Hartford Superintendent Calls For Longer School Days
Adamowski Gave His State of the Schools Speech Thursday
By Jeff Cohen
October 28, 2010
Hartford schools Superintendent Steven Adamowski has called for longer school days for the city’s students. WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports.
In his third annual state of the schools speech, the superintendent said the city’s schools are stronger than they were three years ago. He pointed to gains that he says have begun to close the gap between the test scores of city and suburban students.
But as he prepares to leave the district at the end of the school year, the superintendent said that the focus must still be on increasing teacher quality, eliminating nepotism, and extending the school day.
“To close the gap, our students desperately need more time in school.”
Adamowski pointed to what he said is an obvious issue. Hartford’s six hour and forty-five minute school day is the shortest in the region. West Hartford’s school day is 45 minutes longer.
“Which was the equivalent of a full month more of instruction. Our children need the same, and their needs demand it.”
The task now, he said, is to negotiate what he called a competitive school day with the various school employees unions.
Adamowski said that the challenges ahead have to do with the cost of education in a time of declining revenues. He also put a spotlight on teacher quality.
“We had a system that historically was rife with nepotism. At one point there were several hundred people, teachers, who were related to former administrators, board members. We cannot afford that for our children. We are not an employment agency for the families of those who have influence. We can only hire the best people.”
As he gets ready to leave the district when his contract expires this summer, Adamowski stressed what he said was the importance of selecting a new superintendent from within. He also said that while Hartford’s schools have improved, they’ve still got a long way to go.
“In a system that has moved from a graduation rate of 29 percent to 50 percent, what do we now do about the other 50 percent? In schools that improved from 25 to 40 percent of students reading on grade level, what does it take, and how long does it take, for the other 60 percent to achieve at the same high level?”
Adamowski spoke to an audience that included current Mayor Pedro Segarra, and former mayor and board of education chairman Eddie Perez.