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Diversification of Workforce: New York City and Chicago

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Diversification of the Teaching Workforce: New York City and Chicago

The sixties and seventies are world renowned as a time period of national progressive social change in the United States. These two decades were responsible for shaping political and social conflicts that highlighted the absence of many opportunities for people of diverse backgrounds in the United States. As the era of social change came to an end, an increased number of opportunities for people of color became widely available. In fact, during the last four decades, schools have opened their doors to students and teachers of a widely varied range of ethnicities. Because public schools have become increasingly diverse during the last 40 years, a demand for multicultural teachers has also increased. According to statistical data collected from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, minority enrollment (students of Black and Hispanic background) made up roughly about 22% of the distribution of public school students. By 1999, minority enrollment was recorded at 38%. With these progressively increasing numbers, schools have started to question the reasoning behind the widening achievement gap that exists between students of color and white students. If multicultural teacher recruitment and retention is the key to closing the achievement gap, how much racial diversification has occurred in the teaching workforce since the 1960s? And how has it affected urban public schools and their students in large American cities such as New York and Chicago?

Although there are factors that may affect a student’s achievement, teachers are ultimately held liable for their student’s successes and failures. There is a large amount of data and research that ultimately prove that teachers have a great degree of influence on their students, especially if they are African American or Hispanic educators (for African American/ Hispanic students. Although the teaching workforce has not shown a tremendous increase in diversity (despite of the need for them), they have served as a changing force, ultimately having a positive effect on inner city students in New York City and Chicago.

Interpreting The Data

Diversification from a nationwide stance

Various scholars including Ana Maria Villegas, Tamara F. Lucas, Margaret Wilder, and Thomas S. Dee have argued that diversifying the teacher workforce has a positive effect on students of color that attend public inner-city schools. In his article, A Teacher Like Me: Does Race, Ethnicity, or Gender Matter? scholar Thomas S. Dee argues that there are teacher effects that ultimately help shape a student’s educational outcome. For instance, he states, “A related type of passive teacher effect is the phenomenon known as “stereotype threat”. Stereotype threat refers to the possibility that, in situations students perceive stereotypes might attach black students with white teachers they (students) experience an apprehension that retards their academic identification and subsequent achievement” (158). When white teachers are placed in school setting that serves predominantly students of color, academic performance may be inhibited in terms of test taking.  As the nation becomes increasingly diverse, it is important to take into account what school practices might help close the achievement gap.
In their study, Diversifying the Teacher Workforce: A Retrospective and Prospective Analysis, scholars Ana Maria Villegas and Tamara F. Lucas defend the reasoning behind enforcing the recruitment of diverse teachers, stating that there is a “growing disparity between minority student and minority teacher populations” (76). Contrary to popular assumption, data shows there was a great disparity between the percentage of student and teacher populations enrolled to teach and study at public high schools. According to Table 1 below, in 1971, the percentage of minority teachers in public elementary and secondary schools was 11.7%, while students were at 22.2%.

U.S. Department of Education, 2001; National Center for Education Statistics; Diversifying the Workforce: A Retrospective and Prospective Analysis

Data gathered from 1986 showed that there were only 9.4% of minority teachers enrolled at public elementary and secondary schools while the number of students increased to 30.9%. Surprisingly, the difference in percentage points nearly doubled in size- from 10.5 to 21.5 in about a 15-year span (1971-1986).

Similarly, data gathered by Villegas and Lucas showed that in 1987, 13.1% of elementary and secondary public school teachers considered racial/ethnic minority background. Unlike prior data collected, this table shows that there was some increase in the percentage of racial/ethnic minority teachers enrolled at public schools. In 1999 there was a reported 15.7% of racial minority educators teaching at elementary and secondary public schools. Although that is considered quantitative increase, it was certainly not enough to match the large percentage of students that were enrolled at the time.

Source from NCES, Diversification of the Workforce: A Retrospective and Prospective Analysis

How “diversified” is America in accordance to their regions?

            Analyzing the data provided by the National Center for Educational Statistics led to another quantitative search of the diversification of children enrolled in public schools within each region. Table 3-2 below demonstrates how data gathered by the NCES in October from 1972-99 shows that minority enrollment gradually rose from 18.6% to 31.8% in the 27-year span in the North East; while in the Midwest it nearly doubled from 12.5% to 24.0%. While these two regions account for different states and cities within them, it is important to remember that the need for diverse teachers was as equally important in big cities in the Midwest like Chicago, as those big cities in the Northeast like New York City.

National Center for Educational Statistics; Appendix Table 3-2

The Census School District Tabulation (STP2) provided a series of longitudinal datasets that shows even more specific data in regards to the ethnicities of children enrolled in public schools during the 1999-2000 school year. These datasets that were collected by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Division and sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics, show that during the ‘99-‘00 school year, Chicago’s Public School District had a total of over 600,00 diverse students enrolled in the 299 public school district, which also happens to be the main district of the city. The New York 2000 Census recorded having about, 1,500,000 “non-white and ethnic students.”


Longitudinal Data collected from School District Demographics System; National Center for Education Statistics

“To some the teacher is in the best strategic position to further movements for a new social order”- New York City teacher union leader Henry Linville

While there is not an exact set of quantitative data provided by each of these states regarding the race of elementary and secondary school teachers, there are various accounts which take into consideration the fact that diverse teachers were and still are indefinitely scarce and very much needed in public school systems. For example, in her book Uncivil Rights: Teachers, Unions, and Race in the Battle for School Equity, author Jonna Perrillo writes,  “throughout much of the 1950s, the Teacher’s Union publicly exposed the shockingly low percentage of black teachers in the city and petitioned to train and hire more” (Perrillo p.7). They did this in attempts to diversify and integrate newly desegregated schools, in order to establish communities in diverse neighborhoods. In an attempt to desegregate the school, Perrillo writes, “the UFT recruited black teachers from the South to teach in the city’s schools, and also presented plans to integrate the schools as well” (Perrillo p.8). These plans to recruit and retain teachers came after it was reported that alarmingly low numbers of black teachers were enrolled as teachers in New York City, despite the growing population.

In her historical claim of the trials and tribulations of New York City teachers, Perrillo sheds light on the inequality issues many teachers faced during the late 1950s, and 1960s. In chapter three she notes, “While blacks made up 10 percent of the city’s population, less than 2 percent of the city’s licensed teachers were black” (p. 90). She goes on to state that there were many reasons behind the shortage of black teachers in the workforce, the main reason being discrimination against aspiring African American educators.  Perrillo claimed that the Department of Education disputed many unions’ attempts to diversify the workforce in fear that their jobs would be taken away. In chapter 4, named “An Educator’s Commitment”, Perrillo explains a theory proposed by the Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited group  (HARYOU) which states that, “our community has been controlled by people other than us…Such control was in the hands of educators who have successfully failed to educate blacks and Puerto Ricans in the past- and are afraid that Blacks and Puerto Ricans will do a better job” (p. 128). She goes to on explain that HARYOU was dedicated to educate the masses on the importance of having black teachers in the classroom. Perrillo noted that in New York City schools, “black children lacked positive role models in school extended both to the everyday curriculum and to those who taught it…because they better understood black students, HARYOU found, black teachers were often better to control their classes, and ultimately better teachers” (p. 128).

Parents that were able to see the effects of having their children educated by African-American/ Hispanic teachers versus white teachers were able to testify and rally against having such low numbers of minority teachers in New York City. According to Perrillo, “the problem resided in the fact that while half of the city’s public school students were black and Puerto Rican, less than 10 percent of teachers were” (p. 154). She goes on to state that parents petitioned this, asking for more minority teachers and “for white teachers and supervisors to undergo massive re-training that would bring about a change in attitude and rethinking of some traditional practices.”

Economist Thomas S. Dee further elaborates on the importance of having a teacher of color placed in diverse schools in his article, A Teacher Like Me: Does Race, Ethnicity or Gender Matter? Although he introduces his argument and claims through the notion of stereotype, the more important results lie in data he collected from the NELS88 Longitudinal study. In the data he collected and analyzed, Dee was able to conclude that both “white and minority students are likely to be perceived as disruptive by a teacher who does not share their racial/ethnic designation” (Dee p. 162). His main argument focuses on the notion that “the racial, ethnic, and gender dynamics between students and teachers have consistently large effects on teacher perceptions of student performance…the effects with race and ethnicity appear to be concentrated among students of low socioeconomic status” (Dee p. 163). His interpretation of the data only serves to back up the larger claim made by Jonna Perrillo, which emphasizes the importance of having diverse teachers teach diverse students.


What are the students saying?

Although there have been quantitative claims made by historians like Jonna Perrillo, and economists like Thomas S. Dee, one of the most important pieces of evidence to take into account when looking into the effectiveness of hiring diverse teachers is the opinion of the students themselves. For many years, there have been informal interviews about the positive effects teachers have on their students that are categorized as minority students. In a journal article named, Increasing African American Teachers’ Presence in American Schools: Voice of Students Who Care, author Margaret Wilder notes that researchers Beady and Hansell were able to find that a “teacher’s race was strongly associated with his or her expectations for students’ success” (Wilder p. 209). More specifically through her research, Wilder was able to find that African American teachers expected more out of their students than white teachers did. Through her studies, Wilder was able to find the effects of exposing African American children to African American teachers.

Wilder noted that while her six interviews had substantial information, which fully supported the diversification of the workforce, “that her findings were not representative of an entire population of African American students” (Wilder p. 212). In one of her interviews with a young woman named Rose, the female spoke wonderfully about her prior educator Ms. Rhodes.

Rose: “I never really had too many people in grade school who were real positive. In Upward Bound, I remember Ms. Rhodes. She is an African teacher. She taught us so much about Africa and where we came from and what we had to do. I mean, I love this lady so much. When you look at her, it’s like a glow. She just stands out so much, and she is such a powerful lady. She gave me a view that nobody else really . . . gave me. She really taught me a lot about my history. I never really thought about it before . . . It was the way she talked. When she talks I know everything she says is true. I know she probably would not lie to me or whatever. I mean, you just meet her and you fall in love with her” (p. 213).

This particular interview was a reflection of the interviews that Wilder had transcribed onto her article about the effects of African American teachers. All of the students that were interviewed spoke highly of their teachers, many recalling them as motivating forces in their life. Her interviews gave an insight as to the real effects of placing a teacher of a diverse background (which a student can relate to) in a classroom. Each student’s description of their relationships with their ethnic teachers were rich, and it seemed as if each student was actually invested in and empowered by what they were learning. All of the students always spoke fondly of their teachers and all of them were able to recall many meaningful moments and experiences with all of their racially diverse teachers during their elementary and secondary school careers.



            There has been a major underrepresentation of African American, Hispanic, Asian and other ethnic groups in the teaching workforce across the United States. Since the 1960s, many educational reformers have fought to diversify the teaching workforce through establishing guilds and teacher unions. However, their attempts to diversify the workforce has been shot down various times by those who head each state’s department of education (DOE). The United States has undergone a vast amount of social change in the last four decades, but that is still not reflected in our educational system. Each year, the achievement gap between African American/Hispanic students versus white students seems to increase. For many years, parents, educational reformers, and other social activists have fought to diversify the teaching workforce due to their belief that it is the key to closing the everlasting gap.

Because there has not been much quantitative evidence regarding the number of racially diverse teachers in New York and Chicago during the last thirty years, it is evident that there is indeed a shortage of African American/Hispanic teachers. Data collected from the National Center for Educational Statistics portray a small increase of racially diverse teachers within the workforce. The small numbers of ethnic teachers that dedicate their lives to educating children from inner city schools are known to make a difference despite the disparities that exists within each group. Studies such as those conducted by Margaret Wilder indeed show that despite the small amount in increase of the diversity of the workforce, teachers have made significant strides in terms of helping their students and even connecting with their students. Most, if not all of her interviewed youth praised all of their past educators, which is a clear statement on the importance of having students of color also educated by teachers of color.






Dee, Thomas S. “A Teacher like Me: Does Race, Ethnicity, or Gender Matter?” The American Economic Review 95.2 (2005): 158-65. Web.

NCES (National Center for Education Statistics). (1997). Selected characteristics of public school teachers: Spring 1961 to spring 1996. In Digest of Education Statistics, 1997.

NCES (National Center for Education Statistics). (1999). Table 3-1 Percentage Distribution of public school students enrolled in grades K-12 who were minorities: October 1972-99. In The Condition of Education, 2001.

NCES (National Center for Education Statistics). (1999). Table 3-2 Percentage distribution of public school students enrolled in grades k-12 who were minorities, by region: October 1972-99. In The Condition of Education, 2001.

Perrillo, Jonna. Uncivil Rights: Teachers, Unions, and Race in the Battle for School Equity. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2012. Print.


School District Demographics System. 2000 Census: Chicago District 299, New York City DOE. Accessed April 30th, 2013
Villegas, Ana María, and Tamara F. Lucas. “Diversifying the Teacher Workforce: A Retrospective and Prospective Analysis.” Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education 103.1 (2004): 70-104. Web.


Wilder, M. “Increasing African American Teachers’ Presence in American Schools: Voices of Students Who Care.” Urban Education 35.2 (2000): 205-20. Print.


