Abstract: In 1970, in the North End of Hartford, Connecticut, a multicultural research action group named Education/Instruccion targeted institutional racism to address issues such as poverty, housing discrimination, and educational opportunity. This historical narrative explores how three activists (Julia Ramos, Ben Dixon, and Boyd Hinds) created the organization in their pursuit of social justice for African-Americans and Puerto Ricans in the city.
Abstract: This review essay critically evaluates Susan Eaton's The Other Boston Busing Story, an interview-based study of African American alumni from Boston's METCO voluntary city-to-suburb school desegregation program in the 1970s through the 1990s. The reviewers praise Eaton's richly-textured representations of METCO alumni experiences, but they question whether the evidence supports her major policy claim that nearly all alumni would repeat the program if given the opportunity. Based on the reviewers' parallel study of Hartford's Project Concern alumni, the essay calls attention to "forced choices" faced by many African Americans in these city-suburban programs, and discusses the broader implications for contemporary policy debate on school desegregation and the vouchers movement.
Abstract: Based on newspaper accounts and enrollment data, this historical study examines why suburban school districts did (or did not) voluntarily participate in the Project Concern integrating busing program in metropolitan Hartford, Connecticut.
Abstract: Following the Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation case in Hartford, Connecticut, the state increased funding for interdistrict magnet schools to reduce the racial, ethnic and economic barriers preventing students living in Hartford from equal educational outcomes compared to their suburban peers. This observational study focuses on the Montessori Magnet School in Hartford, exploring whether a magnet school environment, coupled with the Montessori philosophy of educating, is an effective ways to foster positive inter-racial attitudes, behaviors, and contact conditions.
Abstract: Following the remedy presented for the Sheff v. O’Neill case in 1996 and the introduction of the Hartford Public School’s all-choice initiative, parents in Hartford had more choices than ever for their children’s education. This qualitative study explores the SmartChoices website, a bilingual tool to provide parents with information on their choices, and asks what types of parents participated, what information they got from the workshop, and, most importantly, how did parents incorporate what they learned from the website into their decision making?
Abstract: In this preliminary analysis of Hartford Public School district choice applications from Spring 2010, the authors examine which Hartford students were more likely to voluntarily apply to another district school operated by the city. Among the 6,591 potential voluntary choosers in grades 3-7, only 227 (3%%) submitted voluntary district choice applications, and among these, the highest percentage (43%%) were willing to travel farther for a higher-scoring school. But when excluding about one-third of these students who listed the city's high-scoring district school (Achievement First) as their first choice, a large percentage (35%%) were willing to travel farther for a lower-scoring school.
Abstract: Contrasting the roles of the “formal curriculum” and the “hidden curriculum,” this ethnographic study compares two metropolitan Hartford high schools that vary in socioeconomic status, and highlights cultural differences between them.
Abstract: Suburban historians have generally neglected the role of schools as an explanatory factor in the transformation of twentieth-century U.S. metropolitan space, since public education does not fit neatly into their narrative. At the same time, educational historians have focused so intently on the rise and decline of big-city school systems that they have largely failed to account for suburbanization. This article seeks to bridge the gap by examining the rising practice of “shopping for schools,” the buying and selling of private homes to gain access to more desirable public school attendance zones. This case study of three communities near Hartford, Connecticut,traces the convergence of real estate interests, suburban homebuyers, and government officials, particularly as the postwar labor market increasingly rewarded higher levels of educational attainment. Shopping for schools not only brings together educational credentialism and suburban consumerism but also helps to explain increasing stratification among suburbs in recent decades. See author's copy at http://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/cssp_papers/38/
Abstract: SmartChoices, a Web-based map and data sorting application, empowers parents to navigate and compare their growing number of public school options in metropolitan Hartford, Connecticut. The tool, which has both English and Spanish versions, explores more than 200 options for public schooling in the Hartford metropolitan area. This article explores the creation of SmartChoices with student and community participation.
Abstract: History and policy, while often connected, also frequently clash with one another, especially in urban spaces. This chapter outlines three types of conflicting questions posed by historians and policymakers on the topic of urban education. The first, conflicting orientations on past, present and future, explores the most basic differences in thought between historians and policy makers. The second, conflicting purposes of historical interpretation, considers the different contexts shape conceptualization and use of history. The third, conflicting views on historical understanding versus policy action, focusing on the fundamental differences in the roles of these two groups. This chapter draws on examples from historical research and policy discussions in Hartford, Connecticut while also reflecting on the writings of other scholars.
