Cara Midlige

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The Connecticut State Constitution states that all children “should have equal opportunity to receive a suitable program of educational experience.” However, post Sheff v. O’Neill, the legal battle that fought to provide equitable schools for all Connecticut children, many Hartford students still do not receive equal educations. My project seeks to understand the intersection of school desegregation and funding in one neighborhood in Hartford, as well as the parent perceptions of the lack of resources between the district and magnet schools in the neighborhood. In addition, this project will examine the perceptions of policy initiatives to rectify equity problems in schools. Findings are based primarily from observations in community Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) meetings and interviews with NRZ Education Committee members and neighborhood residents, supported with primary source documents about the schools. My research shows that while there are generally less resources in district schools than magnet schools when it came to school programming and facilities, funding is a much more complicated issue. In addition, perceptions of these resource differences vary between neighborhood residents and NRZ members, as both groups use different methods for assessing the resources in the neighborhood schools. Lastly, policy implications on the neighborhood was a contentious issue that NRZ members were adamant contributed to these issues and pointed to two examples of policy that has affected resources and in turn funding for the schools, inadvertently leaving magnet schools more resourced than district schools.


Community partner: Southwest and Behind the Rocks NRZ