Gates Foundation and carrion fly into Hartford as part of public education privatization effort

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:

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.

  • Resident

    Jonathan, why are you so concerned about the money flowing into the (already overly bloated) Hartford Public Schools system? If it’s flowing into Hartford, and going toward educating kids, without causing a tax increase, isn’t that a good thing?

    Frankly, the obsession with pumping more and more money into failing enterprises is stunning to me. If “privatizing” public education is more effective, or at least as effective but at a lower cost, than our current system, we need to do it now. The taxpayers of Connecticut have shoveled too much money into Hartford and not gotten their money’s worth, at the kids’ expense. It’s time for a change.

    • jonpelto

      Fair question – I’ll answer in more detail when I can – but the make the chane in the public setting. When you account for the fact charters are skimming the best students their system doesn’t produce better results.
      Mayor controls the board – make the changes. Why remove transparency and accountability – the problem is poverty, language barriers, special ed sercies and lack of funding.
      Why isn’t there a bilingual instructional aid in every classroom? Why isn’t the a coordinated homework help program, why is the money being put into more standardized testing.

      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

    • Linda174

      The money will go towards test prep, testing, common corpse educrap, etc…and you believe giving money to a different entity will be considered “change”? Will students have smaller class sizes, a broad curricum with the arts, wrap around services, direct specialized services for the needy? That’s where the money should go…watch the number of consultants and eduexperts increase. We are top heavy, bottom weary and test crazed.

    • msavage

      Resident, please read some of the previous posts here if you’re genuinely interested in learning why this is not really a good thing. You can also learn a lot about what is going on at If this were truly about the money “going toward educating kids without causing a tax increase” it’d be a no-brainer, wouldn’t it? But likely very little of this money will actually ever reach the classroom. It’ll go toward high-paid administrators. It’ll go toward test-company gurus. Please, please, do some reading. And after you’ve learned more about what is truly going on here, please tell your friends and neighbors to do some reading as well.

  • Kerri

    Resident, the problem is that privatized education is NOT more effective. In a few categories, charter schools have had more success than public schools, but in others, they are the same or worse. Do your research.

  • Resident

    All great questions (in your last post), Jonathan,and thanks for responding. I don’t know why. I do know that we are under an obligation to provide an opportunity for an education to each and every student who wants one. We are not, however, obligated to maintain any *public* school system, particularly a behemoth that is far more expensive than it should be (like Hartford’s) or that is not producing results that children deserve (like Hartford’s). More money is not the answer; if it were, every kid would graduate from Hartford Public Schools and head straight to NASA — Hartford’s schools are as expensive as Greenwich’s.

    Kerri, ignoring the smugness of your last post, it’s just not correct as a rule. Most are better, some are worse, but in general, if we could farm out the operation of all of the public schools in Hartford to the people who run Kingswood-Oxford or Loomis Chafee, we would see better results. Period. There’s no way anyone could argue to the contrary.

    • JMC

      R, success in school is very much subject to things largely beyond the school’s or teacher’s control, e.g. to demographic indicators like poverty, number of parents in the home, language spoken, attitude and education level of parent(s), and number of student’s absences from school.

      Schools that are the most “successful” generally (not always, of course) have students with demographic profiles that are positive.

      If just sending students to the “best schools” were the panacea, then we should be able to send average college students to MIT and expect them to be turned into brilliant scientists.

      • Resident

        Of course, but at what point do you declare the Hartford Public School to be an unmitigated disaster at its primary, declared function? I think the answer is about 20 years ago and the numbers bear that out. Would you rather that we keep paying more and more and more and more money? Unemployment is 9.0+%, we have nationally astronomical debt and an oppressive tax structure, and jobs aren’t coming here, in case you hadn’t noticed.

        By limiting Hartford kids to the Hartford Public Schools system, we are insisting that they remain statistically doomed just because their parents chose to live here. That’s wrong. By pouring money down the drain by the bucketload, we’re hurting the State’s economy and not helping kids. That’s also wrong.

        • JMC

          R – I share your concern, and I happen to be a conservative politically. I don’t want to see my money, or anybody’s money, wasted. I was a public school teacher for 25 years. The problem with public schools – and what I say will make me a pariah – is that they are attended by the public. The public has become dysfunctional, and so has its children. The greater the dysfunction, the less effective the schools. For many of these kids, the “disastrous” schools they attend are the only thing in their lives that function in a near-normal way. I am not an optimist about the prospects for these troubled schools. Their problems may in fact be insurmountable. But I am very much a supporter of the heroic and dedicated adults working in these schools, who too often have to suffer the ridicule and contempt of the very people they are trying to help. We don’t blame the American soldiers who were defeated on Corregidor in early WWII for their loss, and we must not blame school or teachers for their “failures” now. Of course Pryor, Malloy, and the privatizers do. And Jonathan Pelto has shown us very well why – money.

