Friday, December 12, 2014

Charter schools’ ugly separate-but-unequal reality -

Charter schools’ ugly separate-but-unequal reality -

by David Sirota

"The causes of educational segregation are a point of debate. Charter school defenders, for example, argue that the trends may merely reflect geography.

“A naive examination … appears to show that the critics are right: More choice is associated with minority students attending less diverse schools,” wrote the Brookings Institution’s Matthew M. Chingos in his 2013 study of education data.

“Of course, this relationship ignores the fact that charters tend to locate in areas that serve large shares of disadvantaged students and members of minority groups. As a result, this simple correlation tells us nothing about whether charters increase segregation or just tend to locate in areas where the schools are already segregated.” 
 Yet, in the Delaware case, the nonprofit groups blame charter schools’ admissions requirements for effectively promoting discrimination.

“These requirements include high examination scores, essays written by parents to explain why a school is a good choice for their child, access to gifted and talented elementary and middle school programs that help increase academic performance, annual activities fees, mandatory parent involvement and mandatory high-cost uniform purchases,” the ACLU said in a statement announcing the complaint.

“Such barriers prevent students from low-income African-American and Hispanic families from having the same access to high-quality charter schools that middle- and upper-class families have.” 
 In May, the Department of Education warned charter school administrators that their admissions policies “may not use admissions criteria that have the effect of excluding students on the basis of race, color or national origin.”

That warning was issued almost exactly 60 years after the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling that began officially desegregating America’s schools. In those six decades, much progress has been made on civil rights — but the trends documented in Delaware show there is still a long way to go."

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