Category: tax money in action

Marketing “Downtown North”

By , April 3, 2014 5:30 am

After a series of frustrating public meetings culminating with one during which designers filibustered as dozens of (mostly) young Heaven supporters waited all evening to speak, we are now seeing a first draft of MECA’s (Marketing, Events & Cultural Affairs for the City of Hartford) Downtown North marketing brochure. This will include additional materials tailored to whichever developer might be requesting such information.  Continue reading 'Marketing “Downtown North”'»

Hartford Promises

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By , March 20, 2014 2:47 pm

In recent months, the entire Weaver High School community has been mobilized by the Hartford Board of Education’s poor communication about the school’s temporary move to the Lincoln Institute and the plan to eventually rehabilitate and rebuild the north end school. Tuesday night’s Board meeting once again found students, teachers, and Weaver families demanding action and answers from the Board. There were few to be found, but much talk of “due diligence.” The uncertainty and anxiety among the Weaver community was palpable, as too was the growing mistrust of the Board and its hollow words. Speakers, including Principal Tim Goodwin, admonished Mayor Segarra, who was not in attendance, for suggesting that Weaver’s low enrollment could affect the school’s reconstruction. Goodwin demanded that enrollment issues be taken off the table and not be a part of the discussion. He cited the school’s continued improvement according to multiple metrics, including decreased disciplinary referrals. Through the years, Weaver High has been especially hampered by the breaking up of Hartford’s traditional high schools and the “school choice” reform scheme. Lastly, it was clear Tuesday night that Michele Rhee’s privatization front group StudentsFirst had attempted to glom onto Weaver’s struggle, going so far as to blindly hand out as many of their unrelated t-shirts as possible to students.

Since the Board’s failed attempt to hand the Clark School to the Achievement 1st charter school corporation two months ago, Clark was entered in to the Commissioner’s Network of schools in need of “turnaround.” A “turnaround committee” of parents, teachers, and the State Department of Education has been meeting to develop a plan for Clark. Parallel to this, HART was contracted by the Board to garner support among the community for another charter takeover of the school. This time a charter school corporation called Friendship Charter School of Maryland has been identified as the favorite by the Commissioner of Education. As has been reported in Real Hartford, the Clark community is unwilling to be bullied, bought off, or threatened into this deal. During Tuesday’s meeting, Superintendent Kishimoto blamed outside interests for the problems with the committee. In her report on Clark, she warned of parents being “lobbied heavily by organizations placing pressures on parents on matters beyond the immediate and urgent needs of Clark School students.” She chided these mysterious groups and mentioned that parents were complaining to her personally about the “pressure.” Continue reading 'Hartford Promises'»

Clark Told “Friendship is on Hold”, Okay to See Others

Photo is courtesy of  Andy Hart

The Clark Turnaround Committee was informed Tuesday that more site visits would be possible, and that the Friendship School model (use of the word “model” has been debated) is not the one that must be picked. As of Friday, parents, teachers, and community members were fighting for the ability to do just that, as a press conference was held to shine light on the need for more time, better communication with the State Department of Education and Hartford Board of Education staffers, and self-determination.

Tentative meeting dates, including those for school site visits, were discussed at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon at the Clark School. According to the agenda, school site visits in New Haven and New York City are possibilities at the end of March and early April.

After SDE representative Andrew Ferguson reprimanded the parents, teachers, and community members on the committee, saying “there has to be urgency from everyone at this table,” teacher Kimberly Daly responded, “to be honest [...] we were not given the models to look at.” Daly, referring to her notes, said that at the February 19th meeting, she asked that an appointment be made for the Turnaround Committee to visit an Expeditionary Learning model school — Hartford schools Moylan and McDonough already use this model, and the Sánchez school will be fully using it in 2014-2015 — yet, she said, no appointment has been scheduled. Continue reading 'Clark Told “Friendship is on Hold”, Okay to See Others'»

When the Media Teams Up with Public Schools

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By , February 4, 2014 5:38 pm

Those not immersed in the field of education might believe the recent attention to Common Core and teacher evaluations came out of nowhere. With the exception of items that are unavoidable, such as the nonrenewal of the superintendent’s contract, local news reporting has trended glossy on education, biased toward the status quo which goes by the name “education reform.”

