Trinity Hosts School Choice Conference
as part of Educational Studies Fall Program


Jack Dougherty opened the conference with an overview  of Greater Hartford's school choice programs.

A group of educators, parents, and policy makers gathered recently in Mather Hall to take part in the “Who Chooses Schools and Why?” conference co-sponsored by the College’s Cities, Suburbs & Schools Research Project and the University of Connecticut Center for Education Policy Analysis. The half-day conference’s program was separated into three parts: presentations, small group discussions, and a response panel.

Jack Dougherty, associate professor and director of educational studies, collaborated with senior Naralys Estevez to present “Public and Private School Choice in Greater Hartford: A Brief Overview and Computer Mapping Analysis,” which was followed by presentations by two UConn faculty members focusing on “What Do Parents Want?” and “What are the Outcomes of Choice Programs?” 

A Trinity student researcher participated in each discussion group, which then reported back to all the conference attendees. The response panel, in a session entitled, “Views from Public and Private Choice Programs,” included remarks by Delores Bolton, assistant superintendent of magnet schools, Hartford Public Schools; Bruce Douglas, executive director, Capitol Region Education Council; Eddie Perez '96, mayor, City of Hartford; Michael Sharpe, CEO, Jumoke Academy (charter school), Hartford; and Donald K. Wilson, executive director, Children’s Educational Opportunity Foundation of Connecticut, followed by an extensive question and answer period.   


Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez answers a question during the response panel portion of the “Who Chooses Schools and Why?” conference.

“Uplifting Hartford schools requires committed partnerships between parents, practitioners, policy makers, and researchers,” explains Dougherty. “Our goal is to clarify what we know about reforms like school choice and to investigate questions that have not yet been answered.”

The “Who Chooses Schools and Why?” conference was just one part of an educational studies fall program that included a September 29 event, “Wandering Through a ‘Pro-slavery Desert’: New Haven, Connecticut and the Emergence of White Opposition to Black Education,” which was co-sponsored and hosted by the Connecticut Historical Society and featured a lecture by Hilary Moss, assistant professor of history and Black studies at Amherst College.

Events still to come this fall include a November 2 lecture, “Talk About Sex: The Battles Over Sex Education in the United States,” featuring a talk by University of Massachusetts Professor of Sociology Janice Irvine; November 3, “Fit to Teach: Same-Sex Desire, and School Work in the Twentieth Century,” with a talk by Iowa State University Professor of Education Jackie Blount; and November 9, “Making Sense of the Holocaust: Lessons from Classroom Practice,” including a talk by University of Wisconsin Assistant Professor of Education and Jewish Studies Simone Schweber.

“We are reaching out to academic departments and campus organizations to bring to Trinity talented young scholars who cross disciplinary boundaries,” says Dougherty. “They can engage us on such topics as Black educational history, sexuality and schooling, and teaching the Holocaust. Without interdisciplinary cooperation, our curriculum would be culturally deprived.”

This fall’s events are being co-sponsored by American Studies, Educational Studies, Hillel, the History Department, Multicultural Affairs, Public Policy & Law, the Sociology Department, and the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program.  

For further information, please contact Jack Dougherty by telephone at (860) 297-2296; by e-mail at; or go to 

Photos by Chuck Pratt


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