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Hartford Regional Lottery Announced; Thousands Remain on Wait List

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Hartford and the state have agreed to ensure that at least 47.5 percent of Hartford kids attend an integrated school.

Over 4,000 area students have been offered seats in a Hartford magnet school or suburban public school through the regional school lottery. But roughly 15,000 students were placed on wait-lists.

More Hartford students are going to integrated schools now than in recent memory. For Glen Peterson, it's a good sign.

Peterson oversees the lottery for the State Department of Education. He said that that more Hartford kids need a chance to attend an integrated school.  An integrated school is one where minority students make up no more than 75 percent of the school body.

"That's the whole goal of the whole Sheff stipulation -- the percentage of Hartford kids that are in spots," Peterson said.

Peterson is referring to the landmark civil rights case, Sheff vs. O'Neill, which requires Hartford to reduce the racial, ethnic, and economic isolation of Hartford school children. This year, Hartford and the state have agreed to ensure that at least 47.5 percent of Hartford kids attend an integrated school.

There's also the Open Choice program, which allows urban students to go to school in the suburbs.

To meet its obligation, the state is trying to ensure that at least half of the incoming students to some Open Choice schools are from Hartford.

In recent years, the state has met its obligations under Sheff, but Stephen Glassman of the ACLU of Connecticut said officials still need to do more to allow more kids a chance to attend diverse schools.

"There’s a long waiting list for people to be able to participate in a more integrated educational opportunity," Glassman said. "So the legislature needs to allocate more money for more magnet schools in order to improve the opportunity for students to get not only an equal education, but a high quality education."

Parents whose kids won seats have until May 27 to accept the spot, and parents who were wait-listed have until June 30 to accept or decline the wait list.

David finds and tells stories about education and learning for WNPR radio and its website. He also teaches journalism and media literacy to high school students, and he starts the year with the lesson: “Conflicts of interest: Real or perceived? Both matter.” He thinks he has a sense of humor, and he also finds writing in the third person awkward, but he does it anyway.

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