempt to politically re-invent the wheel, first educate yourself on the laws already established by state statue as follows:
CHAPTER 170*
BOARDS OF EDUCATION
Local boards of education are not agents of the towns but creatures of the state. 25 CS 305.
Sec. 10-221. Boards of education to prescribe rules, policies and procedures. (a) Boards of education shall prescribe rules for the management, studies, classification and discipline of the public schools and, subject to the control of the State Board of Education,
(f) Not later than September 1, 1998, each local and regional board of education shall develop, adopt and implement written policies and procedures to encourage parent-teacher communication. These policies and procedures may include monthly newsletters, required regular contact with all parents, flexible parent-teacher conferences, drop-in hours for parents, home visits and the use of technology such as homework hot lines to allow parents to check on their children’s assignments and students to get assistance if needed. For the school year commencing July 1, 2010, and each school year thereafter, such policies and procedures shall require the district to conduct two flexible parent-teacher conferences for each school year.
Sec. 10-223j. School governance councils established.

posted by: Thankyouforlistening on June 16, 2017  2:15pm

. Let’s keep to the facts here!

And the BOE meetings are taped!

posted by: FacChec on June 16, 2017  4:39pm

Cotto continues..“if elected,  he would create an oversight committee of parents.
After receiving regular trainings on the budget, cultural competency and restorative practices, this of parents panel would have the chance to exert veto power over board decisions”.

Mr. Cotto, Be further advised that the state education department has already passed statues regarding Governance committees of the BOE, as follows:

See section(s) Sec. 10-223j. School governance councils. (a)(1) thru (I)

Sec. 10-223j. School governance councils.
(g) (1) The school governance council or a similar school governance council model, described in subdivision (4) of subsection (a) of this section, at a school that has been designated as a low achieving school, pursuant to subparagraph (A) of subdivision (1) of subsection (e) of section 10-223e may, by an affirmative vote of the council, recommend the reconstitution of the school into one of the following models: (A) The turnaround model, as described in the Federal Register of   the Commissioner of Education shall decide whether to implement the model recommended by the school governance council or to maintain the current school status.

No Parent organization can have veto power over the BOE, the Board of Alders do not have veto power over the BOE. The Mayor does not have veto over the BOE.  Find yourself another platform, this one is dead on arrival. So, now, what do you have?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 16, 2017  4:48pm

I smell Charter School Mackerel with Mr.Cotto.

posted by: FairHavenParent on June 16, 2017  8:17pm

Hah!  This kid should forget about BOE and run for Mayor!  Courageous and admirable!  I bet the Mayor is pissed about this!  Who’s pulling his strings now!  Go Cotto!

posted by: communityFirst2017 on June 17, 2017  8:04am

@FacChec that all sounds great but is it working? I don’t think so…Just ask the Reading Commission Report! I gather he’s done his research on this already! You know what they say about the silent majority. Just look at the last Presidential election. Clearly a significant number of Dem’s quietly voted in favor of Trump. Laws can be changed with enough support, in fact if he was to empower enough parents to investigate the failed policies of the BOE that you so eloquently provided in your statement, the Kangaroo Warrior’s stand a chance to make history. I ask you this: If parents exerted “Veto” power over bad funding decisions and wrote letters to the legislative branch and the CSDE don’t you think they’d have to listen? The proof is in the DPI pudding! Brave young man. The only thing “Dead on Arrival” is the District Performance Index. You are right about a few things, Alder’s nor Mayor have Veto power over BOE, that wouldn’t make sense because they are all political, but parents…Maybe this is why Mr. Cotto stated he is not a politician, he’s a parent speaking directly to parents.

posted by: ParentalOversight on June 17, 2017  8:15am

Kangaroo Warrior’s? Sounds awfully political to me. Let me give you some advice Mr. Cotto, if you want to change something don’t put all your “Joeys” in one basket. Go to the Legislative Branch and seek support. This means investigating the Boards businesses and you are not going to make any friends doing this. You will need politicians to help you along the way Mr. “I’m a parent not a politician.”

posted by: Brutus2011 on June 17, 2017  5:25pm

“FacChec” is correct.

Mr. Cotto either knows his “parent veto” is legally impossible and is gas-lighting unwary citizens or is ignorant of Connecticut law.

Either way, he has demonstrated good reason for us to conclude that he is not ready for this position.

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 18, 2017  1:38am

Paul Bass has once again done an well-paid job with the the Buyline and Graphic….

