Hartford CourantMarch 14, 2017

The past week has seen intense media focus on Sheff v. O’Neill, the school equity lawsuit that continues work to substantially integrate Hartford schools and provide a better education for Hartford school children.

Twenty years after Sheff v. O’Neill, many Hartford students still struggle in segregated neighborhood schools. Sheff is seen as a national model for voluntary desegregation, but the state has created barriers for many students who want to reap the benefits.

“The Sheff decision is not responsible for the way Hartford has let its neighborhood schools decline to the level they have,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Martha Stone, executive director of the Center for Children’s Advocacy. “Sheff created an incredible opportunity for so many children to benefit from strong, integrated education. It cannot be expected to fix every ill in the Hartford school system. The city must do that.”

“You have a story of amazing progress,” said Paul Holzer, executive director of Achieve Hartford!, a reform advocacy group that educates parents on school options. “And on the other side of the coin, you have a story of amazing resentment. Sheff is about civil rights, it’s not about denying someone a quality education because they lost the lottery,” Holzer said.

“Anyone who says it’s a failure is wrong. And anyone who says we haven’t realized the dream we set out for, is absolutely right.” Martha Stone, Center for Children’s Advocacy.


Click on the headlines below to read coverage.

Left Behind: 20 Years After Sheff v. O’Neill, Students Struggle In Hartford’s Segregated Neighborhood Schools

Vanesssa de la Torre, Hartford Courant

Summer was fading when Principal Karen Lott called her staff into the humble library at Hartford’s Thirman L. Milner School. The children, every one of them black or Latino, would be arriving soon for a back-to-school barbecue in a concrete courtyard, a charitable act for an aging school with cratering…


Beyond Reach: Even As Magnet School Seats Remain Empty, Racial Quotas Keep Many Black, Latino Students Out

Matthew Kauffman and Vanessa de la Torre, Hartford Courant 
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…


Imperfect Choices: With Integrated Schools Out Of Reach, Segregated Options Gain Favor

Kathleen Megan and Matthew Kauffman, Hartford Courant
Connecticut’s network of regional magnet schools, long hailed as a national model for voluntary integration, still serve only a fraction of Hartford students a generation after their racial isolation was deemed unconstitutional. And those magnets, slipping in their effort to meet racial quotas…


In Hartford, ‘Integrated’ Schools Remain Highly Segregated

Matthew Kauffman, Hartford Courant
In 2015, National Public Radio pointed its microphones at Connecticut, reporting on the unlikely success of Hartford’s desegregation efforts. Ira Glass, host of “This American Life,” described how other cities had given up on integration or seen their efforts fail. “And then, even more remarkable,…


History Of The Sheff Versus O’Neill Desegregation Lawsuit





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