Relinquishing the Remedy

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When my twins were babies, I took a ton of pictures.  Everywhere we went I had a camera or a device snapping photos of them.  Whenever their birthday draws near, I pull out my photo box to reminisce on how sweet they were and to remind myself how far we have come.  As the Sheff v. O’Neill victory approaches its seventeenth anniversary, I can’t help but wonder if the current snapshot of Hartford area schools has grown all that far from the picture of racial isolation and concentrated poverty we saw in 1996.  From Project Concern in the 1960’s to Open Choice today, the battle to integrate Hartford area schools has been long and hard.  According to the Sheff plaintiffs, the case was fought “ … to prepare all children to live and prosper in a growing racial/ethic, economically globally connected world” (“About Sheff v. O’Neill”).  While some progress has been made, little has really been done to diversify the student populations of schools within Hartford public school region.

Just two years after the 1996 Sheff ruling, local school desegregation advocates presented a viable metro integration plan to “remedy” the grievances addressed in the case by mandating public school integration.  According to “The Unexamined Remedy”, this involuntary integration was to occur by combining Hartford and twenty-one neighboring towns into a regional school district.  Key constituents showed little to no support for this model.  If true school integration is and was a priority for the State, why didn’t this happen?  Hartford public schools have been ailing for decades.  What factors caused education reformers of the time to turn their backs on a possible cure and relinquish the remedy?

A Lofty Goal: Sheff v. O’Neill 1996 Ruling

In April of 1989, a group of Hartford area students, their parents, and attorneys banded together to file a law suite against the city of Hartford.  The State Board of Education and Governor at the time, William O’Neil, were listed as the defendants in the case.  The suit was named after one of the plaintiffs, Elizabeth Horton Sheff.  Sheff’s son, Milo, was a fourth grader in a Hartford public school at the time.  According to the Sheff Movement, the case sought to “… redress the inequity between the level of education provided to students in Hartford public schools and that available to children in surrounding suburban districts” (“About Sheff v. O’Neill”).  The plaintiffs claimed that the state had violated Hartford public school students’ constitutional right to equal educational opportunity under the Connecticut State Constitution, because they allowed schools to be racially, ethnically, and economically segregated.

In July of 1996 with a vote of four to three, The Connecticut State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Sheff plaintiffs.  The Court acknowledged that the State had not intentionally segregated the marginalized students within the Hartford public school system from their peers of other racial and ethnic backgrounds in neighboring towns.  However, the Court did recognize that the State was responsible for the way school district boundary lines were drawn which caused Hartford public school students to be isolated from students of other racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds.

As for a course of action to address the racial, ethnic, and economic isolation of Hartford children, the court deemed that to be a matter for legislature and the executive branch.  Furthermore, no time frame was given to enact any specific remedy.

Examining “The Unexamined Remedy”

In June 1998, The Connecticut Center for School Change, a statewide non-profit with the goal “to help all districts teach all students to achieve at high standards” (“Who We Are”), came up with a detailed integration plan.  The proposal was co-authored by then executive director, Dr. Gordon Bruno, and an education policy political scientist, Dr. Kathryn McDermott.  The report, referred to as “The Unexamined Remedy”, laid out a plan that would rapidly address the racial and economic isolation within Hartford and twenty-one surrounding towns.  The very first sentence of the fifty-two page document states, “The intent of this document is to propose a means by which a high-quality, racially, and ethnically integrated education may be achieved for all Hartford area public school students” (The Unexamined Remedy 3).  The plan provides a complicated, yet feasible course of action to integrate schools by consolidating school districts into a regional school system(s).  The plan says that local communities in the state of Connecticut “tend to be racially and socioeconomically homogeneous” (The Unexamined Remedy 6).  The report goes on to say that town lines in Connecticut separate communities by socioeconomic class.  While integration is the primary goal of the plan, it is not the only goal.  The focal point of The Unexamined Remedy is quality education for all students throughout the region.  The plan states, “Educational excellence, equal educational opportunity and racial/ethnic integration are inseparably related” (The Unexamined Remedy 3).  Gordon Bruno emphasized that integration does not automatically signal quality education.  The plan explicitly defines what The Connecticut Center for School Change what quality schooling means to them.

The plan highlights smallness as being an essential element to quality schooling.  They made very specific recommendations for school and class sizes suggesting smaller classes of no more than fifteen students for elementary school classrooms, eighteen is the limit for grades three through five, a maximum of twenty students per class were suggested for sixth through eighth graders, and a cap of twenty-five students was placed on grades nine through twelve classrooms.  “Smallness increases the chances that all students are known well by teachers and administrators in their schools, both when they arrive as newcomers and throughout their school careers” (The Unexamined Remedy 6).  According to the plan, small schools and small classrooms would build the relationships necessary to foster academic success, especially for students with special learning needs.

In addition to smallness, the plan makes other strong recommendations for achieving school quality.  They advocate for pre-schools for all parents of three and four year olds who desire them as well as extended day kindergarten programming in every elementary school.  It opposes tracking citing the negative affects it tends to have on minority students, “For too many minority students, incorrect assignment to low or special education tracks becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy” (The Unexamined Remedy 7).  Individual learning plans were advised to ensure every child’s needs are met.

These initiatives are deemed to be integral to the production of quality education alongside the initiative to integrate.  Quality indicators as they are called include small schools, small classes, school readiness, alternative programs, individual learning plans, accountability for standards and learning goals, character development, community service, and conflict resolution training.  Per the Connecticut Center for School Change, without the aforementioned the ultimate goal of Sheff, access to quality education for all, would be inconceivable.

The twenty-two towns considered for participation in the regional district consolidation plan were the communities previously required to “… engage in regional planning to enhance educational quality and diversity” (The Unexamined Remedy 4) by the General Assembly in 1994.  The twenty-two towns were Avon, Bloomfield, Bolton, Canton, East Granby, East Hartford, East Windsor, Ellington, Enfield, Glastonbury, Granby, Hartford, Manchester, Rocky Hill, Simsbury, South Windsor, Suffield, Vernon, West Hartford, Wethersfield, Windsor Locks, and Windsor (The Unexamined Remedy 4).  While these towns were proposed, The Connecticut Center for School Change was open to other recommendations for groupings.  Of this, the plan states, “A different grouping of municipalities may work better than the one we propose; in addition, it may make sense to create more than one consolidated district in the area, reflecting natural boundaries or existing relationships among communities” (The Unexamined Remedy 4).

Regardless of the towns involved, the metro integration plan would have required some drastic changes in school governance.   Each of the twenty-two towns has its own local school board.  The proposal recommended replacing these local school boards with a regional one to ensure that town priorities would not be placed over the regional agenda.  Also, reducing the administrative overhead of twenty-two school systems would have freed up money that could go directly to increasing the funding of individual schools.

The proposed regional school board would have consisted of thirty-one members.  Twenty-two of them would have been representatives of the individual towns, and there would have been nine additional.   School boards typically do not exceed nine members.  The plan proposed a board over three times that.  The Connecticut Center for School Change notes that smaller school boards were initially created to give elite members of society to greater control over schooling.  The plan rejected small school boards, because they wanted to give all communities a say in school governance.  In the proposed plan, The Connecticut Center for School Change would simultaneously create a large centralized school board and small locally controlled schools.  A regional school district would have meant school level decision making over things like curriculum and budget, but adherence to district-wide standards and policies.  The plan gave a lot of agency to local schools to operate effectively within district guidelines.

Parents also had a great deal of agency, or controlled choice, as it was called.  The intent was to make all schools magnets.  Parents would apply to several schools they would like for their children to attend.  Unlike the current school lottery system, parents would have been guaranteed that their children would be placed in one of their selections.  There would be a variety of options and all schools would be of good quality.

Map of Metro Integration Plan to Consolidate 22 Towns ("The Unthinkable Remedy")






Map of Current School District Boundaries ("About This Website")












Relinquishing the Remedy: Why Didn’t This Happen?

At the time of the report in 1998, there were 172 public schools within the proposed district.   It is difficult to get groups within a single district to agree on a course of action.  Bringing several districts with varying demographics together presented many obstacles.

Such large and small changes are usually met with resistance.  According to Gordon Bruno, the metro integration plan was opposed by many and elected officials refused to consider it because of concerns about getting support for re-election.  Bruno also names the Connecticut Parent Teacher Association (CTPTA) for being in direct opposition to the plan.  He does note that the CTPTA’s opposition would not be directly towards integration, but the consequences of school district reduction.  Consolidation of school districts would mean a reduction in school board members.  In a 2004 interview, Dr. Bruno says that the ranks of superintendents would have been reduced from over one hundred and seventy to about a dozen (Bruno 6).  Career displacement for high-ranking educators was incredibly controversial.  Those controversies ultimately lead to political pressure.  Dr. Bruno recalled that a number of constituents agreed with the plan behind closed doors, but none were willing to face the political backlash by publicly supporting the plan.  According to Dr. Bruno, the plan was the right thing to do for the students, but the wrong approach for political interests.

Dr. Bruno and Dr. McDermott’s may very well have been too radical in their suggestions for integration for serious consideration in the “land of steady habits”.  Attorney and former education committee chair, Cameron Staples, notes that Connecticut has a long history of local school control.  He believes the plan was too extreme and doesn’t recall anyone supporting it besides the authors.  He goes on to say that a shift from local to regional consolidation may have been viewed by suburban constituents as a way to disperse the issues of Hartford public schools to the suburbs (Staples 2).

There was opposition to this progressive plan that stemmed from fears of forced integration.   Of school integration, Dr. Bruno says that it is “both right and required” (Bruno 4).  He did not believe that voluntary integration would yield results.

Some may assume that urban parents were desperate to integrate schools and give their children ‘better opportunities’.  Co-author, Kathy McDermott points out that the threat of forced integration was something that both urban and suburban parents feared.  She asserts, “City people are just like suburban people and generally like the idea of having their kids right around the corner …” (McDermott 2).  Politicians were leery of telling people where to send their children, particularly when that may mean long commutes between districts.

Although admirable in its approach, the metro integration plan did not happened.  There were several factors that prevented the plan from becoming reality.  The logistics of governing and details like transportation coupled with a genuine fear of change and the unknown prevented the plan from garnering real support.  When Dr. Bruno retired from The Connecticut Center for School Change, The Unexamined Remedy retired with him (McDermott 4).  The remedy was indeed examined, but tossed aside for more politically friendly approaches.  The school district boundary lines have remained intact, and the families that choose to integrate have found other means of doing so through choice programs and magnet schools.


“About Sheff v. O’Neill.”  Sheff Movement.  Web.  5 April 2013.  <>

Bruno, Gordon.  Interview with Jennifer Williams.  The Unexamined Remedy Metropolitan School District Oral History.  Hartford, 2004.

McDermott, Kathryn.  Interview with Jennifer Williams.  The Unexamined Remedy Metropolitan School District Oral History.  Hartford, 2004.

“Memorandum of Decision – 3/3/99.”  Connecticut Judicial Branch.  Web.  1 May 2013.  <>

“About This Website.”  Smart Choices.  Web.  1 May 2013.  <>

Staples, Cameron.  Interview with Jennifer Williams.  The Unexamined Remedy Metropolitan School District Oral History.  Hartford, 2004.

The Connecticut Center for School Change.  The Unexamined Remedy.  1998.  PDF file.

“Who We Are.”  The Connecticut Center for School ChangeWeb.  5 April 2013.  <>

Williams, Jennifer. “The Unthinkable Remedy: The Proposed Metropolitan Hartford School District”. Presentation for the Cities Suburbs Schools Project at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, Summer 2004.

Is Education Reform Just the Same Thing Over and Over Again?

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“While we reform at a frenzied pace, we have rarely dug deeply enough into the underlying system of districts, schools, and teachers to start reshaping the educational landscape.”[1]—Frederick M. Hess

Education scholar Frederick M. Hess is the director of the Educational Policy at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, which is an American think tank. The quote above addresses his criticism of American education reform. According to Hess, while “new” education legislation is constantly created, none of them are powerful enough to disrupt the status quo and change the current education system. Hess argues rather that these education remedies only tweak former ones or claim to instate a new reform, while actually never introducing a new system. Is Fred Hess right? Are we just doing the same thing over and over again?

Through the analysis and comparison of President George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” bill and President Barack Obama’s “Race to the Top” grant program, it is apparent that Fred Hess is more accurate than America and education reformers may want to believe.  Overall, the lawmakers and education advocators of No Child Left Behind and the lawmakers and education advocators of Race to the Top agree in what public schools need in order to improve and be successful. Whereas the wording and minutia may be different between No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, the larger emphasis remains the same. Fred Hess is accurate that reformers have a tendency to get stuck on certain reform styles, such as accountability. Education reformers definitely also have a fear to completely dissociate from previous reforms in order to introduce something completely new and different. However, Hess does not give education reformers enough credit. While No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top are eerily similar in the sense of what reform styles they advocate for, analysis of congressional records display their attempts to amend the previous failures of Congress and the federal government when it comes to education reform.

