LOCAL ACCESS VIDEO: Community Forum interview with 4th Ward City Councilmen Tom Saadi and Peter Nero
Time: 1:55 PM
LOCAL ACCESS VIDEO: Bethel Today 09.27.11 broadcast
Time: 1:12 PM
ConnCAN drop-out rate analysis provides mixed news for schools in Greater Danbury
Time: 6:22 PM
Today, ConnCAN released a new issue brief, “Connecticut Graduation Rates.” Using data from the Class of 2008 (the most recent year for which numbers are available), the brief analyzes graduation rates by race and gender, in Connecticut and nationally. The brief also discusses the economic and social impact of not graduating from high school prepared for college and careers.
Key points include:
- The statewide graduation rate has not improved since 2003: every year, 9,000 Connecticut high schoolers do not graduate – nearly enough students to fill UConn’s Gampel Pavilion.
- The graduation rate gap between Hispanic and white (non-Hispanic) students is 31.8 points; the gap between African-American and white students is 22.5 points.
- Dropouts from the Class of 2008 will lose more than $2.5 billion in lifetime earnings because they lack a high school diploma.
- The State of Connecticut spends $84 million a year on college remediation in basic subjects because 65-72 percent of state college and university students enter college ill-prepared for the work.
As in previous years, this analysis also draws attention to the differences in graduation rates calculated by the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) and Education Week’s Diplomas Count report, which uses a much more accurate “cohort-based” methodology for calculating graduation rates. Last year, the State Department of Education announced that it will begin to use the same methodology to generate more accurate graduation rates beginning with data from the Class of 2009.
“This brief emphasizes yet again the need for fundamental change in Connecticut’s public education system,” said Alex Johnston, ConnCAN’s CEO. “We cannot afford to lose 9,000 students every year. We cannot continue to spend so much time and money in remediation classes for the students who enter college unprepared for post-secondary work. Only by pursuing structural reforms, including policies to guarantee all public school students fair funding for their education and a great teacher every year, will Connecticut be able to graduate all its students equipped for the challenges of college and careers.”
Using last year's drop-out analysis by ConnCAN that I posted on the site last June, here's a comparison of the rates from 2007 and 2008 using the numbers from SDE and the more accurate figures from Education Week’s Diplomas Count.
District Name: Danbury School District
2007 CT-SDE Graduation Rate: 92.4 percent
2007 Education Week Graduation Rate: 72.6 percent
Gap: 19.8 percent
2008 CT-SDE Graduation Rate: 89.0 percent
2008 Education Week Graduation Rate: 73.8 percent
Gap: 15.2 percent
District Name: Bethel School District
2007 CT-SDE Graduation Rate: 100 percent
2007 Education Week Graduation Rate: 84.1 percent
Gap: 15.9 percent
2008 CT-SDE Graduation Rate: 99.6 percent
2008 Education Week Graduation Rate: 86.1 percent
Gap: 13.5 percent
District Name: Ridgefield School District
2007 CT-SDE Graduation Rate: 98.8 percent
2007 Education Week Graduation Rate: 91.3 percent
Gap: 7.5 percent
2008 CT-SDE Graduation Rate: 99.1 percent
2008 Education Week Graduation Rate: 98.6 percent
Gap: 0.5 percent
District Name: Brookfield School District
2007 CT-SDE Graduation Rate: 99.1 percent
2007 Education Week Graduation Rate: 87.9 percent
Gap: 11.1 percent
2008 CT-SDE Graduation Rate: 99.2 percent
2008 Education Week Graduation Rate: 93.4 percent
Gap: 5.8 percent
District Name: Newtown School District
2007 CT-SDE Graduation Rate: 97.5 percent
2007 Education Week Graduation Rate: 95.5 percent
Gap: 2.0 percent
2008 CT-SDE Graduation Rate: 96.5 percent
2008 Education Week Graduation Rate: 96.4 percent
Gap: 0.1 percent
District Name: New Fairfield School District
2007 CT-SDE Graduation Rate: 97.4 percent
2007 Education Week Graduation Rate: 88.9 percent
Gap: 8.5 percent
2008 CT-SDE Graduation Rate: 99.1 percent
2008 Education Week Graduation Rate: 92.7 percent
Gap: 6.4 percent
In short, the analysis shows a marginal improvement for the Danbury school system for the time between 2007 and 2008 although there is still plenty of room for improvement. With Mark Boughton and the city council drastically decreasing the education budget from 2009 to present, it will be interesting to see the drop-out analysis for 09-11 when they become available.
