Research Papers & Publications

Posted on

More than two dozen Trinity student researchers on this project have co-presented and/or co-authored research at nationally-recognized academic conferences and publications. See also a direct link to works in the CSSP section of the Trinity College Digital Repository.

Listed in reverse chronological order: (to update, right-click Zotero folder biblio > Chicago chrono desc order with abstract > to RTF and paste)

Dougherty, Jack, and contributors. On the Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and Its Suburbs. Book-in-progress.  Abstract: This open-access digital-first book tells the story of schooling and housing boundaries that shaped American metropolitan life over the past century, and also the civil rights struggles of families and activists to cross over, redraw, or erase these powerful lines. Set in the city of Hartford, Connecticut, and its emerging suburbs, the book explains how this metropolitan area became one of the most racially and economically polarized regions in the northeastern United States. The story highlights how government, business, and white middle-class families drew lines to distance themselves from others, and the evolving coalitions that have sought to reform the relationship between private housing and public education.

Dougherty, Jack, Diane Zannoni, Julio Franco, Stephen Spirou, Segun Ajayi, Brian Love, and Elie Vered. “Who Chooses in the Hartford Region? Report 2: A Statistical Analysis of Regional School Choice Office Applicants and Non-Applicants among Hartford and Suburban-Resident Students in the Spring 2013 Lottery.” Hartford, CT: Cities Suburbs Schools Project at Trinity College, October 17, 2015. Abstract: Which Hartford and suburban families were more (or less) likely to apply to the Regional School Choice Office for public school choice options such as interdistrict magnet schools, and how do these families vary by student characteristics & achievement, school composition, and neighborhood/town demographics? Report 2 offers a statistical analysis of 17,710 applicants to the Spring 2013 RSCO lottery, matched to a broader pool of over 170,000 potential applicants from the RSCO transportation region in the Public School Information System (PSIS) database. Overall, this report expands on our prior finding that in Report 1 that participation in the RSCO application process was not random, but linked to certain characteristics. Among Hartford-resident K-11 students, English Language Learners were much less likely to apply (26 percent fewer students than expected), those with special education needs were somewhat less likely to apply (16 percent fewer than expected), and those living in higher-income or higher-homeownership areas were more likely to apply (24 and 28 percent more students than expected, respectively). Regarding test score differences, Hartford applicants had slightly higher reading scores than non-applicants, but this disparity was small and was not found in any other subject areas. Along racial lines, we found that Hartford Black students were more likely to apply (11 percent more than expected), while Hispanic students were less likely (8 percent fewer than expected), with no difference for White students.Among suburban K-11 students, those from lower-income families were more likely to apply (43 percent more than expected). Black suburban students were much more likely to apply (169 percent more than expected), and Hispanic suburban students were more likely to apply (48 percent more than expected), while White suburban students were less likely to apply (47 percent fewer than expected). Students in suburbs with more than 60 percent minority enrollment were far more likely to apply (132 percent more students than expected). Regarding achievement tests, higher-scoring suburban students were less likely to apply (12 percent fewer students than expected).

Reuben, Savahna. “Education/Instrucción Combats Housing Discrimination.”, December 2014. Abstract: Activists Ben Dixon, Boyd Hinds, and Julia Ramos created the Education/Instrucción organization and challenged housing discrimination by real estate agencies in the Hartford region in the early 1970s.

Dougherty, Jack, Stephen Spirou, Diane Zannoni, and Marissa Block. “Who Chooses in Hartford? Regional School Choice Applications from Hartford-Resident HPS Students in 2012.” Magnet Schools of America conference presentation, May 17, 2014. Abstract: These presentation slides are an abbreviated version of the full report: Dougherty, Jack, Diane Zannoni, Marissa Block, and Stephen Spirou. Who Chooses in Hartford? Report 1: Statistical Analysis of Regional School Choice Office Applicants and Non-Applicants among Hartford-Resident HPS Students in Grades 3-7, Spring 2012. Hartford, CT: Cities Suburbs Schools Project at Trinity College, May 12, 2014,

