My friend and fellow education focused mama, Gwen Samuel, has organized a very important event tomorrow in Hartford, Connecticut. Gwen is the founder of the Connecticut Parents’ Union and she and her organization have been organizing a multi-pronged response to the realization that Black and Brown children are being denied access to magnet schools in Hartford even though they have available seats that currently sit empty. The magnet school law, passed in 1996, includes racial quotas that that say that no more than 75 percent of the students admitted to a magnet school can be Black or Latino and that the other 25 percent must be either White or Asian. The problem is that the schools are not filling their White/Asian seats but have waitlists of Black and Brown children—and it’s illegal for them to let any of them in.
So seats sit empty.
A group of parents have sued the state education commissioner in the case Robinson v. Wentzell, claiming that they are being denied access to a public school that their children have the right to attend because they are Black. And Brown. As far as they, and their lawyers are concerned, their constitutional rights are being violated and the goal of the case is to have those rights restored.
Tomorrow is just the beginning of a much larger conversation about the noble goal of integration and the unintended consequences—and yes, discrimination—that can emerge in its wake.
We are hoping for a livestream of the event and will post when we have a link. Please come out if you can and share far and wide. We know that there are other states where the goal of integration is causing a lot of pain—and injustice—for families of color who just want to choose the right school for their children.