Magnets Seek “Right” (White) Suburbanites

Contributed PhotoIt turned out Creed wasn’t white enough. So its black and brown students lost everything.

And two decades after a landmark school desegregation lawsuit, Connecticut finds itself with a broken magnet school system and unintended, sometimes bizarre racial consequences.

As Cortlandt V.R. Creed High School’s demise revealed, the state is insisting on steering more white suburban students to regional urban magnet schools in the quest for racial justice — and defunding even successful schools if the numbers don’t add up.

The Board of Education has decided to close Creed after its final class graduates next month. The reason was partly budgetary. But New Haven was also facing a penalty from the state for accepting too many black and brown —  rather than white and Asian — students into the regional magnet high school, which received extra funds, in part, to promote racial desegregation.

After a tweak in state law last year, the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) is cracking down on New Haven’s entire magnet program for not achieving integration, putting four more schools in jeopardy of financial penalties.

Under the new rules, inter-district magnet schools, which are open to suburban students, must be no more than 75 percent African-American or Hispanic. That’s only 5 percent more racial diversity than the SDE required during the past decade. But reaching that benchmark will be a significant challenge for an urban district like New Haven, which is surrounded by increasingly diverse suburbs. If they don’t meet those benchmarks or show they’re integrating enough in another way to obtain a waiver, they could be cut off from a pool of magnet funds.

After Sheff v. O’Neill, the landmark case that ordered desegregation of Hartford area schools in 1996, the state started funding more inter-district magnet schools. Those magnets receive more state funds per pupil than their traditional counterparts. The idea is that their expanded offerings will entice white suburbanites to sit alongside black and brown city kids.

New Haven voluntarily tapped into the pool of money to open all but two high schools and many elementary schools up to neighboring towns. The flow of cash helped New Haven spend $1.7 billion, mostly from the state, to build or rebuild almost every school in town.

Christopher Peak PhotoBut the extra money hasn’t always worked as intended. Like at Creed, an inter-district magnet school where 92.8 percent of the students are non-white. Creed and other magnets have indeed attracted suburban students. But often students with the “wrong” skin color, pointing to a larger, unanticipated problem with the state’s desegregation model.

“While unfortunately today it’s Creed, it may be another school next year if we don’t fix this broken magnet system,” Mayor Toni Harp warned.

At Creed, still stinging from their school’s closure, students who spoke with the Independent —  African-American, Latina and Asian-American —  said they’re furious about the way the state’s efforts are playing out. They said they don’t feel racially isolated at Creed, and they questioned whether they’ll be better off at the two big comprehensive high schools, which are more segregated and less resourced.

Blackballed because of their demographics, Creed students will have limited options for where to go next year. Sherri Davis-Googe, the director of New Haven’s school choice program, said they might throw more magnet schools into non-compliance, but she denied rumors the most students are headed to James Hillhouse and Wilbur Cross.

Two weeks ago, exactly 64 years after Brown v. Board of Education held that separate cannot be made equal, Creed students walked out in protest, carrying signs that read, “Education sees no color.”

Creed’s fate shows just how thorny the racial politics around Connecticut’s school segregation policies can be. The biggest irony, Creed students have realized, is that even though magnet schools are intended to benefit black and brown children like them, the money always follows the white kids.

First Victim

Contributed PhotoBefore the board vote on Creed, during more than an hour of poignant testimony begging to save their school, Creed’s students, alumni and staff said that racial integration shouldn’t have been a goal at all at their magnet school.

“When Cortlandt Creed graduated from Yale Medicine in 1847, he was the first African-American to do so, and yet, here we are in New Haven 161 years later, shutting the doors of a school named in his honor because we have too many black and brown kids,” said Jennifer Sarja, an English teacher at Creed.

Because of the large number of non-white students at Creed, SDE threatened to slap the school with a $121,000 penalty this year and then take away the rest of its magnet funding, approximately $730,000, in two years.

Researchers have consistently found that students at integrated schools, no matter their skin color, perform better. Often, achievement gaps on standardized tests shrink, as in Hartford, where differences in third-grade reading scores at inter-district magnets were eliminated entirely. The effects of desegregation can last for a generation, resulting in more college degrees, higher incomes, lower incarceration rates and better health outcomes.

The exact reason is less clear. Experts argue that racial minorities aren’t getting smarter just by sitting next to white kids; rather, integrated schools are often better-resourced. A school that’s mostly made up of minorities might end up like Creed, pushed around from one dilapidated building to another before being shuttered altogether — a finding confirmed by a national study of 1,500 school closures that showed low-performing schools are more likely to close if they have more black students.

