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“Public schools weren’t a ‘dead end’ for me, my parents, my wife, or my kids,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., tweeted on Monday as the Democrats opposed and delayed the nomination of school choice advocate Betsy DeVos to be the education secretary. “So I’m helping to hold the floor overnight, voting NO tomorrow.”

Murphy’s father was a lawyer at a law firm in Hartford. Murphy didn’t go to public school in Hartford, though. He attended Wethersfield High School. To attend Wethersfield H.S., you basically need to live in Wethersfield, Conn.

How different are Wethersfield and Hartford?

Median household income

Wethersfield: $77,195

Hartford: $30,630

Median home value

Wethersfield: $249,300

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Hartford: $161,400

Median monthly housing cost

Wethersfield: $1,442

Hartford: $1,008

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Wethersfield: 85.1 percent

Hartford: 29.8 percent

Percent of high school graduates going straight to college

Wethersfield: 78 percent

Hartford: 25 percent

School choice would allow more parents in Hartford public schools, where 77 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch to send their kids to Wethersfield. Hartford has a network of magnet schools to provide parents with some choice, and parents from outside of Hartford can send their kids to those magnet schools. But parents inside of Hartford may not send their kids to Wethersfield.

Oh, of course, really wealthy parents in Hartford can send their kids up the road to Loomis Chaffee, but for 99 percent of Hartforders, that’s not an option.

DeVos and her compatriots think those families — not just the Loomis Chafee families and the Wethersfield families — should have more choice. Wethersfield alumnus Murphy disagrees.

Timothy P. Carney, the Washington Examiner’s senior political columnist, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.

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