Of the 1,271 schools public schools in Connecticut, 38 of those schools lack diversity and do not mirror their districts’ overall student demographics.

Each year the State Department of Education informs several districts that they are violating the law by having schools with demographics far less diverse than their district. This year six districts were cited: West Hartford, Greenwich, Groton, Fairfield, Bristol and Hamden.

Connecticut lawmakers passed its racial imbalance law during a time of civil unrest. Martin Luther King had just been assassinated the previous year and people were rioting in cities across the country.

To achieve integration, the law requires districts 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.

Eight schools were found to be in violation this year, state school board members were told Thursday. Another 30 schools the State Department reports imbalance is “impending”.

While there are 1,271 schools statewide, school in many urban districts are often exempt from the law and being segregated because their populations are overwhelmingly made up of ethnic minorities and there’s no way to integrate within the district.

The State Board of Education as recent as last year considered recommending changes to this law, but it did not go anywhere.

While this disparity seems to only be impacting 2 percent of Connecticut’s schools, next door in New York it seems to be much more of an issue. The New York Times has a great look at New York City School demographics in a recent article titled, “‘Why don’t we have any white kids?’”

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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