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Monday, July 21, 2014

Charter Crooks

In Connecticut, Charter Lobby Gives New Meaning to the Word Chutzpah


Journalist Sarah Darer Littman is still aghast from the weeks of scandal that have rocked Connecticut and its charter sector.

“Dr.” Michael Sharpe stepped down as CEO of Connecticut’s Jumoke Charter Schools and its parent organization FUSE. 

Sharpe had a criminal record long ago, and his doctorate was a phony. 

Littman remembers how she was fingerprinted every time she took a new job.

She writes:

“Yet the members of the state Board of Education, all appointed or re-appointed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, required no such due diligence before forking over $53 million of our taxpayer dollars to “Doctor” Sharpe’s organization. Just to make things even cozier, Gov. Malloy appointed FUSE’s chief operating officer, Andrea Comer, to the state Board of Education. Comer resigned earlier this week, in order to avoid being a “distraction.” I’m afraid it’s a little too late for that.

“Rep. Andy Fleischmann, D-West Hartford, the co-chair of the legislature’s Education Committee, told the Connecticut Mirror’s Mark Pazniokas: “This is a pretty unique situation. Michael Sharpe had been tremendously successful at Jumoke Academy since about the year 2000 . . . So I think it’s fair to say it came as a big surprise to many of us that someone who had achieved so much would be claiming to have degrees that he lacks and have a past.”

“Unique situation? One has to ask oneself if Rep. Fleischmann has been living under a rock. Maybe he missed the comprehensive report by the Detroit Free Press on charter improprieties in Michigan. Or the scandals in Florida. . Or New Jersey. Or California. Or Louisiana. The list goes on.”

“But the surefire winner of the Connecticut Chutzpah Crown has got to be Jennifer Alexander, CEO of ConnCan,” who said,

“I think it is an important moment that signals a need to revisit and update Connecticut’s charter law so that it keeps pace with best practices nationally, including clarity around areas of accountability and transparency — but, I think, also flexibility and funding,” she said.

Translation: “Oops, one of our guys was caught lying, so we should make a show of ‘best practices’” 

Don’t you just love the reformy lingo for what the rest of us call “good government?” Orwell would have a field day with Ms. Alexander. “But in the meantime, give us more money and less regulation.”


Yes folks, I think Ms. Alexander just gave us a new definition of chutzpah.