Some current students at Creed said they don’t feel segregated.

“I definitely do not feel this sort of racial isolation. In fact, if anything, I feel as though Creed has been one of the most diverse schools that I have been to,” said Aurea Orencia, a junior. “It’s just that it doesn’t necessarily meet the state’s standards of what diversity is. To the state, we’re only categorized in five different races, but we have students who came from Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East and more.”

Orencia, who’s Asian-American, transferred from Hamden High to Creed her freshman year. There are more racial minorities around her now.

“It’s so diverse that I don’t feel like I’m alone,” she said. “I just don’t see the point in putting race as a category for learning because it should be the same for every single person, no matter what race they are. I don’t think having any more Asian or white people in our school would make our learning any better.”

Suburbs Flip

Christopher Peak PhotoThe larger Creed dilemma emerged from comments made at last week’s Board of Education meeting, when Creed’s closing was on the agenda.

Ariana Buckley, the magnet resource teacher in charge of recruiting suburban students, said that the changing demographics in the towns surrounding New Haven make it difficult to find white students.

The word was out in Hamden, Ansonia and West Haven that Creed was a good school, Buckley said, but those suburbs were diverse. Efforts to recruit in the whiter suburbs of Cheshire, Orange and Guilford —  a longer bus ride away —  hit a dead end, Buckley said.

“Our suburbs are brown, which I think is fantastic. That is what diversity is. Our kids are multiracial. That is what diversity is,” she said. “I’m sorry we’re too racially mixed.”

Creed’s problems with racial diversity were compounded by the district’s choices, faculty added.

Buckley said central office didn’t provide enough support in her recruitment drives. The district paid ACES $711,000 last year to maintain a website and put up signs across the region; the choice office held several magnet fairs itself. But Buckley said that had not been enough to offset Creed’s lack of a permanent home.

Jonathan Cotten, the dean, added “I’m black and my child would never go to a school that is always talked about as not being around.”

Those problems aside, Tania Hernandez, a recent Creed graduate, told the Board of Ed that it was wrong for the district to scrap a successful school just because it didn’t have enough white kids.

“How are you going to close a school that is pushing minorities into the STEM field? We are trying to get as many students as we can into the medical field, into sciences and math,” she said. “How are you going to take this away from them?”

Her time ran out, but Hernandez refused to yield the microphone. Tamiko Jackson-McArthur, the board’s secretary, called time, and Darnell Goldson, the board president, summoned police officers.

“Because we are Latinos and black, we get to be pushed to the corner like when it was slavery,” Hernandez went on, her voice raising. “It is not their fault!” she yelled, to cheers from the audience. “It is not their fault! It is not their fault!”

Changing the Rules

As an early adopters of the magnet model, New Haven isn’t ready to give up on integration. But district employees want to see reforms to the way the state calculates its numbers, factoring in economics more heavily like the district is trying to do at four of its own schools.

In January, the district brought on a $30,000 consultant to help with the push: Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a liberal think tank, is developing plans to socioeconomically integrate Bishop Woods, John S. Martinez, Roberto Clemente and West Rock Schools, which all received a massive federal grant in 2016 to set up their magnet programs that allows them to design “innovative education methods and practices that promote diversity.”

(Of the four schools, West Rock is the only inter-district magnet open to suburbanites; the others accept students from across the city.)

Currently, the school choice lottery is blind, giving no preference to a person’s race in admissions. Through Kahlenberg’s work, the lottery could eventually split students up equally by socioeconomics as measured by a student’s home census tract.

Chicago adopted a similar model, after being prohibited from using race in school lotteries in 2009. In the Windy City, census tracts are split into four main tiers based on several indicators, like median household income, percentage of single-parent households, college degree attainment rates, home-ownership rates and the number of foreign-language speakers. In many magnet school lotteries, where there’s no residency preference, the seats are equally split up by tier.

The system has integrated even the most selective schools, researchers at the Century Foundation found. In 2013-14, the racial breakdown at the 10 most competitive schools was 22 percent white, 30 percent Hispanic, 35 percent black and 9 percent Asian — far more diversity than in cities like New York and Boston.

Kahlenberg declined to comment.