Dougherty, Jack, Diane Zannoni, Marissa Block, and Stephen Spirou. “Who Chooses in Hartford? Report 1: Statistical Analysis of Regional School Choice Office Applicants and Non-Applicants among Hartford-Resident HPS Students in Grades 3-7, Spring 2012.” Hartford, CT: Cities Suburbs Schools Project at Trinity College, May 12, 2014. Abstract: Which Hartford-area families were more (or less) likely to apply for public school choice options, and how do they vary by student characteristics & achievement, school composition, and neighborhood demographics? Report 1 offers a statistical analysis of RSCO applicants versus non-applicants among 6,673 Hartford-resident students enrolled in Hartford Public Schools (HPS) — both district schools and interdistrict magnet schools — from grades 3 through 7 in Spring 2012. Overall, we found that participation in the RSCO application process was not random, but linked to student socioeconomic characteristics that often showed higher participation by more privileged families. In this sample, there were statistically significant lower levels of RSCO participation among English Language Learners and those with special needs, and generally higher levels by students with high CMT scores, and those who live in census areas with higher median household incomes and higher percentages of owner-occupied housing. The report also evaluates statistically significant differences and the magnitude of numbers of expected versus actual applicants by race and ethnicity, school performance, location, and other characteristics.

Cotto, Jr., Robert, and Kenneth Feder. Choice Watch: Diversity and Access in Connecticut’s School Choice Programs. CT Voices for Children, 2014. Abstract: This analysis of enrollment in Connecticut’s school choice programs raises concerns about their relative compliance with established goals of racial and ethnic integration and equal access for all students.  Many of Connecticut’s school choice programs fall short in advancing the goal of racial and ethnic integration.  In spite of state laws requiring charter and magnet schools to reduce racial and ethnic isolation of students, only interdistrict magnet schools are typically integrated, and a majority of the state’s charter schools are highly segregated.  The report also raises concerns about the underrepresentation in school choice programs of students who do not speak English as a first language and students with special education needs.The analysis examines the demographics of students in Connecticut’s interdistrict school choice programs – programs that permit parents to enroll their children in schools outside their local school districts.  It focuses on magnet, charter, and technical schools.  Among the key findings:While both charter and interdistrict magnet schools are required by state law to reduce racial and ethnic segregation of students, only magnet schools are held to a measurable standard – a student body between 25% and 75% students of color. A majority of interdistrict magnet schools (62%) meet this standard. By contrast, a majority of charter schools (65%) are highly segregated, enrolling over 90% students of color.  While technical schools have no measurable integration standard, a majority (56%) would meet the requirement for magnet schools.Students who do not speak English as a first language are under-represented in Connecticut’s school choice programs, compared to the school districts of the towns in which the programs are located.  A majority of all interdistrict magnet, charter, and technical schools enroll students identified as being English Language Learners (ELL) at a substantially lower rate (five percentage points lower) than the local school districts of the towns in which they are located. Over one-third of magnet and charter schools and a majority of technical schools enroll students identified as requiring special education at a substantially lower rate (five percentage points lower) than the local school districts of the towns in which they are located.

McGann, Shaun. “The Effects of ‘Redlining’ on the Hartford Metropolitan Region.”, March 2014. Abstract: Contemporary patterns of racial isolation in the Hartford metropolitan region, as elsewhere across the country, stem from a mixture of historic and present-day policies. A number of past policies, promoted by both private and federal interests, encouraged racial segregation. Although these explicitly racist policies are no longer legal, research shows that their legacy often persists well beyond their termination. For example, historical data reveals long-term patterns of inequality that can be traced back to racist zoning codes of the past. Of the housing barriers that ethnic minorities within the US have faced in the 20th century, “redlining” is perhaps the most talked about—and for good reason. Redlining is the nickname given to the practice of rating certain neighborhoods as undesirable investment choices due to their racial and socioeconomic demographics. Banks then used these ratings when determining whether or not to authorize loan transactions for home purchases and improvements in those communities. By effectively directing capital investment away from “redlined” neighborhoods, this practice shaped the demographic patterns as well as the built environments of cities and suburbs across the US. HOLC redlining map.