        • msavage

          “The public has become dysfunctional, and so has its children. The greater the dysfunction, the less effective the schools.”

          I actually agree with you, to a certain extent, re this issue. And this statement–“I am not an optimist about the prospect for these troubled schools.” I’d imagine that many of the “leaders” in the “ed reform” movement, including Bill Gates, have come to the same conclusion. My opinion–they feel these schools are actually a lost cause. And, because they are sociopaths, they figure they might as well profit from the situation. Cream off the “salvageable” children and the rest are considered expendable and fair game for use as pawns in their capitalist ventures.

        • JMC

          And I agree with you here, M!

    • Suesylvester

      A custodian had quite a little operation at KO and LC….these schools are not as “great” as you think….but with the right name on your resume you can go anywhere. .

    • Linda174

      Yeah because they are experts at dealing with: autism, emotional disturbances, oppositional defiance disorders, junvenile delinquents, severe dyslexia, child abuse, poverty, neglect, tardiness, abscences, hunger, attachment disorders, multiple handicaps, physical deformities, drug and alcohol abuse, gang activity, sexual abuse and the resulting trauma. Please Kingswood Oxford and Loomis Chafee take all these students. Oh dear resident says you have the miracle cure for childhood trauma.

  • Gates is also taking another back door into the state…

    Familiar with the announcement about how some CT schools will be extending their school day? The group that heavily lobbied for it has a great sponsor…the Gates Foundation.

    It’s kind of like when Nestle bought up Poland Spring and then had other companies in the control buy up more land to control the springs. Happened a little bit at a time, but before residents up north knew, Nestle was controlling their water supply.

    Soon CT residents will wake up and realize that Gates (and Pearson) is controlling the flow of information into their kids’ brains. Common Core Standards, certain charter schools, Malloys new ed re-form law…each is one step forward for the Gates/Pearson army

    • msavage

      Apparently Bill Gates feels that, since he has managed to amass a vast fortune, he is an expert in many fields–public health, genetically-modified crops, public education. The man is a menace and needs to be stopped.

    • sharewhut

      “Gates is also taking another back door into the state…”

      No, Gates is utilizing a rear entry to the state, left unlocked by Malloy and the deformers.
      Taxpayers and the kids (sorry for the potentially disturbing reference….then again given ‘Mr. Rhee’s’ apparent tastes…) are the ones ‘taking’ his back door entry…

  • Apartheid First

    I am hoping that Bill and Melinda Gates will send some money to my charter school chain, Apartheid First. We take only the students most likely to fill in bubble sheets; whose parents don’t care what disciplinary techniques we use (please sign this waiver, um, I mean “charter”); who are all “racially and economically” isolated already, so the fact that we exacerbate these problems bothers nobody, especially the masters, chiefs, overseers, and Commissioner of Charter Schools, Stefan Pryor; oh, and English Only, please!

    • sharewhut

      “most likely to fill in bubble sheets” should read “most likely to darken the subtly shaded bubbles on the answer sheets provided.” Not that it really matters, shading is just dark enough to be read by the scanners, and should they mark a wrong answer it will kick out the sheet for having duplicate answers which upon human review will be judged in favor of the correct answer that was obviously the intent oof the student”.

  • Linda174

    Sorry to hijack this post.. From

    The synergy between StudentsFirst and News Corp’s education privatization
    Joel Klein is a busy guy. When he isn’t putting the ole rubber stamp on documents at StudentsFirst board meetings, or advising Rupert Murdoch on how to handle the investigation into phone hacking at News Corp., Joel Klein is running Rupert Murdoch’s education privatization arm.

    A recent presentation by Klein shows how seamlessly you can go from StudentsFirst talking points (pages 7 through 9) to explaining how much of the $673 billion dollar education “market” you plan on siphoning off (page 57).

  • Guest

    The Rheejects are beginning their phone poling again. Got a call from Western Mountain Research asking for me to take an opinion pole regarding education in Connecticut. I asked the young pollster who had hired his company. He said I don’t know. I said, I can’t help you if you can’t tell me. I asked if Children First or Achievement First or Conncann, CEA, or NEA had hired his firm. He told me he didn’t know. I told him I couldn’t help. Beware of these Rheejects. They’re up to something!!!

    • Linda174

      They are not trying to gather opinions…the questions, if they are asked, are designed to create fear, uncertainty and doubt and then you start to wonder about your children’s teacher and school. Maybe it isn’t so good? The eduvultures appear in many forms slithering all around us.

  • sharewhut

    Nit Pickin’ here Jon, but wouldn’t Gates et al be the scavengers flying in to pick over the dead, putrefying carrion that the CT taxpayers and education have become? Roadkill under the wheels and in the grills of the speeding Benzes of the deform community?

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