Bobbys Project Proposal

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One of the largest problems in Connecticut today is the achievement gap in education. This to most people is old news. Many policies have been implemented, money has been given to schools, and there is still a serious problem in Connecticut. More importantly than just the achievement gap is the fine print that the gap between low income and high-income students in Connecticut is one of the highest in the U.S. Most people when they hear the words achievement or inequality automatically assume that the topic at hand is due to race. In the case of Connecticut, the gap began as a racial problem and has slowly evolved over the years into an economic one. If you think back to the middle of the 1900’s Connecticut was incredibly wealthy and the area of Hartford was one of the wealthiest regions in the state. Through the creation of ghettos and redlining however minorities were trapped into the low income housing they are today. Hartford today due to these constraints looks a lot different than it used to and its youth are paying the price. Back than when only blacks and whites went to school together we saw the same performance gap as we do today. The only difference between then and now is that the reasons have shifted from racial to economic. Today families cant afford supplies, books, or in some cases to even send their children to school. This is due to the economic constraints they have which were passed on from the economic constraints they once had as well.

It is unlike any other area where at one point you can be in one of the poorest cities in America and within a 10-minute drive down the road be in one of the richest. In my opinion, the ridiculous discrepancy between low performers and high performers echoes the states ridiculous discrepancy between wealthy and poor and between once segregated and non-segregated in Hartford. Educational achievement gap is nothing new but the fact that when compared to low-income students from other states, Connecticut’s low-income students place in the bottom tier of achievement tests. This is due to the sole purpose of the cycle that has been created in Connecticut. Children who grow up in the impoverished areas especially Hartford don’t get the same experience out of school due to their financial limitations. Due to these limitations many youths either make it through high school and get a mediocre job, drop out before school ends, become affiliated with gangs, or worse. This cycle has fueled Hartford and since you don’t see too many people making it big out of the city you don’t see much giving back.

I believe that this is incredibly important and deserving of a website due to the fact that it many people discuss the achievement gap in CT but leave out the crucial element that Connecticut’s achievement is in the lowest tier in the U.S.

I believe that there is a direct correlation between the achievement gap and the past racial inequality, the newer economic inequality of CT, the need for more effective teachers and school supplies especially in low-income areas. I plan on using the earlier readings on economic/racial disparities in neighborhoods and schools in comparison with the economic and racial makeup’s of other states. That, along with the data from the national center of education statistics and the Connecticut counsel for educational reform I believe will be crucial in deciding why Connecticut has such low performance out of their low income students..

Carlos & Booker’s Proposal

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In our project, we wish to see how Reverse red-lining* in the Hartford area has affected racial composition of schools in the Greater Hartford area. We wish to show how this form of redlining drives the white population out, and how this affects housing values, test scores and school performance, among other things. Skin color is not the issue, here. The problem is that as the White population moves out, they take their money with them.

* “Reverse redlining occurs when a lender or insurer particularly targets minority consumers, not to deny them loans or insurance, but rather to charge them more than would be charged to a similarly situated majority consumer.” [Ehrenreich, Barbara; Muhammad, Dedrick (September 13, 2009). “The Recession’s Racial Divide”. The New York Times.]

The intended audience would be the students who attend these schools. Our main focus at this point will be either middle or high school students.

We will look at factors such as income, and closely examine the population of each school to determine how race may (or may not) play a factor in school performance. School performance will be defined as whether or not the schools are meeting CT standards for accreditation, test scores (CAPT & CMT) may be included as well.

We will look at CT standards and find articles from the Connecticut State Department of Education ( to back up our findings. We will also explore the City of Hartford Housing Authority ( as a possible reference and compare it to other housing authorities in other towns such as Bristol ( to view how reverse red-lining affects towns differently.

We may include videos/written pieces from websites such as to profile the schools we highlight. If the material on the respective websites is copy written, we will request permission directly from the contact person on the website or from the respective districts, to ensure no violation of laws.

We want to highlight how these towns view their schools and how the schools view where they are located and use that as a beginning ground, and as a basis of how students perform in their respective schools.


Defending Education @ HPHS
Strategic School Profiles:

Shanese’s Web Proposal

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Shanese Caton

EDUC308- Professor Jack Dougherty

November 14, 2011

Web Project Proposal

1)      What particular story about cities, suburbs, and schools do you wish to tell, why does it deserve its own web page, and who is your intended audience?