Dougherty, Jack. “CT Mirror Gets It Right — Then Wrong — with Trinity Students’ Sheff Data Visualizations.” The CT Mirror, January 21, 2014. Abstract: Students in the Cities, Suburbs & Schools seminar at Trinity College and I had the privilege of designing online data visualizations with CT Mirror journalists Jacqueline Rabe Thomas and Alvin Chang, which they recently published in their January 15, 2014 story,.

Thomas, Jacqueline Rabe, and Alvin Chang. “By the Numbers: Integrating Schools in CT.” CT Mirror, January 15, 2014. Abstract: Review of racial integration in Connecticut schools, with data visualizations created by Trinity students Emily Meehan, Savannah Reuben, and Elaina Rollins.

Meehan, Emily. “The Debate Over Who Could Occupy World War II Public Housing in West Hartford.”, January 2014. Abstract: In 1943, a dispute erupted between West Hartford residents and federal housing officials over whether or not African Americans should be allowed to live in the World War II public housing tract called Oakwood Acres. During this period, public housing tracts were created to shelter the many war workers and their families drawn to the Hartford area by the availability of defense-related jobs. The United States government funded these developments; therefore, local housing officials needed to abide by federal laws regarding occupancy. Federal Housing authorities eventually did require West Hartford to admit African Americans; however, town residents and leaders prevailed by specifying residency criteria in such a way as to maintain the demographic makeup of their virtually all-white community. Racist actions such as these, even when they occurred decades ago, have been factors in shaping the present-day demographics of West Hartford and other towns in the state.

Rollins, Elaina. “Five Minutes That Changed Connecticut: Simon Bernstein and the 1965 Connecticut Education Amendment.”, January 2014. Abstract: Hartford lawyer and Democratic delegate Simon Bernstein stuck out from his political peers at the 1965 Connecticut Constitutional Convention. While the Democratic and Republican chairmen of the time were entrenched in a debate over the state’s unequal political representation system, Bernstein dared to dream a little bigger. As a member of the Bloomfield Board of Education, Bernstein recognized that Connecticut was the only state that did not guarantee its citizens a constitutional right to an education. Bernstein thus decided to draft a new amendment to address this problem. After days of being ignored by his Democratic Party superiors and, finally, threatening to confront the media about his concerns, Bernstein’s request was met. Delegates at the 1965 Connecticut Constitutional Convention passed Bernstein’s amendment which guarantees free public education to every child. This set the stage for a series of prominent educational lawsuits, including Horton v. Meskill (1970), Sheff v. O’Neill (1989), and Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell (2005).

Rollins, Elaina, Clarissa Ceglio, and Jack Dougherty. “Writing Greater Hartford’s Civil Rights Past with ConnecticutHistory.Org.” Connecticut History Review 53, no. 2 (2014): 220–26. Abstract: Through a campus-community partnership, Trinity College undergraduates have published essays under the guidance of editors that enrich our understanding of twentieth-century civil rights history. Newer web-based tools enable drafts to be collaboratively reviewed by peers and the editor and also allow digital evidence—from archival documents, images, and interviews—to be incorporated directly into the essays. Overall, students’ reflections on this process emphasize the intrinsic value of actively contributing to the reshaping of Connecticut’s civil rights history on the public web, rather than simply earning a grade within the confined walls of the classroom.

Zannoni, Diane, and Jack Dougherty. “Spatial Analysis of Hartford Public School Student Characteristics across Census Block Groups, 2009-12: A Preliminary Report.” Cities, Suburbs, and Schools Project. Hartford, CT: Trinity College, October 24, 2013. Abstract: Spatial analysis refers to the distribution of a variable across geography. If all things were equal, we would expect student characteristics to be randomly distributed over space, but other factors may cause them to be dispersed or clustered. This study examines an in-depth analysis of Hartford Public School student-level data (grades 3-8) across four years (2008-09 to 2011-12), based on geocoding their home addresses to census block groups to identify spatial clustering and hot spots regarding student demographics, achievement, and magnet school enrollment.