President Bush argued during the debate of No Child Left Behind and education reform that, “public schools are America’s great hope, and making them work for every child is our Nation’s great duty.”[2]  As a result in 2001, the legislation bill H.R. 1 No Child Left Behind was passed by Congress. The main idea behind NCLB was solutions based on accountability, choice and flexibility in federal education programs. Furthermore, NCLB reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The goals of No Child Left Behind are to close the achievement gap, create equal opportunity for every child, achieve proficiency in reading, and to improve low-performing schools.[3]

Increasing accountability for states, school districts, and schools is a major part of No Child Left Behind. NCLB required states to implement statewide accountability systems, mainly assessments, for all public schools and students. Congressman Cass Ballenger comments, “the bill takes a two-track approach, expanding flexibility for States and local school districts while holding them strictly accountable for increasing student achievement.”[4] With the data from these assessments, schools will be ranked. Schools that fail to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) received punishments. On the other side of the spectrum, schools that met or exceeded the AYP became eligible for State Academic Achievement Awards. In exchange for this increase in accountability, states received more flexibility in the use of federal education dollars.[5]

No Child Left Behind presented parents and students with greater accessibility and options for school choice. The fear that children would remain stuck attending low-performing public schools motivated this part of NCLB. Congressman Boehner comments again on the significance of school choice, “the bill also includes a school choice ‘safety valve’ for students trapped in chronically failing schools that fail to improve after three consecutive years of emergency aid.”[6] However, through a choice program, children would be able to attend a successful public school, which may include a charter school in the district. As a result, NCLB required state districts to provide transportation for these children attending non-district public schools such as public charter schools or magnet schools. It also required the use of Title I funds to obtain supplemental educational services from the public or private sector.[7]

With the implementation of No Child Left Behind, President Bush called for every student to be proficient in reading by the year of 2014. This statement is reflective of the stronger emphasis placed on reading in NCLB. A program, Reading First Initiative, helped increase federal investment in scientifically based reading instruction programs in the early grades. Other program changes within “No Child Left Behind” include class size reduction, English language support, and improving teacher quality. [8] With the change in presidency from President Bush to President Obama, a new education reform was established.

In 2010, after the passing of the Race to the Top program, President Obama claims, “we have an obligation to lift up every child in every school in this country, especially those who are starting out furthest behind.”[9] In 2009, with the help of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, President Obama passed the education incentive grant program Race to the Top. RTTT is designed to spur systematic reform and embrace innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Race to the Top calls for education reforms such as accountability, standards, improving teacher quality, charter schools, along with other reform styles. The goals of RTTT are to close the achievement gap, improve student achievement for all children, cultivate a society ready for college and the workforce, and improve low-performing schools.

A significant aspect of Race to the Top is the promotion of design and implementation of rigorous standards and quality assessments that are properly aligned with the standards. Greg Jones, Chairman of California Business for Education Excellence, participated in the Committee on Education and labor debate on April 29, 2009, reaffirming other congressmen opinions;

“First, it is not enough to have excellent standards. They have to be aligned test, meaningful accountability and high-quality instruction, as well. Second, holding all students to the same expectations, and reporting results publicly revealed disturbing achievement gaps based on race and economic levels. And, third, we have data that demonstrates irrefutably that these achievement gaps can be closed without lowering standards or expectations to meet them.”[10]

Race to the Top calls for a system of common academic standards created by the states, as well as the improvement of assessments to match these new standards. The idea behind these assessments is that the states will have more data to help them inform decisions and improve instruction. Additionally, RTTT calls to create a statewide longitudinal data system and to make results more accessible.

Attracting great teachers and more importantly, keeping great teachers is an essential emphasis of Obama’s Race to the Top education program. In order to achieve this goal, RTTT calls to expand effective teacher support and to reform and improve teacher prep programs. U.S. Representative Susan Davis comments on the grant program in relation to teachers, “Grants would provide support for rewarding teachers for improving student academic achievement, encouraging highly qualified, effective teachers to enter classrooms with high concentrations of poor children, and developing and implementing performance-based teacher compensation systems.”[11] Also, RTTT signals for the revision of teacher evaluation, compensation and retention policies in order to ensure that good teachers remain in the system and poor teachers do not. Lastly, it encourages the placing of the best teachers in the lowest-performing schools.

Race to the Top hopes to demonstrate and sustain education reform throughout the years. In order to achieve this end result, it encourages expanding support for high-performing public charters, increasing the focus on science and math education, and promoting the collaboration between business leaders, educators, and other stakeholders to raise student achievement. U.S. Representative Rush D. Holt Jr. comments on the emphasis placed on math and science education, “states that include in their Race to the Top application a high-quality plan to emphasize science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education will receive a competitive preference.”[12] Additionally, U.S. Representative Jared Polis comments on the importance of charter schools in RTTT, “replication and expansion of high-quality charter schools will play a central role in the Administration’s education reform agenda. The charter school program has provided over $2.2 billion in financial assistance to States since 1995 for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools, and the dissemination of information on charter schools.”[13] While Race to the Top calls for accountability, standards, and teacher improvement, it also calls for these other reforms.

Despite the continuous attempts to amend the American public school system, Fred Hess is accurate in the sense that federal education reformers are calling for “the same thing over and over again.”[14] Regardless of the fact that President Obama states in 2010 while defending his Race to the Top program, “‘we get comfortable with the status quo even when the status quo isn’t good. When you try to shake things up, sometimes people aren’t happy.’”[15] While the actual wording of the legislation may differ, both No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top apply the same reform styles to the education system, thereby not actually breaking the status quo. Both call for closing the achievement gap, accountability, standards, school choice, and improving teacher quality.

Although both of these legislations are calling for essentially the same thing, they differ slightly in the fine print. For example, No Child Left Behind focuses on reading, while Race to the Top places a greater emphasis on math and science education. Whereas, NCLB desires to have every child proficient in reading 2014, RTTT wants to increase the high school graduation rate and send more children to higher education facilities, such as college.

In some respects, Race to the Top is an amended version of No Child Left Behind. The analysis of congressional debates and records reveals that congressman and education reformers agree with what No Child Left Behind attempted to accomplish. In a Congressional meeting, U.S. Representative Michael Castle of Delaware asked Secretary Duncan, “In No Child Left Behind, we adopted having standards and assessments…You have also used that expression. I want to make sure I understand what we are talking about?”[16] Secretary Duncan responds, “And what I think NCLB got fundamentally wrong is they were very, very loose on the goals. So you have 50 states, 50 different goal posts, all over the map. And you are exactly right. Due to the political pressure, the vast majority of those standards got dummied down.”[17]

However, these debates and records also reveal the belief that the implementation of No Child Left Behind failed to achieve its goal. As a result, Congress and the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan modified the application of the reforms of No Child Left Behind such as calling for assessments to match the standards of the state.  Hon. Vernon J. Ehlers, a Representative in Congress from the State of Michigan states, “I look forward to working with President Obama, Secretary Duncan, and the Members of this Committee on reforming the No Child Left Behind Act…We must update this law with improvements.”[18] In addition to hoping to rectify flaws from No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top also added more reforms to complete their incentive grant program. For example, Race to the Top places emphasis on data systems as way to help improve instruction.

No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top are both examples of federal education reform. Federal education reform has historically always been a controversial topic. First off, it is extremely challenging for everyone to agree on what remedy should be applied to the schools in order to improve them. Moreover, the federal government has its limits within the realm of public education. In fact, journalist Bill Swindell states,  “education has historically been mostly a state and local matter. The federal government’s involvement began with the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (PL 89-10), which provided aid to students in poor school districts.”[19] No Child Left Behind received criticism when it not only reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act but also introduced new sanctions.  Seemingly, in response to this criticism, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made a conscious decision to dial back the federal government’s involvement by incorporating federal education reform through an incentive grant program while also encouraging state governments to improve their public schools.

As a consequence of criticism from No Child Left Behind, the main difference between these two pieces of education reform legislation is their form. Patrick McGuinn comments on this difference. He states, “NCLB forced states to change many of their educational practices, but political resistance and capacity gaps at the state level meant that these changes were often more superficial than substantive.”[20] While on the other hand, “RTTT’s design—and specifically its use of a competitive grant process—was intended to avoid these problems by relying on incentives instead of sanctions to drive state reform.”[21] However, even with these differing styles of legislation, the application of these reforms is similar. In both instances if a school district does not follow the requested improvements then it will not receive federal funding.

If Race to the Top is not that different from No Child Left Behind, then how does education reform move forward? In order to move forward it is necessary to better understand the flaws with the current education reform. Fred Hess argues in an Education Next article “Taking Stock of a Decade of Reform” that there are three consistent problems with education reformers and their policies: “Problem One: Measures that are overly ambitious or poorly designed risk undermining popular support for sound and necessary reforms…Problem Two: Overpromising… Problem Three: Obsession with ‘gap closing.’”[22]  In other words, these education programs prevent “problem solving and policy tinkering,”[23] in order to improve not only the policy but also more importantly the schools. These reforms make it difficult to adapt the reforms to make sure that these reforms work when applied. Hess argues that with overpromising, education supporters are acting impatiently and as a result are “stifling creativity.”[24] Furthermore, Hess states, “for the past decade, school reform has been primarily about ‘closing achievement gaps’ by boosting math and reading proficiency and graduation rates, among black, Latino, and poor students.”[25] Both No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top embody all of these “problems”.

So where do education reformers go from here? According to Fred Hess, “building on the best of what remains of their architecture—and sweeping the rest out of the way—will take time and patience. But that’s what’s called for.”[26] In other words, education reformers need to stop trying to find the silver bullet and take a step back. Education advocators need to reflect on past reform and acknowledge what works and what does not. Collaboration with teachers and administrators in the school in order to discuss what actually works when implemented is necessary. Education reformers need to be patient and understand that education reform is not possible in one program. Rather, it is accomplished through a series of revisions and constant trial and error. In this essence, Race to the Top may be on the right track for federal education reform by looking at its mistakes in No Child Left Behind and attempting to improve the implementation of the reforms. However, Hess is right in the sense that Race to the Top still focuses on the same reform styles, just different methods.


[1] Frederick M. Hess, Same Thing Over and Over Again, ix.

[2] Public Papers of the President of the United States, 1020.

[3] Hon. John A. Boehner, Introduction of H.R. 1—the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Congressional Record, Extension of Remarks, House of Representatives, One Hundred Seventh Congress, First Session, March 21, 2001, House of Representatives, 107th Cong. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2001, E437.

[4] House of Representatives, No Child Left Behind Act Rewards Progress, Corrects Failure, One Hundred and Seventh Congress, First Session, May, 16, 2001, 107th Cong. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2001, H2188.

[5] David Nather, “Student-Testing Drive Marks an Attitude Shift in Congress”, CQ Weekly, June 30, 2001, accessed on April 15, 2013,

[6] Introduction of H.R. 1—the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, E437.

[7] Nather, “Student-testing Drive Marks an Attitude Shift in Congress”,

[8] Nather, “Student-testing Drive Marks an Attitude Shift in Congress”,

[9] Associated Press, “Obama takes on critics of education plan” NBC News, July 29, 2010, accessed on April 15, 2013,

[10] House of Representatives, United States Congress. Strengthening America’s Competitiveness Through Common Academic Standards, Hearing Before the Committee on Education and Labor, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, First Session, April 29, 2009. 111th Cong. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009, 25-26.

[11] House of Representatives, United States Congress, The Obama Administration’s Education Agenda, Hearing Before the Committee on Education and Labor, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, First Session, May 20, 2009, 111th Cong. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009, 96.

[12] The Obama Administration’s Education Agenda, 87.

[13] The Obama Administration’s Education Agenda, 93.

[14] Hess, The Same Thing Over and Over Again, ix.

[15] “Obama takes on critics of education plan”,

[16] The Obama Administration’s Education Agenda, 30.

[17] The Obama Administration’s Education Agenda, 30-31.

[18] The Obama Administration’s Education Agenda, 52.

[19] Bill Swindell, “States Give Low Marks to Education Law,” CQ Weekly, April 10, 2004, accessed on April 15, 2013,

[20] Patrick McQuinn, “Stimulating Reform: Race to the Top, Competitive Grants and the Obama Education Agenda”, Educational Policy (November 28, 2011): 138.

[21] McQuinn, “Stimulating Reform: Race to the Top, Competitive Grants and the Obama Education Agenda”138.

[22] Fred Hess, “Taking Stock of a Decade of Reform,” Education Next, Spring 2001: 61-65.

[23] Hess, “Taking Stock of a Decade of Reform,” 63.

[24] Hess, “Taking Stock of a Decade of Reform,” 63.

[25] Hess, “Taking Stock of a Decade of Reform,” 65.

[26] Hess, “Taking Stock of a Decade of Reform,” 65.

Michael Paris Presents an Analysis of School Desegregation

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CUNY Professor, Michael Paris, came to common hour on Thursday, April 18 to present his lecture “Serving Two Masters Revisited: Cause Lawyering and Legal Mobilization in Sheff v. O’Neill“.  During the lecture, Paris presented some critiques of the means by which Sheff v. O’Neill sought to remedy the demographical isolation of Hartford public school students.  Paris was knowledgeable and engaging.  He spoke quickly and passionately about the Sheff case and educational equality.  He is brilliant and well-spoken. He spoke of the importance of center cities, like Hartford, and how they should be a resource to the surrounding communities instead of economic wastelands.  It was clear throughout his presentation that he is quite fond of the late Derrick Bell. He refers to Bell’s work to make a case against some of the implications that can be drawn about race from the Sheff lawsuit.  For instance, Paris points out that the racial isolation was cited as the cause for unequal educational opportunities.  This is problematic because one could infer that there is something wrong with a school setting that has black and brown children in the majority. Is the education received of any better quality simply because that black child is able to sit next to a white one? Paris says no. He also examines the argument for using socio-economic status as a tool for desegregation in lieu of race.  He finds that to negate race would be to “roll up history like a rug” and push aside other important factors (the history of wealth, housing, policy) that contribute to the current climate in public school education.  He also asserts that socio-economic based desegregation would work well in some settling, but not in all.  Paris says that race and space are tied.  He states that poverty cannot be easily eliminated, but all schools can be middle class.