It made me think this was a sort of a Joke-a-Roo of a story I couldn’t be bothered with.
As it turns out, just because Cotto is from Down-Under, doesn’t mean the toilets flush the other way….

posted by: WildInAmerica on June 18, 2017  4:26pm

@FacChec
I cannot agree with you more. But this does not mend the fact as to what direction a committee of sorts can venture. If parents wrangle and challenge Sec. 10-221. Boards of education to prescribe rules, policies and procedures. (a) Boards of education shall prescribe rules for the management, studies, classification and discipline of the public schools and, subject to the control of the State Board of Education, be sure the State Dept Ed will clean up! Just look at the DPI these kids can’t read – even if this means a putting this fire out before it starts, state department of ed is his ali. This kid doesn’t have a clue as to how politics works if he’s screaming veto power.  It sounds like Cotto n Joyner share similar sentiments both want to reduce political involvement at board of ed. I smell MONEY in the making if you know what I mean. *Ponders gracefully*

@Thankyouforlistening
The tapes have been out and clearly not enough parents care about the recent board Roderick nor do some of these parents care about the direction the district is headed. Parents in New Haven make great worker ants. The few that do – cannot be heard given the rules of engagement.  C’mon have you attended a board meeting lately?  NH parents don’t care – diction choice after reviewing last Reading Commission Report: Insanity

@ THREEFIFTHS
Best comment in list. No one will even see them pick their teeth with his kangaroo joey. If they were smart they’d recruit him to support their hidden curricula activities.

@FairHavenParent
You may need a referral, check your prefrontal cortex functioning

@ParentalOversight
Don’t you think he already has? C’mon why so late in the game? Y hasn’t Mayor endorsed this clever way to rally up parents? Perhaps Cotto and Joyner are both putting their pants on backwards. He’ll make friends alright, with all other failed “I’m not a politician” fortune cookie statement fools that seek to change something controlled by the chosen few.

@Brutus2011
All of the

posted by: ParentalOversight on June 18, 2017  4:53pm

@WildInAmerica
We’ve evolved from a decades old system that cannot meet the needs of learners and educators.  Doesn’t anyone think success is possible in the City of New Haven anymore…

@FacChec
These governance committees have too failed the children performing below state and national standards

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 19, 2017  8:54am

posted by: ParentalOversight on June 18, 2017 5:53pm

@FacChec
These governance committees have too failed the children performing below state and national standards

The reason why it has too failed is lack of ParentalOversigh.Parents need make sure that these governance committees work.

posted by: FacChec on June 19, 2017  11:05am

@ 3/5 & ET-al

You have no empirical data which describes whether the NHPS Governance council is failing or succeeding.
You have failed to read and understand my quote of the state statue posted by me on June 16, 2017 2:31pm(above).
Again I quote; “each local and regional board of education shall develop, adopt and implement written policies and procedures to encourage parent-teacher communication. These policies and procedures may include monthly newsletters, required regular contact with all parents, flexible parent-teacher conferences, drop-in hours for parents, home visits and the use of technology such as homework hot lines to allow parents to check on their children’s assignments and students to get assistance if needed. For the school year commencing July 1, 2010, and each school year thereafter, such policies and procedures shall require the district to conduct two flexible parent-teacher conferences for each school year”.

Now, if the parents do not participate in the steps offered by the NHPS, then, there is little wonder why the governance committee cannot govern, this is a two way street, and thus far the majority, but not all parents, do not participate. if the parents and the governance committee have failed, as you suggest,

(“The reason why it has too failed is lack of Parental Oversight”).
Then it is up to the commissioner to step in and demand restitution of the program. To date the commissioner has not done so in New Haven .

Please see the following link:

http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2758&q=334812

posted by: FacChec on June 19, 2017  3:51pm

To All:
Re: School Governance councils and parent involvement.

School Governance Councils provide a remarkable opportunity for Connecticut schools
to engage with families and community members in the essential dialogue about
student achievement and preparing all students for success.

http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2678&Q=322630&sdePNavCtr;=|#45712

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 19, 2017  5:02pm

posted by: FacChec on June 19, 2017 12:05pm

@ 3/5 & ET-al

You have no empirical data which describes whether the NHPS Governance council is failing or succeeding.

Tell you what go up to the schools and ask them when do the Governance council hold meeting and aslo ask how many parents are on board.

“The reason why it has too failed is lack of Parental Oversight”).
Then it is up to the commissioner to step in and demand restitution of the program. To date the commissioner has not done so in New Haven .

But it is also up to the parents to hold the commissioner feet to the fire.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on June 21, 2017  8:13pm

We have a republican system of government. We elect representatives (hopefully informed and intelligent people) to make and enforce laws and govern our local communities, our states and our nation. The ultimate veto power of the people is exercised through our vote.
In the state of Connecticut, the boards of education are agencies of the state, not the city. The state establishes the policies, rules, regulations and authority of those boards. Once in office, board members are expected to act in the best interests of the school system and its students, independent of political influence. That is rather difficult to do in New Haven since it is the only city in the state with a board almost entirely appointed by the mayor, with only two elected positions.
Mayors, selectmen and local legislators have no authority over the boards of education and cannot veto their decisions. No parent group has any authority to veto decisions of the board.
If people are dissatisfied with board decisions, they can petition the board, speak before the board, vote for different board members, or vote for a different mayor who will appoint board members who reflect different interests.
But there will no parental group with veto power over the Board of Education, kangaroos and joeys notwithstanding.