From Brown v. the Board of Education in 1954 to Sheff v. O’Neill in 1989, segregation in public schools has been a hot-button issue in American public school systems, and Connecticut public school systems are no exception.
Connecticut was recently lauded by UCLA’s Civil Rights Project, which said in its April 2015 report that “it is the only state in the Northeast that is going in a positive direction and it has created voluntary processes that have clearly reduced severe segregation.” Imagine an era in which students cannot learn in a diverse environment and are subsequently given an inferior educational experience.
Now imagine that happening today, and, ironically, in the state being praised for its efforts to desegregate.
Using data released in January 2016 by the Connecticut State Department of Education, The Connecticut Mirror said 11,670 black and Hispanic students attended segregated schools in Hartford in 2015, which is a nearly 25 percent decrease from the number of students attending desegregated schools in 2011.
Perhaps this wouldn’t be so upsetting if it weren’t for the fact that the Department of Education also reported that 21,412 minority K-12 students live in Hartford, meaning over half of Hartford’s minority students are still being educated in segregation. How is it that, in a state considered to be progressive, there are still so many children left behind? Despite all of the excuses spewing like molten garbage from the mouths of Hartford bigwigs, we have yet to receive a concrete answer.
Regardless of neighborhood residential patterns, which are a significant cause for the segregation of public schools, all students deserve the opportunity to an equal education elsewhere. The segregation in Hartford is not only a case of racism, but also classism. Apparently, America has forgotten the Fourteenth Amendment, and Hartford’s no exception.