Integration task force member Katherine Kersten gives us a taste of what her minority report may sound like in a Star Tribune commentary: “A bad idea just keeps coming back.” She envisions a world where attorney Dan Shulman succeeds in turning the Twin Cities into Hartford, Connecticut:
Most Hartford children still attend district schools, which remain as racially isolated as they were 20 years ago. And achievement is still bottom-of-the-barrel: In 2010, only 43 percent of Hartford’s K-8 students were proficient in reading, and only 57 percent in math. Meanwhile, all-minority charter schools like Jumoke Academy (pre-K-8) are among the region’s highest-performing schools in terms of achievement gains by poor, minority children.
Ironically, the Hartford school district — the intended beneficiary of the court-ordered plan — is now strenuously working against the requirements, which increasingly threaten the district’s viability. Hartford will likely have to close six or seven schools and lay off hundreds of teachers and staff if it is compelled to send more students to the suburbs. In April 2011, the Hartford schools launched a television, radio and print advertising campaign imploring parents not to send their kids out of the district.