Abstract: This chapter seeks to bridge the historiographical gap between urban, suburban, and educational history by demonstrating how these works can inform one another. It highlights major books that have served as the foundations in each field over the past few decades, as well as the rising body of new scholarship that attempts to span the distance between them.
Abstract: Unlike so many institutional accounts that merely offer a glorified tale of a long stady march toward educational progress, Collier directly challenges popular historical myths of Connecticut's allegedly superior public school system.
Abstract: This conference session explores the theoretical and practical questions arising from digital history collaborations on issues of civil rights in U.S. history. Designed for a joint meeting of the Organization of American Historians and the National Council for Public History, the session speaks to historians engage in producing individual scholarship and interpretive exhibits. Panelists include Peter Liebhold (Bracero History Archive), Tom Ikeda (Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project), Candace Simpson and Jack Dougherty (On The Line: Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights web-book), Jasmine Alinder and Clayborn Benson (March on Milwaukee Civil Rights History Project).
Abstract: This report, which includes maps, tables and text analysis, details the Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation case. The report contains a brief chronology of the case, tables exploring the Sheff region by racial breakdown and magnet school attendance rates, and maps regarding racial composition of the 22 districts in the Sheff Region, locations of Magnet schools, and Hartford students enrolled in the Open Choice program. Throughout the report, the maps, tables and text analyze the Sheff standards and predict whether the Sheff goals will be met by June 2007. An excerpt also appeared in The Hartford Courant, Northeast Magazine, July 23, 2006. See also an updated version of this report, titled “Missing the Goal: A Visual Guide to Sheff v. O’Neill School Desegregation: June 2007” written by Jack Dougherty, Jesse Wanzer and Christina Ramsay.
Abstract: Home buyers exercise school choice when shopping for a private residence due to its location in a public school district or attendance area. In this quantitative study of one Connecticut suburban district, we measure the effect of elementary school test scores and racial composition on home buyers’ willingness to purchase single-family homes over a 10-year period, controlling for house and neighborhood characteristics. Overall, while both test scores and race explain home prices, we found that the influence of tests declined while race became nearly seven times more influential over our decade-long period of study. Our interpretation of the results draws on the shifting context of school accountability, the Internet, and racial dynamics in this suburb over time.
Abstract: In 1996, as the Supreme Court and the nation were retreating from school integration, Connecticut's judicial system was advancing with Sheff V. O'Neill. This chapter explores the case and it aftermath, as the judicial system stalled the process of desegregation and then explores and analyzes the results of Sheff I, a four year legal settlement that produced limited results. The case study continues on to explore the next legal remedy, Sheff II, and throughout, looks at our understanding of school desegregation policy by discussing what this voluntary plan has not yet achieved in Connecticut.
Abstract: This report provides and in-depth, spatial look at the Sheff v. O’Neill case. Including maps that show the racial make-up of the Sheff Region (22 districts around Hartford) throughout time, suburb participation in Project Choice and the districts that send students to magnet schools, the report takes a visual approach to data, translating numbers to colorful, descriptive maps. The report also includes a timeline of the case, a look at some traditional data tables, data presented several different ways and a discussion of the progress made toward the Sheff goals.
Abstract: This chapter examines how urban parents navigate the growth of public school choice policies and information on the Internet. We created SmartChoices, a public school search tool for the Hartford, Connecticut region, conducted parent workshops (with hands-on instruction in English and Spanish) to narrow the digital divide, and collected quantitative and qualitative data to investigate how it influenced their decision-making processes. Based on our small sample of ninety-three workshop participants, we found that two-thirds either clarified or changed their top-ranked school after receiving guidance on using the website. Furthermore, several also found what they defined as "better" schools (with higher test scores or more racially-balanced student populations) that were located closer to their neighborhood than their initial top-rated choices. But making information more widely available is not a neutral act, as some parents used our search tool to avoid schools with high concentrations of students from racial groups other than their own. Overall, this study contributes to the scholarly literature that views school choice as a double-edged sword, with potentially positive outcomes for some families and negative consequences for others left behind.
Abstract: SmartChoices, a web-based search tool now available in English and Spanish, empowers urban and suburban parents to navigate their public school choice options. This article explores the way in which users interact with and are influenced by SmartChoices, concluding that Test Goal, Test Gain and Racial Balance of the school were important factors to parents using the program. The conclusion also underscores the role of the "digital divide" in public school choice in Hartford. (Also deposited at http://www.ncspe.org/publications_files/OP189.pdf.)