“Trinity College Students Call Attention to Histories of Inequality.”, May 2013. Abstract: Collection of essays on Connecticut civil rights history written by Trinity College students.

Moody, Austin. “Sheff v. O’Neill: Conflicting Agendas and Stymied Progress.” Public Policy and Law honors thesis, Trinity College, 2013. Abstract: This thesis will seek to uncover the many reasons why the Sheff v. O’Neill decision remains largely unfulfilled 17 years later. Despite a court order to provide integration and years of research that suggest that removing children from racially isolated schools is beneficial, the political will to make the necessary changes has never materialized. A review of the research and progress since the decision was first announced suggests that this failure stems from a lack of incentivization for all of the major parties whose support would be necessary to turn the Sheff decision into a reality. Neither the state, the city, nor the suburbs see integration as a particularly appealing objective, and due to the nature of the Court’s decision, few measures are in place to incentivize their cooperation or punish their inaction. Students and parents undoubtedly have themost to gain from integration yet they have the least amount of power to influence the situation.

Gurren, Amanda. “Connecticut Takes the Wheel on Education Reform: Project Concern.”, April 2013. Abstract: Reviews the Project Concern city-to-suburb public school transfer program for racial integration, which began in the Hartford region in 1966 and was superceded in 1999 by Open Choice.

Ragland, Jamil. “Graduating Class: Race, Economics and Education in Bloomfield, CT.” Senior Project in American Studies, Trinity College, 2013. 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.

Rioual, Brigit. “Sheff v. O’Neill Settlements Target Educational Segregation In Hartford.”, April 2013. Abstract: Reviews the 2003 Sheff settlement and remedy phase for school integration in the Hartford region.

Sagullo, Nicole. “How Real Estate Practices Influenced the Hartford Region’s Demographic Makeup.”, February 2013. Abstract: Review of two forms of housing discrimination – racial steering and block busting – by real estate firms in Bloomfield, Connecticut in the early 1970s.

Smith-Ellison, Victoria. “Hartford’s Great Migration through Charles S. Johnson’s Eyes.”, February 2013. Abstract: Review of Charles Johnson’s 1921 report, “The Negro Population of Hartford, Connecticut,” a sociological account of Southern Blacks who migrated to this industrial city and the barriers they encountered.

Zannoni, Diane, Jack Dougherty, Ben Rudy, and Evan Sternberg. “Student Continuity and Achievement Clustering in Hartford Public Schools, 2008-2012: A Preliminary Data Report.” Cities, Suburbs, and Schools Project. Hartford, CT: Trinity College, January 18, 2013. 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.

Daly, Mary. “Race Restrictive Covenants in Property Deeds.”, January 2013. Abstract: Review of racial prohibitions in the property deeds of 1940s suburban housing developments in West Hartford, Connecticut, and national efforts to cease their enforcement.

Dougherty, Jack. “Investigating Spatial Inequality with the Cities, Suburbs, and Schools Project.” In Confronting Urban Legacy: Rediscovering Hartford and New England’s Forgotten Cities, edited by Xiangming Chen and Nicholas Bacon, 110–26. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 2013. Abstract: For nearly a decade, Trinity College students, colleagues and I have worked together on the Cities, Suburbs, and Schools Project to better understand the past and present relationship between public education and private housing in metropolitan Hartford, Connecticut. The CSS Project refers to the collective work done by undergraduates in the interdisciplinary seminar I teach, as well as independent studies, summer research assistantships, and other presentations and papers. Together, we formulate research questions from provocative readings from literature in history and the social sciences, and design studies using historical, qualitative, and/or quantitative methods to test these ideas in the Hartford region.

Dougherty, Jack, Diane Zannoni, Maham Chowhan, Courteney Coyne, Benjamin Dawson, Tehani Guruge, and Begaeta Nukic. “School Information, Parental Decisions, and the Digital Divide: The SmartChoices Project in Hartford, Connecticut.” In Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair, edited by Gary Orfield and Erica Frankenberg, 219–37. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. 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.

