The Sheff Movement is a coalition of parents, students, educators, and community members working to assure full access to quality integrated educations for every child in the Hartford region. We envision a society where all children have access to high-performing, well-resourced, integrated schools in inclusive, prosperous communities; where capable, caring teachers and administrators reflect the diverse student body; where children learn together, explore together, and play together; where identities are embraced, valued, and uplifted.
The Sheff Movement is a coalition of parents, students, educators, and community members working to expand awareness about Connecticut’s successful voluntary, two-way interdistrict school integration programs and promote improvement and expansion of these programs. Our ultimate goal is to promote quality, integrated education for all children. We do this primarily through outreach, advocacy, and community building activities.
The Sheff Movement coalition’s efforts play an important role in supporting families whose children participate (or would like to participate) in our region’s integration programs. Our ultimate goal is to make quality, integrated education available to all students and families who want it.
To that end, we aim to:
Increase public awareness about Sheff v. O’Neill and, more generally, the importance of integration;
Ensure that parents and policymakers have access to data and information that helps them make sound decisions about whether to support and/or participate in our region’s integration programs;
Identify policies, practices, and attitudes that undermine ongoing efforts to provide quality, integrated education for all children and take steps to improve them;
Grow a network of parents, educators, and community members who are willing to share their perspectives and experiences; and
Provide a space for families, students, educators, and supporters to coalesce around a shared commitment to quality, integrated education for all.
WHY SCHOOL INTEGRATION?
Studies consistently show that racially, culturally, and economically diverse schools are strongly associated with a range of short and long term benefits for all racial groups. This includes gains in math, science, reading, and critical thinking skills and improvements in graduation rates. Research also demonstrates that diverse schools are better equipped than high-poverty schools to counteract the negative effects of poverty. Over the long-term, students who attend diverse schools are more likely than students from homogeneous schools to choose diverse colleges, neighborhoods, and workplaces later in life. They possess better critical thinking skills and analytical ability and are more likely to form cross-racial friendships.
SCHOOL INTEGRATION IN CT
Approximately 19,000 students participate in our region’s school integration programs, which have been developed in response to Sheff v. O’Neill. Students in Greater Hartford have the opportunity to participate in many different types of integration programs, including: interdistrict magnet schools, Open Choice, reverse choice, vocational-technical high schools, and the interdistrict cooperative grant programs.
Interdistrict/Regional Magnet Schools
See a listing of Greater Hartford’s interdistrict magnet schools here.
Interdistrict magnet schools in Greater Hartford are part of the public education system, but generally offer a specialized theme or focus and are designed to meet Sheff v O’Neill integration goals. Most are built with state support and admission is by lottery.
Magnet schools offer an academic focus or theme that may suit your child’s interests and talents. Magnet schools also offer improved academic achievement; diverse student body; higher attendance rates, graduation rates, and lower drop-out rates; and greater parental involvement. The regional magnet schools offer a far more racially and economically integrated student body than most non-magnet public schools in the region. Our magnet schools promote economic integration, which has a positive impact on student outcomes.
Nearly 17,000 students in Greater Hartford attended Sheff magnet schools during the 2013-2014 school year. In Greater Hartford, there are a few different magnet school providers. There are 21 Hartford host magnet schools, 19 CREC magnet schools, 2 magnet schools operated by LEARN/Goodwin College, 2 magnet schools operated by Bloomfield Public Schools, and 1 magnet school operated by East Hartford.
Hartford Region Open Choice Program
The Open Choice program offers public school students in Hartford the opportunity to attend non-magnet public schools in suburban towns. Open Choice increases diversity in area towns and for participating Hartford students. Currently, 25 school districts in Greater Hartford voluntarily participate in the Open Choice program, which is managed by the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC). In 2013-2014, about 2,000 students participated in Open Choice. This program (known first as “Project Concern”) has been operating since 1966; its name later changed to “Project Choice” and is now called “Open Choice.”
Through a policy known as “reverse choice,” public school students in suburban communities can apply to attend non-magnet public schools in Hartford.
Interdistrict Cooperative Grant Programs
The Interdistrict Cooperative Grant (IDCG) Program is a competitive grant program that provides funding for programs that increase student achievement and reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation. The IDCG program is administered by the Connecticut State Department of Education, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 10—74d.
The Sheff Integration Standard
An integrated school, under Sheff standards, is a school with at least 25% white enrollment. Because lottery selection is not based on individual students’ race, this integration goal has also led to strong levels of economic integration in the magnet schools
The Sheff Movement is grateful for current and past support from the following funders