A middle class community in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, wanted to incorporate their own city. Their motivation, they said, was stopping the busing of students, but they mostly wanted to stop the busing of low-income students into the community of St. George.
You may be thinking, ‘Well, of course they did. That’s the South. They have a history of racism and classism.’
It’s not just the South, though. It’s in Connecticut too. According to Suburban Stats, a website that gets its information from the U.S. Census Bureau, Hartford, with a population that is 43 percent Hispanic and 38 percent African American, has a problem with low-performing schools. The New Yorker said that, “Connecticut…places two-thirds of its black and Hispanic public-school students in institutions that are effectively segregated.”
But it gets worse.
The Atlantic’s CityLab listed Hartford as the second most segregated city in the United States. CityLab looked at how low-income people were housed and how wealth was distributed. According to University of Michigan, 67.9 percent of children living below the poverty line and under the age of 18 are black or Hispanic. That means dividing a city or state racially, as Connecticut is divided, means segregating the poor from the rich, and subsequently taking away the ability for some kids to get a quality education.
In Hartford, 33.4 percent of people are living below the poverty line, according to DataUSA. Nearly 32 percent of those people are school-age.
Try researching what Hartford schools did to help their students at or below poverty levels, specifically how much money they spent on projects. There is virtually no information for the years 2014-2015. In their annual report on school districts, the Connecticut State Department of Education had, for the majority of Hartford’s expenditures, listed N/A, not applicable. How is the community supposed to help its students if the state does not provide data on progress made thus far?
Segregation based on poverty rates is similar to segregation based on ethnicity. The rates of students who are minority and below the poverty levels are almost absurdly higher than students who are white and below the poverty level. Studies show how integrated schools can help minority students achieve their dreams of higher education and better grades, with virtually none of the dreaded impacts on white students. Separating schools based on class or ethnicity isn’t just wrong. It’s hurtful.
By Kate Sahagian