Cotto, Jr., Robert. “Providing Educational Opportunity for Every Child.” New Haven, CT: Connecticut Voices for Children, August 2012. Abstract: A free, equal public education is the right of every child. A quality public education system should provide a well-rounded, balanced curriculum and help prepare children for their adult lives. While Connecticut has a strong public education system, we need better ways to assess our children’s learning and the work that schools perform. This brief for electoral candidates makes several recommendations to improve and broaden educational opportunities:Public education should support a broad set of goals for children’s development and well-being. The state’s educational system should continue to provide a broad educational program that serves all children’s learning and developmental needs including academic skills, critical thinking, the arts and literature, preparation for skilled work, social skills, citizenship, and emotional health.Use a variety of methods and indicators, in addition to standardized tests, to assess whether children receive a quality education.Require schools to adopt initiatives that promote a positive school climate and to regularly report on their suspension, truancy and attrition rates.The ECS funding must keep pace with students’ need in the coming years.

———. “Making Sense of the Vertical Scales: An Alternative View of the Connecticut Mastery Test Results.” New Haven, CT: Connecticut Voices for Children, July 2012. Abstract: Using an alternate measure of educational progress – vertical scale scores – can present a different picture of change over time in the performance of Connecticut students. Each summer, the state reports the results of the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT), by showing what percent of students scored at five different levels: below basic, basic, proficient, goal, and advanced.  These types of “standards-based” levels are the most widely cited measures of educational progress in Connecticut and will take on increasing importance in the Governor and General Assembly’s recent education law.However, standards-based reporting may miss improvement that occurs within levels and does not explain improvement over time on different grade-level tests within a subject area.  Therefore, the State Department of Education developed an additional improvement indicator in 2007 — vertical scale scores.Vertical scales allow us to understand how students perform on the state tests of math or reading in one grade compared to the next grade, despite more difficult and different math content.  Vertical scale scores are a rough indicator of improvement on the standard CMT from one year to the next, following the same group, or matched cohort, of children.This report, which looks at the value and limitations of standards-based and vertical scale CMT measures, finds thatOn average, students are making progress on the vertical scales on the standard CMT in math and reading, even though this growth may not be reflected on the standards-based level reports.Racial and ethnic minority and low-income students had lower vertical scale scores, on average, than white and more affluent students in 3rd grade math and reading, the first year that the standard Connecticut Mastery Test is administered to students.  Within racial and ethnic groups, children from lower-income families (eligible for free and reduced price meals) tend to score lower on the vertical scale scores in third grade.Despite different starting points, black, Latino, English Language Learning students, and students with disabilities on average experienced a comparable amount of growth or improvement on the standard CMT in math and reading from one year-grade 3 in 2009 — to the next-grade 4 in 2010 — compared to the statewide average.

Dougherty, Jack, and Candace Simpson. “Who Owns Oral History? A Creative Commons Solution.” In Oral History in the Digital Age, edited by Doug Boyd, Steve Cohen, Brad Rakerd, and Dean Rehberger. Washington, DC: Institute of Library and Museum Services, 2012. Abstract: When an oral history narrator shares her story in response to questions posed by an interviewer, and the recording and transcript are deposited in an archive, who holds the rights to these historical source materials? Who decides whether or not they may be shared with the public, quoted in a publication, or uploaded to the web? Who decides whether someone has the right to earn money from including an interview in a commercially distributed book, video, or website? Furthermore, does Creative Commons, a licensing tool developed by the open access movement to protect copyright while increasing public distribution, offer a better solution to these questions than existing oral history protocols?

Walsh, Nathan. “Minority Status and School Choice: The Experiences of Native-Born African American and West Indian Immigrants in Hartford.” Senior Thesis, Educational Studies Program, Trinity College, 2012. 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.

Dougherty, Jack, and Candace Simpson. “Whose Civil Rights Stories on the Web? Authorship, Ownership, Access and Content in Digital History.” Presentation at Organization of American Historians & National Council on Public History, April 20, 2012. 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).

