Connecticut school segregation, education funding and Tom Foley

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story should have mentioned that with the opening of magnet schools in the region, about 43 percent of students who live in Hartford now attend integrated schools.

Is breaking the link between race, poverty, housing and school segregation an intractable problem in Connecticut?

Judging from our recent stories by education reporter Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, it would seem so.

Her reporting this week would suggest there is a limited will to meaningfully integrate Connecticut’s schools, despite the expenditure of billions over the past two decades.

The analytical graphics presented in our stories show that the public policies adopted to address school segregation have had only marginal effect on the racial make-up of Connecticut’s inner-city schools – and by some analyses may have actually made things worse.  (Those graphics should not be taken lightly, by the way, since they represent a significant input of research by Trinity College students participating in The Cities, Suburbs & Schools Project. The Mirror’s data editor Alvin Chang collaborated with Trinity for presentation of the research on our site.)

The creation of dozens of magnet schools, we report, may have simply drained from some schools those students whose families are the most fortunate to begin with.

And the state’s “open choice” system has attracted only a tiny number of inner-city minority students wishing to attend suburban schools.

Underscoring this slow pace of change is the body- politic’s apparent interest in delaying the longstanding education funding lawsuit that has helped motivate the small progress there has been. A Superior Court judge has rejected the state’s request to begin the trial after this year’s gubernatorial election.

And speaking of numbers and elections, it would appear that gubernatorial hopeful Tom Foley has figured out that he’s the only Republican with a clear shot (pardon the pun) at winning support of the sizeable number of Connecticut voters angered by the state’s recent gun-control legislation.

Gov. Dannel Malloy , meanwhile, has other numbers on his mind –  revenue and expenditure numbers, to be exact. As our state budget guru Keith Phaneuf reports, the good news this week is that an unanticipated surge in state tax revenues could leave a budget surplus and significantly reduce the $1 billion-plus deficit projected to greet taxpayers – and whoever is elected governor next November.

In other news this week:

Connecticut’s commissioner of energy and the environment, Dan Esty, prepares to leave the Malloy administration while Miles Rapoport, a former state secretary of state, takes over as national director of Common Cause.

In Washington, legislators fret over the farm bill, the expired research and development tax credit, and national security.

And officials at the state Capitol were concerned about security, too. They authorized the permanent installation of metal detectors.

See all our stories as they develop here.

For Editor Jenifer Frank,

Assistant Editor Paul Stern

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