New Haven is collecting data on applicants to see if a similar model might work here. “We’re still in the pilot stage,” Davis-Googe said. “It doesn’t impact placement at all.” She stressed that socioeconomic integration, if adopted, would be entirely voluntary, meaning that it’s not driven by the state or federal government. “The research tells us all students benefit from attending socioeconomically and racially diverse schools,” she said. “It’s what we’re deciding. This is not in response to the state.”

National experts on school segregation point out that class is no substitute for race — the same conclusion that the Connecticut Supreme Court came to in Sheff v. O’Neill.

“We need to understand why we’re looking at segregation, why we’re looking at these cases and policies that are trying to desegregate. It’s important because there were policies that specifically targeted people of color, and this is why we’re looking at race,” said Alvin Chang, a reporter at Vox who has written extensively about segregation. “When you start to say, let’s just look at economic integration, yes, you will get some overlap, but we’re missing the point here. Talking about economically diverse schools is a completely different goal than we started with.”

In Sheff, the four justices rejected the idea that poverty played a larger role in students’ limited educational opportunities.

“Hartford’s schoolchildren labor under a dual burden: their poverty and their racial and ethnic isolation,” then-Chief Justice Ellen Ash Peters wrote for the majority. “The fact that [the constitution] does not provide them a remedy for one of their afflictions — namely, their poverty — is not a ground for depriving them of a remedy for the other.”

The three dissenting justices, on the other hand, worried that Sheff would strike down Connecticut’s municipality-based school system, which laid down school district boundaries along town lines in 1941.

“Every rural and suburban school district, from Litchfield to Pomfret and from Greenwich to Granby, is now either clearly or probably unconstitutional; its boundaries, or the racial and ethnic makeup of its school population, or both, will have to be changed in order to remedy that unconstitutionality,” Justice David M. Borden wrote.

But that sweeping change never came to pass. Instead, kids today cross those district lines only voluntarily, and as New Haven has learned, that’s an increasingly tough sell to white parents. Convincing tony suburbs to open all their buildings up to city-dwellers with a regionalized school system would be even tougher.

“This is a systemic problem, mediated by race and class. We’re asking schools to do something that the larger society doesn’t do,” said Ed Joyner, a Board of Education member. “It really takes a committed person to send their children to a school two or three towns away.”

Who Counts?

Others in the district argued that SDE should start with a quicker, short-term fix by updating its racial categories.

When the Sheff ruling was first enforced, schools counted racial isolation solely by the percentage of white students enrolled, setting a minimum of 25 percent.

When SDE brought the case’s racial benchmarks statewide last year, it flipped the definition to the percentage of black and brown students, setting a maximum of 75 percent.

The change helped schools get closer to compliance, by factoring in Asians and Native Americans. But multi-racial students whose parents are African-American or Hispanic still count against diversity benchmarks.

“We all come from different racial backgrounds, some of us mixed,” said Leslie Perez, a junior at Creed. “Requiring us to identify as only one can be upsetting. If they really are aiming for diversity here, why not let us own our diversity as individuals?”

Students who choose not to specify their race can be categorized by a school employee based on their skin color, according to state regulations

“That is antebellum thinking,” added Sarja. “How are we okay with this?”

Board of Education members urged parents to make their views known to state lawmakers.

“What was supposed to be a remedy has now become a penalty, because they’re penalizing students for being black and brown,” Joyner said. “Fight them like you fight with us. Get your facts together, go to meetings and let them know.”

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posted by: dd on May 25, 2018  12:41pm

How can the schools be responsible for the racial make-up of their student population if the student lottery process does not take into account the students’ race when they apply? It seems to me that this is a district issue and not the fault of the schools. Or maybe this is Birks/Harp’s plan to move away from magnet schools and convert them to charter schools?

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on May 25, 2018  2:29pm

The American Public School System has not done a good job at actually educating since integration. There is nothing inherently good about desegregation, especially the in the manner that it has occurred in the American Public School System.  After Brown v. Board, the governments around the country moved to close all of the “colored” schools and bused Black students to formerly all-white school.  Never was the process reversed.

Black principals lost their jobs, and many black teachers and administrators did as well. Thurgood Marshall’s egregious argument that “Separate is inherently unequal,” collapse the notion that Black schools were unfunded and would never be as well funded at the white schools into one unfortunate statement to make his point. 

We are now faced with a system that is forced to put more emphasis on a simplistic mixture of Black and white students than on the multi-racial aspect of a school like Creedrace or even on a Black school that may be educating Black students very well.

