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Thursday, March 3, 2011


Apparently Hartford's Legislative delegation is finally showing some unity for an important cause. 5th District Representative Marie Kirkley-Bey has scheduled a meeting for today at the Legislative Office Building to find out more regarding the selection process for the new Superintendent as well as justification for over $2.7 million in bonuese handed out by Adamowski.

Here is the text of the e-mail sent out by Kirkley-Bey's Office today:

There will be a Hartford Delegation meeting held this Thursday, March 3rd, at 4pm in Hearing Room 1A. This meeting will be with the Hartford City Council, the Hartford Board of Education and Mayor Segerra to discuss the BOE Superintendent Search and the raises given recently by the BOE to administrators and staff.

Someone might advise the Hartford City Council that they have the same authority to conduct hearings and shed some light on the situation also.

It will be interesting to see if Representative Roldan and Senator Fonfara attend the meeting since they didn't sign the delegations letter to the Board members. Roldan is also an employee of the Board of Education and served on the selection committee for Adamowski's appointment.

And can anyone spell the Mayor's name correctly? It is S-E-G-A-R-R-A.


The following text was posted this morning in the comment section of another posting by Councilman Deutsch:

Below is a letter written shortly before Board meeting, distributed to press and handed to entering Board members; apparently too little and too late, after hoping many others in and outside City government would further intervene and change some Board minds:

Open letter to the Board of Education and its designated Selection Committee:

Many in Hartford are well aware by now of widespread doubts about the fairness and process in the choices made for the Selection Committee for Superintendent.
Doubts go back to October when a “Succession Policy” was launched.
Later, concerns were raised when the actual Selection Committee was formed, leaving out many representative voices. Later, there was recognition of this fact by the Board, with an poor and token attempt to add new members.
Most recently, openly as well as behind the scene, there were active, highly inappropriate, and unethical attempts by a Board official to influence the ultimate choice.

Many in the City are appalled at the slanting and bias of this process, and agree that the outcome is unacceptable. The Mayor is influential over appointments and decisions of the Board, and the City Council is responsible for accepting the Superintendent choice and the final School System budget. The Mayor rightly voiced concerns about the process as “flawed,” correctly saw the “perception in the city that the committee’s pick was ‘predetermined’, and rightly called for reconsideration -- especially after active biased lobbying by Mr. David Medina, presumably with Superintendent Adamowski’s approval.

Thereforeit is our obligation to presented this Open Letter to the Board, since it may be that the Chair will not permit the public - to whom the City Council is responsible - to express these directly:

1. The choice announced by the Board and its Chairman follows an invalid and biased process and is rejected by many citizens and several City Council members.
2. Revocation of recent bonuses for Mr. D. Medina and Dr. S. Adamowski, unless fully justified in writing for public examination, is necessary.
3. The immediate resignation of Mr. D. Medina and of Dr. S. Adamowski is demanded.

The Board and its Chairman are advised that many in the City will pursue appeals to legal and ethical authorities, and consider these items during upcoming Council budget decisions, regarding flaws and interference in what should have been a fair and transparent process in choosing for ALL the Hartford’s children the future course of the public education system in our City.

Representing views of many City residents and fellow Council members --

L. Deutsch, Hartford City Council March 3, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Apparently the Hartford legislative delegation has weighed in with their displeasure on the sham selection process and their thoughts on the inappropriate bonuses given by Hartford School's Superintendent Adamowski.

The issue of the bonuses was first reported here and WNPR's Jeff Cohen first reported on the improper lobbying efforts by Board of Education spokesperson David Medina. Hartford's legislative delegation sent a strongly worded letter to members of the Board of Education voicing their displeasure. Cohen posted the letter on his blog today, follow the link to the right to get to Jeff's blog.

Two names though were notably missing from the letter that listed all of Hartford's legislators with the exception of Senator John Fonfara and State Representative Kelvin Roldan. Their absence shouldn't be surprising though since Roldan actually received one of the bonuses that the rest of the delegation seemed to take exception with.

The letter can be read below:


Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I had told myself I wasn't going to write about this, but I don't think there is a better example of what is wrong with Hartford's schools.

Last night I received a call from a 15 year old girl who is a student at Weaver High School, and I want to apologize to her upfront for writing about this, but even though I know her name, I won't post it out of respect for our conversation.

When she called she asked if she could talk to me about my blog. The caller was very well spoken and she told me that she was a student at Weaver and both herself and many or her friends read the blog and she wanted to talk about some of the things I posted.