Morr, Mary. “Career Academies and Conflicting Agendas: An Analysis of Career and Technical Education in Hartford in the Context of Broader School Policies.” Public Policy and Law honors thesis, Trinity College, 2012. Abstract: “This thesis is an analysis of Career and Technical Education as a response to the low quality of public education in Hartford, Connecticut. Hartford Public Schools recently adopted the Career Academy model of CTE to restructure its failing high schools. This model is an improvement upon traditional forms of CTE, and graduation rates and test scores have increased since Hartford’s Academies opened in 2008. Still, whether Career Academies are an appropriate solution to the chronic underperformance of the city’s schools will depend upon their compatibility with the broader educational policies being implemented by the district and the State. The two primary policies to consider are school choice at the district level and desegregation at the state level. Career Academies are not perfectly compatible with either of these broader agendas. However, school choice and desegregation measures have their own limitations that will prevent them from generating lasting improvements. For either policy to work, Hartford will need high-performing local schools, yet neither school choice nor desegregation can create these schools on its own. Policy recommendations are offered for making Career Academies more compatible with the district’s and the State’s agendas in order for all systems to operate more effectively. Ultimately, Hartford’s history of racial and economic concentration needs to be reversed in order to achieve long-term success. Doing so can only be accomplished if the city has high-quality local schools with which to attract a diverse population, and Career Academies offer significant promise to fill this role at the high school level.” (Sheff v O’Neill).

Cotto, Jr., Robert. “Understanding Connecticut’s Application for a Waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act.” New Haven, CT: Connecticut Voices for Children, April 2012. Abstract: On February 28, the Connecticut State Department of Education submitted a draft of its waiver request after twenty-two days of open comment.2 Given the very short timeline for the waiver process, and the complexity of the waiver application, this brief provides policymakers, educators, and parents an overview of the contents of the application, and a detailed analysis of the second section, which explains the testbased management of school districts.  The application will be reviewed and a decision is expected in April 2012.

———. “The Limits of Data on Free and Reduced Price Meal Eligibility in Connecticut.” New Haven, CT: Connecticut Voices for Children, March 2012. Abstract: The practice of using free and reduced price meal (FRPM) eligibility as a proxy for poverty is pervasive in educational research and policymaking. More thorough consideration of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) makes at least one thing clear: the statistics help us understand how many students are eligible for the program, but they have considerable limitations when used as an indicator of student need or socioeconomic status:Eligibility for free or reduced price meals does not entirely capture a student’s access (or lack of access) to economic resources such as parental income, education level, and family wealth.The combined percentage of students eligible for free and reduced meals does not show income differences between the two income categories.Districts and schools that have the same combined percentage of students eligible for FRPM may have substantial differences in the percentage of their students that are eligible for free meals.Participation rates in the NSLP may vary based on different certification procedures at the district level.The Connecticut Education Data and Research website collects and reports FRPM data differently from the State Department of Education Bureau of Health, Nutrition, Family Services, and Adult Education. Thus, there are at least two sources of FRPM data with different numbers of eligible students reported for the same schools and districts.We recommend caution in using FRPM statistics and consideration of alternative measures to indicate student need and/or socioeconomic status.

Dougherty, Jack. “Shopping for Schools: How Public Education and Private Housing Shaped Suburban Connecticut.” Journal of Urban History 38, no. 2 (March 2012): 205–24. 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

