State: Four Hartford Magnet Schools Don't Enroll Enough White Students
By Jeff Cohen
December 14, 2010
Last week, Education Commissioner Mark McQuillan told Hartford’s educators that not enough of its students were being educated in diverse schools. This week, he backed it up -- sending a warning letter to the Hartford schools. WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports.
The state says the city has to do more to bring white suburban students to Hartford, both to keep getting its magnet school subsidies as well as to meet the targets set by the settlement in the racial desegregation case known as Sheff versus O'Neill.
In a letter sent to the city’s school superintendent, state Education Commissioner Mark McQuillan says that four of the twelve Hartford-operated magnet schools don’t enroll enough white students. Tom Murphy is the spokesman for the commissioner.
“Magnet schools in Hartford must achieve a threshold of 25 percent of non-minority students, or white students.”
Murphy says that four schools didn’t meet the 25 percent figure -- Sports and Medical Sciences Academy, Pathways to Technology Magnet School, Mary Hooker Environmental Sciences and Capital Preparatory Magnet School. A fifth school -- operated by the Capital Region Education Council – didn’t meet the target, either.
Murphy says Hartford schools gets a roughly $13,000 state subsidy for each out-of-district student that comes to a city magnet school.
“They could lose the subsidy immediately but that’s not going to happen, we don’t work that way. What we have done is identify a problem and also a pathway for us to work this through.”
Murphy says the state wants to meet with the city to figure out how to improve its strategy for outreach and marketing to suburban parents.
“So that they become fully aware of these opportunities. These are free and public schools, they are unique experiences, and they’re high-quality.”
A spokesman for Hartford Superintendent Steven Adamowski did not respond to requests for comment.