This web project will examine the Sheff v. O’Neil cases, remedies, and whether this educational reform is resulting in higher levels of learning and success instead of mere integration. The historic case tends to focus solely on the integration of races in the public school system in Hartford and surrounding suburbs but there seems to be less emphasis on how students are performing in suburban and magnet schools and the curriculum in the magnet school system. The performance of students through the Sheff remedies are not usually commented on or an issue of focus in the appeals brought to the court by Sheff plaintiffs. It is my hope that, this project will evaluate the success or failure of these efforts in providing an education for students that is of equal quality to that of suburban students and providing an education in an integrated environment.

This project is geared towards policy makers involved in the Sheff remedy process as well as Sheff plaintiffs.  Although social integration is key in the process to fix the inequalities that Hartford has had to endure, those inequalities do not just result in students being separated from those of other nationalities but they result in Hartford students receiving unequal educations to those in the Suburbs.

2)      What additional reading and/or research do you plan to do to enhance your background knowledge on this story? Be specific and include full citations when appropriate.

I plan on researching how Hartford students perform in three types of schools, magnet schools, average performing Hartford public schools, and suburban public schools. In doing this I will be able to compare their performance to analyze whether or not merely moving students to a new location or the creation of new schools. This data will be retrieved through the gathering of CMT scores as well as other scores from tests that these students take annually. In addition to test scores, I plan on examining how many students in each of these schools move on to higher levels of education. This will help to determine if they were achieving the necessary academic and social requirements for entrance into these institutions.

3)      What kinds of items do you plan to integrate and how do they fit into the story you wish to tell? Does copyright law allow you to include these items?

I plan to integrate charts of the data I receive about test scores, student demographics and their relations to the Sheff v. O’Neill case as well as justification for why they are a focus group, and their socioeconomic status.

Karina’s Web Project Proposal

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For my web project, I will investigate voluntary versus mandatory efforts to desegregate schools. The Sheff v. O’Neill case ruled that Hartford students were not receiving a quality education because of de facto segregation that kept students of color in the city and White students resided in Hartford suburbs. Since the ruling, several attempts have been made to desegregate schools. The Sheff case allowed students of color to go to schools in the suburbs and outside of the district. The Sheff case also resulted in the creation of multiple magnet and theme schools in order to attract students from the suburbs. Unfortunately, these attempts have not created much change in the racial composition of schools. The majority of Hartford students remain in segregated schools.

After reading the Sheff v. O’Neill stipulation with remedies to the segregation problem, I couldn’t help but notice the emphasis on “voluntary” when discussing desegregation efforts. Years have passed since the complaint by Sheff plaintiffs was filed, and yet, schools continue to be segregated. After our class conversation with Phil Tegeler who strongly believed that the goal of desegregating schools by 2013 would not be met, I couldn’t help but wonder if voluntary is enough? Should the remedy to desegregate schools become mandatory? Should schools and families be forced to participate in the desegregation process? My project will attempt to understand why the Sheff case has chosen to make its desegregation remedy a voluntary one. I plan on weighing the benefits and risks of both voluntary and mandatory methods of solving de facto segregation in Hartford. Hartford students continue to be segregated from suburban White students and are not receiving an equal and integrated education that the Sheff v. O’Neill as well as the Brown v. Board of Education case had desired for all students. This web project is intended for those interested in the topic of desegregating schools and those interested in education reform. I think that the issue of voluntary versus mandatory desegregation should be discussed in order to understand the benefits and risks of mandating change versus making change voluntary.

Below are articles I plan on reading to further my understanding of the voluntary v. mandatory debate.

Symlie, Mark A. “Reducing Racial Isolation in Large School District: The Comparative Effectiveness of Mandatory and Voluntary Desegregation Strategies.” Urban Education 17.4 (1983): 27. SAGE. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.

Ross, J. “Effectiveness of Alternative Desegregation Strategies: The Issue of Voluntary Versus Mandatory Policies in Los Angeles.” Part 1: 1979. Revised.ERIC. Web. 14 Nov. 2011.

These are two additional readings I have found thus far for my web project. I will find additional readings on cities that are also struggling to desegregated schools by voluntary or mandatory strategies.