Cotto, Jr., Robert. “Addition through Subtraction: Are Rising Test Scores in Connecticut School Districts Related to the Exclusion of Students with Disabilities?” New Haven, CT: Connecticut Voices for Children, January 2012. Abstract: This report finds that the exclusion of thousands of students with disabilities from reported Connecticut Mastery Test results has distorted reported trends in test scores. Following test scores from year to year in the same grade, the study finds that statewide improvements in standard Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) scores reported by the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) between 2008 and 2009 — the period of the largest reported gains — were largely the result of the exclusion of students with disabilities from these standard test results, rather than overall improvements in performance. For example, 84% of the reported improvement in 4th grade math proficiency between 2008 and 2009 and 69% of the improvement in 8th grade reading proficiency could be attributed to the exclusion of these students. Much of the reported improvements in later years could also be attributed to this exclusion, though there were some modest overall gains as well.In 2009, state and federal policy changes enabled school districts to offer a modified assessment (MAS) to students with disabilities that the districts determined would not have passed the CMT in math and/or reading. As a result of these policy changes, the share of students taking the regular CMT declined substantially. Prior to 2009, students who did not reach the proficient level on the CMT because of their disabilities were included in statewide CMT results. In 2009, thousands of low-scoring students were assigned to take the MAS test instead of the standard CMT, and these students were not included in the CMT results. Thus, CMT scores reported by the State Department of Education appeared to improve in large part because these low-scoring students were no longer included in the calculations.

DelConte, Matthew, Sushil Trivedi, Diane Zannoni, and Jack Dougherty. “Who Chooses? A Preliminary Analysis of Hartford Public Schools.” Cities Suburbs and Schools Project presentation slides, January 2012. 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.

Dougherty, Jack. “Review of ‘Connecticut’s Public Schools: A History, 1650-2000’ by Christopher Collier.” Connecticut History 50, no. 1 (2011): 120–22. 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.

———. “SmartChoices: A Geospatial Tool for Community Outreach and Educational Research.” Academic Commons, August 20, 2010. 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.

Dougherty, Jack, Diane Zannoni, Maham Chowhan, Courteney Coyne, Benjamin Dawson, Tehani Guruge, and Begaeta Nukic. “How Does Information Influence Parental Choice? The Smart Choices Project in Hartford, Connecticut.” National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (NCSPE), no. Occasional Paper 189 (April 28, 2010). 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

Coyne, Courteney. “Reputations and Realities: A Comparative Study of Parental Perceptions, School Quality and the SmartChoices Website.” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2010. 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?

Agosto, Jasmin. “Fighting Segregation, Teaching Multiculturalism: The Beginning of the Education/Instruccion Narrative of the 1970s Hartford Civil Rights Movement.” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2010. 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.

Price, Brittany. “The Usage of Maps in Facilitating Conversations with Stakeholders about Educational Desegregation in Hartford.” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2009. 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.

Hughes, Devlin. Designing Effective Google Maps for Social Change: A Case Study of SmartChoices. Hartford, Connecticut, 2009. 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

Dougherty, Jack, Jeffrey Harrelson, Laura Maloney, Drew Murphy, Russell Smith, Michael Snow, and Diane Zannoni. “School Choice in Suburbia: Test Scores, Race, and Housing Markets.” American Journal of Education 115, no. 4 (August 2009): 523–48. 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.

Dougherty, Jack. “Conflicting Questions: Why Historians and Policymakers Miscommunicate on Urban Education.” In Clio at the Table: Using History to Inform and Improve Education Policy, edited by Kenneth Wong and Robert Rothman, 251–62. New York: Peter Lang, 2009. 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.

Dougherty, Jack, Jesse Wanzer, 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 Smrekar and Ellen Goldring, 103–27. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, 2009. 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.

Wanzer, Jesse, Heather Moore, and Jack Dougherty. “Race and Magnet School Choice: A Mixed-Methods Neighborhood Study in Urban Connecticut.” American Educational Research Association conference paper, March 28, 2008. 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.

Pennington, Lis, Emily Steele, and Jack Dougherty. “A Political History of School Finance Reform in Metropolitan Hartford, Connecticut, 1945-2005.” American Educational Research Association conference paper, April 2007. 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.

Dougherty, Jack. “Bridging the Gap Between Urban, Suburban, and Educational History.” In Rethinking the History of American Education, edited by William Reese and John Rury, 245–59. New York: Palgrave MacMillan Press, 2007. 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.

Dougherty, Jack, Jesse Wanzer, and Christina Ramsay. “Missing the Goal: A Visual Guide to Sheff v. O’Neill School Desegregation: June 2007.” Hartford, Connecticut and Storrs, Connecticut: The Cities, Suburbs and Schools research project at Trinity College and the University of Connecticut Center for Education Policy Analysis, 2007. 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.

