Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Public Policy and Law

First Advisor

Professor Adrienne Fulco


This thesis is an analysis of Career and Technical Education as a response to the low quality of public education in Hartford, Connecticut. Hartford Public Schools recently adopted the Career Academy model of CTE to restructure its failing high schools. This model is an improvement upon traditional forms of CTE, and graduation rates and test scores have increased since Hartford’s Academies opened in 2008. Still, whether Career Academies are an appropriate solution to the chronic underperformance of the city’s schools will depend upon their compatibility with the broader educational policies being implemented by the district and the State. The two primary policies to consider are school choice at the district level and desegregation at the state level. Career Academies are not perfectly compatible with either of these broader agendas. However, school choice and desegregation measures have their own limitations that will prevent them from generating lasting improvements. For either policy to work, Hartford will need high-performing local schools, yet neither school choice nor desegregation can create these schools on its own. Policy recommendations are offered for making Career Academies more compatible with the district’s and the State’s agendas in order for all systems to operate more effectively. Ultimately, Hartford’s history of racial and economic concentration needs to be reversed in order to achieve long-term success. Doing so can only be accomplished if the city has high-quality local schools with which to attract a diverse population, and Career Academies offer significant promise to fill this role at the high school level.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Law.