Due to a cultural-fundamentalism, which is as harmful as a religious one, American will never do education well, as it will always be going back and forth on the “race question,” instead of providing quality education to all children, regardless of the racial makeup of the classroom. 

The Rev. Mr. Samuel T. Ross-Lee
The Immanuel Baptist Church
New Haven, CT

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on May 25, 2018  3:04pm

Sheff v. o’Neill Is premised on racial segregation, not the real benefits of socio-economic and national origin diversity. Tania Hernandez is right that the current situation is not the fault of the students (or their parents). But Creed and the other schools are not effectively reducing racial segregation. Counting multi-racial students as “white” is expedient, and you could make an argument it makes sense. But I doubt it would make a significant difference in meeting the SDE requirements.

Finally, Ariana Buckley is being a little disingenuous about attracting students from the suburbs. Woodbridge and North Haven are closer to New Haven and substantially whiter than is Ansonia.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 25, 2018  4:12pm

posted by: dd on May 25, 2018 1:41pm

Or maybe this is Birks/Harp’s plan to move away from magnet schools and convert them to charter schools?

Home Run!!!. I been saying this for years.

Invasion Of The Charter Schools.

posted by: OhHum on May 25, 2018  4:42pm

If New Haven was really looking to attract white students from suburbs like North Haven and Chesire perhaps it would have been to their benefit to hire a consultant from a conservative think tank rather than one from a liberal think tank. New Haven’s politics and education system appear to be inseparable. Could this be a contributor to suburban students staying away?

posted by: Noteworthy on May 25, 2018  10:14pm

The fundamental problem is not race, it’s the financial engineering under Mayor DeStefano and continued to this day under Mayor Harp. City Hall and the NHPS chased the money - more per kid, more for construction to pay for elaborate, luxurious schools. It came with a cost, a rider. Racisl diversity. They ignored the long term risk, snd gambled there would be no accountability. This is the result.

The leadership could have chosen state funding without the racial quota. They chose to sell out for the money.  This is the result. It’s not the state. It’s the poor, short term devision to grab for grants. It failed. Now we pay. Again. So, it’s not about the lack of white kids or money following the white kids. It’s about stupid decisions by those in power.

posted by: Intheknow on May 26, 2018  6:26am

Bring back Ed Linehan and Debbie Breland! Under their leadership, NHPS never had issues with the State. Sherri Googe is out of her league and and she has managed to tank New Haven magnet schools in the 4 years she’s had the helm. The principals, teachers and parents have been complaining about her ineffectiveness for 4 years. Dr. Birks, please bring back Debbie Breland so she can clean up the mess!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 26, 2018  7:50am

This will be next.

I Didn’t Really Have a Choice.’ Meet the Teachers Quitting Their Jobs Due to Low Pay and Dwindling Benefits
By Jennifer Calfas
May 21, 2018

For 12 minutes one night in October 2016, Mallory Heath could not speak.The 30-year-old, Arizona-based English teacher was suffering an aphasia migraine. She couldn’t write or talk like she usually could; her words came out jumbled and nonsensical. But amid the terrifying episode, Heath chose not to go to the emergency room. She knew she could not afford the expenses.But making $42,000 a year before taxes and before a significant portion goes toward her pensions, she can’t afford basic living expenses like rent — and she can’t replace her decade-old pair of glasses or blown-out tires. With a Health Savings Account (HSA) insurance plan, she must carefully choose how she uses her insurance plan to cover medical expenses. Once that dries up, she has to pay for medical costs up front — and having any savings, she said, is almost out of the equation.

posted by: tmctague on May 26, 2018  7:52am

The “best” high school in Connecticut, Amistad HS, does not have educational data like most other schools in the state, but I saw their senior class in the New Haven Register, and only noticed 1 White Senior in photos.  The Amistad Academy data from CSDE says its students are 65% Black and 35% Latino - they accept students from New Haven, Hamden, and Bridgeport, probably a few other towns - similar to a magnet school in some ways. 

In comparison, Creed is 40% Black, 43% Latino, and 13% White - more diverse than the BEST school in the state.  Also, I still think it’s odd the state is battling magnet schools while Darien High School, like many others around it, is 88% White, 4% Asian, 5% Latino, and 0.7% Black.