This lecture was interesting to me, because I am analyzing a metro integration plan from the late nineties that proposes steps to provide quality education for all students.  Paris said the Sheff victory is sometimes viewed as an expensive remedy with little reform.  The lecture gave me a new perspective on the work that has been done in the local fight for school equality and the work that is still left to do. Entering into the third phase of Sheff, it may very well be time for a new direction.

Sheff Movement Lecture: Educational Equity

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For Final Essay on Sheff case and Educational Equity, please read project finalized in EDUC 308: Cities Suburbs and Schools: The Struggle for Educational Equity During the 1970s: Lumpkin v. Dempsey, here

Listening to Professor Paris from the CUNY College of Staten Island’s lecture on the Sheff v. O’Neil case after having sat through and written a journalism piece of the case. Paris was very particular about telling the story of school desegregation from differing points of views while reminding everyone in the room that the topic of conversation was as relevant as it was in the 80s. The Sheff vs. O’Neil case was centered around school desegregation and fought the fact that many Hartford residents were not able to receive an equal opportunity for education because of what many consider “racial isolation.” For many years now, people have questioned whether race or poverty is to blame for creating instances of unequal opportunities in the school setting. Paris reiterated that Sheff reformers argue that a combination of poverty AND race both contribute to this phenomenon which ultimately affects many students in Hartford and across the nation.

I did not understand the seriousness of the Sheff V. O’Neill movement after having attended the meeting that one cold saturday morning. Seeing that this case has inspired many lecturers and other parents who have experienced a similar case is inspiring to me as well. I enjoyed Michael Paris’ thorough lecture on the Sheff v. O’Neil case and as inspiring as I felt his passion and expertise on it was, I feel as if the only way to actually achieve equal education opportunities is to gather those who are strong advocates for the movement and have them go out into different cities to educate parents that may be misinformed.

Click here for Data Visualization Essay.


Sheff Common Hour Lecture

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Although I enjoyed learning about the history of the Sheff v. O’Neill case last semester in Cities, Suburbs, and Schools, I really look forward to learning about the current steps that reformers are taking to meet their ultimate goal of desegregation. The lecture given by Michael Paris, professor at CUNY, Staten Island was different than the Sheff events that I attended earlier this semester. Paris stated that there is a growing disinterest in school desegregation cases across the United States. However, he believes that the issue of desegregation should not just be a question of yesterday, but instead a question for the next 20 years. He praised the reformers efforts because they mobilized for change by fighting for rights that are guaranteed under the state’s constitution instead of the federal constitution that is often used. I thought that it was interesting that he believes that the Sheff case (in theory) is replicable in other states, because of the strong emphasis on equal education opportunity. In this case the reformers used desegregation as a means to an end. Although this might not be the best solution for other states, he feels that other states can learn from the “plan of attack” that was taken to fight for equal education for all students.

In light of the praise that Paris gave to the reformers, he also voiced his criticisms. One of the criticisms that I found interesting was the fact that the Sheff reformers shied away from using positive racial solidarity as a resource, and have tried to fight for urban minority students and suburban white students to sit in the same classrooms. I remember reading an essay written by two Trinity students that highlighted Jumoke Academy in Hartford. Although the school was successful at raising students’ test scores, it was criticized by Sheff proponents because it was not racially balanced.  As the Sheff reformers are preparing to discuss the goals for the third settlement, I have began to question whether the Sheff case is still worth fighting for, or should a total different approach be taken in the fight for equal education for all. I’m not completely sure where I stand with that as of now, but I do believe that they should really look back on the their plans and results very carefully before moving forward. I would hate to see the court give up on the case without any true accomplishment (in terms of actually hitting goal) to show for.



The Myth of Opportunity of Equal Education in America

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On April 18th, 2013, guest lecturer Michael Paris gave a presentation on the “death (and possible life) of school desegregation” in the United States.  His presentation centered on the Connecticut court case of Sheff v. O’Neill, which is surprisingly not as well-known in the public sphere as one might think, especially considering it produced the only recent decision in which the Court made a statement on government’s role in providing its citizens with the right to an equal education.  The plaintiffs in Sheff vs. O’Neill, charged that the combination of racial isolation and concentrated poverty that plagues Hartford, and various other cities in the United States, prohibited urban students from getting the opportunity to an equal education.  In 1995, the Court ruled against the plaintiffs, but just one year later, that ruling was reversed by Connecticut’s Supreme Court in 1996.  The Supreme Court argued that the plaintiffs had the right to an equal education but did not have the right to racial integration in Connecticut schools.  Additionally, the Court did not offer any solutions or recommendations on how to eliminate the unequal educational opportunities that urban students of Connecticut face from early childhood and on.  Since the landmark decision of Sheff v. O’Neill, Connecticut has seen a rise in the popularity of inter-district magnet schools and urban-to-suburban transfer models that aim to give students an equal education and close the achievement gap in the process.  Several interesting questions were raised during Paris’s lecture.  One student asked why magnet schools and urban-to-suburban transfer models were being implemented, but wide-scale reform of the Hartford Public School system was not being used as a means to achieving equal opportunity for citizens.  Also, Trinity College professor Jack Dougherty asked why current educational reform measures have focused more on racial integration than socio-economic integration, the latter being perhaps the most effective tool progressives could use to fix the dire problem of education in America.

Sheff Lecture–Amanda Gurren

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Amanda Gurren

Sheff Lecture

Professor Paris

April 18, 2013

Today,  I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture hosted by guest speaker Michael Paris, a professor at SUNY Staten Island, during common hour at the Rittenberg Lounge.  I came into the lecture feeling fairly on top of my game (as you will) considering I am rather familiar with the Sheff v. O’Neill case and the district’s ongoing and relentless pursuit for school desegregation.

After Professor Paris went into a brief history of the Sheff v. O’Neill case, he discussed the politics implemented by Sheff’s lawyers and offered some insight into the lawyers’ approaches. This intrigued me the most, because I never really explored the tactics employed by the lawyer and whether or not their strategies were that effective. That said Professor Paris provided his audience with a brief list of criticisms. To begin, he question if the lawyers were too focused on the consequences of the wrong, and not the wrong itself.  He explained that the lawyers might have put far too much emphasis on the “damaged children” (the consequences of the wrong) rather than the wrong itself (in this case, racial concentration and isolated poverty). Furthermore, he argued that the lawyers’ argument strayed away from the positive of racial isolation and identity. As he explained, Professor Bell was quite infuriated by this common misperception that Blacks are a damaged race. He then began asking his audience a series of questions, such as “How can you say it’s race,” or “What conception of racial justice allows it to be said that it is race and not poverty?” I looked around the room and the audience seemed to be struggling as much as I was to answer the question. How could one make a legitimate argument that racial segregation has caused this drastic inequality between the Hartford district public schools and the public schools of its surrounding suburban counterparts? In reality, it is a combination of race and poverty. However, I learned in Professor Dougherty’s course last semester that it was far too complicated to keep the economic component in the lawsuit and was subsequently taken out. Should the lawyers maybe have tried harder to include that in their case—if it had stayed in the original complaint, would we see more positive results with the school desegregation effort? I’ll leave you, the reader, with that food for thought. Moving on, the last criticism Professor Paris provided was that there were no real confrontation or protests. Professor Paris seemed to believe that the most effective way to get results is with protests and confrontation—pressure on those in charge, as you will. Needless to say, this criticism was met with some disagreements by the members in the audience. Members of the audience seemed to argue that confrontation and protests are not necessarily the most effective means of getting one’s point across. Professor Paris seemed to have backed down a little on this stance upon some debate with a member of the audience.

Sheff Lecture

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The lecture today by Michael Paris from the CUNY College of Staten Island was very interesting regarding the Sheff v. O’Neil case on school desegregation. Paris explained how the two sides made riveting points on the subject, which to many is no longer seen as a vital movement. Yet Hartford is one of the few places left it seems that the issue of desegregation is relevant. I thought it was very interesting when Paris made the point that O’Neil reformers believe that poverty is a more important factor in creating equal educational opportunities rather than race is. Yet Sheff reformers believe that it is both poverty and race that create unequal educational opportunities.

A Seat at the Table: A conversation with the community about creating a dual-language school in Hartford

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On April 13, Achieve Hartford, Sheff Movement, and the Educational Studies Program at Trinity College extended and invitation to the community to attend a presentation and discussion about how we can bring a dual-language program to the Hartford region. A dual-language model enrolls an equal number of native Spanish speaking students and English speaking students to create an environment that celebrates diversity, creates bi-literacy, and promotes intellectual exchange.

Just outside of the Learning Corridor’s cafeteria where the event was held, I was greeted by the familiar faces of Trinity students politely asking guests to sign in.  Inside of the cafeteria people were buzzing about in anticipation of the event.  I took my seat next to the mother of an original Sheff complainant.  To my right was a Sheff Movement attorney.  I was honored to have a seat at the table (literally and figuratively).  Introductions and interactions were quickly taking place throughout the room.  The crowd was excited and atmosphere was almost festive.

From the onset, it was clear that space would be made for everyone to have a seat at the table for this important discussion.  Educational Studies Professor Andrea Dyrness of Trinity College gave a lively introduction in Spanish then again in English.  The presenters asked if anyone was in need of Spanish translation before continuing the duration of the program primarily in English. Enrique Sepulveda, a professor of Education at the University of St. Joseph also gave an enthusiastic welcome.  In his presentation, “Why a Dual Language School?”, he fleshed out three compelling answers to the question.  Sepulveda highlights building on the linguistic and cultural strengths of native Spanish speakers and their families, promoting bi-literacy and bilingualism, and promoting racial and cultural integration as the key answers to his question.  Professor of Bi-Lingual Education, Liz Howard from the University of Connecticut, presented research and data that illustrated the incredible benefits of a well-designed dual-language program. According to Howard and fellow panelist, Marina Perez Taverner, dual language students may not perform as well as their peers in mono-language programs on standardized tests until the 5th grade or higher. It was stress that a long term commitment to dual language education is integral to students’ success.  Considering the country’s current obsession with annual standardized test scores, I wonder if a model that doesn’t provide instant gratification can survive CMT and CAPT testing.

The most compelling argument for dual education was a brief video showcasing students, faculty, and parents from the Puentes dual-language program Regional Multicultural Magnet School in New London.  The young students were poised, articulate, and keenly aware of the ways in which the dual-language program benefit them. If this model can work well in a nearby city, what is the hold up in Hartford? With current school Superintendent Christina Kishimoto lending her support, I would venture to say that Mayor Pedro Segarra, a pioneer in Latino equality, will not be far behind. As a panelist accurately observed, the time to bring a dual-language school to Hartford is now. The stars seem to be aligned, and I could not agree more.

For information on this event or if you would like to learn more about bringing a dual-language school to Hartford, please visit .

Karen Taylor is a Hartford resident and IDP student at Trinity College majoring in Educational Studies.

Dual-Language Immersion

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On Saturday April 13, 2013 in the Learning Corridor citizens of Hartford, concerned parents, reformers, educators, lawyers, and even students came together to discuss the creation of a multi-district dual-language magnet school for the Hartford region. These schools bring together students who speak different languages and educate them together in both languages in order for every child to become bilingual and biliterate. Andrea Dyrness and Enrique Sepulveda welcomed all guests and introduced three panelists, Liz Howard, Marina Perez Taverner, and Robert Cotto, who spoke about various aspects of creating this type of school in Hartford.

I had no prior knowledge of dual-language schools and this meeting was very informative. The model, in my opinion, is brilliant. To take children who speak different native tongues and educate them together, in both languages, is a wonderful way not only to create bilingualism, but also to encourage “intercultural competence.” To inspire sentiments of tolerance and acceptance of other cultures in children at such a young age can only benefit society. In addition, bilingualism is an invaluable skill that, I feel, is often overlooked in the United States.

When I learned from Liz Howard that Hartford used to be a “stronghold” of dual language education in the state of Connecticut, I was very surprised. I was interested in the reasons why the system might have been dissolved in the area. The video testimonials of parents and students involved with the Puentes dual-language program compiled by Nyesha McCauley was my favorite part of the discussion. I was pleasantly surprised by how wise the children interviewed were. Students Hirishi, Santiago Cortes, and Finella Smith shared some very wise words about how mastering two languages will be very helpful as they grow older and how being bilingual allows them to make friends with new people. The fact that children so young could recognize these values only reinforced my support for dual-language schools.

I believe that dual-language immersion programs in Hartford would be a great success. Robert Gotto explained that to create this magnet school in Hartford is, in fact, feasible and I hope that it becomes a reality for the region. I have mentored in a local elementary school for the past two years and many of the students I have interacted with are not native English speakers; I do believe that many of these youth, if not all, would benefit a great deal from a dual-language program. I think the creation of a multi-district dual-language magnet school in Hartford would be a wonderful asset to the community.

Two Languages are Better Than One: A Look Dual-Language School Models for Hartford

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On Saturday, April 13th Achieve Hartford, the Sheff Movement, and the Educational Studies Program at Trinity College cosponsored an event on dual-language school models. This event was open to the public and provided a space for various panelists who shared results on the effectiveness of dual-language programs based on empirical evidence and also personal experiences.

Dual-language programs are not a new concept for Hartford schools. In fact, a select few of Hartford elementary schools had programs between the years 1998 and 2007. These schools were not well not implemented and were eventually discontinued. Despite these setbacks, local supporters of dual-language immersion programs have not given up their fight to see these programs thrive. The first line of action is informing a variety of stakeholders of the benefits of these programs to garner more support, which was the goal of the event.

