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English Language Learners And Special Education Students Will Pay The Price For Hartford Mayor’s Bankruptcy Strategy

By David Medina

Welcome to the Hartford where everything is designed to shield Mayor Luke Bronin from the consequences of his own decisions.

Hartford Public Schools, for example, made two interrelated announcements back-to-back during the week of October 10th, to persuade city residents that their children will receive a better education if certain neighborhood schools are shut down.

In the first instance, the Board of Education unveiled the first draft of Equity 2020, the plan to close four low-performing underutilized neighborhood schools and shove their 3,500 students into the rest of the low-performing neighborhood schools.

The better funded Sheff magnet schools that are focused on luring white students from the suburbs will remain untouched.

The school board, under the direction of chairman Richard Wareing, is expected to approve Equity 2020  in December, so that the targeted schools are eliminated from the budget for the school year that begins in August of 2017.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionIn the second instance, the board appointed a search committee to find a qualified educator to replace outgoing Superintendent Beth Schiavino Narvaez, and be the henchman who implements Equity 2020.

Despite its name, there is no equity in Equity 2020. It is simply a brutal, slash-and-burn blueprint for rapidly shutting down the Martin Luther King, Burns Latino Studies, Thirman Milner and the Simpson-Waverly neighborhood schools.

The plan offers three scenarios under which the four doomed schools would close. The only real difference between them is the pattern for redistributing the displaced students throughout the school system.

Equity 2020 also calls for terminating the leases on schools that operate in rented spaces and doubling them up with schools that are located in city-owned buildings. As such, High School, Inc. and the Kinsella high school students would join the Journalism and Media Academy in the renovated Weaver High School building.

The plan makes no provisions for meeting the educational needs of the displaced students or for such things as after-school programs, transportation services, dental and health clinics, security, custodial services and school meals. That ugly task would have to be completed by whoever replaces Schiavino-Narvaez and the central office staff well before the first day of school in August.

The basic objective of the plan is to use the money saved from closing the schools to help Mayor Bronin eliminate the city’s enormous budget deficit and allegedly avoid bankruptcy without alienating Bronin’s political base. Neighborhood schools, including the ones targeted for closure, have increasingly become a dumping ground for Special Education students and the largely Latino population of English-language learners. Equity 2020 would make them even more of a dumping ground. Latino voters did not support Bronin in 2015. So he owes them nothing.

The city’s deficit for this year stands at $22 million and next year’s deficit is projected to be about $40 million. Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Hartford’s bond rating near junk levels, based on what it said were Bronin’s unrealistic budget projections. Earlier this year, Bronin tried and failed to have the state legislature grant him the authority to unilaterally cut pensions and nullify labor contracts — a power that even the President of the United States doesn’t have. Lately, he has advocated for lowering expenditures in Hartford and other cities by regionalizing services and tax rates with neighboring towns, grand ideas that have fallen flat before.

That leaves Hartford Public Schools, and, more specifically, the neighborhood schools, as the only service that Bronin can freely disembowel to make it look as though he’s doing everything possible to keep the city from going bankrupt. All he needs is a compliant superintendent who will implement Equity 2020 and take the heat when raging parents demand to know how the city can justify opening an expensive new baseball stadium and closing schools at the same time.

Over the coming weeks, the search committee will interview candidates, check their backgrounds and perhaps hear testimony from parents and community leaders on the type of educator they want to see as superintendent. The committee will recommend a nominee and the Hartford Board of Education will then vote to offer the nominee a three-year contract with a salary of roughly $250,000 a year.

Everything will appear honest and above board, although many suspect that the selection process has already been rigged to favor Dr. Jose Colon-Rivas. Dr. Colon-Rivas became the district’s chief operating officer in July, after more than 30 years of service in both City Hall and Hartford Public Schools. He has been a teacher, principal of Hartford Public High School and a central office administrator. As chief operating officer, Dr. Colon-Rivas is already second in command at Hartford Public Schools and has done much of the day-to-day decision making there while Schiavino-Narvaez transitions to her new job as chief of instructional leadership in the Pacific Ocean for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Dr. Colon-Rivas is also invested in Equity 2020. He sits on the Equity 2020 Committee that will present the final draft of the plan for Board of Education approval in December. He even facilitated the unveiling of the first draft on Oct. 13. The more he fronts for Equity 2020, the better he looks. He has the added advantage of having served as a mayoral appointee to Hartford Board of Education, right up until the day he accepted his current job of chief operating officer. So, he clearly has Bronin’s confidence and is well-known to the board members who would appoint him superintendent.

The only potential candidate who poses a serious threat to Colon-Rivas is Dr. James Thompson. Dr. Thompson, who was educated in Hartford Public Schools, is already superintendent of  Bloomfield Public Schools, widely acclaimed as the most improved district in Connecticut every year since he took it over in 2011. Like Colon-Rivas, he spent most of his career as an educator in Hartford, where he became famous for his data-driven work in transforming low-performing schools, including an amazing turnaround of the Simpson-Waverly Elementary School that led to a coveted national Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education in 2003. Thompson, moreover, would be an attractive choice for Luke Bronin to present to the city’s African-American community that strongly supported him for mayor in 2015.

