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WWL: Rating Our Towns
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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Connecticut Magazine has ranked the best and worst places to live in the state


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30:29 minutes (14.64 MB)
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Connecticut Magazine has ranked the best and worst places to live in the state, grouped by size and ranked by statistics like crime, cost and culture. It’s great when your town’s on top - or even in the middle of the pack. But what does it mean when the place you live finishes last? Join the conversation today with Charles Monagan, editor of Connecticut Magazine.

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Charles Monagan and ranking of towns

 Numbers and statistics are quantative. Rankings are made by people who do so within the context of their own value judgments.The word "best" as used in town rankings by Mr Monagan is a qualitative statement. If he wants to put all the facts with numbers out there then he should leave it up to the beholder of that information to make a judgment about what it tells us.

I was glad to hear Mr. Kendzior of Meriden challenge Mr Monagan and if it were a debate Mr. Knedzior was clearly the winner as was evidenced by the noticable strident tone in Mr. Monagan's as voice in his summing up the discussion. Mr Monagan authoritatively expounded on how this should be a motivation to "do better". Did he add up and do a statistical ananysis on the number of people who are already putting countless hours into making the town a good placeto be?This type of advertising can certainly go a long way toward limiting the possiblities of bringing additional talent into town.  

I can see that no good purpose is served by this type of ranking and wide publication of such. It is difficult to quantatively calculate the harm done by this glossy cover advertising of a very poorly designed pseudo study.Too many Conecticut towns are struggling now. We don't need a "wanna be" sophisticated and intellectual magazine touting themselves as knowing so much about where we live.

Listener Email from Laurie

I take issue with the way in which Connecticut Magazine measures the quality of towns in the state. I also challenge Connecticut Magazine's motives in producing this list.

First of all, this List should NOT be the "first" thing that people moving to CT should look at, as Charles Monagan says! To say this is such a self-aggrandizing statement!!! This list does more harm than good, causing people to form over-generalized opinions of towns. For example, Greenwich also has poor areas, so you don't HAVE to be rich to "get in there," as Monagan says.

But here's what I'm most incensed about:

A GOOD EDUCATION is NOT measured by how well students perform on standardized tests!!! Standardized tests only measure the ability of students to do well on the test. This has very little relevance to future success or fulfillment in life. There's so much more to life than test scores.

There are many excellent teachers working with poor, underachieving, minority students in big cities; there are also poor teachers working with affluent, privileged, high-scoring white students. To say that test scores mean good education is absolutely backwards.

Perhaps more importantly, given what we know about the Achievement Gap, to say that a town is good based on high test scores is to imply that a town is good when its population is richer and whiter.

This is obviously marketing to affluent people who have the ability to choose where to live from ALL CT towns and who prefer to live around rich white folks like themselves and ignore the fact that there are other people out there. CT Mag is just feeding into the gentrification problem, and the national education crisis.

Town of Winsted


I was interested to hear you mention that you live in Winsted. My brother just bought a condominium in Winsted, and I will be his roommate. We are both moving from Hebron, a town that, to my way of thinking, holds no charms whatsoever. Having driven through Winsted a few times over the years, and traveling to the Motor Vehicle office once, I found the downtown pleasant, in an old mill-town sense that it shares with much of the Naugatuck valley. I enjoy this look and feel, in contrast to what has become of the Fairfield County, "Gold Coast" where I lived for more than thirty years (in Fairfield.) In fact, driving north on route 8 is like driving back in time, at least in a commercial sense, through the "prosperity" of recent decades, and arriving at the late Seventies of the Winsted area.  

I will be looking for work nearby, though I understand this may be problematic, given the depressed economy, both local and national. I wonder if you have had the impression that came to me regarding the Winsted area; it reminded me of Vermont, due, I suppose, to the severe topography, and the scale and age of the housing stock. In any event, I am looking forward to living in a city with an actual downtown, and to getting to know the people there.