What is Redlining?

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Redlining isn’t just something that impacted our parents or grandparents. It’s not something restricted to the history books. So, what is redlining? And how does it influence the type of education our children receive?

We believe that in order to know where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve been.

What is redlining?
Redlining is a practice of racial and ethnic discrimination. Through redlining, residents were refused a loan, insurance, or other financial services because they lived in an area determined to be a financial risk. Black neighborhoods were habitually redlined from the 1930s-1960s.

How did it play out in Connecticut’s major cities?
Let’s use Hartford as an example. The government sent field agents to scout Hartford and create reports for banks on the safest and riskiest areas to invest in. These reports factored in the percentage of Black and foreign-born residents in specific neighborhoods. Neighborhoods with more Black and foreign-born residents were deemed riskier investments. Banks invested in white upper-class communities instead.

What’s today’s impact?
Redlining’s impact on the ability to buy and sell real estate remains a major factor in the wealth gap between Black and white families that persists today. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, a median white family had $184,000 in wealth in 2019, compared to just $38,000 and $23,000 for the median Latino and Black families.

Redlining devalued properties in communities of color and fueled the racial wealth gap that makes it harder for Black families to buy homes in affluent neighborhoods to this day.

What does this have to do with education equity?
Property values have a huge impact on a child’s education/ Because despite the flawed, racist history of property valuation and ownership, Connecticut’s 170+ school districts are largely funded by property taxes. That means the wealthier a town is, the more money it has for its schools. And when racist policy set it up so that wealth is concentrated outside of Black and brown communities, our schools are underfunded and our children suffer.

We are fighting to change Connecticut’s racist education system and to finally get fair funding for our Black and Brown children. This is why we’re working to fund one Connecticut education system.

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