The conversation went well for a while and she said that I was right about the conditions at Weaver. She told me how she had at times thrown her lunch out because she would lose her appetite watching bugs and roaches running on the walls. She told me about days when it seemed like it was warmer outside than it was in the school because of the lack of heat.

She told me about the lack of equipment and teaching materials. She even told me about the principal that would come into the classroom and scream at other students.

Suddenly, she began crying and told me she was going to drop out of school because she couldn't deal with it anymore. She said most of the kids realized that many of the so called "leaders" were all about the money and not at all about the kids.

How do you respond to that? How do you try to convince her that she is exactly right, many of the adults are about the money, but hang in there anyways since it is definitely better than dropping out and ending up on the streets?

It just doesn't make any sense and it seems difficult to try to make sense out of it to someone living it. As much as many try to blame the problems on children and parents who don't want to learn, I think it is so much more about a system that is so broke and doesn't want to change.

How fast do you think the conditions at Weaver High School would change if suddenly Superintendent Adamowski was told to pack up the 960 Main Street "Taj Mahal" because their offices were being moved to Weaver.
Adamoski's gold lettered signs and mahogany desks and woodwork would be replaced. Replaced with spray painted stencils on cinder block walls used as signs to direct you around a building eerily similar to a prison.

Imagine Adamowski and Kelvin Roldan eating their catered Max Bibo lunches on desks and tables with roaches scattering about. Imagine Dr. Kishimoto using a rest room with mold and filth and no toilet paper or handsoap.

Maybe then the conditions might actually become about the kids, and a fifteen year old who really wants to succeed wouldn't be crying about the thought of dropping out. Maybe then our schools would be about educating children rather than about making adults rich.

The phone call from a 15 year old seemed to bring it much more into perspective but it also makes you wonder what it will take to change things. Hopefully my fifteen year old caller will finish her education and consider going into education herself, with a commitment not to repeat the mistakes she has had forced upon her by the adults currently doing it for the money.

I guess we can hope.


It seems like all we keep hearing how wonderful our "strong Mayor" form of government is.

Well today the Hartford Board of Education seems to be sending a message loud and clear. The strong Mayor, Pedro Segarra, has been reduced to a weak and ineffective leader if he accepts the Board's message to him.

The Board has decided not to accept Segarra's request to begin over and conduct a legitimate search for a new Superintendent. Board President David McDonald, also not one to be known for his strong stances on anything, issued the following statement today:

Statement of the Hartford Board of Education
March 1, 2011
Last week, the Board cancelled its scheduled Special Meeting to consider the Search Committee’s recommendation to appoint Dr. Christina Kishimoto as the next superintendent of Hartford Public Schools. The decision was made, on February 22, 2011, to consider Mayor Pedro Segarra’s request to conduct a national search for our next Superintendent of Schools.As Chairperson of the Board of Education, I have reached out to and met with Mayor Segarra
to acknowledge and address his concerns. I want to thank the Mayor for meeting with me on two occasions on this critical matter and for also meeting with our parent constituency to discuss their concerns. I am pleased to hear about his continued commitment to our reform
work. We will mutually bring unity back to our city around Hartford’s education reform, and have agreed to work collaboratively with the new Superintendent, the Board of Education and all stakeholders.Additionally, the HBOE Superintendent Search Committee met last Saturday, February 26th, todiscuss the request made by Mayor Segarra. The committee deliberated for approximately two hours on his request and examined the strengths and challenges of different options. The Committee firmly stands behind the integrity of the search process and confirmed their recommendation for the Board to follow their policy, as written, by appointing Dr. Kishimoto
based on her qualifications, track record and interviews. It was also indicated by the Committee that the Board should continue discussions with the Mayor to work towards unity around building coalitions for the benefit of our children and families. In discussions with the Mayor, additional details about the Superintendent Search process wereshared in order to allay his concerns as follows: The process began with the development of a comprehensive Board Policy (Leadership Succession) in April 2010. The work on this policy spanned from April to October, 2010,at which time the Board adopted the Policy on October 19, 2010. In late December 2010, the Search Committee engaged the services of CABE (Connecticut Association of Boards of Education) Search Services to strengthen the objectivity and
transparency of the process. CABE’s consultant facilitated the process, provided training to the Search Committee, assisted in the development of interview questions along with the input of the committee membership, and beginning January 4th, assumed the leadership role for the process. All applicant information was sent directly to the consultant at CABE.
 During the search process, the Board engaged the community on many occasions and at several junctures in order to incorporate the wide and varied perspectives of our community at large. Community Forums were conducted by Achieve Hartford!, and a Board led focus group with key stakeholders was held, including Council members and representatives from the business sector in addition to the leadership of the Administrators union.
o A survey, seeking community input was available online in both English and
Spanish for nearly a month. Feedback was received from more than 700 students,parents, staff and community members. The feedback was used in the developmentof interview questions for the Search process.
o The Board also heard the concerns of our community and agreed to add a 13th member to the Search Committee and did so by seeking nominations from key active community leaders to ensure additional involvement. Those nominations were reviewed and the 13th member, an additional Hartford parent, was ultimately selected.
o Our CABE consultant met with the Hartford Federation of Teachers on our behalf,to seek its feedback and spoke with Connecticut superintendents and key professionals to gather feedback about desirable qualifications for urban leaders.Each of the steps and actions of the search process were routinely and repeatedly shared publicly at Board meetings. At critical stages during the search process, the Search Committee Chairperson and the consultant contacted key community stakeholders to keep them apprised
of the status of the search. Attention to detail and due diligence was the hallmark of the search process. The Superintendent Search Committee was shielded from all rumors and allegations swirling in the community about the candidates during the process and there was no undue influence on the process. We will continue to have discussions with Mayor Segarra in the coming days in an effort to move forward in unity to further benefit our children and families and the great city of Hartford. The Board of Education fully expects the new Superintendent to work collaboratively with the Mayor and all key constituents. The Board is also firmly committed to
following its Leadership Succession Policy, and as Chairperson of the Board of Education I am sworn to uphold all of our policies. In closing, the Board of Education will schedule a special meeting for Wednesday, March 2nd,
2011 to act upon the Search Committee's recommendation. We appreciate the Mayor’s stated commitment to collaborate with the new Superintendent and the Board. We look forward to beginning our transition in welcoming our new Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools.