This event was a great first step to get people to take action in support of the creation of a dual-language magnet school for students in the Greater Hartford area. Not only were there resources for starting up an effective dual-language program, there were student, parent, and teacher testimonies and more importantly information on how to a maintain a successful dual-language immersion program. Several of the presenters acknowledged the many challenges that have the potential to arise while trying to implement the program. However, all of them encouraged the dual-language supporters to continue in their fight because of the many benefits that the program can offer.

Click the link to view the presentations that were presented this event.


Dual Language Presentation At The Learning Corridor

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On Saturday morning, April 13th, members of the Hartford community congregated together at the Learning Corridor to listen to various Connecticut educators discuss the merits of creating a dual-language magnet school in Hartford.  At the beginning of the discussion, Trinity College Professor Andrea Dyrness shared a story with community members that illustrated the negative perception that exists within mainstream American culture concerning bilingual education in schools.  She said that when her daughter enrolled in the Hartford school district, educators were immediately alarmed upon finding out that both English and Spanish were spoken in the Dyrness household.  The school district asked, “Will you daughter need special attention?” While Professor Dyrness thought that the bilingual education her daughter had received at home would be viewed as a strength in the eyes of Hartford educators, it instead, was viewed as a weakness.  But how could this be?  It is this very question that has driven Professor Dyrness and other local educators to push for the creation of dual-language magnet school in Hartford, a school where bilingualism would be openly celebrated, not flat-out disregarded.   Under the conditions of a dual-language school, native English and Spanish speakers would be integrated into an educational program where at least fifty percent of the curriculum would be covered in Spanish.  Presenters stressed that the positive effects of a dual-language system can generally be identified once a Kindergarten class makes its way up to Fifth grade, so a commitment to the long term is imperative.   Not only would students benefit from learning multiple languages and developing an appreciation for differing cultures, but studies have shown that it would also prepare students better for the jobs that lie ahead in our interconnected world.   The presenters and advocates for a bilingual magnet school in Hartford concluded their discussion by challenging the community members in attendance to garner as much support from other citizens as possible, which would put deliberate pressure on the Hartford Board of Education to vote in favor of a dual-language magnet school.     



Homeschooling in the United States

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Home-schooling can be a challenging topic to research because it exists outside of most governmental education data-collection systems. What are current estimates of the number (and percentage) of children who are home-schooled in the US, and has this rate grown over time? Describe your search strategy to find reliable estimates, and if sources disagree, briefly explain how and offer some reasons why.

The practice of homeschooling students has, in fact, become more and more popular over the past decade. In 1999 the National Household Education Surveys Program found that across the United States, about 1.7 percent of students, approximately 850,000 individuals, were homeschooled. By 2003, the percentage of students studying at home rose to 2.2 percent. In the 2005-2006 school year, between 1.9 and 2.4 million students were homeschooled. The number of youth educated at home continues to rise. However, current, up-to-date data was difficult to locate despite my best search efforts, most likely due to the difficulty posed to researchers by the collecting of this information.

To start, I searched the terms “homeschooling in the united states” on Google Scholar, which led me to a number of studies by the National Household Education Surveys Program that involved collecting data about homeschooling in the United States. These sources provided some statistical data concerning the number of students in the United States being homeschooled in a given year, and the percentage of all U.S. students that they constitute. My next search, “current homeschooling rates,” was not quite as successful. It proved far more difficult for me to find information about current rates of homeschooling in the United States. In fact, many of the sources I found with data about home schooling did not discuss information that was current at the time they were published: for example, one work was published in 2001 and referred to 1999 statistics.

Next, I moved to WorldCat and began my search with various terms, “current homeschooling rates,” “homeschooling in the US,” and “2012 home education.” Most of the information I found included information on tried and true homeschooling practices, books discussing specific groups within the homeschooling community (for example, Write these laws on your children : inside the world of conservative Christian homeschooling, a book by Robert Kunzman), and when I searched “2012 home education,” I was led to a series of sources that equated to high level ‘how-to’ guides and self-help books. Unfortunately, none of these sources were geared toward statistical analysis or data collection about the rates of homeschooling. In desperation, I turned to Wikipedia – which, perhaps, I should have done at the start. According to the “Homeschooling in the United States” page, approximately 2.9 percent, or 2 million, United States students are currently being homeschooled. I used some of the cited references from the Wikipedia page to find out a bit more about current rates.

A Wikipedia reference led me to a brief issued by the National Center for Education Statistics from December 2008. According to the Parent and Family Involvement in Education survey conducted by the NHES, 1.5 million United States students were engaged in home education in 2007. This brief led me to search for the National Center for Education Statistics on Google where I found the most recent version of Projections of Education Statistics to 2012. Unfortunately, “Neither the actual numbers nor the projections of public and private elementary and secondary school enrollment include homeschooled students because more data are required to develop reliable projections” (Projections 1).

It seems to me that the most current information available on homeschooling statistics is lagging by a few years. The sources that I found did not discuss the homeschooling rate at the times they were published, but instead, the data from approximately three years prior. Nevertheless, I was able to uncover the fact that the practice of homeschooling has become more prevalent over the past decade and the number and percentage of students being educated at home has increased.

Works Cited

Bielick, Stacey, Kathryn Chandler, and Stephen P. Broughman. “Homeschooling in the United States: 1999.” (2001). Education Resources Information Center.

Princiotta, Daniel, Stacey Bielick, and Chris Chapman. “1.1 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2003. Issue Brief. NCES 2004-115.” National Center for Education Statistics (2004).

“Projections of Education Statistics to 2021 – About This Report.” Projections of Education Statistics to 2021 – About This Report. National Center for Education Statistics, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <>.

Ray, Brian D. “Research Facts on Homeschooling. General Facts and Trends.” National Home Education Research Institute (2006). Education Resources Information Center.


How do you locate Connecticut State Department of Education statistics about teachers?

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How do you locate Connecticut State Department of Education statistics about teachers, such as the percentage of racial minorities and average years of experience by district? Describe your search strategy and results for Hartford versus any suburb.

Statistics about teachers are very important because they give researchers and reformers certain clues about the classroom dynamic. I was very weary doing my search as I didn’t know where to start. I searched a few terms in google and quickly realized that my method was ill conceived. I decided that the best way for me to find this information would be to start at the source. I searched “Connecticut State Department of Education statistics” and got to this page.

Once on the main page it seemed as if it would be easy to find the information. I clicked on a link titled “Data Tables”. It’s description said “View export and drill into education data tables”. I knew that this was a good lead. On the left hand side of the data table page there is a tab that says “Select Report”. Under it there are choices such as CMT, Dropout and Graduation. I selected “Staff” because of my interest in data about teachers. This link brought me to a main list of staff reports. I clicked on “General Education” which lead me to this page which was exactly what I needed.

This is what the page looks like.

As you can see it has information about Race, Ethnicity and numbers of years of experience.

I chose to find information about the year 2010-2011. In the Hartford School District there were 1,313 teachers. 7 were American Indian, 17 were Asian, 156 were African American, 148 were Latino and 985 were White. This information can be compared to the West Hartford School District which had 666 teachers. 1 was American Indian, 10 were Asian, 10 were African American, 14 were Latino and 631 were White. These statistics aren’t that surprising but they reflect the need for more teachers of color in both the city and the suburbs.

The information on the number of years of experience may be more intriguing. In Hartford the average experience was 12.9 years. In West Hartford the average experience was 13.7 years. This information can tell researchers about job security and accountability of teachers.

This assignment was actually fun and interesting and I will use this newfound research skill to learn more about the differences in city and suburban education.

Research Proposal

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How have different educators and policy makers adapted their strategies in order to best cater to non English speaking Latinos and illegal immigrants?

In 2011 the number of illegal immigrants was close to 12 million people. Most illegal immigrants come from Latin America with hopes of providing a better life for their kids and for their families. Many American teachers don’t know exactly how to approach the education of these new citizens. How do different reformers such as Pedro Noguera approach the situation? What are some arguments about civil rights for illegal immigrants and their kids? Are illegal immigrants by law allowed an education and is it equal? Latino and immigrant populations are expected to continue to grow. how have different educators and policy makers adapted their strategies in order to best cater to this demographic?

Why should this be researched?

This population is growing so much more quickly than any other population in the United States. It is important to know what has happened in the past and how to make the American Dream attainable for this group of people. My secondary source “The New Latino South” gives a quick story about a teacher from Atlanta who came into contact with a growing student population of Latinos some who couldn’t speak English. This teacher struggled with the situation because some of her new students had little formal education and couldn’t speak English. The goal of this research paper is to find out what has been done in the past and survey the literary landscape for the best potential alternatives for the future in order to offer an equal educational experience.

Where and how you found your primary sources?

My primary sources include “Understanding the Disenfranchisement of Latino Men and Boys” and “The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policies”. These readings are found in the Trinity College Library. Andrew Wainer’s piece seems very useful because it provides qualitative research data that provide tips and clues for teachers.


Slavin, Robert E, and Margarita Calderón. Effective Programs for Latino Students. Mahwah, N.J: L. Erlbaum Associates, 2001. Print.

Contreras, Frances. Achieving Equity for Latino Students: Expanding the Pathway to Higher Education Through Public Policy. New York: Teachers College Press, 2011. Print.

Noguera, Pedro, Aída Hurtado, and Edward Fergus. Understanding the Disenfranchisement of Latino Men and Boys: Invisible No More. New York: Routledge, 2012. Print.

MacDonald, Victoria-María. Latino Education in the United States: A Narrated History from 1513-2000. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Print.

Gandara, Patricia C, and Frances Contreras. The Latino Education Crisis: The Consequences of Failed Social Policies. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2009. Print.

Wainer, Andrew. The New Latino South and the Challenge to Public Education. The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, n.d. Web. <>.

How did metro integration advocates envision Hartford county public schools post Sheff v. O’Neill?

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Research Question:

How did metro integration advocates envision Hartford county public schools after the Sheff v. O’Neill ruling?  Why didn’t their vision come to fruition?


As a graduate of Hartford public schools, I feel as though I was not given access to an education that would adequately prepare me for higher education.  A quality education should be a public good equally available to all students.  Historically in the state of Connecticut, where you live has been the primary (and sometimes sole) determining factor as to what type of education a child will receive.  There is vast disparity between the qualities of education children in urban areas receive in comparison to their suburban counterparts.  I am interested in the way school district lines have been drawn and their impact on diversity throughout Hartford County.  In the state of Connecticut, wealthy suburban children seem to be walled off from impoverished urban children.  If there were such a way to alleviate the segregation of children from these backgrounds, why hasn’t it been done?

The 1989 case, Sheff v. O’Neill sought to provide all children within the state of Connecticut access to their “fundamental right to education and equal protection under the law”.  According to the Sheff Movement organization, the lawsuit “seeks to prepare all children to live and prosper in a growing racial/ethic, economically globally connected world.”  Many local reformers have theorized ways in which to remedy the racial and socio-economic segregation of public schools in Hartford county.  The initial vision that integration advocates had for public schools in Hartford County is relevant to our Education Reform course, because it is important to see how reformers of the past sought to remedy the stratification of Hartford schools.  It is also important to note the reasons why metro integration advocates’ recommendations to redraw school district lines based on regions and not towns were not implemented into practice.  Knowledge of this particular group’s past efforts and why they did not work helps to frame the current discussion of what reform strategies are possible for Hartford County public schools to implement today.  Through this analysis, an assessment can be made as to whether redrawing school district lines is a viable integration strategy for current times, and also are the past barriers to redrawing district lines still prevalent today.  From what Jack has shown me, the structure of Hartford County’s past settlement patterns and town based school zones prevents effective racial and socio-economic integration.  I am curious to discover why a reform strategy that seems to remedy Hartford County’s segregation and truly integrate schooling did not come to pass.

Research Strategy:

My first order of business for research is to become familiar with the material.  It is impossible to conduct in-depth research of a topic unless you are knowledgeable on the subject.  My research strategy is to thoroughly read through the consolidation plan that Jack was kind enough to share with me.  I will go through the oral history transcripts that Jack provided me with to get a first hand perspective on what metro integration advocate leaders were seeking and what was actually accomplished.  To uncover why the metro integration plan didn’t happen, I will use the consolidation plan as a starting point and think like a historical actor to pick out key points that may have been controversial at the time.  I will narrow them down and investigate the major themes.  Initially, I used the files Jack gave me and searched for similar terms via the Internet.  As I sift through this first batch of  related sources, I will look through education reform documents of the time to get a general idea of what suggestions or alternatives were on the table at the time of this recommendation.  Hartford obviously chose to go in a different direction to address racial and socio-economic integration.  What made the current strategy more compelling?  Since Sheff v. O’Neill was a catalyst for school integration in Hartford, I will use the major findings of the case to foreground my research. 

Primary Sources:

 “About Sheff v. O’Neill.”  Sheff Movement.  Web.  5 April 2013.  <>

Bruno, Gordon.  Interview with Jennifer Williams.  The Unexamined Remedy Metropolitan School District Oral History.  Hartford, 2004.

Hasegawa, Jack.  Interview with Jennifer Williams.  The Unexamined Remedy Metropolitan School District Oral History.  Hartford, 2004.

Judson, George.  “Poverty Tied To Failures In Hartford.”  New York Times 20 Feb. 1993.  Web.

McDermott, Kathryn.  Interview with Jennifer Williams.  The Unexamined Remedy Metropolitan School District Oral History.  Hartford, 2004.

Sacks, Michael.  “Suburbanization and the Racial/Ethnic Divide in the Hartford Metropolitan Area.”  2003.  PDF file.