Dr. Thompson, however, would probably have little incentive to come to Hartford without a free hand to run the district as he saw fit. Being a hand puppet to Board Chairman Richard Wareing is not his style. Dr. Thompson also signed a three-year contract extension with Bloomfield recently, where he supervises 2,500 students instead of 21,000 for a salary comparable to what he would earn in Hartford. Furthermore, Thompson made his reputation as an educational leader who improves schools, not one who closes them.

The search process for Hartford superintendent may attract additional candidates. Some will take it seriously and others will throw their hats in the ring with no expectation of getting the job, thereby legitimizing the process. The urgency to pass Equity 2020 and the short timeline to fill the superintendent’s position makes it hard to imagine any of those candidates matching the experience, credentials, and the value of Jose Colon-Rivas or James Thompson.

That being the case, Mayor Bronin should simply skip the dog-and-pony show and choose the candidate that he has already decided can best satisfy his political and economic needs. Even the shoe-shine boys in Hartford know that Equity 2020’s role in Bronin’s bankruptcy gambit will determine who gets the job. So, be transparent. Don’t insult the public’s intelligence with a charade.

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Wells Fargo Wrestles with Fraudulent Charges

As Wells Fargo fights to come out from under a fake-account scandal that has forced its former CEO and chairman to retire, there is talk that branch closures may be in the near future.

Over the last few years, the Wells Fargo network has held strong, with only 2 percent of its branches closing, compared with 9 percent for JPMorgan Chase and 15 percent for Bank of America, WSOC reports.

The bank currently maintains 6,000 branches across 39 states, which is 1,000 branches more than any other bank in America, according to CNN Money.

As previously reported on The Root, last month the banking giant agreed to pay $185 million in fines and penalties after it was revealed that branch employees had created nearly 2 million fraudulent accounts in the names of unsuspecting current customers. The scandal launched several congressional hearings and forced the retirement of CEO and Chairman John Stumpf.

While Wells Fargo has not announced any branch closures, its need to find ways to pay for the mounting legal and compliance costs related to the fraud issue, topped with the loss of credibility in the consumer market, may cripple its ability to make money.

“Whether Wells Fargo realizes it or not, they’re going to be closing 1,000 branches,” analyst Mike Mayo of investment banking company CLSA told CNN Money. “It’s a matter of when, not if.”

Mayo also said that the pressure to make money to keep branches open may have been a contributing factor in the creation of the fraudulent accounts.

During a presentation for analysts last week, Wells Fargo hinted at branch closures. The bank said that a renewed focus on mobile and online banking would allow it to review its “branch footprint for consolidation opportunities.”

Wells Fargo is still contending with ongoing investigations, including an internal review of the fraudulent-account scandal and a California investigation into whether or not the bank committed identity theft when making the fake accounts.

Analyst Paul Miller of investment bank FBR & Co. said that Wells Fargo senior management is in crisis mode right now.

“They’ve still got to figure out how to get back on everyone’s Christmas list,” Miller said, according to CNN Money.

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Investigators Reveal July 9 White House Bomb Threat Related to “the real Olivia Pope” and Sandy Hook Elementary Shootings

Updated October 25, 2016 6:21 p.m.

By Candace Smith, Staff Writer

AVON, CONN — After more than two years of an intense investigation by the Secret Service and other law enforcement officials, early reports have revealed that the “real Olivia Pope”  is linked to a bomb scare at the White House and the Newtown school shootings.

In videos below, “the real Olivia Pope” is Dr. Ann-Marie Adams, who was recruited by the Washington Post to write a column during 2012 election. Sources have identified at least 17 characters in the ABC television show, Scandal.

Adams, a 20-year veteran in journalism, is the founder of The Hartford Guardian, an award-winning nonprofit publication based in Hartford, Conn. She has worked at numerous publications, including The Hartford Courant, Norwich Bulletin, Times Herald Record, People magazine, Fox News, NBC4 and the Washington Post since graduating Cum Laude from Brooklyn College’s journalism and theater programs in 1999.

Ann-Marie Adams in 1990 was brought to America because she's an Omen.

Ann-Marie Adams at 20 years old in 1990 was brought to America because she’s an Omen.

Ann-Marie Adams May 2015 at the White House.

Ann-Marie Adams in May 2015 at the White House before a telephonic bomb scare in June 2015.

Since then, the  media executive with a legal mind has also graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Masters in journalism from Quinnipiac University and a doctoral degree in U.S. History and African Diaspora from Howard University. She was then recruited for a race and gender post doctoral associate position at Rutgers University.

While at Rutgers, Christopher Jenkins met with her and offered her a job with the RootDC and the Root as a columnist to write about politics, race and education. And she left the academy to do journalism and complete her book about race and education reform in America. In December 2012, the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting occurred. Like other shootings since the Obama administration, the Newtown shooting is karmic and related to Adams, who is a prophet, sources said.