If Segarra is going to reclaim any authority and look like a leader, he once again needs to shut this process down and start fresh. If it is not already being done, the Corporation Counsel should be drafting paperwork to take before a Superior Court Judge first thing tomorrow morning. The process was clearly inappropriate and enough information is available about unfair influence being used to select Kishimoto over Timothy Sullivan.

It shouldn't be too hard to convince a Judge that David Medina's actions were inappropriate or Precious Ross-Ellis or Millie Arciniegas. It would even be interesting to see David McDonald and others answering questions about the process under oath, before a Judge.

Like I said a few weeks ago, anyone that thinks Eddie Perez and his people aren't still running things behind the scenes, think again.

Only time will tell if Pedro Segarra has leadership qualities or is he easily squashed and silenced.


According to Jeff Cohen at WNPR, Mayor Segarra made the following comment:

“As a community member, educator and Mayor, I stood up and voiced my concerns and I will continue to do so in the future.

I will proactively work with the Board of Education for the good of all of Hartford’s families and children.”

Mayor, it doesn't matter that you "stood up". You need to stand up, continue to stand up and fight for what you believe in. We don't need a wishy-washy Mayor looking for headlines. We need a Mayor that is willing to take a stand and stick to it until all corrective actions are exhausted, That is what they call integrity.

If you can't or are unwilling to do it, we have other choices that we hope will in November.


Hector Robles, pictured above on left

As predicted, former Hartford Police Officer and current State Representative Hector Robles (D) Hartford, was arrested earlier today on two counts of First degree Felony Larceny.

The charges resulted from an Internal Affairs Division Investigation conducted initially by the Hartford Police Department followed up by arrest warrant applications by Inspectors from the Chief State's Attorneys Office.

Robles will be arraigned on March 8, 2011.

More to follow on this.

To read about the initial investigation, click here

The Press Release from the State's Attorney's Office is below:

Date: March 1, 2011 1:50:11 PM EST
To: Undisclosed recipients:;
Subject: Former Hartford Police Officer Charged with Larceny

Media Contact:

Mark A. Dupuis
Communications Officer
State of Connecticut
Division of Criminal Justice
300 Corporate Place
Rocky Hill, CT 06067

Former Hartford Police Officer Charged with Larceny

A former Hartford police officer who also serves as a State Representative was arrested today and charged with collecting on-duty pay from the city while working private duty jobs for which he was also paid.

HECTOR ROBLES, age 39, of Hartford was arrested by Inspectors from the Financial Crimes Bureau in the Office of the Chief State's Attorney on a warrant charging him with two counts of Larceny in the First Degree.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Mr. Robles falsified his timesheets with the Hartford Police Department by claiming he was on duty when he was actually working private duty jobs.