Last month, the Hartford Courant and Hartford Public Schools announced the plan to partner, specifically with the Journalism Academy. The details on this, along with potential price tag, are still being hashed out.

Already, HPS has contracts with Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc.

With such partnerships, there are a few clear winners. Continue reading 'When the Media Teams Up with Public Schools'»

Policy Delay a Sign of Responsiveness?

By , January 30, 2014 3:50 pm

Governor Malloy issued a letter to the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council on Tuesday urging more “flexibility” and a delay regarding the planned changes to teacher evaluations. There was no mention of delaying or canceling the standardized testing in March; those tests are central to this issue.

This relieves stress for many of those directly affected by the policy that was pushed through in 2012, but some in the media are playing this off as politicians merely being responsive to constituents. Although the current standardized testing does not encourage this, let’s apply some critical thinking and see what evidence leads us to believe. Continue reading 'Policy Delay a Sign of Responsiveness?'»

Access Along River to be Extended

By , January 2, 2014 2:55 pm

Paved section of path, south of the Riverfront Plaza

It’s expected that the State Bond Commission will approve funds on Friday to finish paving the walkway between Charter Oak Landing and the existing path that crosses railroad tracks. Continue reading 'Access Along River to be Extended'»

How Flower Street’s Closure Helps Transit Oriented Development

By , November 13, 2013 8:39 am

Ken Krayeske, a Hartford cyclist and lawyer, posed a question at Bike Walk Connecticut’s fundraiser dinner: How does the permanent closure of Flower Street to pedestrian and cyclist traffic enhance Transit Oriented Development (TOD)? The keynote speaker, Kip Bergstrom, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, gave a succinct response before swiftly changing the topic: “I’m not sure that it does.” Continue reading 'How Flower Street’s Closure Helps Transit Oriented Development'»

Snarled Process Offers Results Days Later

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By , November 11, 2013 5:18 pm

Between the low voter turnout and the small number of ballot items — three ballot questions and four Board of Education spots to fill — one would expect that Hartford’s results would have been among the first returned to the Connecticut Secretary of the State.

Hartford 2013 Election Results (Official)


Following the election, the voting process in Hartford has received sharp criticism from the Courant on more than one occasion. Last week we reported how one resident needed to make multiple stops in different parts of town in order to vote. We continue to hear more from voters who had less than ideal experiences on Election Day.

Voters had reported that the several pages of text required to understand the ballot questions had been missing on Tuesday morning. Some places received these documents hours after the polls had been open. One resident who knew of this issue did not get to vote until early evening, around 5pm. Frank Gordón-Quiroga, whose polling place is at the Hartford Public Library, said the explanatory materials were present, but on the corner of a table. Continue reading 'Snarled Process Offers Results Days Later'»

How Many Trips Does It Take to Vote in Hartford?

By , November 5, 2013 4:48 pm

Would we even recognize Election Day in Hartford if it weren’t for the near-ritual of shenanigans?

As of mid-afternoon, CT News Junkie reported a low, even by our standards, voter turnout of 2.2% in the city. This number may deceive one into believing that each voter’s experience would be positive, as there’d be no rushing folks away from the voting tables and out the door. Continue reading 'How Many Trips Does It Take to Vote in Hartford?'»

Changing Standards, Assessments in Public Schools

By , August 12, 2013 10:22 am

Weeks before school resumes, nobody seems to know what assessment will be used in the upcoming year –the CMT/CAPT or new Smarter Balanced. Continue reading 'Changing Standards, Assessments in Public Schools'»

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