Staples, Cameron.  Interview with Jennifer Williams.  The Unexamined Remedy Metropolitan School District Oral History.  Hartford, 2004.

The Connecticut Center for School Change.  The Unexamined Remedy.  1998.  PDF file.


How do you locate a database of teachers’ contracts for all school districts in Connecticut?

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How do you locate a database of teachers’ contracts for all school districts in Connecticut? Describe your search strategy and summarize differences between Hartford versus any suburb.


Locating a database of teacher’s contracts for all school districts in Connecticut is not as difficult to do as one might think.  I simply inputted “teacher contracts Hartford” into Google’s search engine and the fourth link down was entitled, “Find & Compare Districts – ConnCAN Teacher Contract Database.”  The website,, had information on every school district in Connecticut, from teacher salaries to workday length to the number of sick days that teachers are given.  While the average salaries of teachers in Hartford is comparable to that of the statewide averages, there were some disparities between Hartford teacher salaries and the salaries of teachers in Connecticut’s suburbs.  For example, on the website, you can find out a town’s average teacher salary by checking off the box to the left of the town’s name.  For the search I conducted, I checked off the box to urban Hartford while I also checked off the box to Westport, a more affluent Connecticut suburb.  What I found is that the average Hartford teacher salary is substantially smaller than that of their suburban counterpart.  In Westport, for example, a first-year teacher with a BA makes about $47,000 a year.  A fifth-year teacher brings in around $55,000 a year.  Meanwhile, in Hartford, a first-year teacher with a BA makes slightly less than $43,000 a year while a fifth-year teacher makes just over $50,000 a year.  Even more troubling, the max amount of money a teacher can make in Hartford with a BA is $ 66,000 a year while the max amount of money for a teacher in Westport is $77,000, a whopping $11,000 disparity. So, while you may think that the teacher willing to work in the states most struggling schools would be valued over other teachers, it’s actually just the opposite in Connecticut.  Go figure!

Traveling Back in Time: Using the Internet Archive Resource to Properly Cite Information

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#15 In Taylor Godfrey’s 2012 web essay, she bases her claims on content that appeared on the Teach for America website over six years ago, yet does not mention how she found this source. Describe how she did it, and offer a better citation. (Hint: See an amazing tool provided by the Internet Archive.)

My source detection assignment for this week allowed me to do some interesting digging around the Internet.  I began my search by referring to Taylor Godfrey’s essay, which can be found under our assigned reading for April 7th. That was the easy part. After opening up the web essay, I immediately saw the “content” that the question was asking me to expand on. At the top of the page she prefaces her essay with the quote, “Teach for America Welcomes and seeks out rigorous independent evaluations as a means of measuring our impact and continuously improving our program.” She goes on to explain that this was taken from the Teach For America website six years ago, on October 5th, 2006. Interesting, but where was her citation?  Taylor wrote a compelling and well-researched essay on how Teach For America (TFA) has evolved over the past six years, yet she left out how she found this source. Without a proper citation, how will future readers know where she got her information, and whether it is valid or trustworthy? In order to properly address my detection question, I had to start from the beginning and retrace Taylor’s steps when she referred to the TFA website, only this time I would be sure to properly cite the source used.

To tackle this somewhat daunting task, I decided to turn to the page of search strategies for sources that we reviewed last week in class, with my eyes peeled for one database in particular—the Internet Archive. With one quick click (thanks Jack!) I was directed to the Internet Archive’s page, an amazing Internet resource that is a nonprofit, free, and open for public use.  I focused in on the WayBackMachine, and entered TFA’s url,

This is the page I saw after entering the TFA url into the WayBackMachine from the Internet Archive.

I was brought to a page that featured years going all the way back to 1996, but didn’t stay long out of fear of becoming too overwhelmed. I clicked on the year 2006, and scrolled down to the month of October, and then found what day I was looking for, the 5th. With one more simple click, I was transported back in time to the TFA website looked like seven years ago.

This is how TFA's webpage looked on October 6, 2006.

Now, however, things were getting a little more complicated. Where had Taylor found this specific quote?  I had to do some searching of my own, and was impressed with how much of the TFA website had been archived. I browsed around the site, clicking on various links hoping to find out where Taylor had found her information.  I finally found a resource directed at “researchers” in the bottom part of the homepage, and struck gold. The first paragraph had the exact information I had been looking for.

The paragraph that contained the quote Taylor used in her web essay.

I’d found the quote, but now what? I directed myself back to what my source detection question was asking, and have to admit that I was a little bit confused and felt myself approaching a stopping point. I decided to close my computer for the time being, and made an appointment with Jack for the following day just to check-in and make sure I was on the right track.

The meeting was exactly what I needed. With the help of Jack and Zotero, I was able to provide the final part of the answer my source detection question was asking for. I’d found the webpage, and now just had to provide a better citation for the quote that Taylor based her web essay on.  I’d never used Zotero to cite a webpage before, but found it easy and efficient. Zotero automatically had the item type, title, date, date added, and date modified sections filled out, so all I had to do was input the website title and URL link.

Zotero helped me make sure that Taylor's quote was properly cited.

So, after all of this work and digging through the Internet archives, I have concluded that the better citation Taylor should have used in her web page is:

“Teach For America – Resources for Researchers.” Internet Archive WayBackMachine, October 5, 2006.  



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Steve Goniprow


Education 300


Research Project Proposal



As the widening gap between America’s haves and have-nots continues to cast an ominous cloud over a nation that allegedly provides it’s members with hopes and dreams, how can education be utilized as a tool capable of eradicating income inequality?   More specifically, how has the Obama administration elected to reform the American educational system, a system that is plagued by an achievement gap that directly helps to perpetuate the nation’s grotesque rates of income inequality?  How the Obama administration aims to narrow the achievement gap, and how their plan differs from previous reform efforts, is the question that I wish to explore and hopefully answer with my research project.  I believe that a thorough exploration of the Obama administration’s reform efforts is not only worthy of my research pursuits, but it deserves to be examined because of the rising income gap between working-class and upper-class Americans over the last thirty years.   It is my belief that we can narrow this gap by providing every American with a fair shake at getting a good education, and in doing so, we’ll become a more humane society that other nation’s can learn from in our interconnected world.  In 1848, prominent American education reformer Horace Mann said, “When we have spread competence through all the abodes of poverty, when we have substituted knowledge for ignorance in the minds of the whole people, when we have reformed the vicious and reclaimed the criminal, then may we invite all neighboring nations to behold the spectacle, and say to them, in the conscious elation of virtue, ‘Rejoice with me,’ for I have found that which was lost” (Mann 666).  With Mann’s poignant words in mind, I wish to explore what the Obama administration is doing through educational reform to discover what is lost in this country.                                                                                                   Before Obama took over office in 2008, the Bush administration’s polarizing No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act dominated the educational reform efforts of the early 2000’s.  NCLB expanded the federal government’s role in public education by creating standards with which it would hold schools accountable.  In describing NCLB, writers from said, “At the core of the No Child Left Behind Act were a number of measures designed to drive broad gains in student achievement and to hold states and schools more accountable for student progress” (  These measures included annual testing for grade-school students in mathematics, reading, and science, while states were also required to bring one hundred percent of it’s student to federally defined proficiency levels by 2013-2014 (  If an individual school failed to make “adequate yearly progress” towards the overarching goal of one hundred percent student proficiency in back-to-back years, students would be offered with the opportunity to attend another public school. If a school continued to fail to make federally defined progress, the school would possibly be faced with “governance changes.”    Furthermore, states were required to develop report cards that charted student-achievement progress while qualifications for teachers in core content areas were also raised.  Lastly, NCLB established a competitive grant program called Reading First that focused on bolstering state’s reading programs for grades K-3 (    While many supporters of NCLB praised the bill for placing a greater degree of accountability on states to improve test scores and make “adequate yearly progress,” many critics of the bill protested it’s unrealistic expectation of one hundred percent proficiency by 2013-2014.  NCLB was developed with the intention of helping underprivileged American youths get a better education and a better life, but former U.S. assistant secretary of education Diane Ravitch believes that NCLB has done just the opposite.  In a 2012 interview, she said, “After 10 years of NCLB, we should have seen dramatic progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, but we have not. By now, we should be able to point to sharp reductions of the achievement gaps between children of different racial and ethnic groups and children from different income groups, but we cannot…many children continue to be left behind, and we know who those children are: They are the same children who were left behind 10 years ago” (   So if NCLB has not worked towards eliminating poverty and closing the achievement gap that perpetuates income inequality, what has the Obama administration done to address this very serious issue?

The Obama administration’s educational reform efforts have in large part been defined by the Race to the Top program (RTTT).  In describing the goals of the program in a 2009 speech, President Obama said, “We’re going to raise the bar for all our students and take bigger steps towards closing the achievement gap that denies so many students, especially black and Latino students, a fair shot at their dreams.” (   But how would the President do this?  For starters, while NCLB federally mandated that schools make changes, RTTT simply provides schools with the incentive to make changes (   Under RTTT, Congress set aside over four billion dollars for states that are willing to “create robust plans that address the four key areas of K-12 education reform” (  The four key areas of reform that RTTT focuses on involves developing better standards and assessments, adopting better data systems to track student progress, developing support for teachers and school leaders to become more effective, and increasing the amount resources that the lowest-performing schools need to improve (  In conducting research on NCLB and RTTT, I found that and various other websites were most helpful in the research process.  I did not look at any books in the research process although Diane Ravitch’s text that was assigned for Ed 300 would probably have been a valuable source to draw information from for this proposal.




Mann, Horace, 1796-1859. Life And Works of Horace Mann. [Boston: Walker, Fuller and co., 186568.


Strauss, Valerie. “Ravitch: No Child Left Behind and the Damage Done.” Washington

Post. The Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2012. Web. 06 Apr. 2013.



Web. 06 Apr. 2013.


“Race to the Top.” The White House. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2013.


“The White House Blog.” Speeding Up the Race to the Top. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2013.


“No Child Left Behind.” Research Center:. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2013.

Research Paper Proposal: Evolution of Teacher’s Unions (2013)

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Research Question: How is Margaret Haley’s vision of an ideal teachers union in 1904 challenged or supported by teacher’s union activists around the turn of the 21st century?

Relevance: Teacher’s Unions can be one of the most powerful voices in terms of educational politics when operated with efficience. Today, teacher’s unions are receiving a huge part of the blame in the failure of America’s past educational reformation attempts. For me, studying the history of teachers unions, specifically Margaret Nolan’s utopian teacher unions dating all the way back to 1904, and how unions today compare and contrast with her vision would give me a deeper insight at the rights of a student and what the word “education” entails. I woud like to first see if it is accurate to say that unions today are a prohibitor of substantial educational reformation. From there, I will see how one woman’s idea ties with the modern vision of what a teacher union is to stand for. I am curious to see how Margaret Haley’s (ahead of her time) view of what unions should be has evolved to the sense of the most modern vision, the “social justice union”.

I plan to focus on the years between and including 1904-1999, and even touch on today and perhaps the future.

Research Strategy: After speaking with you, I headed to the library plan this whole thing out. Already having two articles from in-class reading was a big kickstart. The same can be said for the copy of Citizen Teacher you showed me, along with the book on unions that you kindly offered. In addition, I found Haley’s autobiography, which I thought could also offer a good understanding of the woman she was. There was another book she wrote that I found while looking for this one that I plan to search through too. If I find that there is a certain aspect of unions that my research may lean towards, I will consider adding and removing select sources.

Primary Sources:

Besieged: School Boards and the Future of Education Politics. Washington, D.C: Brookings Institution Press, 2005. Print.

Haley, Margaret. The Gardener Mind. New Haven: Yale university press, 1937. Print. The Yale Series of Younger Poets.

Haley, Margaret. “Why Teachers Should Organize.” In National Association of Education. Journal of Addresses and Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Meeting (St. Louis), 145–152. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1904.

Haley, Margaret A. Battleground: The Autobiography of Margaret A. Haley. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982. Print.

Peterson, Bob. “Survival and Justice: Rethinking Teacher Union Strategy.” InTransforming Teachers Unions, 11–19. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 1999.

Pathways to Teaching: A Comparative Study on Urban Teacher Residency Programs in Boston and Chicago

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Research Question:

According to the founders what was the initial purpose of the Urban Teacher Residency programs: Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) in Chicago and the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR) in Boston? (It is important to note that although these programs are under the same network umbrella they have two different agendas based on the populations they serve). Has this vision changed, why or why not? Lastly, how have teachers’ experiences in the program changed years after the launch of the programs?

I plan to focus on research published on these programs during the years 2000 and 2010.

Relevance: Over the course of this semester we have studied how several education reform movements were developed, implemented, and the changes that occurred over time. The reform movement that interested me the most involves teachers. The increasing focus on teacher accountability in more recent years has made me think about the varied pathways that teachers take to get certified and what that means to their readiness in the field. Teacher retainment rates have been very low. Teacher quality and teacher support should both be studied to ensure that the profession elevates to the level that is desired.Urban Teacher Residencies (UTR) are new programs that have been developed to provide support for teachers and addresses the issues of teacher quality. Teacher trainees commit to 4-5 years in the program. During the first year, the teacher trainees have the opportunity to get a Master’s level degree in their subject of choice while gaining experience in the classroom by shadowing a veteran teacher who serves as a mentor. After completing the first year, the teachers commit to teaching 3 or 4 years and are placed in their own classroom in high-needs school districts in Urban areas.They receive support throughout the remainder of the program to ensure that they provide quality instruction, but also so that remain in the field. This topic is relevant to Ed 300 because the program attempts to address major issues in the field. It important to examine the whether or not this program changed, how and why over time to see if progress is being made.

