Counting What Matters: Better Data For Better Policy in CT


Dec. 9, 2016

8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


The Lyceum in Hartford

Sponsored by:

Conference Schedule

8 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Breakfast and Registration (sponsored by Hartford Foundation for Public Giving)

8:30 a.m. - 9 a.m.


9 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Education Equity

For a small state, Connecticut is home to deep inequities in our public education system that manifest in divergent schooling and subsequent life opportunities for our state's youth. Advocates attempting to demonstrate these inequities are often hamstrung by insufficient or unavailable data to explain the issues at hand. In the last two years, our State Department of Education has developed a new system for measuring school accountability and incorporated a revised curriculum and standardized testing system, all while working with a broken system of school finance. In addition, the state's Office of Early Childhood has developed and rolled out a new Early Childhood Information System. New innovations offer an opportunity for advocates to demonstrate the case for inequity with rich and compelling data. In this panel, we explore existing work around equity in education, focusing on the new ways to measure and account for disadvantages and the challenges advocates moving forward.

  • Pat Gibson, Director of Data and Policy, School Finance Project
  • Ajit Goplakrishnan, State Department of Education Performance Office
  • Jennifer Johnson, Office of Early Childhood
  • Rachel Leventhal-Weiner , Moderator
9 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Migration: Who's really migrating in Connecticut

This fall, the CT Data Collaborative hosted two data informed forums on migration in Connecticut. The Collaborative convened the forums to connect stakeholders from around the state on the issue of migration, and in the course of our discussions, we have identified several topics for future exploration. In this session, we welcome Dr. Thomas Cooke, a geographer from the University of Connecticut, to lay out the myths about migration and to present initial research on migration patterns, dispelling media narratives about what is driving migration in our state. If you were unable to attend the earlier forums, this session provides a summary of current work and next steps for research and advocacy.

  • Dr. Thomas Cooke, Professor, University of Connecticut
9 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

New Developments at the CT Data

The Collaborative has had a busy year of partnerships and data advocacy. In this session, Executive Director, Michelle Riordan-Nold will review the work prodcued through public and private partnerships and our plans for 2017. The presentation will highlight special projects and opportunitites for future collaboration.

  • Michelle Riordan-Nold, CT Data Collaborative
10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Ignite presentations

During this session, we feature several real world projects where researchers faced challenges in using, analyzing, and collecting data. Adopting an Ignite style, the presenters will have a a short period of time to describe their project. We will ensure we time for questions from our conference audience. 

11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

What does Regionalism mean?

For the land of steady habits, regionalism presents a simultaneous opportunity and threat. While recent media coverage of regionalism has centered on the Capitol city's financial woes, there are several fundamental issues to consider before initiating a regional arrangement. During this session, our panel will address issues related to the success of regionalism, including the actual benefits and the distribution of those benefits to the regional partners, the reduction of municipal fiscal disparities and the nature of the politics preventing towns around the state from regionalizing. Panelists will discuss the data needed to prove the regionalism case and the state policies that promote or prevent towns from creating regional arrangements.

  • Bo Zhao, Senior Economist, New England Public Policy Center
  • Stewart "Chip" Beckett, Glastonbury Town Council
  • Representative Jonathan Steinberg, Representative of Westport
  • Marcia Leclerc, Mayor of East Hartford
  • Scott Gaul, Moderator
12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Lunch and Networking

1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Data Driven Advocacy for Racial Justice

Criminal justice, health and child welfare advocates are part of a larger state network pursuing an equity agenda. Maintaining a data-driven lens can be a challenge in a state with extreme racial and ethnic segregation. The existing research in these areas shows that citizens of color in Connecticut are disproportionally impacted by the criminal justice, health care, and child welfare systems. In this session, panelists present and discuss current research and advocacy challenges in showing disproportionality because of issues with data suppression, margins of error, and data availability. 

  • Susan Smith, Department of Children and Families
  • Vannessa Dorantes, Department of Children and Families
  • Lauren Ruth, CT Voices for Children
  • Tekisha Everette, Health Equity Solutions
  • Izzi Greenberg , Moderator
1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

CTData Academy: Data 101

  • Rachel Leventhal-Weiner, Data Engagement Specialist, CT Data Collaborative
1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Counting the Homeless: Real Change and Progress Using Data

Counting the homeless population has always presented a challenge to homelessness and housing advocates, however, through partnerships, collaborations, and a focus on data, real change has occurred in Connecticut. In this session, we assemble presentations on three initiatives in the state that have turned the curve on homelessness:

  • 90 in 90 Challenge Report - how looking at a little bit of data can lead to a whole lot of progress
  • Rapid Rehousing - how we use data to help programs track outcomes and progress
  • The End of Veteran Homelessness - how data made it possible for CT to be one of only 2 states to end veteran homelessness

  • Beau Anderson, CAN Manager, Data Analysis, Department of Housing
  • Jackie Janosko, Research Analyst, CT Coalition to End Homelessness
  • Brian Roccapriore, Director of Homeless Management Information Systems and Strategic Analysis, CT Coalition to End Homelessness
3 p.m. - 4 p.m.

"How to Measure and Improve Well-Being—And Why That's More Essential than Ever"

Professor Jacob S. Hacker will draw on his extensive research on inequality, insecurity, and American public policy to talk about how we can better measure human well-being, use our research and data to craft new policy ideas, and bring those ideas to fruition.

  • Dr. Jacob Hacker, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University