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In Hartford, Stimulus Funds for Schools Leveraged for State Budget Crunch

John Tulenko of Learning Matters reports on how one school district in Connecticut is weathering the recession, and how the state is using stimulus funds to close budget deficits rather than increase education spending.

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    Now, an on-the-ground report on the battle over how federal economic stimulus money should be used as seen in one school district in Connecticut. Our story comes from special correspondent John Tulenko of Learning Matters, which produces education stories for the NewsHour.

  • JOHN TULENKO, NewsHour Correspondent:

    Hartford, Connecticut, is the kind of place Washington had in mind when it gave public schools some $40 billion in stimulus money.

    Steven Adamowski is superintendent.

  • DR. STEVEN J. ADAMOWSKI, Superintendent, Hartford Public Schools:

    Hartford is the second poorest city per capita in America, behind Brownsville, Texas, so the level of poverty here is extreme. Ninety percent of our children live in poverty.


    Inside Hartford's 47 public schools, children fall behind almost from the start. Only 33 percent of third-graders passed the state reading test last year. That compares to almost 70 percent for the rest of the state, which includes some of the wealthiest school districts in the country.


    Connecticut happens to be the state that has the highest achievement gap of the 50 states in the United States. So it doesn't get much more compelling than this.

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