'Incredibly Competitive' Bravo for getting pot of gold to keep kids in the classroom
October 11, 2010
Hartford's public school system deserves enthusiastic congratulations for receiving what U.S. Rep. John B. Larson called "an incredibly competitive" federal anti-dropout grant of $13.3 million.
Connecticut failed to get any of the $4.3 billion federal Race to the Top funding, but Hartford scored big time on this Department of Education pot of gold.
It's Hartford's biggest competitive grant ever. It rewards the progress that city schools have made in keeping high school-age kids in the classroom instead of dropping out.
The grant, to be parceled out over five years, will be used to create "Student Success Centers" at Hartford Public, Bulkeley and Weaver high schools. The centers will monitor students and help prevent them from falling behind.
In 2007, the city's high school graduation classes included just 29 percent of the ninth-graders who had started four years earlier. Hartford's graduation rate improved to 47 percent this year, and the goal is to raise it to the statewide average of 79 percent within five years. The federal grant should help.
Curtailing dropouts is one of several reforms put in place by Hartford Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski, who may prove to be former Mayor Eddie Perez's best appointment.
Mr. Adamowski is retiring in July. The federal grant is more proof that he has been on the right track in trying to improve city schools and that he must be replaced by a likeminded reformer.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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