Investigators determined that between September 2008 and September 2009 Mr. Robles defrauded the police department out of $10,651.81, the warrant states.

Mr. Robles, who is State Representative for the 6th Assembly District, was previously dismissed from the police department.

Larceny in the First Degree is a felony punishable by a maximum prison term of 20 years on each count. The charges are merely accusations and Mr. Robles is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Mr. Robles was released on a written promise to appear and will be arraigned in Hartford Superior Court, G.A. No. 14, on March 8, 2011. The case is being prosecuted by the Financial Crimes Bureau in the Office of the Chief State's Attorney.

Monday, February 28, 2011


As more layers of the "onion" known as the Hartford Schools system get peeled back, the picture seems to becoming clearer and clearer.

Hartford Board of Education member Robert Cotto (WFP) wrote the following piece which will appear in tomorrow's Courant

Hartford's Claim Of School Success Flawed

Over the past three years, Hartford public school officials claimed that offering more school choices for parents and students, while holding educators accountable for results, improved standardized test scores. That story is incomplete. The next superintendent must account for this tall tale of school reform and separate fact from fiction.

Fortunately, the next superintendent can end the policy of using standardized test scores as a single measurement for evaluating schools. Along with the school board, the superintendent can transform our district into one that is more inclusive of parents' and educators' opinions.

Test score improvements are not what they seem. In 2009, Connecticut created an alternative test for students with special needs, the Modified Assessment System, called the MAS. For eligible students with an Individualized Education Plan, the state offered the MAS in reading and mathematics in place of the Connecticut Mastery and Connecticut Academic Performance tests. The creation of a modified assessment recognizes that students with special needs learn in different ways.

Districts had to show that such students were receiving modified instruction and — most important — that they would not achieve satisfactory proficiency on the regular tests in math, reading or both because of their special needs. When the state reported test scores, it separated the scores of students taking the MAS from those taking standard tests.

The problem lies in comparing test score growth in 2009 and 2010 with scores in years before the MAS was approved.

The MAS is a legal way to remove low-scoring, special needs students from high-stakes testing. Hartford has a high percentage of special needs students, 12 percent of all students. A large number took modified MAS tests — 815 in math and 880 in reading. So, about one in 12 tested students did not count in the calculation of CMT and CAPT success rates.

Hartford did not exclude a random 8 percent of its test takers, it excluded students who it predicted would fail the regular tests. In some schools, at some grade levels, proficiency rates on the standardized tests would have declined in math, reading or both had these students been included.

To be sure, teachers', parents' and students' hard work resulted in modest gains. But the largest factor in test score increases over the past two years was excluding special needs students from the regular tests.

Hartford's school leaders offered the improved test scores as validation of their reforms. Also, the state Department of Education acknowledged that students who took the MAS did not count in its calculations for proficiency rates. The apparently increased rates became a green light to continue flawed policies — teachers, students and parents were punished or rewarded based on test scores.

If scores lagged, schools were closed, students were dispersed, parents were ignored and educators were fired. If test scores improved, the schools remained open. School and central office employees earned bonuses if test scores increased. In 2010, this "merit" pay amounted to $2.77 million dollars.

Most disturbingly, the test score inflation led the public to believe that the current reforms improved the quality of education. Proponents of school choice, charter schools and test-based accountability schemes point to Hartford as a national model for change. On the contrary, Hartford's model, based on the single-measure of student test scores, is an example of a poor reform policy. It is a model pioneered in the 1990s in Houston and now widely recognized as a fraud — what Walter Haney, a researcher of evaluation systems, called an "illusion arising from exclusion."

The next superintendent must include teachers and parents in determining how our public schools will account for student growth using multiple measures. The policy should be to treat schools and students in different ways; one size shouldn't fit all. Our policy should reflect the value we place on student diversity and democratic practice. Schools should not close based solely on test scores.

Robert Cotto Jr. is an elected (Working Families Party) member of Hartford's board of education. He teaches at the Metropolitan Learning Center. His views are his own.

To read the Courant's on line article, click here


There seems to be plenty of reasons why the whole selection process should be started fresh. It seems that the Mayor may have been the only one in Hartford who hadn't heard the grumblings that the process to select the new Superintendent of Schools was stacked in favor of one candidate from the start.

When WNPR's Jeff Cohen reported about the Hartford Schools Director of External Communications David Medina's behind the scenes phone calls and lobbying efforts for one candidate, Christine Kishimoto, it seemed to ignite a spark in Mayor Segarra to call the process off. I'm not sure it is within his power to do that, but the end result is he did something that needed to be done to restore legitimacy to the process.

