Hartford School Board Reverses Course On Credit Diploma Program
June 17, 2009
The Hartford Board of Education Tuesday unanimously adopted a new adult education policy that leaves the door open just a crack for the return of the credit diploma program, and postpones a two-year effort by Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski to kill it.
Following an outpouring of support from graduates and teachers in the program, the school board amended its new adult education policy by adding the phrase "including providing the credit diploma program option in or out of adult education for students with a limited number of credits."
When asked if that meant the program was dead or alive in Hartford for the next school year, David Medina, city schools spokesman said, "I can't tell you that."
Adamowski has not been shy about his dislike of the CDP, calling it "fraudulent" and lacking in the rigor required of city students who graduate from Hartford's other high schools or adults who enroll in the General Education Development (GED) or the National External Diploma programs.
Adamowski also went so far as to refuse to sign CDP diplomas in the past two years. This year a new wrinkle was added when the diploma's granting body was changed from "Hartford Board of Education" to "State Board of Education."
Medina said the change was implemented by Joan Massey, assistant superintendent of secondary schools, to more accurately reflect that the diploma meets state, and not Hartford standards, and added that in hindsight the change in language should have been made years ago.
However, the school district requires CDP students to complete 80 hours of credits, nearly double the state's required minimum of 43 hours.
Tom Murphy, a spokesman for the state Department of Education, questioned the change in the diploma's language Tuesday.
"It should not say state, it should be Hartford," Murphy said. "This is a local diploma."
Regardless of real or perceived slights to the program and the pleas of students and teachers to keep it, Eduardo Ganau, executive director of the Adult Education Center reiterated Tuesday that the CDP was not up to district standards.
"The program lacks rigor. It is much easier than regular high school," he said. But Barbara Turner, a 56 year-old grandmother of four who said she dropped out of Weaver High School as a teenager after being sexually abused, disagreed.
"I would have been a member of the class of 1974," said Turner who entered the CDP in 2005 and graduated in 2006. "I went back and worked hard for my credits."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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