Adams is God’s Omen. And the disruption to her life, career and family has been documented by the U.S. government, hence a pending human rights abuse case for Adams and her family.

After the July 9, 2015, telephonic bomb threat, Adams was in constant contact with the Secret Service, several of whom informed her of her role as a prophet with God’s message. But they have yet to make a public statement on the matter, sources said. Some say they are waiting until after the election.

Sources later said that Adams was to remain unaware of her status as an Omen and that she was being used to test the President.   Since April, Adams has been stopped from reading her bible, praying to God and going to church.  During the lengthy investigation that morphed into consultations, others used her blue print and life lessons to advance their career trajectory.

Sources said the United Nations and its staffers were also informed that Adams was being abused by the Obama administration and other politicians who wanted her to give them coverage and her blessings. They courted her opinion using some ritual and other government devices so that they would not have to acknowledge the Omen. Hence the abuse of power, sources said.

The "real Olivia Pope" at the White House, darkened in the picture on July 9, 2015 when there was a bomb threat at the White House.

The “real Olivia Pope” at the White House, darkened in the picture and video on July 9, 2015 when there was a bomb scare at the White House.

Church goers in Connecticut, many of whom were involved in the investigation, said they have to acknowledge this important finding that impacts their career and family. The Dec. 14, 2012 shootings in Newtown, Conn is related to the Obama administration taking advantage of Adams as an Omen, sources said. Therefore, it’s karmic.

Adams was on sabbatical from academia after doing research about education reform for about 15 years. She wanted to get remarried and have her son since fall 2010 and revise her dissertation about race, education, reform and the black experience in Connecticut, she said in an interview with locals. Instead, the others used her love for journalism to lure her back into journalism with corporate media. The offer at the Washington Post was promising until the Dec. 12 shooting, undercover investigators said. If she had had her baby in 2010 as planned, her child would have been 6 years-old, they said. The elementary school children were between ages 6 and 7 years.

Some say the shooting by Adam Lanza  occurred because Adams did not marry her fiance and have her son after she left Howard in 2010. Instead, the secret service told her to stay away from Wayne Francis, her then fiance, while they were investigating her. Since then, others have been trying to stop that marriage to “do patch work” on promises made for Adams by others close to the investigation and to this story, they said. Adams wanted proof of this so-called marriage proposal (or job offer) and “bummed it to get the story” about the Obama administration and this strange marriage proposal–or job offer while she’s in Connecticut and they do this investigation. The Obamas have given proof to Adams that the connection was real while the investigation got extended. There was a death threat to kill the president, and Adams reported it to the Communications Office. They began the investigation using Adams’s “Colombo” technique in Connecticut because she was an independent journalist, sources said.

White House Press Corp Hammers Josh Over  Evacuation of Brady Room After Bomb Scare

Secret Service agents, many of whom are not currently in the White House, have been involved in this so-called investigation for more than a year after entering her life during Obama and Sen. Edward Kennedy’s visit to Hartford in 2007. Adams covered his visit at the Civic Center.

Adams was an intern with Sen. Edward Kennedy’s Health, Education and Labor Committee office in the Hart building. There, Adams met Kennedy during President Obama’s inauguration on January 20, 2009. Sources said she Kinged Obama in January 2008 on ABC7 in Washington D.C. while at Howard and while in Sen. Kennedy’s office in the Hart building. She was interviewed by the the Christian Science Monitor on Jan. 20, where she gave her opinion on his pending leadership of the country. Since then, her predictions has been fulfilled for Obama and his tenure in office, sources said.  Her keen observations about the Obama administration was based on her blessings from God and her more than 20 years as a government and political reporter in America, investigators said.

“She was clearly unaware that she was an Omen,” one D.C. source said. “The US didn’t want to reveal it until they investigate her to verify her encounters with God.”

However, they learned she was not hired by the Obama administration. Instead of hiring “the real Olivia Pope,” the Obama administration has been using her in secret, sources said. And she has not been paid for her time while they used her help to investigate the July 9 bomb scare, mental health facilities in Connecticut, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings by Lanza.

“They came to destroy and deceive her and her family,” said one witness who wants an inquiry into this matter. “They have also been trying to kill her in secret, stealing her material possessions and putting her in purgatory to change her facial features. Because she’s an Omen, God is punishing America.”

The videos below show Adams (next to April Ryan) in the video on July 9. Her face was distorted in these videos. Other reporters, for fear of retribution, wanted the Newtown shooting report and the July 9 bomb scare to be public, sources said.

The videos below give more details of the July 9, 2015 bomb scare. This was supposed an attempt to tell the world about the Omen because she was kept as a secret in America, sources said. Police are still investigating the criminals who made the bomb threat and held the Omen a hostage, so that she doesn’t give the Obamas any more blessings or find out what was done about the death threat from Connecticut.

Read More:

14 Mass Shootings and the Obama administration Response

17 Mass Shootings Since Obama Entered Office

Obama’s on Newtown School Shooting

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East Hartford Library to Host “Thinking Money” This October

EAST HARTFORD — The East Hartford Public Library will host Thinking Money, a new traveling exhibition designed to teach tweens, teens and the adults in their lives financial skills and fiscal responsibility.

