The goal of the Sheff case agreement is that at least 30 percent of the public school minority students living in Hartford be educated in racially integrated settings by June 2007, using three voluntary programs:
Interdistrict magnet schools: By offering a more specialized curriculum than neighborhood schools, magnet schools are designed to draw together students of different races.
The Open Choice program: A voluntary program in which city students may transfer to a suburban school district, or suburban students may attend a school in the city.
Interdistrict cooperative grants: Support for part-time exchange programs between racially isolated urban and suburban schools. This may count toward a maximum of 3 percent of the total goal.
How Compliance Is Calculated:
To meet the Sheff desegregation standard, a magnet school by its third year of operation must not exceed a limit on the percentage of minority students.
The limit is set annually at the percentage of minority students in the entire 22-town Sheff region (currently 43 percent), plus 30 percentage points, for a total minority-student cap of 73 percent in 2005-06.
The overall 30 percent desegregation goal is not directly enforceable under the Sheff settlement, but a lack of significant progress within the four-year period will be considered by the court in future decisions on desegregation compliance.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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