Manny Rodriguez

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Traditional public-school programs in Connecticut have experienced being pushed out and overtaken by newer schooling options such as magnet and charter schools. This has largely occurred due to the landmark Sheff vs. O’Neill decision, which resulted in a host of regulations and policies aimed at ensuring schools were well integrated across the state. One of these policies called for the development of magnet schools. The influx of magnet pre-k programs has caused preschools like the Trinity College Community Child Center (TC4) to lose enrollees and, in turn, revenue. For this project, I researched how state funding policy changes impact the decision-making process of parents when deciding where to send their children to school. Specifically, I sought to discover how the growth of magnet pre-k programs in Connecticut has influenced the decisions families make when choosing who will care for their 3-to-5-year-old children. I conducted research analyzing data from the CT Office of Early Childhood the CT State Department of Education, and other scholarly sources. I also conducted qualitative interviews with current and formerly enrolled parents at TC4 to investigate what traits they find attractive in pre-k programs. The results show that parents are generally more pragmatic than idealistic when it comes to where to send their children for childcare. Many parents expressed that they would send their children to a traditional public school if it was more convenient, but others saw those programs as too under-resourced and underperforming. Overall, parents identified issues within the magnet system but still wanted to do what was best for their children’s future.


Community Partner: Trinity College Community Child Care Center (TC4)