The Library will host the exhibit from Oct. 19, 2016 to Nov. 28, 2016. The public is also invited to attend a series of informative talks and discussions about financial topics like saving, retirement planning, and avoiding fraud.

Through an adventure-themed storyline, interactive iPad content and other fun activities, Thinking Money explores themes like wants vs. needs, preparing for a rainy/sunny day, imagining your future self and avoiding financial fraud.

Programs will include a screening of the Investor Protection Institute’s When I’m 65; TEDx East Hartford: Changing Your Saving Mindset, and more.

For a list of all Thinking Money events and a full library schedule, visit or call 860-290-4331 for more information.

Admission to the exhibition, which will be located in the Creative Commons area of the East Hartford Public Library, and all programs are free of charge.

Thinking Money was created by the American Library Association in partnership with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

In April 2016, ALA and the FINRA Foundation announced 50 libraries nationwide to host the 1,000-square-foot exhibition. In addition to the exhibition loan, the East Hartford Public Library also received a $1,000 programming allowance.

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Rep John Larson Appoints Two to Veterans Council

HARTFORD —  Rep. John B. Larson  has appointed two Bristol residents to his Veterans and Military Advisory Council.

Larson appointed Art Ward, a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran, served as Mayor of Bristol for six years. After serving in the war, Ward worked as a Veterans Affairs Officer with the State of Connecticut, and as a member of the Bristol City Council for 14 years, before being elected Mayor.

Frank Nicastro, a six-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, spent three years aboard a U.S. Navy Destroyer and 24 years in the Connecticut National Guard. He currently represents the 79th District in the Connecticut House of Representatives. Nicastro, who is retiring from the General Assembly at the end of this term, is also a former Bristol Mayor and City Councilman.

“I am grateful that these two Veterans and lifelong public servants have agreed to join the First District’s Veterans and Military Advisory Council,” said Larson (CT-01). “I know that Art and Frank will bring great insight to the Council given their vast experience. I look forward to working with them and the rest of the members of the council to serve our veterans.”

Larson meets with the First Congressional District Veterans and Military Advisory Council in his Hartford Office and in the community throughout the year. Members of the Advisory Council provide Larson with valuable insight and innovative ideas that guide his decision making on veterans and military matters.


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Murphy, Other Gun Control Advocates, in Search of Political Wins

WASHINGTON —  This political season, gun control advocates are bolstered by Hillary Clinton’s embrace of their issue and an increase in the political cash they’ve raised, even as they continue to be outgunned by the National Rifle Association when it comes to campaign spending.

The gap is closing this year – thanks largely to increased spending by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

By UNclimatechange via Wikimedia Commons

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

But with fewer resources, gun control advocates are forced to be more targeted and strategic than the NRA, even backing some GOP candidates over Democrats with better records on gun control.

So far, the NRA PAC has donated about $578,000 directly to dozens of federal candidates, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

But the NRA’s real clout comes from the more than $22 million it has spent independently of campaigns so far this year. Most of that money was spent on attack ads aimed at helping Republican candidates.

Meanwhile, Independence USA has nearly doubled the $5.6 million it spent at this point in the 2014 election cycle, spending more than $10.6 million to bolster the campaigns of both Republicans and Democrats.

Bloomberg, an independent and a Clinton supporter, has endorsed Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., citing the senator’s leading role on a background check bill after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. His PAC has also released an ad featuring Erica Smegielski, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, saying she’s “grateful” for Toomey.

Bloomberg’s support of Toomey over Democratic challenger Katie McGinty, who has a stronger position on gun control, puzzled many. But he and other gun control advocates are trying to reach out to GOP candidates in order to win Republicans over to their cause, even if it means hurting some Democrats.

Gabrielle Giffords, the former Democratic Arizona congresswoman who was severely wounded in a mass shooting, has endorsed both Toomey and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.

Former U.s. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona

Ana Radelat /

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona

Her Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, which has raised $8.2 million, has also spent $2 million in ads in New Hampshire on behalf of Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is seeking to unseat Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

“We have been investing in holding Kelly Ayotte accountable for her support of the gun lobby,” said Mark Prentice, spokesman for the Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC.

Bloomberg’s PAC also has helped Hassan, as has Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn.

Murphy has taken a different approach to helping candidates who would help break the stalemate in Congress over gun control.

With the help of Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Murphy in July established the “Fund to End Gun Violence,” an effort to “bundle” contributions to U.S. House and Senate candidates who would support gun control bills.

Murphy said the idea came to him after he staged a 15-hour filibuster in June to pressure GOP leaders to hold votes on gun bills. He said that two days after seizing the Senate floor, he received more than $100,000 in campaign contributions without sending a single solicitation.

He, Booker and  Schumer are now asking their donors to direct their contributions to other candidates. The senators are not running for re-election this year.

Campaign spokeswoman Laura Maloney said the fund has raised more than $150,000 for endorsed candidates through more than 10,000 individual donations.