Research Strategy: To find sources for my web essay I started with Wikipedia to learn what an urban teacher residency is. I searched the sources that were used to write the entry, and I came across a source that conducted a study on both the AUSL and BTR programs that was published in 2008. After looking at Wikipedia, I decided to use the library’s search feature to see if there were any books that addressed urban teacher residencies. I searched for “urban teacher residencies” but the were little results so I decided to search for “alternative teacher certification”. I found a book in the library’s main collection. I was thrilled because this book offers good historical background in the emergence of teacher certification programs in the 1980s. Although this book does not address UTRs it provides great context for why there have been a number of different alternative certification programs throughout the years which will be useful in my analysis. Next, I searched Ed Week for articles related to urban teacher residency. I came across one article one the two UTRs- AUSL and BTR that were discussed in the article that I found via Wikipedia’s source list. After looking at this article, I decided to check out the websites for the each UTR. I also searched for journal articles in the Education full text journal. I came across an article that addressed the issue of teacher shortages which would be helpful to examine teacher retainment strategies and how this program adds up.

I feel that all of these sources will be very useful for my final paper.


Alternative Routes to Teaching: Mapping the New Landscape of Teacher Education. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Education Press, 2008. Print.

Berry, Barnett, Diana Montgomery, Rachel Curtis, Mindy Hernandez, Judy Wurtzel, and John Snyder. “Creating and Sustaining Urban Teacher Residencies: A New Way to Recruit, Prepare and Retain Highly Effective Teachers in High-Needs Districts.” Center for Teaching Quality, the Aspen Institute, and Bank Street College. August 2008.

Honawar, Vaishali. “Boston, Chicago Teacher ‘Residencies’ Gaining Notice.” Education Week 17 Sept. 2008. Web. 3 Apr. 2013.

“Teacher Shortages.” CQ Researcher by CQ Press. Web. 6 Apr. 2013.

“Urban Teacher Residency.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 30 Jan. 2013. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.

Alternative Urban School Leadership. n.p. 2013.

Boston Teacher Residency. n.p.  2013.

ED 300 Research Proposal: Bilingual Education

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Research Question:

How has the need for, and implementation of, Bilingual Education in Hartford, Connecticut changed over the years?

Why does this deserve to be researched?

In October of 2010, I was placed at McDonough Expeditionary Learning School (MELS) for my classroom placement as part of a requirement for my Education 200: Analyzing Schools class. I was very eager to work with Chris Gentile, a recent Teach for America graduate at the time, and felt that I could bring a new perspective to his 6th grade classroom; as a product of the Hartford Public School system, I felt that I could truly relate to the students at McDonough and serve as a valuable asset to Mr. Gentile in the classroom. During my first few weeks at McDonough, I found myself in a very difficult position: although I wanted to spend my time helping the students in the classroom with science projects and other assignments, I found myself being used mostly as a translator between Mr. Gentile and four [transfer] students who were in his homeroom – Maria, Josue, Valializ and Reyna Rivera. These students had recently moved to Hartford from Puerto Rico and were immediately enrolled into a Hartford school by their mother, who did not want to see them fall behind in their academics.

The Vice Principal at MELS at the time, Dirk Olmstead explained that the school no longer had an official ELL program (English Language Learners) but rather, the Rivera children spent their fourth period in a class for students with developmental and behavioral problems. In this class, typically taught by a member of the McDonough school support staff, students received specialized attention with their classwork. Many times the class was taught by a bilingual staff-person; however, this was not always the case. I realized immediately that this arrangement was problematic – the Rivera children were not “bad” kids, they simply did not understand a word of English.

Under No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), Title I and Title III, school districts must offer Educational programs for limited English proficient (LEP) students/English language learners (ELLs).The arrangement at MELS shows a shift in position on the importance of Bilingual education [and the ELL program] among Hartford Public School Administration– which is evident due to the lack of funding for Bilingual education programs, according to several school administrators. This issue is important to me because I was a product of ELL instruction. At home, my primary language was Spanish and I found the ELL program to be my saving grace at school, because I was able to learn English in a relatively short amount of time, I was able to do well both inside and outside of the classroom. I saw first-hand the many pains that students such as Reyna and Josue experienced in Mr. Gentile’s class, labeled as delinquents because they could not sit still and do any of the work. I truly believe that this is an issue of keystone importance affecting non-English speaking children enrolled in Hartford Public Schools today. I am interested in exploring Hartford Public Schools, as well as, independent schools such as La Escuelita Bilingual School (formerly Ann Street School).


Research Strategy:

Using the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), JSTOR – the “digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources”, Google Scholar, the Trinity College Library catalog, I searched for key terms using the following words and phrases:

  1. Bilingual Education & Hartford, CT”
  2. “Bilingual Education in Hartford, CT
  3. “ELL programs in Hartford, CT”
  4. “Bilingual Education as Special Education”
  5. “Bilingual Education in Hartford Public Schools”

Although these searches bring up some good literature for this topic, it seems that the literature is limited. I will need to conduct interviews with teachers or administrators that are familiar with HPS policy trends in the specific field of Bilingual education. I would also like to conduct interviews with bilingual students who attend Hartford schools to gain insight into their experiences at their respective schools.


Bibliography of Possible Sources:

Ardinger, Ashley. “English Language Learners: an analysis of policy and achievement over time.” (2012).

“Bilingual Programs Increasing in City.” The Hartford Courant (1923-1984) [Hartford, Conn.] 19 Aug. 1973,12I. ProQuest Historical Newspapers Hartford Courant (1923 – 1984). ProQuest. Trinity College, Hartford, CT. 4 Mar. 2009

Cohen, Linda M. Meeting the needs of gifted and talented minority language students: Issues and practices. No. 8. National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, 1988.

Gersten, Russell, and Robert T. Jimenez. “A delicate balance: Enhancing literature instruction for students of English as a second language.” The Reading Teacher 47.6 (1994): 438-449.

Papirno, Elisa. “Puerto Rican Children Getting Bilingual Education at La Escuelita. ” The Hartford Courant (1923-1984) [Hartford, Conn.] 28 May 1973,33. ProQuest Historical Newspapers Hartford Courant (1923 – 1984). ProQuest. Trinity College, Hartford, CT. 4 Mar. 2009 <>

Park, Sunny. “Teaching English to English Language Learners in 1960s and Today.” (2008).

Rossell, Christine H., and Keith Baker. “The educational effectiveness of bilingual education.” Research in the Teaching of English (1996): 7-74.

Torres, Karina. “Language Policies: A study of Language Ideologies in Connecticut State Policies for English Language Learners.” (2012).

Zirkel, Perry Alan. “An evaluation of the effectiveness of selected experimental bilingual education programs in Connecticut.” (1972).


Next Step: I am scheduled to meet with Jack on  Monday, April 8, 2013 at 11:40am to receive feedback on my proposal.








Ed 300 Research Proposal on charter schools

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Question: How has the implementation of the Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago affected graduation rates/test scores compared to traditional high schools in the Chicagoland area from 1990 to present day?


For many years, parents have sought to send their children to top high schools that will prepare them for college without the private school cost. Moreover, many of the parents in Chicago try to send their kids to magnet schools, charter schools, and montessori high schools to avoid having their children sent to their neighborhood high schools which have a reputation for producing lower test scores and graduation rates. One network of charter schools has quickly been expanding in Chicago, and has caught the attention of high schoolers all over Chicago: the Noble Network of Charter Schools. As we analyzed Geoffrey Canada’s work in Harlem with the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City, the effectiveness of charter schools and how they compared to other district schools was not gone into depth with the novel Whatever It Takes by Paul Tough which sparked my interest. Moreover, I hope to analyze the test scores from this network of charter high schools and analyze the impact that the Noble Network of Charter Schools has over the graduations and test scores in Chicago with quantitative data.

Research Strategy:

I started my research with and searched for articles associating with charter schools in Chicago and school choice movements. I started to look through search engines using the library; however, either only a couple of sources or no sources at all would appear no matter how general or specific I made my search so I began to use Google Scholar for a more broad search. For specific statistics, I visited the Noble Network of Charter Schools website and found some basic graduation statistics and took more graduations statistics for Chicago overall from the Chicago Sun times. I plan to contact a couple of the Noble Network of Charter Schools advocates including the superintendent Michael Milkie.


“Achievements & Results.” N.p., Dec. 2012. Web. 05 Apr. 2013. <>.

Ark, Tom V. “Smart Cities: Chicago’s Collaborative and Chaotic Reform Record.” Ed Weekly, 12 Dec. 2011. Web. 5 Apr. 2013. <,+IL>.

Cullen, Julie B., Brian A. Jacob, and Steven D. Levitt. “The Impact of School Choice on Student Outcomes: An Analysis of the Chicago Public Schools.” Journal of Public Economics, 26 Aug. 2004. Web. 05 Apr. 2013. <>.

Greene, Jay P., and Marcus A. Winters. “Public High School Graduation and College-Readiness Rates: 1991–2002.” Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 8 Feb. 2005. Web. 5 Apr. 2013.

Kelleher, James B. “High School Graduation Rate Hits 78.2 Percent, Highest since 1974.” Reuters. Reuters, 22 Jan. 2013. Web. 5 Apr. 2013.

Kevin, Booker, Brian Gill, Ron Zimmer, and Tim R. Sass. “Achievement and Attainment in Chicago Charter Schools: A Summary. Research Brief.” RAND Corporation, 13 Feb. 2008. Web. 05 Apr. 2013. <>.

Research Paper Proposal – 2013

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Question: How and why has single-sex education been implemented and evolved in Hartford over the last fifteen years?

Relevance: Single-sex education is a cultural phenomenon, where gender differences are utilized to benefit students, rather than marginalize or ostracize individuals. Single-sex education allows students to grow in an academic environment surrounded only by those of the same sex, eliminating many gendered conflicts that arise in developing adolescents. Single-sex education takes male and female complications and interactions, physically, mentally, and emotionally, out of the academic setting, shifting those relations to an out of school setting. This allows academics to take precedent over such issues.

Research Strategy: My main focus when searching for sources was variety. I wanted to make sure that I was drawing from a multitude of different types of sources. Therefore, I utilized Google, Google scholar, JSTOR, The Connecticut Government webpage,, and the Trinity College Library to find sources. In order to determine how single-sex education has evolved over the past 15 years, The Hartford Courant articles will show the differing opinions of the people of Hartford and the government pertaining to funding and experimenting with the method. I will also use the yearly reports published by the Connecticut Public School system on single-sex education, which tracks statistics, goals and mission statements of their efforts. I located this text through the Connecticut State Education Research Center online. I needed to make sure that my sources accurately depict how single-sex education has changed over time, so I next looked for sources that ranged back from 1998. I was able to find an article from The Hartford Courant dating back to 1998. This article reflects on the debate of Single-sex education, and women who were defending its ideologies. Based on the viewpoint of single-sex education from Hartford’s residents in 1998, I can track how the attitudes have changed and shifted over time. I also located an Education Policy book published each year, wherein the benefits and fallbacks of single-sex education are investigated.


The Advantages Of Single-Sex Education

The Hartford Courant, RUSSELL BLAIR, August 13, 2010

No Endorsement Of Single-Sex Schools Given

The Hartford Courant, August 23, 2010

Women Defend Single-sex Education

The Hartford Courant, By ROBERT A. FRAHM, March 23, 1998

EDUCATION; Boys Will Be Boys? Then Teach Them Separately, Perhaps

The Hartford Courant, By THOMAS KAPLAN, Published: March 23, 2008 

Reform or Retrenchment: Single Sex Education and the Construction of Race and Gender, Verna L. Williams
, University of Cincinnati College of Law

Single-Sex Education, The Connecticut Context, Technical Report, 2013

OLR Research Report, CT SINGLE-SEX EDUCATION PROGRAMS, December 5, 2006, Soncia Coleman, Associate Legislative Analyst

Class Divide: Single-Sex Schoolrooms Take Off, Some Wary Of Growing Trend, But Advocates’ Fervor Is Catching, JIM FARRELL, June 12, 2007

Brookings Papers on Education Policy, Rosemary C. Salomone, Cornelius Riordan and Janice Weinman, 1999, Published by: Brookings Institution Press,


The Relationship Between Charter Schools and Catholic Schools

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Research Question:  How has the growth of charter schools negatively affected catholic schools over the past two decades? What does this growth look like on a national level as well as a local one, specifically in the city of Hartford?

Relevance:  School choice has been a heavily studied topic throughout our semester and is constantly debated by education reformers at a national level. The rise of charter schools throughout the country continues to increase as families have become more dissatisfied with traditional public schooling and look for alternatives. Charter schools have been highly criticized by education reformers who don’t believe that they are a long-term solution to ensuring all children have access to a public school education. One reformer who is particularly against the implementation of charter schools over traditional public schools is Diane Ravitch. The reason I’ve decided to focus my research on the impact charter schools have had specifically on catholic schools is because of a comment she included in her book that was particularly interesting to me. Though she is against most programs within the school choice movement, she is not against catholic schools as an alternative for students who live in low-income communities.  I think it will be particularly interesting to examine how, as charter schools continue to increase across the country, what this does to catholic schools. Often times, catholic schools are forced to shut down or are replaced by chartered schools because they have more government support and access to funding.  I’m going to examine this relationship in urban areas throughout the country, specifically in low-income communities, as well as providing one specific example of a catholic school in Hartford, St. Justin, which was replaced by Jumoke Academy, a charter school.

