Insights on Schools & Choice: Mira Debs and Robert Cotto Jr.

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Two new researchers have joined the Cities Suburbs & Schools Project at Trinity College to share their insights on education and housing through our new group blog. Both of my colleagues share a special focus on public school choice programs, such as interdistrict magnet schools, city-suburban transfer programs, and charter schools, which have grown dramatically in the metropolitan Hartford region over the past decade. All of us can benefit from sharper insights and richer evidence on how choice programs may be changing the landscape of equal educational opportunity in the racially and economically divided state of Connecticut.

RobertCottoJr200x200Robert Cotto Jr. recently co-authored a CT Voices report on Choice Watch: Diversity and Access in Connecticut’s School Choice Programs, and he also joined Trinity College community as the Director of Urban Educational Initiatives and Lecturer in the Educational Studies Program. In addition to his work on K-12 policy, Robert previously taught secondary-level social studies for six years at the Metropolitan Learning Center interdistrict magnet school in Bloomfield CT, earned master’s degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Education and Trinity’s American Studies Program, and also serves as an elected member on the Hartford Board of Education.

MiraDebsMira Debs is conducting field research at two Montessori magnet schools in Hartford while writing her dissertation for her Ph.D. degree in the Sociology Department at Yale University. She recently gave a guest lecture at Trinity on “Parent Choice and Involvement on the Ground,” based on preliminary findings from her 18-month qualitative study and interviews with city and suburban parents. In addition to her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford, Mira taught high school history for five years at a district school and a charter school in the Boston area, and is a founding member of the first public Montessori school in New Haven, Elm City Montessori, which will open in September 2014.

Learn more from my colleagues on the Cities Suburbs & Schools Project group blog at Follow us with an RSS feed or my Twitter account (@DoughertyJack).