To whoever is reading this, from where ever you are, I want you to look around your classroom the next time you are in it.
What do you see? Is your class racially and economically diverse? Or do you see kids who are just like you?
Since Plessy v. Ferguson, schools have become more integrated. People can walk into class and see others from different racial and economic backgrounds. People of color are given the same opportunities as are people who are white. When Plessy was decided, though, some white families who could afford to pulled their children from the public schools because they did not want their children near a person of color.
Connecticut has wealthy neighborhoods that are primarily white, while the poor areas are usually filled with minorities. Some of the schools in poorer areas are not well-funded and do not have the tools to help students get a good education.
In September of 2016, Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher ruled that the schools in Connecticut did not allocate education funds properly. The judge gave the state 180 days to fix their system.
However, 180 days is not enough time to fix a problem that has been going on for years.
The divide between classes needs to be taken into consideration. In the documentary, Separate and Unequal, we saw that families in the upper middle class in a town in Louisiana wanted to create their own school district. They did not feel their children were learning or that the schools in their area were safe.
Public schools depend on taxpayers, but when families with higher incomes decide to leave, then the school won’t receive as much funding. Given the makeup of Connecticut’s neighborhoods, this not only creates a class divide, but a racial one, as well.
Some parents believe that having students who look like their children will provide a better education for their children, but they do not understand that diversity provides a valuable lesson. Separating students will not give children a better education. Telling them to work hard and helping to provide schools with the right materials and a well-trained faculty will.
Click here to see a list of the most diverse districts in the state of Connecticut.
By Arnelle Pierre-Louis