One of the biggest cheerleaders for “education reform” in Hartford is a group called Achieve Hartford. Lately, they’ve been spending time backing the effort by the Malloy Administration and the Superintendent of the City of Hartford to give the Milner School over to Jumoke Academy, a charter school in the city.
Achieve Hartford is made up of leaders from the MetroHartford Chamber of Commerce and some of Hartford’s biggest corporations. The organization claims that it was, “established to monitor, support and be a catalyst for education reform and community involvement in the Hartford Public School District.”
Monitoring and publishing information about how Hartford students do on the Connecticut Mastery Test is a core annual activity for this “education reform” group.
The have a whole section of their website devoted to “School Performance Data” in the City of Hartford.
I urge you to take a moment to read the information they present, not because of what they say, but because of what they DON’T SAY.
It is understood by everyone (or nearly everyone,) that poverty, language barriers and the percent of students who have disabilities that require special education services are the three biggest factors in determining overall standardized test scores.
Yet, this business organization fails to mention those factors, even once, when going over Hartford’s test scores.
Achieve Hartford compares the city’s test scores with those of the state and compares each Hartford school’s test scores against each other, but fails completely to identify the number of children living in poverty in each school, the number who are not fluent in English, the number who go home to households where English is not spoke or the number of students who need special educations services.
Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, this organization seeks to educate policymakers, parents and the general public about the challenges that face Hartford’s schools and yet fails to acknowledge that most important factors impacting test scores
While it profiles a few schools, where it includes demographic data, none of that information is included in the broader assessments that it makes.
Read what Achievement Hartford does say;
“Effective measurement is critical to understanding how Hartford’s students are performing and the District is progressing on its improvement plans. Achieve Hartford! provides perspective on student achievement data and school performance information in an effort to increase transparency as well as provide all community stakeholders with up to date academic information on the Hartford Public Schools. Through effective use of data and analysis, we work to hold the District – and the community – accountable for the ongoing improvement in Hartford’s schools.
In 2010, the school District has produced another year of solid gains. A third straight year of gains confirms the positive trend of improvement we have seen from Hartford’s schools since the 2007 school year. The results are a clear indication that reform strategies implemented are making a real difference, and protecting the momentum of the reform must remain a priority.
Imagine claiming that, “Through effective use of data and analysis, we work to hold the District – and the community – accountable for the ongoing improvement in Hartford’s schools,” but failing to mention, let alone utilize, the factors that influence test scores the most.
This year, Achieve Hartford published a report called What Do the Results Tell Us? Fourteen pages in length it compares Hartford’s school in a variety of different ways.
- Number of times it identifies the percent of poor students in a school? 0 times
- Number of times it identifies the percent non-English speaking students 0 times
- Number of times it identifies the percent of special education students 0 times
A document to help guide parents and policymakers and not once does it address the most important issues of all.