“The effort is still ongoing and will go full steam ahead until Election Day as Chris continues to tirelessly work to elect candidates who are committed to ending gun violence,” Maloney said.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy filibusters on the Senate floor Wednesday.


U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy filibusters on the Senate floor in June.

The Fund to End Gun Violence has backed only six candidates, all Democrats. Besides Hassan, it has endorsed Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is running against Sen. Marco Rubio, R.-Fla.; Catherine Cortez Masto, a who is running for an open Senate seat in Nevada; Salud Carbajal, who is running for a California seat in the U.S. House of Representatives; Anna Throne-Holst, who is running for Congress in New York; and Val Demings, who is running for Congress in Florida.

Gary Rose, head of the political science department at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, said  gun control advocates may win some races “here and there.”

“In certain states and districts perhaps, but nationally no,” Rose said. “At the national level, the Republican connection with the NRA is pretty strong, and the Republicans hold both houses of Congress.”

But a few political victories would give the gun control advocates evidence that they can be effective, he said, even if those wins do not result in a groundswell of support for gun control legislation in the next Congress.

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Education Commissioner Launches “Equity” Tour


HARTFORD — Hoping to highlight recent accomplishments in education, Connecticut Commissioner of Education Dianna R. Wentzell on Friday launched an “Equity and Excellence” tour around the state.

The first visit was to a New Britain school to discuss chronic absenteeism, one of the major priorities outlined in the State Board of Education’s new five-year comprehensive plan. The tour will stop at schools throughout the state this fall to highlight different priorities laid out in the plan, which seeks to ensure equity and excellence for all Connecticut students.

On Friday, Commissioner Wentzell was joined by Jill Spineti, president of The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, as well as New Britain school district and community leaders for a brief tour and roundtable discussion at Vance Village Elementary School, which is implementing strategies that are effectively addressing chronic absenteeism.

“It is critical that we all understand the importance of daily school attendance. Even in the early grades, lost time in school can put students at risk of becoming disengaged or dropping out of school down the road,” said Wentzell. “Our five-year comprehensive plan makes combatting chronic absenteeism a priority as we seek to ensure equity and excellence for all Connecticut students. Schools like Vance Village Elementary School show us that when we maintain high expectations for every student and create engaging, diverse, and welcoming learning environments, our students show up and perform well academically.”

“Quality youth mentoring is proven to increase attendance, and students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52 percent less likely than their peers to skip a day of school,” said Spineti. “Our priority is to provide effective resources and assistance for starting or expanding a school-based mentoring initiative, or aligning an existing program with ongoing efforts to address chronic absenteeism.”

“We are honored that Commissioner Wentzell and President Spineti have chosen to visit with us here in New Britain. We look forward to discussing the Comprehensive Plan and the all of the great things we are doing to reduce chronic absenteeism,” said New Britain Superintendent Nancy Sarra. “Recently, we were awarded the New York Life Foundation Excellence in Summer Learning award by the National Summer Learning Association. This is tied to our Summer Enrichment Experience Program, which is just one of our programs that has helped in a tremendous way in regards to chronic absenteeism.”

The State Board of Education’s Five-Year Comprehensive Plan for Education was developed after a lengthy and comprehensive community engagement effort that included input from community based and philanthropic organizations, professional associations, higher education, parents and students, and the business community.

“We relied heavily upon input from families, educators, and other stakeholders to develop the Five-Year Comprehensive Plan. Members of our local communities freely gave of their time in order to ensure the ideas included in our plan represented the diverse viewpoints within our state,” said Commissioner Wentzell. “These stakeholders’ ideas laid the groundwork for our path toward making equity and excellence in education a reality for every child.”

The Comprehensive Plan provides a roadmap for the State Department of Education to achieve its equity goals by maintaining high expectations for every child, training and supporting great teachers and leaders, and ensuring every public school is diverse and welcoming.

“We have identified several areas where we are shifting our focus to fulfill our promise of an excellent public education for every Connecticut child. One of those focus areas is chronic absence,” said Wentzell. “We want every public school student in our state to be in school and engaged. That means we have to work with families, educators, and community stakeholders to decrease the number of days that students are out of school.”

Chronic absence is defined as missing 10 percent or more days of school for any reason, including excused absences, unexcused absences, suspensions, and other disciplinary actions. Nearly 10 percent of Connecticut Public School students were chronically absent during the 2015-16 school year, and rates were significantly higher in many communities.

Chronic absence is inextricably linked with student performance, and students who are chronically absent are less likely to read on grade level, are less likely to perform well academically, and are at a greater risk for dropping out of high school. Risk factors for chronic absence include poverty, homelessness, chronic health conditions, frequent moves, and disabilities.

The SDE has recently taken concrete steps to address chronic absence.  The state is expanding restorative justice programs, such as the Connecticut School-Based Diversion Initiative, and positive behavioral interventions and supports. Additionally, districts are increasing utilization of the Department of Children and Families’ Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services to respond to mental health crises.

