Over the last 10 years, the state has spent about $2.5 billion to offer Hartford students magnet school and open choice options.
But, even with 42 magnet schools in the Hartford region, there are still nearly 5,000 Hartford students on waiting lists for both magnet and open choice suburban schools.
This had Hartford parents mad enough to rally Thursday in favor of more magnet schools and opening more seats in neighboring schools. Parents say that their kids do not have access to quality education in Hartford’s other public schools.
One Hartford parent speaking at the rally put it succinctly. The playing field needs to be leveled for all kids, they said.
“All schools funded at the same levels and all schools with class sizes at the same levels, with the same requirements,” said Debra St. Germain, a 36 year Hartford public school teacher, who has two grandchildren on wait lists for Open Choice schools.
But, Hartford public schools are improving. Their graduation rates were up 43 percent, between 2007 and 2013. Over that same span, test scores have improved by 18 percent, and of the 15 Hartford schools whose 2013 scores were up, 10 were non-magnet schools.
The state is mandated to provide nearly 2,000 additional Hartford students with spots in magnet or open choice schools for the next school year.