Friday, November 21, 2008

That's all folks!

Another great Forum has come and gone...Storytellers and the Stories They Tell gave us a chance to sit back, relax, and be entertained by some of today's most talented storytellers. Thanks for spending your time with me here at THE COLUMN!

Now its your turn...tell us your story, reactions to the evening, questions you would have liked to asked the panelists...the floor is yours!


Its intermission!

Volunteers are busy sorting through your many questions...and Founding President of the Forum Richard Sugarman and Moderator Bob Edwards are just trying to keep up! Check back here tomorrow for audience reactions to the first half!

Live from backstage! It's almost showtime!

It is almost showtime, and the panelists are busy backstage getting ready...check it out!

Suzan-Lori Parks admires the beautiful Bushnell Theater

The panelists get comfy on stage during a quick briefing

One of my personal favorite parts of The Bushnell is the back room, and the panelists seem to agree! Here the walls tell their own story of shows past, featuring the signatures of Ray Charles, Walter Cronkite, Al Franken, Carol Channing, Bernadette Peters, Robert Goulet, Tim Conway, and many more!

Let the Stories Begin!

By Katlyn Knox, Executive Associate at The Connecticut Forum

We humans love a good story. Whether painted on cave walls or big screens, sung in vibrato, or written in chapter and verse, we have been compelled to share our stories in new and creative ways since the dawn of time. But why? What purpose do stories serve in our lives? And how have our stories changed through the years? It's story time at the Forum... so pull up a chair, sit back and relax, while master storytellers spin a few yarns about the art, the muse, and the magic of it all.

Welcome to the second Forum of the 2008-2009 season, Storytellers and the Stories They Tell! I am here to give you a live look at the evening, on and off stage! The Panel has arrived in Hartford, and the evening's activities are getting under way.

Tony Kushner, The Tony Award-Winning Playwright of Angels in America greets fellow panelist David Simon, creator of HBO's The Wire.

Panelists Suzan-Lori Parks, David Simon, and Tony Kushner signing autographs during the pre-Forum panelist meeting

Tony Kushner autographing books

Members of The CT YOUTH Forum met with the panelists for an intimate Q&A session during the YOUTH Forum Press Conference. The conversation ranged from the legalization of gay marriage in the state of Connecticut, to the students struggles with Shakespeare!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Go Directly To Jail...

By Pat Rossiter, Connecticut YOUTH Forum Program Manager

The ACLU has been busy in Connecticut’s schools. Two reports were released today outlining the way kids are being treated in schools.

The first, “Hard Lessons: School Resource Officer Programs and School-Based Arrests in Three Connecticut Towns,” outlines the rate of arrests of students in Hartford, East Hartford and West Hartford’s schools. According to this article, the report indicates that minority students are arrested at double the rate of white students for the same offense.

In New Haven, “Zero-Tolerance” policies “…force school administrators to seek suspensions or expulsions of students even when the sanctions serve no legitimate or substantial state interest,” and “deprive students of rights to education.”

I have two thoughts. Isn’t the presence of a police officer in a school a presumption of guilt that would not be tolerated by any adult in their workplace? It certainly conjures images of “Big Brother” in my mind and, it would seem, gives a clear message to students in schools: this environment is unsafe and YOU are making it that way.

Next, nothing in my life or in any part of the world I have observed is ever black and white. “Zero-tolerance” policies are archaic and ineffective. Education of kids is not simply arithmetic, English and other academic pursuits. It is teaching children how to interact and solve conflicts and be, well adults. Where I come from, adults look at all sides of a conflict or issue and make a reasonable decision. Those are the kinds of lessons we can all learn from.

I’d love to hear comments and reactions…

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reactions from Around the World

The world responds to the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of The United States.

Monday, November 3, 2008

CT Students' Math Scores Just Above... Egypt's?

For a state that is often recognized for its high per-capita income and its "Gold Coast" towns of Greenwich and Weston, it's appalling to learn that Connecticut has the largest achievement gap between rich and poor students of any US state.

ConnCAN is a Connecticut non-profit concerned with closing the achievement gap and securing great public schools for all CT children, no matter what town they live in. Their findings are at once eye-opening and sad, but still important to any Connecticut resident or any citizen concerned with our country's education system.

Here is just some of their data, and you can find the rest at their website.

It seems there is a correlation between education levels and violence... is ending violence as simple as being better educators?