From Brown vs. Board of Education to Connecticut’s landmark case, Sheff v. O’Neill, to the language of the Connecticut constitution, the law has been clear. Children have a constitutionally guaranteed right to a public education that is not impaired by isolation based on race, ethnicity, national origin or disability. Therefore, it is unconstitutional to develop and fund education programs that intentionally or unintentionally limit access to educational opportunities based on racial or ethnic backgrounds, or disabilities.
Yet recently, it was announced that schools exclusively for “gifted” children will be opening in Windham, New London and Bridgeport. Whether intended or not, the proposal takes Connecticut back to the ugly era of school segregation.
These three districts plan to pull what they characterize as “gifted” children from their schools and create separate schools “to highlight and encourage the potential” of these particular students. The schools are modeled after the Renzulli Academy in Hartford, named for University of Connecticut professor Joseph Renzulli, and serving “gifted” children in kindergarten and in fourth through ninth grades.