Ramsay, Christina, Cintli Sanchez, and Jesse Wanzer. “Shopping for Homes and Schools: A Qualitative Study of West Hartford, Connecticut.” Cities, Suburbs, and Schools Project. Hartford, Connecticut: Trinity College, December 2006. 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.

Dougherty, Jack, Naralys Estevez, Jesse Wanzer, David Tatem, Courtney Bell, Casey Cobb, and Craig Esposito. “A Visual Guide to Sheff v. O’Neill School Desegregation.” Hartford, Connecticut and Storrs, Connecticut: The Cities, Suburbs and Schools Research Project at Trinity College and the University of Connecticut Center for Education Policy Analysis, July 2006. 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.

Wetzler, Rebecca. “The Effects of Health, Mobility, and Socio-Economic Status Factors on the Race Gap in Achievement.” Psychology senior thesis, Trinity College, 2006. 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.

Estevez, Naralys, and Jack Dougherty. “Do Magnet Schools Attract All Families Equally? A GIS Mapping Analysis of Latinos.” American Education Research Association conference paper, April 10, 2006. 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.

Nieves, Nivia, and Jack Dougherty. “Latino Politicians, Activists, and Parents: The Challenge of Implementing City-Suburban Magnet Schools.” American Educational Research Association conference paper, April 10, 2006. 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.

Nieves, Nivia. “Shaping the Learning Corridor Interdistrict Magnet Schools, 1990s to the Present.” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2005. 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.

Young, Aleesha. “Real Estate, Racial Change, and Bloomfield Schools in the 1960s and ’70s.” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2005. 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.

Moore, Heather. “Private School Choice and Educational Outcomes in Metropolitan Hartford.” Cities Suburbs and Schools Project presentation slides, July 2005. 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.

Simonds, Rebecca. “Conflict and Identity: Puerto Rican Teens in Metropolitan Hartford.” International Studies senior thesis, Trinity College, 2005. 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.

Beckett, Grace. “Suburban Participation in Hartford’s Project Concern School Desegregation Program, 1966-1998.” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2004. 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.

Katz, Jacqueline. “Historical Memory and the Transformation of City and Suburban Schools.” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2004. 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.

Perkins, Kelli. “Public Schools and Private Real Estate Markets, 1940-2000.” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2004. 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.

Green, Carmen. “Catholic Schools, Racial Change, and Suburbanization, 1930-2000.” History of Education Society conference paper, November 5, 2004. 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.

Williams, Jennifer. “The Unthinkable Remedy: The Proposed Metropolitan Hartford School District.” Presentation slides, Cities Suburbs and Schools Project at Trinity College, July 2004. 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.

Banks, Dana, and Jack Dougherty. “City-Suburban Desegregation and Forced Choices: Review Essay of ‘The Other Boston Busing Story’ by Susan Eaton.” Teachers College Record 105 (2004): 985–98. 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.

DePina, Antonio. “Comparing Suburban School Culture in Metropolitan Hartford: How Does the Formal and Hidden Curriculum Vary across Two High Schools?” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2003. 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.

Gutmann, Laurie. “Whose Concern Matters?: Student Support and Project Concern.” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2003. 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.

Reuman, David. “Effects of An Inter-District Magnet Program On Inter-Racial Attitudes At School.” American Educational Research Association conference paper, April 25, 2003. 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.

Blacklaw, Nicola. “The Presence of Contact Conditions in a Magnet School.” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2002. 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.

Lawrence, Eric. “Teacher Suburbanization & The Diverging Discourse on Hartford Public School Quality, 1950-1970.” American Studies senior research project, Trinity College, 2002. 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.

Kaminski, Sarah. “Magnet Schools: An Effective Solution to Sheff v. O’Neill?” The Trinity Papers 21 (2002): 63–71. 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.

Schofield, Molly. “Increasing Interracial Relationships.” Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2002. 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.


One thought on “Research Papers & Publications”

Leave a Reply