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Gateses Give Hartford School Efforts A $5 Million Boost

Smart investment in a city that understands school reform

Hartford Courant Editorial

December 05, 2012

Thank you, Bill Gates.

The billionaire who dropped out of college to start Microsoft is generously helping Hartford kids get college-ready. His foundation's $5 million grant to Hartford is the largest of the seven going to cities that include Boston, New York and Philadelphia.

That's a tribute to the reform work that Hartford public schools are doing.

The gift from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is going toward city schools' partnership with Achievement First and Jumoke Academy charter schools so they can share resources and best practices, develop school leaders and better coach teachers, among other things. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving will serve as the fiscal agent to manage the grant. The goal is preparing kids for college and career success.

The grant is particularly gratifying because the state failed three times to get federal Race to the Top school-reform money. That may change now that cities instead of states are going after Race to the Top grants. Hartford and Bridgeport are finalists in the latest round. Hartford has asked for $30 million over four years that would, among other things, give every high school student and teacher a tablet computer and closely track each child's progress.

It's right to put reform money directly into the hands of the school districts that are pioneering change instead of giving it to often lumbering state bureaucracies that require hard-to-win buy-in.

Hartford understands school reform. It's doing remarkable work despite occasional hiccups, such as the school board's recent lukewarm evaluation of Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. Whatever her shortcomings, her office sure knows how to write a grant application.

So congratulations, Hartford, and great work.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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