School level and district level data from the state can be found here, I pulled my numbers from 2016-2017 reports:

posted by: 1644 on May 26, 2018  11:06am

Mr. Peak describes Creed as successful, but does not offer the facts upon which he bases his opinion.  Given that the primary purpose of inter-district magnet schools is to attract white students,  Creed is a failure.  My understanding is that while there have been some individual bright spots, overall, Creed’s test scores, attendance, and other objective measurements of success are also poor,  all of which figured into the decision to close it.  Of course its students will miss its community, but it was community that lagged others.  As for its focus on medicine,  don’t other schools like ESUMS offer a similar curriculum?  ESUMS has better overall scores and is also succeeding at its primary purpose of attracting white students.

  The state created ECS to respond to Horton’s demand for equalized funding for poor districts.  Magnet funding was a response to Sheff, and it’s premise that even given qual resources,  black kids were incapable of learning without white kids in the same classroom. It’s a deeply offensive, and given Booker T Washington and Amistad’s performance, wrong premise, but it is, thanks to Wes Horton, John Brittain, and the Conn. Supreme Court, the law.  If New Haven objected to this premise, it should not have taken the state’s shilling,  and Winfield should certainly not have supported expanding the 25% quota beyond Hartford.

posted by: Debsam on May 26, 2018  4:42pm

I’m a parent of a white female student that is a junior at creed I really cannot believe that this whole thing is about color .schooling should not be against what color and how many colored we have it’s about the students learning and about the staff caring about the children learning .my daughter is a high honor student for the last 3 years and it’s because of the staff at creed . I still don’t understand what the percentage of the color have anything to do with having a good school and a good staff to teach these kids. So now they’re just thrown out to the wild to be placed somewhere where has nothing to do what what these kids went to creed 4.

posted by: 1644 on May 26, 2018  4:43pm

tmctague:  The state is not funding Darien’s schools, either with ECS or magnet money.  With the exception of some special education money,  Darien’s schools are nearly 100% funded by Darien property taxpayers.  So, the state is not particularly concerned about how Darien spends its money, since it is Darien’s money.  NHPS, in contrast, is primarily funded by the state, and magnet schools are given extra funding to make them attractive to white students to meet Sheff’s requirements.  BTW,  Darien has some of the best scores in the state.  If, as this article states,  schools suffered from being too white,  Darien’s scores would be much lower, as would Madison’s.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on May 26, 2018  6:32pm

1644, here is a link to the state Supreme Court decision in Sheff v. O’Neill
Could you please identify where it says that “black kids were incapable of learning without white kids in the same classroom”? Thanks.

posted by: Jill_the_Pill on May 26, 2018  6:40pm

>>> “black kids were incapable of learning without white kids in the same classroom. It’s a deeply offensive”

It’s offensive because it’s latter-day spin on a landmark decision, likely spun by organizations interested in changing popular opinion about their severely segregated schools.

From the text of the decision:

“[S]chools are an important socializing institution, imparting those shared values through which social order and stability are maintained.”  Schools bear central responsibility for “inculcating [the] fundamental values necessary to the maintenance of a democratic political system . . . .”  When children attend racially and ethnically isolated schools, these “shared values” are jeopardized: “If children of different races and economic and social groups have no opportunity to know each other and to live together in school, they cannot be expected to gain the understanding and mutual respect necessary for the cohesion of our society.”  “[T]he elimination of racial isolation in the schools promotes the attainment of equal educational opportunity and is beneficial to all students, both black and white.”  (citations omitted)

That does not say black children cannot learn without white children.  It says that all children learn something extra and valuable, beyond mere academics, by simply being together.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on May 26, 2018  7:17pm

1644, to be fair, there were a series of Sheff decisions; the one I linked came after the state set up the magnet school program. But, the question remains. Do any of the Sheff decisions say that black kids can’t learn unless there are white kids in the room?

The decisions do address racial isolation. But that cuts both ways - the initial 1996 decision found that eliminating segregation benefits white as well as minority students (Sheff v. O’’Neill,  678 A .2d. 1278, 1292). Four of the 18 student plaintiffs in Sheff were white.

posted by: 1644 on May 27, 2018  6:27am

Kevein:  Your link is actually to a Superior Court decision implementing the Supreme Court’s decision.  However, the initial sentence, saying that racial isolation causes educational inequality.  Remembering that this case was brought on behalf of black children,  it means that black kids cannot get an equal education if they are racially isolated, regardless of the cause of that isolation.  Okay, “incapable of learning” was an overstatement,  but the Sheff decision still says that black kids cannot learn as much as white kids if they are racially isolated, i.e., less they have white kids in their classrooms.  From the actual Supreme Court decision:”... we conclude that the existence of extreme racial and ethnic isolation in the public school system deprives schoolchildren of a substantially equal educational opportunity…”  The Court also spends some time on the importance of cultural values which would result from integration, perhaps those dreaded “middle class sensibilities” of Rev. Ross-Lee.