Full analysis is below...
BREAKING NEWS: Racial violence at Danbury High School?!?
Time: 1:12 PM
UPDATE 7:00 PM: Here's a News-Times follow-up that focuses on community leaders and school officials defusing the situation.
School and community leaders Thursday downplayed the racial overtones of a fight Wednesday morning between black and Latino students at Danbury High School.
That incident occurred the day after a fight between two students on Tuesday that might have started over a girl or a racial slur.
According to Olivia Negron, a senior, the fight was touched off Tuesday when one male student inappropriately touched another, a female, in the school's cafeteria.
Others intervened and a fight broke out, she said.
The following day, Wednesday, the two groups fought again, only this time friends from both sides jumped into the fracas, Negron said.
"There was a rumor that led to a fight that led to a fight that led to a rumor that because there was no school today, (of the fight) possibly spilling into the street," said Ingrid Alvarez-Dimarzo, director of the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury.
"Here is social media and people, and now you got Dominican kids riling (up) other Dominican kids to go and fight black kids," she said. "But when you sit down and talk to them individually (you don't hear that)."
Alvarez-Dimarzo said that when word of the brawl got back to her, she got into her car to look for some of the students she had come to know in her time with the Hispanic Center.
She said that many of them had donned "Dominican Pride" T-shirts after school let out, making them easily identifiable.
"I talked to some of these kids yesterday. They're not looking to fight because someone's black," she said Thursday. "They're afraid of getting beaten up and they're angry."
According to Alvarez-Dimarzo, students were not attacked by virtue of their ethnicity, but in retaliation for the earlier fight.
"That only comes when kids don't have these support groups and so they try to create it on their own (with their friends)," she said. "Regardless of what side of the issue the adult community may find themselves, we still have the responsibility to help these kids process these issues."
UPDATE 12:00 PM: The following comment from a student at DHS in response to several racist and offensive comments made by others regarding the incident sheds some light on the underlying issue at the school.
no one cant judge dhs now if they dont know the whole story…. were not idiotic ethnic groups either. we stand up for our race and what we beleive in. no one told the dominicans to try and bum rush blacks, no body was thinking about the spanish boys until they decided to come after us. i know the whole story so what some of you people need to do is actually figure out the story in order to understand the meaning of the fights. DHS is now segregated !!! all do to dominicans and blacks!!! we standing up for our pride and we are also defending our lives. if a group of people were planning to fight you then yes, you would do the same everybody else did yesterday!!!
UPDATE 11:00: Here's Mark Langlois take on the incident (Danbury Patch):
A series of fights broke out Wednesday, and the school suspended 10 students who were involved.
"The individuals involved were disciplined or suspended," said Schools Superintendent Sal Pascarella, Ed.D. "We'll look into any other things that went on, but we already identified the main people involved."
Pascarella said it all started with a stupid comment, followed by more words, which turned into a fight.
"We don't think it was gang-related," Pascarella said. Once it started, staff patrolled the halls, as did members of the Danbury Police Department. "We want a unified front to stop this nonsense."
Pascarella said it isn't as though the school system is alone working on this fight. He said Ingrid Alvarez-DiMarzo, executive director of the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury is working on it, as is Rev. Ivan Pitts of the New Hope Baptist Church. He said the Danbury Police Department patroled the parking lots to make sure nothing started up again there.
"There were no weapons, no injuries," Pascarella said. "We really all work together on this."
Danbury Hispanic Center Executive Director asked students to remain calm and un-involved.
UPDATE (Sept 29) 10:00 AM: Here's the latest from Eileen FitzGerald at the News-Times.
Danbury High School Principal Gary Bocaccio said 10 students were suspended Wednesday after a fight broke out in the morning, the day after a Hispanic freshman and a black freshman reportedly swapped racial epithets.
Bocaccio said more students would be questioned Friday, since school is closed Thursday for Rosh Hashana.
The students were suspended for varying amounts of time based on their involvement in the incident, but there were no weapons, no criminal charges and no offenses that could lead to expulsion, Bocaccio said Wednesday night.
He said there was an altercation Tuesday between two freshmen, a Dominican student and a black student.