Some digital elements I have thought about incorporating are maps, charts, and a survey. I would like to include the UConn MAGIC Map of racial composition in Hartford to depict the racial segregation in the Hartford region. I also will find racial demographic data to show the racial composition of the city of Hartford and some of the surrounding suburbs. Last, I would like to make a survey at the end of the page to see whether my readers believe a voluntary or mandatory effort to desegregate schools would be more successful.

Mary and Fionnuala’s Final Project Proposal

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Success within Segregation
Web Project Proposal
Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens and Mary Morr

Sheff v. O’Neil was a historic court case for the metropolitan Hartford, CT area. The case found that the Hartford public schools were racially, ethnically, and economically isolated. It provided the legal ground for Sheff supporters and educational activists to be able to initiate desegregation efforts in the Hartford Public Schools. However, the decision did not create effective strategies on exactly how to desegregate. As a result of unclear remedies, a tangled web if interdistrict magnet schools, charter schools, traditional public schools, and school choice options has made the system of public education difficult to navigate. The tangled system and strong campaign for desegregation has at times over looked achievement and accountability of schools in their quest for racial equality.

Inside the buildings of select racially segregated schools in Hartford are success stories that desegregation could undermine. Examples of these schools are Jumoke Academy, Global Communications Academy, Hartford High, and Achievement First Academy. When the tangible barriers to full desegregation are examined – such as the statistical odds of getting a lottery spot at a choice school, transportation, and distance from community – it is easy to see why full desegregation may not be the best goal. It may leave the entire district out of the achievement equation completely if resources and money are spent exclusively on desegregation efforts and not achievement. The goal of our project is to highlight the schools within Hartford proper that achieve high and are competitive to the suburban schools, but more importantly serve the communities they reside in.

This story deserves to be told because the majority of Hartford students are still attending racially segregated schools. As of 2007, only 15 percent of Hartford students were attending schools meeting Sheff goals, and Project Choice enrollment had only reached 1050 students. This means that thousands of students are attending non-Sheff schools, and promotion of Sheff goals should not come at the expense of these students’ educational experiences. While the ideal of Sheff should by no means be abandoned, integration is clearly a slow process and the district needs to ensure that the children left behind are given adequate attention in the meantime. Hartford has not yet solved the problem of balancing academic achievement for all with its goal of racial integration. Some argue that the district needs to work harder to place more children in the suburbs, while others believe the current Sheff remedies are stripping an already poor city of resources and giving a disproportionate amount of support to the relatively small number of students in Sheff schools. Highlighting the story of Hartford’s high achieving but racially isolated public schools will help inform the policy debate that continues today over how far the state should go to comply with the Sheff ruling.

The audience for our web project is both informed citizens and state policy makers. The entire Hartford metropolitan area needs to be aware that there are successful institutions educating and serving a traditionally poor and minority community. We want our story to bring the other side of the Sheff debate into public discussion, allowing people throughout the state to see that segregation is not the only factor to consider in evaluating Hartford’s public schools. We hope that our use of interactive materials such as polls and comment spaces will allow voters to engage in a dialogue about how to promote student achievement at all Hartford schools while still promoting racial integration through Sheff remedies. Policy makers need to be made aware that these public schools provide Hartford children with a competitive education, in the face of segregation. The website will help education policy makers trying to make sense of the multiple reform efforts occurring in Hartford and how they complement or contradict each other. By providing a link through which readers can contact policy makers, we also hope to use the web project to link citizens to elected officials so that policy makers know the opinions of those who are directly affected by their decisions. Finally, the story of success within Hartford Public Schools needs to be told in the context of its own reality. In the words of Pedro Noguera, “Rather than being regarded as hopelessly unfixable, urban public schools, particularly those that serve poor children, must be seen for what they are: the and most enduring remnant of the social safety for poor children in the United States.[1]” Removing this safety net by focusing too much on getting students into the suburbs at the expense of city schools could have devastating effects on the children desegregation is suppose to help.

