Connecticut School Choice Lottery Cap is a Cap on Student Potential

Yesterday, for The CT Mirror, Jacqueline Rabe Thomas reported that while Connecticut will continue with a school choice lottery that originated many years ago as an attempt to desegregate schools in Hartford, the state Department of Education did not clarify whether it will fund additional seats for students in desegregated magnet and suburban schools or continue to impose the present cap.

In a statement, Governor Dannel Malloy said, “All students  regardless of zip code and life circumstance  deserve to go to a great school and receive a great education…From school choice systems to education funding, we need to shift as a state to focus our efforts on lifting the schools that need the most help so that all students  especially our most disadvantaged students  have a chance to rise to their potential.”

We agree with Governor Malloy that all students deserve to have access to a quality public education, and that it is critical to support students of color and those from low-income backgrounds. However, it’s clear that the state’s current system — which includes a moratorium on magnets and a cap on the opening and expansion of high-performing public schools — is broken.

Throughout Connecticut, there are examples of public schools — including traditional, magnet and charter public schools — that are succeeding in their efforts to educate students of all backgrounds. Connecticut needs to reinforce its commitment to providing seats to accommodate every student, work to closing one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation and give students of color and those from low-income backgrounds the equal opportunity they deserve.