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Education News

Hartford Magnet School Challenge Awaiting Court Go-Ahead

WNPR/David DesRoches
A class at Hartford's Classical Magnet school

A federal judge is expected to rule soon on whether a case against Hartford’s magnet school system can proceed to trial. A group of parents and activists are challenging the school system’s insistence that it maintain racial diversity - even if that means leaving seats empty. 

Currently many kids of color from Hartford are left on wait lists for magnets, because the state mandates that the schools must admit at least 25 percent of their students from suburban districts. Admitting more urban kids to fill the empty seats would upset that ratio.

LaShawn Robinson is the lead plaintiff in the case. One of her children was never admitted to a magnet throughout his school career, despite being on the wait list from the age of three.

“We kept trying, we kept trying - and it’s like - why do you have to win a lottery ticket to get a good education?” she said.

Speaking on Connecticut Public Radio’s Where We Live, Robinson said the outcome she’s looking for from this case, is a relaxing of the rules around urban and suburban quotas.

“If the seats are available, let the children in our neighborhood have those seats. If kids from the suburbs don’t want to come in, then why let seats go to waste? We have families that want a better education for their children.”

A federal judge in Bridgeport heard arguments in the case last week. The plaintiffs are seeking to take the case to Connecticut’s Supreme Court.

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