The Hartford Business Journal headline read, “$5M for Hartford schools,” while the Hartford Courant claimed, “Hartford Schools To Receive $5 Million From Gates Foundation.”
A reasonable person might actually think that Hartford’s schools were getting $5 million.
But actually, only about $1.5 million is going to the Hartford Public Schools System!
Most of the rest is going to the Jumoke Academy and Achievement First, Inc.
The purpose of the funds is to expand Jumoke and Achievement First and train Hartford’s administrators and teachers to follow the Jumoke and Achievement First models.
Yet Jumoke Academy, the charter school that recently took over Hartford’s Milner Elementary School, has never had a bi-lingual student attend their charter school.
While Jumoke Academy’s commitment to bi-lingual and special education students is non-existent, Achievement First – Hartford, the other major beneficiary of this $5 million, is nearly as bad.
Achievement First, Inc. is Connecticut’s largest charter school management company co-founded by Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor.
While one in five Hartford students qualify as England Language Learners, less than 5 percent of the students at Achievement First –Hartford face language barriers and the percent of special education students at Achievement First – Hartford is half of what the Hartford public schools have.
In a city in which over 40 percent of students go home to households that don’t speak English as their primary language and students come to school speaking 70 different languages, Achievement First reports that less than 5 percent of its students go home to non-English speaking households and students come from backgrounds speaking only 4 different languages.
Meanwhile, rather than have the funds flow through the Hartford Board of Education, where there would be greater transparency and an opportunity for greater parental input, the money is flowing through the Greater Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and that group is taking $150,000 off the top to cover some of their expenses.
Although Malloy, Pryor and Hartford’s Mayor were all at the announcement, not one spoke about the need for greater public input, the public’s right to more information or the dismal record Jumoke Academy and Achievement First, Inc. have when it comes to reaching English Language Learners and special education students.
There is so much to this story that the media didn’t cover.
For starters, take a look at the new post at the Real Hartford blog: http://www.realhartford.org/2012/12/05/the-5m-question/
And then check back here at Wait, What?
The bottom line is that in their ongoing commitment to privatize public education, Governor Malloy, Education Commission Pryor and Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra have all managed to sell out the people of Hartford and the taxpayers of Connecticut, yet again.