Steven Mahoney: A look at segregation in Connecticut schools

lead_largeAlthough segregation of schools was outlawed with the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, Connecticut students are still routinely segregated by race and their family’s income.

Connecticut is the sixteenth most segregated state for Black Americans, and the twelfth most segregated state for Hispanic Americans, according to a report by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The report also showed that white students in Connecticut are 3.3 times more likely to be in a talented and gifted program than Black and Hispanic students, and 5.5 times more likely to be enrolled in a science or math AP course.

n-PHOTO1-628x314While racial segregation of the past existed by law, present day school segregation exist for a variety of reasons. A report written by Alix Liss for Trinity College’s Cities, Suburbs & Schools Project says that some explanations for present day segregation are student proximity to schools, availability of extracurricular activities and clubs, housing opportunities, white flight, gentrification, and zoning.

Connecticut is also a state with the largest income gap between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent, according to a report by the Economic Analysis and Research Network. So it is no surprise that Connecticut schools are amongst the most unequal in the country.

Take a quick look at U.S. News’ Connecticut High School Rankings and you’ll quickly realize that the majority of highly rated schools are in towns that are among the most wealthy and least diverse. The problem of segregation in Connecticut schools is muddy and difficult to understand, but what’s even more difficult is addressing the problem in some meaningful way.

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