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Quality Integrated Education for All Children
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10,000 Hartford Children Like Isiah Deserve Better.

Tuesday September 26, 2017
The Hartford Courant’s recent piece on the plight of Hartford student Isiah Rivera highlights an unacceptable issue in our current educational system – that too many students are left behind by the regional school lottery. We share Isiah’s family’s frustration, and the frustration of all the families whose children are left on long waitlists for seats in our regional magnets and Open Choice schools.  

The Courant article only tells us one piece of this larger story – and leaves out important solutions that could help many more children, in addition to Isiah.

As the story explained, Isiah is one of about a hundred Hartford students near the top of the HPS waiting list this year (a fraction of the larger HPS waiting list).  For these students, the State of Connecticut could remedy the immediate problem by utilizing racial data in the lottery for a small number of students. But the problem of unfilled seats is much larger than these hundred students – there are actually over 3600 Hartford children left on the waiting list for magnet schools and the Open Choice program.

 

The State of Connecticut has a court-mandated constitutional obligation to provide a quality, integrated education to every single Hartford student. And yet, today, over 10,000 Hartford students remain in segregated, high-poverty schools.  Why?

      1. The State of Connecticut refuses to lift arbitrary enrollment caps, which bar the creation of additional classes in a number of magnet schools. This simple act could open up hundreds of empty seats at magnet schools to students who wish to attend them, helping to alleviate long waiting lists and place children like Isiah in integrated schools settings now.

     

      1. The State refuses to create new magnet schools to meet the existing demand for seats. Thousands of students remain on the waiting list to attend magnet schools, and many more deserve the opportunity to do so. Expansion of magnets could add thousands of new seats over the next five years.

     

      1. State lawmakers have been reluctant to place mandates on suburban towns to grow the Open Choice program. This simple step, consistent with suburban school capacity, could accommodate hundreds of additional Hartford students every year.

     

 

Until the State of Connecticut is held accountable to fulfill its constitutional obligation to our children, stories like Isiah’s will continue to be commonplace. It is for Isiah, and the 10,000 Hartford students just like him, that we continue to fight for the quality integrated education that EVERY child deserves.

 

What can YOU do?

Write to Governor Malloy and your lawmakers.

Tell them that keeping children like Isiah in segregated, high-poverty schools is unacceptable.

 Demand that the State of Connecticut does better for our children.

For a sample email template, to find your lawmakers, and for more info, click here.