Research strategy:  In order to fully understand the relationship between charter schools and catholic schools, I plan on doing a substantial amount of research on what the major differences are between these two types of schools, and how they vary in teaching approach, student population, and funding. The library database will be exceedingly helpful in this respect because of the various databases focused specifically on education. Education Full Text and JSTOR have already been really helpful, and I plan on continuing to use them as I get further into my research. will also be useful when I’m discussing the impact of charters on catholic schools at a national level. My strategy for finding information on the transformation from St. Justin’s to Jumoke Academy will be much different.  I’m going to search the Hartford Courant Historical, as well as Lexis Nexis Academic to find news stories specific to Hartford.


Booker, Kevin, Tim R. Sass, Gill, and Ron Zimmer. “The Effects of Charter High Schools on Educational Attainment.” Journal of Labor Economics 29, no. 2 (April 1, 2011): 377–415. doi:10.1086/658089.

Brinig, Margaret F., and Nicole Stelle Garnett. “Catholic Schools, Charter Schools, and Urban Neighborhoods.” The University of Chicago Law Review 79, no. 1 (January 1, 2012): 31–57. doi:10.2307/41552894.

Cavanagh, Sean. “Catholic Ed., K-12 Charters Squaring Off.” Education Week 32, no. 2 (August 29, 2012): 1–13.

Donlevy, J. Kent. “Catholic Schools: The Inclusion of Non-Catholic Students.” Canadian Journal of Education / Revue Canadienne De L’éducation 27, no. 1 (January 1, 2002): 101–118. doi:10.2307/1602190.



Replicating a Search

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Source Detective Question

In Kate McEachern’s 2005 essay, she wanted to know when major newspapers began using the phrase “teach to the test,” and found a creative way to answer this question. Describe her approach and replicate how she did it.


In Kate McEachern’s 2005 essay she set out to find out when the phrase “teach to the test” was first used in major newspapers. In her essay she describes going to the New York Times Historical Archive Database, which led her to the answer of 1966. In order to replicate her search eight years later I went to the ED300 page of search strategies for sources. Towards the bottom of the page I found a link to search additional national newspapers such as the New York Times. The link took me to the ProQuest advanced search for News and Newspaper where I typed in “teach to the test” or “teaching to the test”. I then specified “Newspapers” and “Historical Newspapers” as my source type as well as all dates.

I then chose my sort results to be by oldest publication date first. Although illegible the first relevant search result was a New York Times article from February 16th 1969 by Fred M. Hechinger called “Why an ‘A’ by Any Other Name Smells Bad”. Surprisingly after searching both ProQuest and the New York Times Historical Archive Database the 1966 article was not found. The New York Times Article Archive gives two options when searching the archives. The first is from 1981 to present and the second is 1851 to 1980. Yet certain articles are only available to subscribers. Therefore when I searched for Leonard Buder’s specific article called “Report Card for Schools?” from May 29th 1966 I was unable to view the document.

The School-to-Prison Pipeline Research Essay Proposal

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Research Question:

What is the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and what steps have various reform groups taken to halt the funneling of students into the criminal justice system in major U.S. cities over the past five years?


The school-to-prison pipeline plagues schools and youth across the country, specifically minority and disabled students in urban areas. Due to policies employed in elementary and secondary schools across the United States, students are funneled directly from the school system into the criminal justice system. Many of these schools have metal detectors at every entrance, law enforcement officers staffing the buildings and campuses, and intense zero-tolerance policies that treat minor and major infractions with similar severity. Authorities and educators have shown an increasing dependence on suspensions, expulsions, and outside law enforcement to intervene when faced with disciplinary issues in the classroom. The removal of students from the classroom setting regularly for both major and minor disciplinary infractions poses significant physical and emotional risks to youth. Often, young people living in urban settings are led to feel that arrest and incarceration are inevitable and are simply what lies ahead in their futures. Recidivism rates for juveniles are shockingly high and the school-to-prison pipeline only adds to these figures. The fact that school policies could be, at least in part, responsible for guiding students into the criminal justice system is alarming; any policies or campaigns to put a stop to this pipeline are incredibly important.

Research Strategy:

To start my research, I used Google, Google Scholar, and JStor to search “school to prison pipeline” in an effort to gather broad, background information about the school-to-prison pipeline. After gathering information about the way the pipeline is defined and framed, I narrowed my search to “school to prison pipeline new york city” and “education policy school to prison pipeline.” Next I moved on to create a working list of groups dedicated to tackling the pipeline by searching “school to prison pipeline reform” and “education reformers new york, ny.” I then searched some of the names that I found cropping up in multiple articles to expand my list of reformers and campaigns. While I do have a list of individuals who are prominent leaders in the field and their accomplishments, I would like to delve deeper into not only the reform methods that they have tried and succeeded with, but also those attempts that were not successful.


“A Look At School Discipline | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) – American Civil Liberties Union of New York State.” A Look At School Discipline | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) – American Civil Liberties Union of New York State. New York Civil Liberties Union, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

“A Look At School Safety | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) – American Civil Liberties Union of New York State.” A Look At School Safety | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) – American Civil Liberties Union of New York State. New York Civil Liberties Union, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

Kim, Catherine Y., Daniel J. Losen, and Damon Hewitt. The School to Prison Pipeline: Structuring Legal Reform. New York: New York UP, 2010. Print.

“Medgar Evers College President William L. Pollard and Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes Present a Symposium on Race, Law and Justice: Strategies for Closing the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” CUNY Newswire. The City University of New York, 14 Feb. 2013. Web. 05 Apr. 2013. <>.

Resmovits, Joy. “School-To-Prison Pipeline Targeted By Judges, Education Officials.” The Huffington Post., 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 04 Apr. 2013.

“School-to-Prison Pipeline.” American Civil Liberties Union. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2013.

“The Student Safety Act | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) – American Civil Liberties Union of New York State.” The Student Safety Act | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) – American Civil Liberties Union of New York State. New York Civil Liberties Union, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

Wald, J. and Losen, D. J. Defining and redirecting a school-to-prison pipeline. New Directions for Youth Development, 2003: 9–15. doi: 10.1002/yd.51

Welch, Kelly, and Allison Ann Payne. “Racial Threat and Punitive School Discipline.” Social Problems 57.1 (2010): 25-48. JSTOR. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

“YCP.” YCP. Kings County District Attorney Office, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2013.


Research Proposal

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Proposal How has education in correctional facilities changed since the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 in New York State?

Significance I believe Correctional Education is an important topic to education reform. Attaining an education provides an opportunity for success to inmates when they are released from prison. Without education the chance of recidivism is higher. Yet in 1994 the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act took away the right for prison inmates to receive a grant for higher education. I’m interested in researching the effects of the act on the educational system in prisons specifically in New York State.

Research Process I first went to the ED300 page on search strategies for sources to get myself headed in the right direction. After checking Wikipedia and the listed sources I went to Trinity’s word cat search engine. Under key terms I typed in “prison” “education” and “New York State”. I didn’t find any specific books that were significant to my particular proposal. I then did the same for Trinity’s narrower search engines. Through these search results I found particular sources in the bibliographies of sources less relevant to my specific topic. I also searched the New York Times’ database by using “prison education” in the search engine. Finally I searched specific sources such as the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 after learning of its significance to the topic through my other sources.


“Cornell Prison Education Program.” Cornell Prison Education Program. Cornell University. <>.

This source is the website for a program that offers classes through the volunteer efforts of Cornell University professors to inmates at Auburn Correctional Facility.

Erisman, Wendy, and Jeanne Bayer Contardo. “Learning to Reduce Recidivism.” (2005) The Institute for Higher Education Policy. Web. <>.

This source analyzes post secondary education policy by state in correctional facilities.

“Fact Sheet: Educational and Vocational Programs in New York State Prisons.” Correctional Association of New York. The Correctional Association of New York, 2012-2013. Web. <>.

This fact sheet of Educational and Vocational Programs in New York State shares statistics that are in favor of education programs yet also exemplify the decrease in support.

Greenberg, Elizabeth, Eric Dunleavy, and Mark Kutner. Literacy Behind Bars: Results From the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy Prison Survey. 2007. Literacy Behind Bars: Results From the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy Prison Survey. National Center for Education Statistics. Web. <>.

This source reports the results of English literacy of adults in prison for the first time since 1992.

Lewin, Tamar. “Inmate Education Is Found To Lower Risk of New Arrest.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Nov. 2001. Web. <>.

This source describes the benefits of education at correctional facilities.

Maher, Jane. “My Way Out of This Life Is An Education.” Women’s Studies Quarterly 32.1/2 (2004): 100-14. America: History and Life on the Web. Web. <>.

This source discusses how the educational opportunities through the Women’s Prison Education Partnership helped the inmates at the New York State Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.

Olian, Catherine, prod. “60 Minutes.” Maximum Security Education. CBS. New York, 15 Apr. 2007. Bard College. Web. <>.

This segment of the 60 Minutes episode on Maximum Security Education reports on the Bard Prison Initiative from its program at the Eastern Correctional Facility in New York State.

Policy Statement 15: Education and Vocation Training. Rep. The Council of State Government Justice Center, Web. <>.

This policy statement addresses the educational and vocational opportunities to inmates.

“Program Services-Education (Academics).” NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Web. <>.

This source lists and explains the education programs available in the correctional facilities of New York State.

United States. Cong. Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. 103d Cong., 2nd sess. Cong. Rept. H.R.3355. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1994.

This source is the “Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994”.

Ed 300 Research Proposal

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 Research Question: How did the enactment of Title IX change the academic and athletic experiences of both female and male student-athletes in colleges and universities?

Significance:  Women’s collegiate sports have progressed tremendously since the first nationally organized female collegiate competition in 1941.  The biggest advancement in women’s collegiate athletics since this time came in 1971 with the founding of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW).  The AIAW, which prided itself in focusing on the “student” aspect of student-athletes, aimed to prevent unfair advantages in competition by allowing female athletes to transfer between schools and prohibiting athletic scholarships and off-campus recruiting.  The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), which strictly dealt with men’s athletics, tended to focus more on the “athlete” aspect of student-athlete and was often seen as commercially driven and known for awarding plenty of full scholarships.  In 1972 Title IX was passed, which is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 stating “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance…” (OASAM).  Although this portion was not specifically aimed at fixing discrimination in athletics, Title IX became most known for and had one of the greatest effects on ending sexist inequity in sports.  Through Title IX, the NCAA eventually began offering championships to Division II and III female athletic teams in 1980, and to Division 1 teams in 1981, which marked the collapse of the AIAW and the NCAA takeover of women’s collegiate sports.

Title IX significantly impacted the experiences of female and male student-athletes on and off the field, mostly in a positive way but sometimes negatively.  My paper aims to answer the questions of what specific impacts Title IX had on collegiate athletics and academics, and how and why this affected both male and female collegiate student-athletes.  This topic has significance in relation to our Education 300 class because athletics are an integral part of many students’ educational and collegiate experiences.  Benefits of playing sports include growing leadership skills, increasing health and self-esteem, and adapting more responsible social behavior, which all lead to higher academic performance.  This topic is especially meaningful to me because I am a varsity college athlete here at Trinity, and I have reaped many of the benefits of playing sports throughout my whole life, especially during my college years.  As a female, without the passing of Title IX, I might never have had the opportunity as a collegiate athlete.  Playing on the volleyball team at Trinity has helped me in many aspects of my academic and social or personal life throughout college.    I think it is important to research the question of how Title IX has already impacted the experiences of student-athletes in order to continue changing inequalities in this venue.

Research Strategy:  I started my search for sources by using a general Google search under phrases like “first female collegiate athletics”, “Title IX”, and “the effects of Title IX in collegiate sports”.  These searches lead me to Wikipedia, and under Wikipedia’s sources section I was able to find a couple of relevant and useful sources.  I also used the Trinity library homepage, and under the tab “Articles” I searched by database title and chose “Education Full Text”, then hit “Go” and typed in “Title IX”.  This search provided many useful sources from which I chose a few to use.  Searching “Title IX” AND “college” was also helpful because many of the sources from the original search targeted high school athletics and academics.


Haglund, Eric. 2005. “Staring Down the Elephant: College Football and Title IX Compliance.” Journal Of Law & Education 34, no. 3: 439-452. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed April 5, 2013).

Hardy, Lawrence. 2012. “The Legacy of Title IX.” American School Board Journal 199, no. 8: 12-15. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed April 5, 2013).

Kilman, Carrie. “Beyond the Playing Field.” Teaching Tolerance no. 42 (Fall2012 2012): 29-33. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed April 5, 2013).

Lancaster, Michael . “Title IX And Its Effect On College Athletic Programs..” College Athletic Scholarships. College Scouting And Recruiting.. Web. 29 Oct. 2010. <>.

McKeon, Michael. 2012. “The Law That’s Title IX.” American School Board Journal 199, no. 8: 17-19. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed April 5, 2013).

Siegel, D. “The Union of Athletics with Educational Institutions,” Athletics and Education. <>

Suggs, Welch. 2003. “U.S. commission on Title IX calls for protecting men’s teams.” Chronicle Of Higher Education 49, no. 25: A40. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed April 5, 2013).

Vest, Becky, and Gerald Masterson. 2007. “Title IX and Its Effect on Sports Programs in High School and Collegiate Athletics.” Coach & Athletic Director 77, no. 5: 60-62. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed April 5, 2013).