Almost immediately after the press conference held by Segarra, I started getting phone calls and e-mails and text messages giving more details about how flawed the process was. The accusations included one member of the selection committee was being "paid off" with what was called "seed money" and the promise of an Executive Director position for a new non-profit being funded by the Hartford Schools.

I found that charge would be a little too obvious for someone to even try, especially after we just came through the Perez years, a Grand Jury investigation and Perez being convicted and sentenced to prison. It did seem somewhat odd to me that the person that the accusation had been made against, Lillian "Millie" Arciniegas, up until a year or so ago had been one of the most outspoken parents against the Adamowski Administration. Now Millie sings the praises of Adamowski to anyone who will listen.

Maybe there was something to the allegations. Well, there was and the Hartford Courant, as well as others, confirmed it. Here is a link to the Courant story

Then there was the accusation regarding the replacement of the Chairperson of the Board of Education and promises made to a member of the Board that if he supported Kishimoto, he would be named Chairperson.

And finally there was the accusation in an e-mail that another parent on the selection committee, who had been picked by Arciniegas apparently, had some ethical conflicts of her own. The word was that Precious Ross-Ellis owned a uniform company that supplied uniforms to the Hartford Schools. I was given the name of the business as Uniforms and Stuff at 541 Albany Avenue.

I took a shot and called the business. A woman answered and I asked her if the business sold Hartford School uniforms and she answered yes. I then asked her if I could speak to Precious and she replied that I was speaking to her. I asked if she was the owner and she replied yes, her and her sister Hortense owned the business. After a few more questions she then asked who I was and I told her and I told her why I was calling. Suddenly the story changed, she didn't own the business , she just worked there.

I fully expected to hear a click as she hung up the phone, but that didn't happen. We had a conversation about conflict of interest and her business having a relationship with the Hartford Schools. She tried to convince me that no business relationship affected or influenced her vote. That may be true, but even if there is a perceived influence, it affects the integrity of the entire process, the same as Arciniegas and the seed money.

What surprised me the most though was the ensuing conversation that probably lasted for at least twenty minutes. Putting my thoughts of the conflict of interest aside, I felt as though I was talking to someone who really did care about Hartford's children and was willing to fight for better schools.

She started to describe her involvement as a parent and I was frantically taking notes because I wanted to make sure I got all this correct. Precious said "five years ago they came into our district, tore our schools apart and disrespected us" she went on " they told us they needed 10 years, they came to Weaver and promised us a new school, they need to deliver what they promised us".

I asked her if she felt Adamowski had delivered on his promises, and she said no. She said she had to have Adamowski walk through Weaver, accompanied by the media, to get his attention to the deplorable conditions in the school, rats...roaches...trash and all. She said after the walk through Adamowski claimed he was "appalled" by the conditions. Not much has changed though and she said that everytime she questions the progress she says that "red-tape" is slowing the process down.

I would think that if the Superintendent was truly "appalled" by the conditions, the red tape would be dealt with quickly.

As we talked more, I was more confused than ever why Precious would support an Adamowski clone if she felt so disrespected by Adamowski. She detailed how she went to every Board of Education meeting and everything was a fight to get anything done for the kids. She detailed how Adamowski had pushed parents out of the decision making process and continually disrespects the parents. She said that typically when the Weaver PTO meets, maybe four parents show up.

Everything Precious spoke about sounded like a concerned parent that would welcome a change in direction for parents that feel disenfranchised when it comes to their children's schools. Then came the part that still has my head spinning.

Apparently, Precious said "I would have gone to Tim" referring to the other considered candidate Timothy Sullivan. She said that she was convinced by other members of the selection committee, who she wouldn't name, that the only way to hold Adamowski accountable for the schools was to give Kishimoto the next five years to complete what Adamowski had claimed would take ten years to complete.

She definitely wasn't happy about the progress of the first five years and I asked her what she thought would change in the next five years under Kishimoto. Maybe nothing, but at least they could then hold Adamowski accountable. More head spinning for me.

I asked if she realized that Adamowski would be long gone and the last thing he would care about was any accountability for Hartford and if Kishimoto made it through a five year contract, I would be greatly surprised. She said she understood all that, but she claims she told Kishimoto that if the job wasn't finished she would follow Kishimoto and make sure the people wherever she went would know what she was like.

Somehow, I don't think that matters to some of these people. In the meantime we need to offer some courses on ethical challenges and conflicts of interest, real or perceived. We need to do better if we are ever going to be taken seriously