Through the eyes of a parent: Choosing a School in Hartford
The particular story we wish to tell is about school choice from the lens of Hartford parents. “Choice” is a reoccurring word and theme we’ve seen this semester in an abundance of literature, but what does it really mean? How much choice is too much? How do Hartford parents choose a school for their child and specifically what are the steps they take? What are the benefits that the parents receive choosing between schools? If parents take an inter-district approach, they have the option of magnet schools, open-choice and charter schools. These options, particularly open-choice and magnet schools were instilled as potential remedies for racial segregation in the Hartford regional schools. However, Hartford parents can choose to keep their kids within the district but there is still an application process. Where one lives in the city of Hartford does not mean you have to attend your neighborhood school, a slightly unfamiliar concept to some of Hartford’s neighboring suburbs. With all these options, how do Hartford parents conceptualize this process?
This story deserves it’s own web page to better understand the true meaning of choice in Hartford and if parents view it as a positive thing. In addition, the web page will walk through the potential steps Hartford parents could take as they decide a school. This process may overwhelm parents so our web page would almost be a step-by-step guide. Through our web page, parents would learn more about school choice in Hartford. By putting together a web page where not only the parents are able to learn about their options, but also get a better understanding of how to make sense of the system to better their child’s opportunity, we will open up a new area in the school choice websites: a parent friendly critique and guide through school choice. The intended audience of this page is Hartford parents who are in the process of choosing schools or maybe have already chosen a school for the child. The web page will be designed to help these parents simplify the steps and resources they have available to them as they choose a school.
The web page would feature the different websites (such as Hartfordschools.org, crec.org and greatschools.org/Connecticut) that are available to parents and how to navigate them. In addition, the web page would break down the somewhat complicated process of school-choice. This web page could also include a map showing all of the schools in the Hartford district to give parents a sense of how many schools there actually are in the district and region. An interactive feature of the web page will be a survey question asking what parents think of school choice in Hartford.
In regards to supplemental sources used for the web project, we are lucky to have a plethora of different options from Jack’s class. He has written some very eye-opening pieces such as, “School Choice in Suburbia: test scores, race, and housing markets.” An interesting piece that will also be helpful for this web project is Christina Ramsay et al. “Shopping for Homes and Schools: A qualitative study of West Hartford, Connecticut.” Additional sources include the Achieve Hartford, Connecticut Fair Housing, and handful of school choice websites, along with Jason Reece et al. piece, “People, Place and Opportunity: Mapping communities of opportunity in Connecticut.” These will give insight on the positives and negatives in society that are brought about by school choice, as well as being helpful in uncovering the truth and basis of our web project question: what does school choice really mean, and how much is too much?