posted by: Peter99 on May 27, 2018  9:07am

The problem is not the schools or the theory of getting the kids together yields a better outcome for society. Where people choose and can afford to live is the problem. Regionalization can not be forced on towns and cities for a variety of reasons. West Haven, New Haven, and Hamden student demographics are similar and therefore a problem when using those towns as a pool to draw students from. Students need to come from North Haven, Branford, Guilford, Milford and Madison. Lots of luck making that happen. Logistics, distance, along with the attitude of the people in those towns who fled the city will not allow that pool of white students to be significantly available. Their attitude is that New Haven school diversity is fine, but not with my kid from my 80%white town or city. You cannot legislate where people live, nor their perceptions of what constitutes a good social and educational experience. Their are no nurseries in the high schools in those towns and so forth. The folks living in those outlying towns (regardless of color or national origin) for the most part own homes, have good schools and want their kids staying there. Most of the reason they left the city was to escape the problems of the city. For the most part, hey have zero intention of putting their kids back into the New Haven public school system. New Haven created their own problem by taking the grant money to create a bunch of new schools, but did not read the small print that states what has to be done to keep the money coming. Just like the current budget; over estimate, underestimate, and use unconventional (to be kind)accounting tactics to make the numbers look reasonable. The voters either have not cared about the finances being manipulated. Of course an 11% tax increase does get ones attention. One party rule with no loyal opposition leads to a dictatorship in city hall. Elections have consequences and you get what you vote for. Time to wake up. Dr. Birks is the bell ringer.

posted by: 1644 on May 27, 2018  10:45am

Jill:  Yes, the supreme Court opinion has a lot about the social benefits of integration, none of which I disagree with.  The impetus for the case, and the most important evidence that Hartford children were getting an unequal education, however, was the disparity in test scores between Hartford and surrounding communities.  At the time of Sheff, Hartford was spending about the same as other communities, about 90% funding by the state.  Still, however,  its test scores lagged.  The trial court attributed the low scores to poverty, which the state has no obligation to remedy.  The Supreme Court, however, reversed, blaming at least some of the lag on racial isolation.

posted by: 1644 on May 27, 2018  3:49pm

Peter99:  You are correct that few suburbanites want to bus their kids to an underperforming New Haven school just for the sake of exposing those children to a darker student body.  Likewise, I wonder if New Haven parents leave Project Concern/Choice seats in places like Branford empty because the parents don’t feel the education would be so much better as to justify the long bus ride, or the disconnection with their own community.  The entire point of magnet schools, however, is not to cater to the needs of troubled students of color.  Magnet schools are intended to be better than the suburban schools,  and offer something the suburban schools don’t, so as to attract suburban students, and make it worth the bus ride.  The Sound School did that with things like hands-on sailing and boat-building, small engine repair, etc.,  an applied physics not available in even in sailing communities like Branford.  As I recall the origin of Career, it was to leverage its proximity to the medical center to function as a gateway to medical center jobs, although I am not sure it has actually gone that direction.

posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on May 27, 2018  7:42pm

Home-school your kids and divorce your mind from the ills that society has created by perpetually trying to fix phantoms instead of just being grounded in being.  Your children will be reading at the level of 12th grader with the comprehension of a sixth grader by the time they are six years old.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 27, 2018  8:53pm

posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on May 27, 2018 8:42pm

Home-school your kids and divorce your mind from the ills that society has created by perpetually trying to fix phantoms instead of just being grounded in being.  Your children will be reading at the level of 12th grader with the comprehension of a sixth grader by the time they are six years old.

This is why my self and all of my Children went to public schools

The Homeschool Apostates
They were raised to carry the fundamentalist banner forward and redeem America. But now the Joshua Generation is rebelling.

