Diversity regulations keeping minority kids out of good schools in Hartford

The person figuratively standing at the schoolhouse door and telling black students to go back to their segregated, bad public schools is a diversity bureaucrat these days.  Qualified minority students are being kept out of seats they applied for in magnet schools because they are the wrong race!  The ideology of diversity is keeping smart black and Hispanic kids out of better schools in Hartford, Connecticut because there aren't enough white kids to go around.

As a result, seats remain empty in magnet schools, as the students rejected because they are black or Hispanic have to go to inferior public school they sought to escape.

Shades of George Wallace standing in front of a schoolhouse door to deny black children the opportunity to attend integrated schools.

Seriously, this is no tortured metaphor or extended chain of reasoning.  This is the literal, simple, direct truth.  Blacks and Hispanics are sent to the back of the line – by liberals who designed a complicated system to allow children to escape failing public schools, only if there is enough "diversity" in those magnet schools.

Matthew Kaufman and Vanessa de la Torre of the Hartford Courant report:

As the new school year approached for Hartford magnet schools, seats opened up at popular Capital Prep north of downtown – a boon for some of the hundreds of wait-listed students eager to attend the school that pledges to shepherd every graduating senior into a four-year college.

But that good news would never trickle down to the students. The next in line on Capital Preparatory's waitlist were minority students. And enrolling more black or Latino students, officials concluded, would jeopardize efforts to meet integration standards created under Connecticut's historic Sheff v. O'Neill desegregation case.

And so – in a practice that has quietly taken place at Hartford's award-winning magnet schools for years – the open seats at Capital Prep were left empty, and those minority students on the waitlist were rejected because of their race.

"That breaks my heart," said Capital Prep Principal Kitsia Hughey Ferguson, who had to shut out scores of students this school year, despite having ample space in her school. "And I know that's not the spirit of Sheff. That's not what they intended 20 years ago – that we would be turning students away, and more importantly: That we would be turning Hartford students away."

The underlying problem is that Hartford's whites have fled the city in large numbers, so that in order to attract enough whites to "diversify" the magnet schools, suburban families must be attracted to enroll their kids in an inner-city magnet school, and not enough families are willing to bus their kids back into the inner city, even if it is to a magnet school.

Make no mistake: this is a liberal program, instituted by liberal activists ("civil rights trailblazers" as the Courant has it) who brought a court case and got a decision they wanted.  As a result of their efforts, poor and minority students are being denied a chance at good schools.  Instead, they are sent to worse public schools that are themselves not at all diverse.

The state-run school choice lottery, often described as a random, roll-of-the-dice operation, is in fact a carefully engineered process designed to push white and Asian students toward the front of the line at magnet schools that still attract too few non-minority applicants.

And when that doesn't tilt the playing field enough, some schools have no choice but to ignore all Hartford students on the waitlist for certain grades, filling open seats with only suburban children – who are more often white – and leaving Hartford children in neighborhood schools that remain illegally segregated.

The name Rube Goldberg springs to mind over this ridiculous situation, where good schools have empty seats and minority kids are sent to worse, more segregated schools.  That's bad for taxpayers (who pay for the empty seats) and bad for minority kids denied a chance at good schools, but it is good for the teacher unions, whose members at the non-magnet public schools have more jobs, thanks to the kids denied entrance to magnet schools because they are black or Hispanic.

Would it be paranoid to suggest that this is not a random outcome?  That the "good intentions" excuse does not apply?  That, in fact, the complex plan was worked out in the knowledge of the underlying demographic changes that would render the plan unable to attract enough white kids from the 'burbs?

Ask yourself: how cunning and ruthless are the teacher unions?

As my Connecticut friend who sent me this article put it, at a minimum, we do know that this is "Reason #8,722 why liberals should never run anything."

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