Remember when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out so eloquently against the scourge of “BAD” segregation, while clearly delineating the line between “BAD” segregation and OKAY segregation?
You know, it was back on June 23, 1963, in the Great March on Detroit…
King was speaking to a crowd of more than 25,000 people at Cobo Hall in Detroit.
King explained that unlike OKAY segregation, BAD “Segregation is a cancer in the body politic, which must be removed before our democratic health can be realized.” He said that BAD “Segregation is wrong because it is nothing but a new form of slavery covered up with certain niceties of complexity.” And King added that BAD “Segregation is wrong because it is a system of adultery perpetuated by an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality.”
Okay, so maybe King didn’t differentiate between BAD segregation and OKAY segregation.
In fact, maybe he made it clear that ALL segregation was bad, but the state of Connecticut and its State Department of Education go where Martin Luther King, Jr. failed to go.
Here in Connecticut we have laws and officially sanctioned policies that oppose one type of segregation and support another type of segregation.
As Wait, What? readers now appreciate, Connecticut’s charter schools, and especially Achievement First, Inc., the large charter school management company co-founded by Stefan Pryor, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, actively allow, if not promote segregation.
Every single one of Connecticut’s major charter schools is even more segregated than the school districts they serve and charter schools in Connecticut fail to enroll or maintain student populations that include students that are not fluent in English, students who go home to households where English is not the primary language and students who require special education services.
Connecticut’s major charter schools, led by Achievement First, Inc. are classic examples of schools that are segregated.
However, this week we learned, thanks to an article on CT Mirror’s Political Mirror Blog, that as required by state law, the Connecticut Department of Education has informed Bristol, Fairfield, Greenwich, Groton and West Hartford that their education policies have led to segregated schools and they must develop plans to reduce that segregation. see http://www.ctmirror.org/blogs/integrating-west-hartford-public-schools.
State law makes BAD segregation illegal. Connecticut’s municipal state districts are required to “…report their student demographics for each school. If any school has 25 percent more minorities than the district average, the community must submit a plan to address the imbalance within 60 days.”
As the CTMirror blog post explains, “West Hartford — which has 10,500 students — has too many of its minority students attending Charter Oak International Academy and Smith School. About 75 percent of the students enrolled in those schools are minorities, compared to 37 percent of the districts overall minority enrollment.”
According to Connecticut State Statute 10-226, when a board of education is notified by the state Department of Education that there is a racial imbalance in its schools, it must develop a plan to address that imbalance. It can change school district lines within the town or take other actions that will eliminate the imbalance.
Since West Hartford’s minority students disproportionately go to two of the town’s schools, the town must now develop and implement a plan to end that segregation.
So obviously, segregation is bad and state law requires towns to modify policies to end any segregation that exists.
That law is in place because segregation is a violation of our American principles of equality.
And yet at the same time, an official policy of the Connecticut Department of Education not only accepts the segregation that is taking place in Connecticut’s charter schools, but rewards it.
As noted, the data indicates that every single major charter school is MORE RACIALLY IMBALANCED than the town in which they are located.
Achievement First – Hartford, Jumoke Academy, Achievement First – Elm City College Preparatory, Achievement First – Amistad, Achievement First – Bridgeport are all MORE RACIALLY IMBALANCED and all fail to educate their fair share of non-English speaking students, students who come from households in which English is not the primary language and students who need special education services.
But rather than requiring these charter schools to develop plans to address this segregation, Stefan Pryor and this present Connecticut State Board of Education has been rewarding these schools by extending their charters and giving them even more funds.
Pryor and the Board of Education even recently proposed building four more charter schools in Hartford – and this comes after they voted to allow these existing segregated charter charters in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport to expand.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did not speak about the difference between BAD segregation and OKAY segregation because no segregation should be allowed in the United States of America.
Governor Malloy, Commissioner Pryor and the members of the Connecticut General Assembly need put an end to policies that promote segregation. Nothing short of that should be considered acceptable.