Abstract: This spatial analysis maps the home addresses of applicants to selected magnet schools in Hartford, Connecticut, and questions whether they are statistically representative of the population at large, specifically Latinos. Baased on an unpublished senior research project by Naralys Estevez in December 2005.
Abstract: This historical study examines the shift in location of Catholic parochial schools from urban to suburban space in metropolitan Hartford, Connecticut during the twentieth century, and examines actions by the Archdiocese and parishoners that left behind many Black and Latino students.
Abstract: Based on oral history interviews, this study examines the role of adults who supported Hartford minority children participating in Project Concern, a voluntary school integration city-to-suburban busing program that began in 1966.
Abstract: This project focuses on the development of interactive, map-based websites created to benefit members of a community. Beginning with a loom at earlier examples of personalized maps and the start of the online mapping revolution, this project will explore the ways in which maps, specifically Google Maps, can be used in order to create informative and useful online tools for community members. This project will focus on the creation and development of the Hartford SmartChoices website, a collaborative effort of Trinity College and ConnCAN (Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now). Each chapter addess a stage of development, from the need addressed by the website to its usefulness, accessibility, popularity, and aesthetic qualities. Originally downloaded from http://www.devlinhughes.com/SmartChoices.
Abstract: This quantitative study measures achievement differences between students who enrolled in Open Choice (a city-to-suburb voluntary school integration busing program, previously known as Project Concern, and a key remedy in the Sheff case), versus applicants who were not admitted by lottery.
Abstract: Following the result of the Connecticut Supreme Court case Sheff v. O’Neill, Interdistrict Magnet Schools developed to foster excellence in academics and reduce racial, ethnic, or economic isolation. Magnet schools are a part of the voluntary solution to the Sheff case, responding by providing an integrated schooling opportunity. However, are magnet schools really an effective solution to Sheff v. O’Neill? This in-depth study analyzes Hartford area school enrollment data, the low percentages of students attending these magnet schools, racial compositions of sending and receiving districts and the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC). The report concludes that Connecticut must spend more money on the magnet school program to make it a viable solution to the Sheff case.
Abstract: This oral history study examines whether the quality or prestige of public schools factored into the motivations of city residents who migrated to suburbs such as Avon, Bloomfield, and West Hartford during the post-World War II era.
Abstract: This historical study examines changing residential patterns of Hartford public school teachers amid broader policy debates about the shifting quality of city schools from 1950 to 1970.
Abstract: This policy analysis focuses on interdistrict magnet schools, the factors that lead parents to apply to lotteries, and their overall contribution toward reducing segregation, improving test scores of low-income children, and eliminating the achievement gap.
Abstract: This policy analysis explores Connecticut's legal responsibilities and funding of interdistrict magnet schools, one of the key remedies in the Sheff school desegregation case.
Abstract: This presentation examines the Children’s Educational Opportunity (CEO) Foundation, a scholarship program designed to expand access for urban elementary children to private and parochial schools in the Hartford region. This study investigates who participates in the program, the schools the children attend, and whether the students who participate have comparable grades to their peers
Abstract: Based on interview and documents, this case study explores the implementation of the Learning Corridor, a campus of four interdistrict magnet schools adjacent to Trinity College in Hartford's South End, in the aftermath of the Sheff desegregation ruling.
Abstract: This socio-political analysis focuses on various coalition members’ roles in the design and implementation of the Learning Corridor, a $126 million complex of four interdistrict magnet schools, located in the predominantly Puerto Rican south side of Hartford, Connecticut. Drawing upon historical and qualitative research methods, it examines how different Latino politicians, activists, and parents viewed the original purpose of the magnet school project -- and how they continue to address conflicts that have arisen during the past five years of implementation. In addition to archival analysis of ten years of documents and statistics, the study draws upon twenty-nine semi-structured interviews with key advocates. Major findings reveal how city-suburban magnet schools have been a two-edged blade for Hartford’s Latino residents, resulting in important tangible and symbolic gains for some, but diluting benefits that were originally slated for Hartford’s neighborhood youth.
Abstract: This historical study examines legislative debates over public school funding in Connecticut in the post-World War II era, focusing on a narrative of shifting urban-rural-suburban political coalitions amid demographic changes.
Abstract: This historical study uses regression analysis to determine relationships between per-pupil expenditures and taxable property in Hartford County, Connecticut over six decades, focusing on 27 municipalities in Hartford County (in particular, Avon, Bloomfield, and West Hartford) to illustrate relationships between school spending and taxable property.