Kathryn Joyce
February 9, 2014

The sisters grew up, with two brothers, in a family that was almost completely isolated, they say, held captive by their mother’s extreme anxiety and explosive anger. “I was basically raised by someone with a mental disorder and told you have to obey her or God’s going to send you to hell,” Lauren says. “Her parents began homeschooling Lauren when she struggled to learn to read in the first grade. They were Christians, but not devout. Soon, though, the choice to home school morphed into rigid fundamentalism. The sisters were forbidden to wear clothes that might “shame” their father or brothers. Disobedience wasn’t just bad behavior but a sin against God. Both parents spanked the children with a belt. Her mother, Jennifer says, hit her for small things, like dawdling while trying on clothes.The family’s isolation made it worse. The children couldn’t date—that was a given—but they also weren’t allowed to develop friendships. Between ages 10 and 12, Lauren says she only got to see friends once a week at Sunday school, increasing to twice a week in her teens when her parents let her participate in mock trial, a popular activity for Christian homeschoolers. Their parents wanted them naïve and sheltered, Lauren says: “18 going on 12.”

posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on May 28, 2018  12:25pm

Threefifths: I reckon isolated stories of abuse will be used to try to impose conformity to the social gospel of the day but to universally question the love and commitment that home-schooling parents have for their children by indicting an entire culture as child abusers is nothing more than offensive prejudice.

posted by: yim-a on May 28, 2018  4:06pm

Malcolm x must be turning in his grave.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 28, 2018  4:34pm

posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on May 28, 2018 1:25pm

Threefifths: I reckon isolated stories of abuse will be used to try to impose conformity to the social gospel of the day but to universally question the love and commitment that home-schooling parents have for their children by indicting an entire culture as child abusers is nothing more than offensive prejudice.

Look at your wordsposted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on May 27, 2018 8:42pm

Home-school your kids and divorce your mind from the ills that society has created by perpetually trying to fix phantoms instead of just being grounded in being.  Your children will be reading at the level of 12th grader with the comprehension of a sixth grader by the time they are six years old.

posted by: Blue94 on May 28, 2018  7:13pm

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on May 25, 2018 3:29pm
The American Public School System has not done a good job at actually educating since integration.

That’s a broad statement considering how much society has changed since desegregation.  Do you expect anyone to believe that poor parenting has nothing to do with student achievement (or lack thereof)?  Combative and, worse, indifferent parents who shun accountability and refuse to partner with educators as a stakeholder in their child’s education is most certainly an epidemic in many urban school districts.  Do not underestimate the power of strong parent-educator relationships.  Amistad enjoys such partnerships—and boots out those who fail to comply and engage.

posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on May 29, 2018  4:20am

Threefifths: Obfuscation is not a defense for prejudice as it only reveals the same. I have no idea what you actually mean. What specifically in my original comment, quoted back to me by you, justifies your universal condemnation of those who home-school as child abusers? I am highly offended by your blanketed accusations of an entire culture and your lack of consideration in giving valid reasons for what you claim to understand as true.  Moreover, you have defended home-schooling in these pages, at least in conjunction with mainstream schooling, so I am truly puzzled by you.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on May 29, 2018  5:48am

1644, your 7:27 post is inaccurate on two counts. The link I provided is in fact “the decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court”, as noted in its sixth line (did you read that far?). And the named plaintiffs (the students on whose behalf the initial suit was brought) were white and Hispanic as well as black. If the courts had found that any of the kids were not aggrieved, I.e., not harmed by the educational system, they would have lacked standing to sue. None of the decisions I’ve read states or implies that they are solely about black kids - have I missed something?

posted by: 1644 on May 29, 2018  6:22am

Kevin:  The first line states the docket number and “Superior Court”.  The Memorandum is a Superior Court Memorandum, issued by a single superior court judge, not a panel of justices as a Supreme Court Opinion would have.  The Memorandum is a ruling on the plaintiffs’ contention that the state has failed to comply with the Supreme Court’s order in the case, thus the Superior court judge reviews the Supreme Court opinion before applying that opinion to the present facts and argument presented by the moving party. Looking at a list of CT Supreme Court Justices, you will note the absence of Aurigemma.

posted by: 1644 on May 29, 2018  9:48am

Kevin:  The Supreme Court opinion, Peters writing for the majority:
You will note a great deal of concern with the scholastic underachievement of Hartford’s 92% black & Hispanic student body.  “The plaintiffs ... argue that the combination of ‘racial segregation, the concentration of poor children in the schools, and disparities in educational resources ... deprive [Hartford schoolchildren] of substantially equal educational opportunities.’ We agree with the plaintiffs in part.”  The concurring opinion spends more time on the social aspects, but is not controlling as it was supported by a minority of the court.