Some other students told school officials that there might be some trouble, based on the incident, and staff asked to speak with some students Wednesday morning at the main office, Bocaccio said.
It was near the office that the fight broke out between the group of Latino and black students, Bocaccio said.
"The fight was broken up quickly. There were some scratches that nurses attended to immediately," he said. "We determined who was the instigator.''
UPDATE 11:45 PM: From what little I learned so far late tonight, multiple sources informed me that the fight seems to be between the Dominicans and African-Americans. With Thursday being a teacher in-service day, people are concerned that the fights that occurred at school could spill out into the streets...the most important thing now is for students to CALM DOWN!
I'll have more soon...
Just received some very disturbing news regarding racial violence at Danbury High School today.
Here's the video of two of several incidents that occurred at the High School today that's gone viral.
The Hispanic Center posted the following message to students at DHS on Facebook:
This post goes out to my Danbury High School youth! I want to talk to you, but more than talk I need you to listen to what I will ask of you. To the members of Trinidad I will say Dominicana Soy! But I will not excuse nor tolerate the use of ethnic pride for violence. I recognize your need for acknowledgement and respect. I am saddened by the incidents at DHS today. I've had the opportunity to meet with some of you this afternoon. Thank you for listening and thank you for taking the shirts off. For those that I haven't seen today-hear me out. Trinidad you have an open invitation to see me, talk to me and meet with me. I'm putting the ball in your court. My doors are open for conflict resolution. Use me as your vehicle. Allow me to hear and better understand what you are going through. No reprimands no accusations. But I need you to put weapons down-I need you to not use violence and gang intimidation tactics. Allow me to help you resolve this conflict. I will hear and not judge your side of the story. But I will ask of you this-no violence-call the fight off-do not allow one more friend to get hurt. To all other friends, please if you have access to DHS student community at home, in the community or any place else or even if you don't let's lead by example. Please share this post and help me reach every DHS student today.
Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury
Centro Hispano (203) 798-2855
I don't have all the details on what happened today but one thing is for certain...physical violence is NOT the answer. Danbury High has seen it's fair share of racial incidents in the past and the last thing this city needs is violence based on race spreading at the school.
I'll update everyone once I get more info...if any students have information on what happened or have video of any fights that broke out today, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @hatcityblog on Twitter.
If your a student and are pissed off over what happened, PLEASE PLEASE take a DEEP breath and think things through before acting on your impulse. With tomorrow being a teacher in-service day, we don't want what happened at DHS to spill into the streets on Thursday.
The Hispanic Center is on high alert attempting to reach out to any DHS student who were effected by today's events. Contact them at 203.798.2855, You can also reach the Center on Facebook by clicking here.
PLEASE think b4 you act!
LOCAL ACCESS VIDEO: Danbury Live 09.27.11 broadcast
Time: 11:24 AM
BREAKING NEWS: Danbury Chamber of Commerce opts out of mayoral luncheon?!?
Time: 1:25 PM
Several sources have informed me that there is a strong possibility that the Danbury Chamber of Commerce WILL NOT host a mayoral luncheon. Viewed as a long tradition in Danbury, the event has served as a debate setting for candidates seeking the office of mayor.
With residents being forced to shell out cash to see the candidates debate (complete with Boughton stacking the crowd with his cheerleaders at City Hall), personally, I always thought the event is nothing more than a joke. Unfortunately, in recent years, due to Mark Boughton's adamant refusal to attend FREE AND OPEN debates with his opponents, the chamber event served as the only place where you can see the mayoral candidates go head to head with each other.
UPDATE: Democratic mayoral candidate and Danbury DTC chairwoman Lynn Taborsak sent the following letter to Chamber President Steve Bull:
September 26, 2011
Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce
39 West Street
Danbury, CT 06810
I contacted you on Thursday, September 22, to ask you about the Chamber’s plan to sponsor a mayoral debate this year as has been your custom for as long as I can remember. I left my name and phone number with the receptionist who said you were on another phone call at the time.
I have spoken to the three previous Democratic Town Committee chairs – Joe DaSilva Jr., Bernie Gallo and Joe Walkovich – to see if there was any previous election where a Chamber debate was not held because of lack of interest on the part of the local party organizations. No one can recall any requirement that the local party organizations must request that the Chamber sponsor a debate.
Please let me know definitively if a Chamber Mayoral debate will be held and when and where it will take place. I am enclosing a business card with my contact information.
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