Abstract: Using spatial analysis tools such as GIS (Geographical Information Systems), this study maps the home addresses of city and suburban magnet school applicants, then uses the maps to start conversations with policy makers about how far students are willing to travel to attend certain schools.
Abstract: This paper attempts to explain how Bloomfield, CT simultaneously maintains an integrated town population and an extremely segregated public schools population. By examining the intersection of race and class in regards to housing and education, this paper traces the transition of Bloomfield from a predominately white to a predominately African-American suburb, and the effect this change had on the public schools.The paper concludes with a discussion of opinions about Bloomfield, comparing popular perceptions of the town and schools to the lived experiences of former students and parents.
Abstract: This qualitative study explores how access to public schooling is bought and sold in the real estate market in West Hartford, Connecticut, based on interviews with recent homebuyers.
Abstract: Following the Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation case ruling in 1996, inter-district magnet schools became a remedy to reduce racial and economic isolation in Hartford, Connecticut’s public schools. This social psychology study explores the hypothesis that participation in an inter-district magnet school, whose purpose is to be racially integrated, promotes positive inter-racial attitudes among students as well as reducing negative attitudes
Abstract: This observational case study explores how an interdistrict magnet school strives to use the Montessori curriculum to create an environment where interracial relationships are the norm.
Abstract: This qualitative study explores the label “Hispanic" and explores the creation of identity in the teenage years among Puerto Rican youth in the city of Hartford and the suburb of West Hartford.
Abstract: This qualitative study is designed to apply educational anthropologist John Ogbu’s cultural-‐ ecological theory of minority school performance to school choice by examining choice differences between two racially similar but ethnically different minority groups in the Hartford region. Parents in Harford, Connecticut, have several different public school choice options available to them, including intra-‐district choice, regional magnet schools, and a suburban district transfer program known as Open Choice. For all of these options, school choice is designed to improve opportunities for Hartford students. Drawing on data from five interviews with West Indian immigrant parents and three interviews with native-‐born African American parents, this study suggests that while Ogbu’s theory might sufficiently be able to explain differences regarding parental orientation to school choice and proximity, it indicates that the theory does not effectively explain ethnic differences in parental orientation to education in general or orientation to the local urban school system for African American and West Indian parents in Hartford. Additionally, given the exponential expansion of school choice policies within the last decade it is becoming increasingly important to question both the role of ethnicity in school choice and, more broadly, the effectiveness of school choice policies in low-‐income minority communities nationally.
Abstract: This study combines spatial analysis and door-to-door interviews to explore how three factors – school quality, geography and neighborhood racial demographics – influence parents’ choices regarding magnet schools, a key part of the Sheff v O'Neill school desegregation remedy in the Hartford region.
Abstract: This quantitative study measures the influence of health, mobility, and socio-economic status on the racial/ ethnic achievement gap. Through information from parent and student surveys, as well as student grades from transcripts, scores from state-administered achievement tests, and district gathered information on whether or not the student was eligible for free/ reduced-price lunch, it analyzes influences on the achievement gap in a suburban school district, and finds significant effects of race/ ethnicity on achievement, socio-economic status, mobility, and one health factor, as well as significant effects of socio-economic status, mobility, and some health measures on achievement.
Abstract: This presentation discusses the proposal for a metropolitan school district in the Hartford region, how it arose in the aftermath of the 1996 Sheff ruling, ways in which various parties responded, and reasons why the proposal did not succeed.
Abstract: This case study explores causes and consequences of the shift in the racial population of the public schools in Bloomfield, Connecticut, a suburb of Hartford, during the 1960s and '70s.
Abstract: Based on four years of student-level achievement and demographic data provided by the Hartford Public Schools (HPS), our quantitative analysis sought to answer two questions: (1) Continuity: Who stays and leaves the HPS dataset, and are these behaviors associated with student characteristics, school composition, or neighborhood demographics? (2) Clustering: Are high-achieving students widely distributed across the district, or are they more likely to be clustered with peers who have similar characteristics, or attend similar schools, or reside in similar neighborhoods? By analyzing statistically significant patterns among over 33,000 Hartford-resident HPS students in grades 3 to 8 from 2008-09 to 2011-12, we found that the proportion of high-achieving students who left the HPS dataset is not significantly different from the proportion who stayed (around 15 to 18 percent) over time, but there are significant differences in school zone, magnet school status, and other variables.