Hartford Public Schools Make Progress, but Have Way to Go

Another decade to close achievement gap

The Hartford Public Schools project in re-inventing the city's public education system has made impressive gains since its inception, but Superintendant Steven Adamowski tempered enthusiasm in his state of the schools address Thursday with caution that there was a long way to go in improving Hartford's schools in relation to the rest of the state.

"We tend to romanticize the students in Hartford who beat the odds. We need to have schools where students no longer beat the odds; they are the odds because they went to good schools," Adamowski is quoted saying in The Hartford Courant.

According to state standardized test scores, Hartford Public Schools improved students' scores more than any other district in Connecticut. Students in the economically disadvantaged area, however, still perform well below state averages. According to the Courant, reading proficiency among third graders in Hartford is less than half of the statewide average, at 33.5%.

Adamowski is proud of the achievement that the district has made, but warns that the transformation Hartford Public Schools is trying to effect could take another decade. The experiement in school choice involves allowing parents to choose schools in area neighborhoods and allowing individual schools that display improvement to operate with more autonomy.

Separately, outgoing Superintendent Marion Martinez in the East Hartford school district projected necessary sharp budget increases just to meet contractual obligations and without new educational initiatives. Mayor Currey doubted that Martinez's numbers could possibly be met and said school officials were going to have to engage in some creative thinking to make ends meet.

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