File this one under proof that failing leadership and failing policies lead to failing results.
Despite a court ordered agreement, five years ago, that the State of Connecticut would create a system in which at least 41 percent of Hartford students attended “integrated” schools, the State Department of Education announced yesterday that the state had failed to reach that goal…Again.
The failure will mean a new round of court intervention and negotiations in the ongoing effort to meet the Connecticut Supreme Court’s rulings related to the Sheff v. O’Neill case. It is the case where the Connecticut Supreme Court made clear that under Connecticut’s State Constitution every child has the right to attend a racially diverse school.
The Malloy Administration defended their effort to date and while the state has opened a series of new magnet schools and implemented programs to provide some incentives to suburban towns to accept more urban students, those monitoring the developments over the past two decades recognize the state’s overall efforts have been extremely limited when compared to the magnitude of the problem.
The 41 percent threshold was an initial goal agreed to by the parties; however, the present system is providing an appropriate environment to only 37 percent of Hartford’s students.
One of the most significant problems associated with the overall racial isolation issue is that the State of Connecticut has been diverting more and more money away from the effort to reduce isolation and, instead, spending it on charter schools.
In fact, measured by percentage growth, funding for charter schools has been the fastest growth area in the entire state education budget, and that was before Governor Malloy went all in on charter schools.
As readers of Wait, What know, the urban charter schools are actually making the racial isolation problem worse because all the charter schools are more racially isolated than the public schools in those same communities.
For example, in Hartford, where 93 percent of the students are minorities, the two charter schools, Achievement First Hartford and Jumoke Academy are 100 percent made up of minority students.
See the following chart:
|District/School||% Minority Students|
|New Haven Schools||87%|
|AF- Amistad Academy||98%|
|AF-Elm City Prep||99%|
|Park City Prep||99%|
Equally troubling is the fact that charter schools clearly have a bias against providing services to Hispanic students. Again, using Hartford as an example, whereas 52 percent of the students in Hartford are Hispanic, less than 1 in 10 Achievement First students are Hispanic and there are virtually no Hispanic students at the Jumoke Academy.
The problem is equally apparent when examining the total failure of charter schools to teach students who are not proficient in English or come from homes where English is not the primary language.
|District/School||% Hispanic||% ELL*||% Homes where English is not the primary language|
|New Haven Schools||37%||12%||28%|
|AF- Amistad Academy||35%||12%||12%|
|AF-Elm City Prep||21%||9%||9%|
|Park City Prep||36%||2.5%||2.5%|
As bad as the news is, the proposed action from the Malloy Administration is even worse.
Last week the State Board of Education announced its new initiative to reduce racial isolation. In addition to providing more funds to suburban communities to take urban students, the primary proposal was… BUILD at least two more charter schools.
The Malloy Administration’s plan to reduce isolation is to give the corporate education reform industry the funds to build more charter schools — despite the fact that the charter schools have proven, beyond a reasonable doubt — that they provide an education environment that is even more racially isolated.
With an approach like that, the proponents of reducing racial isolation and protecting civil rights should simply say to Governor Malloy: “If you aren’t going to be serious about your Constitutional and moral duty to Connecticut’s minority students, then we’ll see you in court!”