We will rely heavily on local news articles (from the Hartford Courant and The CT Mirror) about magnet schools and Project Choice, as well as Strategic School Profiles in order to develop our web project. We will also be looking into journal articles written on Sheff v. O’Neill and school choice in general. A working bibliography of additional background reading is provided below:

Dougherty, Jack, Jesse Wazner, and Christina Ramsay. “Sheff v. O’Neill: Weak

Desegregation Remedies and Strong Disincentives in Connecticut, 1996-2008.” In From the Courtroom to the Classroom: The Shifting Landscape of School Desegregation, edited by Claire E. Smrekar and Ellen B. Goldring, 103-127. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, 2009.

Frahm, Robert A. “Despite protest, Hartford won’t abandon ad campaign for schools.” The

CT Mirror, May 2, 2011.

Frahm, Robert A. “Report: Program Underused. Suburban Schools Could Absorb More

Hartford Children, Say Sheff Supporters.” Hartford Courant, September 28, 2007.

Frankenberg, Erica. “Project Choice Campaign: Improving and Expanding Hartford’s

Project Choice Program.” Washington, D.C.: Poverty & Race Research Action Council, September 2007.

“Hope For Sheff Success.” Hartford Courant Editorials, July 1, 2008.

Mickelson, Roslyn Arlin. “Are Choice, Diversity, Equity, and Excellence Possible?: Early

Evidence from Post-Swann Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, 2002-2004.” In School Choice and Diversity: What the Evidence Says, edited by Janelle T. Scott, 129-144. New York: Teachers College Press, 2005.

Noguera, Pedro A. City Schools and the American Dream. New York: Teachers College Press,


Scott, Janelle T. “Conclusion: Envisioning School Choice Options That Also Attend to

Student Diversity.” In School Choice and Diversity: What the Evidence Says, edited by Janelle T. Scott, 145-148. New York: Teachers College Press, 2005.

Stuart Wells, Amy and Robert L. Crain. “Where School Desegregation and School Choice

Policies Collide: Voluntary Transfer Plans and Controlled Choice.” In School Choice and Diversity: What the Evidence Says, edited by Janelle T. Scott, 59-76. New York: Teachers College Press, 2005.

Thomas, Jacqueline Rabe. “Officials: Efforts to reduce racial isolation need overhaul.” The

CT Mirror, December 8, 2010.

We plan to use a variety of web resources within the project in order to better tell our story. As a means of demonstrating achievement at non-Sheff schools, we will use tables from the Strategic School Profiles of schools like Jumoke Academy and Achievement First. These can be found at To paint a more human picture of this “success within segregation,” we will include a video clip from a Hartford Courant story on Jumoke Academies superior achievement in the face of racial isolation. This video can be found at,0,1429289.story, and embedding is allowed and has been verified. We will also use interviews from Jack from staff and students at Jumoke. As a means of demonstrating the importance of looking at non­-Sheff schools, we will include a graph of the very low chance of acceptance (5-10 percent) to Hartford magnet schools. This graph, found at, demonstrates the fact that most Hartford students are not currently able to attend Sheff schools and therefore their story must be told in regards to factors other than Sheff goals. We will also embed an ad campaign (ability to embed has been verified) asking parents to keep their children in Hartford schools rather than send them into the suburbs, found at This ad came under sharp criticism from Sheff proponents, and it provides a good example of the debate over the extent to which Sheff should control education policy in Hartford.

Beyond these web resources, we would also like to include various digital tools that are interactive for our readers. First, we would like to include a before and after poll questioning site viewers about their opinions of Sheff and non-Sheff schools. One will be at the top of the page before the story is told, and one will be at the bottom for readers to reevaluate their opinion after reading our story. This poll will be informative to us, but it will also explicitly direct the readers to make important evaluations of Hartford schools using considerations they might not have thought of before. We are also considering adding a map highlighting some of the distances that have to be traveled daily by Project Choice students and the transportation realities of Hartford Public School transportation. A zoning map provided by Achievement First, and we can use Google Maps to calculate transportation distances and times. This will allow readers to see one of the major downsides to sending Hartford students into the suburbs and lends evidence to the need to promote achievement in all Hartford schools, not just the magnets. Additionally, we will include links to the contact information for important education policy makers such as Hartford Public Schools, the Board of Education, the Capitol Region Education Council, and the Sheff Movement so that readers can share their opinions with the people in charge of directing Hartford school reform.

[1] Pedro Noguera, City Schools and the American Dream, (New York: Teachers College Press, 2003), 7.