When I moved to New Haven as child, I saw some definitive characteristics in schools.
I lived in Fair Haven for a while and the area is riddled with crime, gangs, and murder. The only school close by was Fair Haven Middle School, which I attended right after students moved into its new building. The education was mediocre compared to what I experienced in private schools growing up, and I never felt challenged.
Then, while still living in Fair Haven, my mother transferred to another school, to Nathan Hale Middle School in East Haven. I was able to go to that school through an integration program, and I was bused to my new school 20 minutes away everyday.
Nathan Hale is located in a suburban area which, at the time, had a high percentage of Caucasian middle- or upper-class families. The education was harder and more valuable then I ever expected. The amount of resources that Nathan Hale had compared to Fair Haven was incredible. Nathan Hale had a computer room, a band room, an art room and so much more than Fair Haven could ever give me. Teachers actually cared, gave me work I felt challenged me everyday, and it never would have happened without the integration program.
Integration of schools is an economic and moral issue. The integration occurs when students from high poverty neighborhoods are given the opportunity to attend better schools in better neighborhoods. This is a difficult idea for some because of the amount of resources it takes for these children to attend these schools. However, according to the New York Times, on Oct. 7, 1994, the state of Connecticut was the first state in the country to start a voluntary program to integrate schools across their city and town lines. By integrating these schools, children from all backgrounds are able to learn in the same place and build cultural cohesion.
Parents who live in the towns where children are bused may feel that their tax dollars are not going to their children’s education, but to those who are in poverty. The PBS documentary, Separate and Equal, shows parents from a suburban area wanting to break away from Baton Rouge so they could create their own city with its own school district. If these people were to do so it would send the rest of Baton Rouge’s school system into the toilet. Students from poor neighborhoods would never get a quality education.