In November 2013, the Hartford Board of Education neglected to approve a measure that would have created a unique opportunity to improve the educational experience for students at a Hartford elementary school. One concerned parent, Mrs. Lorna Lightner, outraged by the fact that she and other parents were denied an opportunity to weigh in on this critical decision, sought support from local advocacy groups to help organize other parents who found that their voices were similarly ignored.

In response to this plea, StudentsFirst Connecticut pledged to support Mrs. Lightner and all Hartford parents disturbed by the lack of high-quality school options for Hartford students.

“I speak for hundreds of parents who believe the Hartford Board of Education has ignored our voices. I'm outraged because my kids attend one of the lowest performing schools in Connecticut and I have no other option. Each failing school equates to hundreds of kids that are denied a quality education."


—Mrs. Lorna Lightner, Hartford Public School Parent

Currently, over six thousand children find themselves on
waiting lists for quality schools in Hartford.

The Challenge

Unfortunately, many of Hartford's schools are failing their students. According to recent data from the Connecticut Mastery Test, only 30 percent of Hartford Public Schools' third-graders are at or above the state's goals in reading and math. That is far behind the state's average of 62 percent.

The Solution

Thousands of parents in Hartford are desperate for an opening, but with so few seats available the odds are against them. By increasing high-quality school options, Hartford will move closer to the goal of providing a great education for every student.


Led by local Hartford parents like Mrs. Lightner, ‘Hartford Can't Wait’ was created as an awareness campaign intended to elevate the voices of parents and advocate for the expansion of high-performing public charter and magnet schools, as well as turnarounds of failing neighborhood schools.