Charter schools in Connecticut

Ah, school life before college…

Lunches worse than Sodexo, tons of study hall and class time to wander the halls, and of course, waking up so early for the bus.

Even though schools in America aren’t perfect, they do the best they can to educate our kids. What can be so difficult about helping kids excel and get an education? I’m sure your answer starts with M and ends with ONEY, which is a close answer. Another factor, however, starts with R and ends in ACE. Segregation is still prevalent in K-12 schools all over Connecticut, but it is less noticed or talked about.

Screenshot 2017-03-10 19.43.25Hartford is a prime example of a city with disadvantaged schools. The city exports money from all of the companies and businesses in the city, but it does not have a substantial income from residents who work to bring money from other towns in. This prevents the public schools in low-income cities from providing opportunities that other schools can offer and less of a choice of where to go to school. Charter schools have been constructed throughout Connecticut to give families a choice as to where their child will go to school.

The establishment of charter schools have been quite recent, with eight Connecticut charter schools established as early as 1997. These schools can either be funded with local funds or state funds.

Charter schools in Connecticut are giving students opportunities to excel when they couldn’t otherwise in public schools, except schools and towns are becoming segregated with the increase in charter schools in the state. The CT Mirror put together an interactive graph that depicts the last 50 years of the racial breakdown in school districts. The map becomes diverse as you toggle through the years. Check with the Connecticut State Department of Education and compare it to the CT Mirror map. Towns that are large enough to appear on the map and that have one or more charter schools in them have 50 percent or more minorities attending school in that town (in 2012-2013).

Screenshot 2017-03-10 19.43.34While having charter schools in minority-heavy towns helps maintain financial equity for citizens, it also poses a challenge to diversifying the demographics in a particular school district as well as in all of the districts in the CT area.

In addition to the public, private, and charter schools, in Hartford Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network has partnered up with the recently established Journalism and Media Academy Magnet School. CPBN engages with the school by constructing a TV studio and media center; The Learning Lab, created just for them (and the public)! This is a start to help diversify the Hartford school district and to connect schools with the community, as magnet schools intend to diversify their classroom.

By Leah Myers

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