Vance Village Elementary School in New Britain is implementing strategies that are effectively addressing chronic absenteeism. The school’s rate of chronic absence remains around 10 percent, which is on par with the state average. Additionally, Vance has significantly reduced the numbers of in-school and out-of-school suspensions from the 2012-13 school year to the 2014-15 school year. In-school suspensions fell from 60 incidents to 36, and out-of-school suspensions dropped from 47 to 16.

For more information and resources about chronic absence visit here.

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White House Staffers Reveal “The Real Olivia Pope” Who Hails from Connecticut

Updated October 5, and October 15 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — More news about “the real Olivia Pope” surfaced this week after sources said she plans to run for the United States Senate against Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

The news comes about two months after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy reportedly asked two White House staffers to resign when he learned about their alleged abuse of power, including an illegal entry into an Avon resident’s home, according to a source in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement officers in Connecticut and Washington, D.C.–some of whom helped to write this story.

According to FBI sources and others close to the White House, Malloy asked the two unidentified staffers to resign after they supposedly interrupted an ongoing and unusual recruitment process to hire a Connecticut woman, who was approached by the White House and political operatives in January 2014.

Ann-Marie Adams 2015 at the White House.

The “real Olivia Pope” at the White House in 2015.

Local Democrats and Republicans were also involved in the so-called recruitment process and were doing background checks, which they said would last for one year for job candidates considered for a senior or advisory position, according to a former spokesman for the Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance and other local police officers. The encounter lasted for almost two years “because they were trying to cover up thier own crime while they were assigned to watch and protect ‘Obama’s future wife’.”  The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, was told she would begin at the White House on April 16, 2015.

When she arrived at the White House to meet with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, she and locals who watched the botched investigation  said they “were blindsided.  She was introduced to a woman, Jennifer Friedman, who was presumably hired while recruiters were “still doing research” and at the same time planting stories to discredit her as a strong job candidate.  Friedman, then became the crisis manager who “created the crisis,” sources said. She would reportedly watch the real Olivia Pope and take ideas to do her new job in the Brady Room while she served as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary Office of the Press Secretary. They then decided to suppress attempts to get the story out until the hit television show, Scandal, was off the air. The White House spends about $500 million on its yearly public relations budget, so the decision to to this, said one source, is to perhaps kill the woman after staffers spoke to her about the possibility of First Lady Michelle Obama getting a divorce.

This so-called recruitment seemed like a farce and attempted murder when Friedman and others worked daily to change the woman’s image, including her hair and complexion. Daily micro-aggressions were given out like sport by them and Malloy’s administration, which blamed the Obama administration for  damages done in the state during the so-called interview that morphed into an extended investigation “because of the woman’s personality: witty, feisty and funny.” Additionally, her knowledge and experiences were for various projects in the White House and  for the 2014 and 2016 political campaigns for President Barack Obama and Republican Candidate Donald Trump.

Nativism, she said, dominated the process, which paranormal investigators extended because they were also influenced by a the show. During this unusually long investigation, they were using her varied experiences and skill sets,  rolodex to help solve several attempts to kill her, damage her businesses, stop her from applying to law school, getting a lawyer and applying for other jobs. Officials said they wanted her to be involved in the investigation about her identity and why she has not been hired by the Obama administration. They, including White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes and a few Secret Service agents, said she was the real Olivia Pope.

“After they learned that she was indeed the real Oliver Pope,” one source said, they didn’t finalize the contract, or say why they thought that method of recruiting was used for her. They kept showing her scenes that reflected her life experiences and relationships.”

Jennifer Friedman, far right, got the job that the real Olivia Pope was supposedly being recruited for

Jennifer Friedman, far right, got the job that the real Olivia Pope was supposedly being recruited for in 2014.

The investigators then focused on what might potentially happen in the future rather than the present, even though the Obamas were already in a committed relationship. And the woman, who has a unique blend of experience in the corporate and nonprofit communities, was held hostage to the investigation to verify her identify and her relationship to President Obama.  During the investigation, she was also forced to keep up appearances at business meetings, receptions and other gatherings in CT and DC. She was unable to work full time during the so-called investigation, which the investigators painstakingly used to prove that the Obamas and their staff are culpable.

“During the so-called investigation law enforcement officers helped to stunt  the woman’s career trajectory, ” sources said. “The idea was to hire her because they were using her during the election campaign and other times. Several staff members, who resigned, wanted the story to come out.”

During the lengthy and arduous investigation for a senior position in the Obama administration, someone in the administration suggested that the real Olivia Pope not work in the White House but should work as a consultant. They assigned others to watch her, including Jessica Allen,  Brian Gabriel and Peter Velz. In the meanwhile, the woman’s ideas, life lessons and blue print for her career trajectory were used by White House staffers and friends of the Obama administration, while they held her in her Avon townhouse, which sits tony suburb 12 miles from Hartford, she said. The woman has been in media and politics for more than 15 years. Other White House staffers had to interrupt the onboarding process, so that those “recruiters,” some of whom were eventually fired, didn’t have access to more  ideas or intelligence from the real Olivia Pope.

Found: Cosby Show Based on Connecticut Family

After being informed by investigators of this unprecedented breach of White House protocol, law enforcement officials helped the woman filed a complaint for unfair labor practices, which included work without pay, theft of services, sexual harassment and forced labor.

After they discovered the story is true, the recruiters abruptly stopped the recruiting process. The woman, who had to be taken out of Connecticut on several occasions because of attempts to kill her, was forced into experimental conditions and hospitals to create medical records. The information was also used  inform policy and other matters in the Obama  Malloy and Pedro Segarra administrations. Before 2014, she was never admitted into a hospital, sources said. She was born in her family’s house.

The unidentified woman, who has ties to political elites in Connecticut, New York and Washington, also complained about theft of services and attempts to discredit her business.

Gov. Malloy and Former Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra’s administration also blocked access to ads, grants and contracts to keep her away from the White House and in bondage. To discredit her claim to be the real Olivia Pope, they deleted Twitter and Facebook followers, stole money, business attire,  luggage,  pictures, IDs,  phones, jewelry, cars and other personal belongings. They continued with other overzealous methods to disrupt her life after the Obama movie was released at the Sundance festival in January 2016, including tampering with her medical records, credit reports and other evidence.

While still with in communication for another position, White House sources stressed that she was the real Oliver Pope, a character in the ABC drama, Scandal.

The investigators showed her at least 50 scenes in the ABC series that are close to her personal encounters with friends and clients. White House staffers told her that’s why she was a victim of a hate crime. They also identified at least 17 characters in the first three seasons.

The "real Olivia Pope" at the White House, darkened in the picture on July 9, 2015 when there was a bomb threat at the White House.

The “real Olivia Pope” at the White House, darkened in the picture on July 9, 2015 when there was a bomb scare and the press corp was asked to evacuate the Brady Room  at the White House.

The investigators began sabotaging her when they realized the woman is indeed the main character, who was followed by the State Department since 1988. Her personality was also used for the 1980s hit televisions sitcom: The Cosby Show. So the person who played Lisa Bonet’s character, Denise Huxtable, on The Cosby Show grew up to be the real Olivia Pope.

 Several White House staffers thought it was time to reveal the real Olivia Pope, who has little time and resources to actually do this lengthy investigation.

Thus, sources said, the need to cover up the recruiting process and other incidents by prolonging the investigation. Sources also said several political operatives tried to kill her in innocuous ways because they did not want the story to come to fruition, and they wanted Michelle Obama to stay in the White House–despite the alleged crime.

These sources, who feared retaliation, said people have been trying to kill the real Oliver Pope for several years. They also tried to switch the woman’s identity, using Judy Smith as a foil for the real Oliver Pope. And because she was not hired, the Obama administration and their cronies wanted her to run for the U.S. Senate.

It was made clear to the woman that the show’s actress, Kerry Washington, used Judy Smith as a model to prepare for the role. The real Olivia Pope’s identity had to be kept a secret until the end of the investigation.

“It doesn’t mean she’s the real person the show is based on,” sources in the Department of State. “This was an effort to correct this misunderstanding looming large in our country today.”

How Melanie Trump Trumped the First Black First Lady

During the investigation, at least seven people were fired from the Malloy, Segarra and Obama administrations because of the methods used to uncover this story and the attempts to cover up their findings from President Obama, the First Lady and his close advisors.

The perpetrators sometimes used hypnosis and other methods to bring the woman into her Hartford-based business to check for mail and do other matters. Additionally, they would use techniques and devices to interrupt her speech pattern, c and to create flubs during on-air interviews. While she was held hostage in Connecticut and away from the White House, the perpetrators also tried to change her American accents, mannerisms, habits, which were markers of a blending of the middle-class West Indian and African-American cultures that influenced her sensibilities. That’s because the show’s main character is played by an actress, Washington, with a Jamaican mother.

The Hartford Guardian reached out to the Justice Department, the White House Communications Office Press Secretary Josh Earnest, Press Aide Peter Velz and the Secret Service press office for comment. They were unavailable at press time.

White House Defends $500 Million Yearly Public Relations Budget Used to Spread Obama’s Message

Who Earns What at the White House

More videos about the July 9, 2015 bomb threat at the White House. The secret service was guiding “the real Olivia Pope” during the bomb threat and took her earrings as proof of contact there. They said they would meet with her after the investigation of the bomb threat. They have yet to meet with her to explain why shew as not told about the plan to engage her in “a project” or to enter the White House as a staffer. Because of the botched investigation, the secret service agents and others began to darken her face and change her nose to hide her from the viewing public. Apparently the extended investigation was also about the July 9, 2015 bomb scare, sources said after the story was published and updated on Oct. 5. Sources believe the Obama administration is marked by the number of shootings in the country because of what they are doing to “real Olivia Pope” who is an Omen in the land. She was used to help get President Barack Obama in office. And she was used in secret–and not paid. Every time they disrupt her career and her family, there’s an incident in the country, including the December 12 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn. The Omen has been thoroughly informed of how they have been abusing her in the country. Other reporters want the results of the investigation into the July 9 bomb scare public now. See videos of incident below:


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Banking Commission Slaps Credit Agency

HARTFORD —  Connecticut Banking Commissioner Jorge L. Pérez announced a settlement on Wednesday with National Credit Adjusters for violating Connecticut banking law pertaining to unlicensed collection activity in the state and collecting on illegal payday loans.

In addition to providing relief to affected borrowers, National Credit Adjusters has paid a $40,000 fine and has agreed to immediately cease from acting as a consumer collection agency in Connecticut without a license.

Following an investigation, the Department of Banking determined that NCA engaged in unlicensed debt collection activity in the state from at least Nov. 2011 through April 2015. In addition, NCA collected on unsecured short-term small loans of $15,000 or less), with annual interest rates far exceeding the 12 percent maximum annual rate allowed by Connecticut law.  These kinds of loans are known as payday loans.

From at least November 2012 to August 2015, NCA purchased and attempted to collect payments on 1,254 such loans and received $66,151 from 136 consumers. A balance of $1,307,457 remained on these loans, state officials said.

“As a result of the department’s action, National Credit Adjusters will no longer engage in unlicensed activity in the State. This change in behavior, alongside assisting consumers, is a chief priority for the agency,” Commissioner Pérez said.  “Borrowers can be sure the Department of Banking will do everything we can to assist consumers in obtaining monies collected on these loans and ensure NCA follows through on their obligation to zero out these loans and no harm is done to people’s credit.”

Under the terms of the settlement, National Credit Adjusters must make every effort to locate each consumer, make restitution for the $66,151 it collected on these loans from the 136 borrowers, zero out all balances totaling $1,307,457 and contact credit agencies to remove any negative ratings that occurred as a result of these loans. Refund checks will be mailed to borrowers no later than October 31, 2016

Borrowers who have questions or need additional information should visit the Department of Banking website at, or call (800) 831-7225 to find out more.

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IRS Aims to Bring Facebook to Court Again

By Adam Stuhlman I @stuhlman_adam

In January 2013, one Hartford resident was in the United States Tax Court because she couldn’t pay a $213 tax bill. She was unemployed. However, Internal Revenue Service lawyers debated penalties for refusing to pay $213, which should have been deducted for educational tax credit.

Then in February 2013 news broke that Facebook amassed a billion in profit in the previous year and did not pay taxes. In fact, Facebook was expecting a refund.

Like many, she wanted an answer to this blatant disparity in how the court system meted out justice to individual tax payers.

Now the IRS is fighting to get Facebook back to court over allegations that the social media giant has avoided paying taxes through shifting money overseas.

Matt Gardner, executive director for the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said Facebook has been shifting money out of the United States to Facebook Ireland and the Cayman Islands. He said they have also used a legal stock option tax break to reduce the amount of taxes they have to pay.

“The interesting thing about Facebook on this front is that the IRS has been trying to get Facebook to cooperate with their investigation into this precise issue for some time,” said Gardner. “The IRS has issued something like a half dozen different summons to Facebook, which Facebook has basically ignored.”

According to documents from their website, Facebook’s

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

$5 billion revenue in 2012 represented a 37 percent increase from $3.7 billion in 2011.


Citizens for Tax Justice, a partner organization with ITEP, said that Facebook paid nothing in income taxes in 2012. Gardner said the IRS has issued at least six summons for Facebook to appear in court.

IRS Spokesperson Yadira Nadal declined to comment on this, saying that federal law prohibits the IRS from commenting on any taxpayer, organization’s situation, or case.

Anteneh Daniel, executive for The Brunswick Group, said in an email that Facebook’s statement from their media relations department is as follows:

“Facebook applies with the rules and regulations of all countries where we operate and we have no further comment at this time.”

The Brunswick Group is an advisory firm that “specializes in critical issues and corporate relations,” according to

“It is very difficult to tell what these assets are worth. When companies aggressively seek to lowball the value of these assets it can be very difficult for the IRS to catch up with that and make them value it (assets) correctly,” Gardner said. “That is what makes it a hard thing to police and monitor.”

Gardner said transfer pricing rules are put in place to make sure that when companies transfer assets overseas, “they do so at a fair price.” But the difficulty in enforcing these laws makes it harder on the IRS. He said the only solution is to make sure the IRS has the proper funding and the authority to go after companies that break the law.

While the IRS may be having difficulty with Facebook, it keeps on going when it comes to collecting taxes from other citizens. An April 2014 Gallop poll revealed that 66 percent of Americans feel that corporations pay too little in taxes, with the middle class paying too much. It also said that 40 percent of Republicans felt that lower income individuals pay to less in taxes, as compared to 22 percent of Independents and 11 percent of Democrats.

Connecticut residents want to know whether lawyers in the Office of Chief Counsel, namely William Borgardus and Debra Lynn Reale, are still targeting nonprofit organizations and individuals after news of Facebook’s victory over the IRS.

Multiple calls and emails to the IRS about lack of corporate income tax and any potential impact this may have on other citizen’s taxes were not returned.

To read the gallop poll click here:

To read Facebook’s document click here:

Reporter Adam Stuhlman can be reach on Twitter: @stuhlman_adam

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