New report argues that charter schools' political success is a civil rights failure

Feb 08, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Charter schools continue to stratify students by race, class, and possibly language, and are more racially isolated than traditional public schools in virtually every state and large metropolitan area in the country.

Today, the Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA issued "Choice Without Equity: Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards," a nationwide report based on an analysis of Federal government data and an examination of charter schools in 40 states and the District of Columbia, along with several dozen metropolitan areas with large enrollments of charters. The report found that charter schools continue to stratify students by race, class, and possibly language, and are more racially isolated than traditional public schools in virtually every state and large metropolitan area in the country.

"President Barack Obama just delivered his budget to the U.S. Congress which increases both incentives and resources to create more charter schools," Erica Frankenberg, co-author of the report said. "This report should be considered in evaluating new federal incentives to states that encourage the expansion of charter schools, such as the Race to the Top initiative."

The study's key findings suggest that charter schools, particularly those in the western United States are havens for white re-segregation from public schools; requirements for providing essential equity data to the federal government go unmet across the nation; and magnet schools are overlooked, in spite of showing greater levels of integration and than charters.

"The charter movement has flourished in a period of retreat on civil rights," stated UCLA Professor Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project. "The vision of a successfully integrated society - one that carries real opportunities for historically excluded groups of students to enter the mainstream - ought to be a defining characteristic of charter schools. Federal policy should make this a condition for charter school support and should support other choice programs which pursue this goal."

The study offers several recommendations for restoring equity provisions and integration in charter schools, including establishing new guidance and reporting requirements by the Federal government; federal funding opportunities for magnet schools, which have a documented legacy of reducing racial isolation and improving student outcomes; and incorporating some features of magnet schools into charter schools. The report also recommends heightened enforcement of existing state-level legislation with specific provisions regarding diversity in charter schools, and monitoring patterns of charter school enrollment and attrition, focusing particularly on reporting the demographic information of charter school students on low-income and ELL characteristics.

Explore further: Yes, physically disciplining kids is an act of violence

More information: Download the report, "Choice without Equity: Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards," by E. Frankenberg, G. Siegel-Hawley, and J. Wang

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Charter schools, studied

Oct 29, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Set in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood, an area not known for its excellent schools, the Boston Preparatory Charter Public School nonetheless has an enviable academic record: Last spring, ...

Drug testing in schools up

Jul 12, 2006

Higher funding and the lowering of legal constraints are encouraging more U.S. schools to test students for use of illegal drugs.

China joins space data disaster charter

May 24, 2007

China has become a member of the Space and Major Disasters Charter that provides satellite data to nations during natural or human origin disasters.

Recommended for you

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sean_W
3 / 5 (2) Feb 08, 2010
Yeah. No problem with objectivity and conflict of interests here. A report from a lobbyist organization completely supports the stance of that organization. Who would have predicted that? And I thought that climate science was lame. I had forgotten how lame the social sciences were.
Skeptic_Heretic
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 08, 2010
Charter schools are successful because of the ability to teach without adhering to an outdated requirements sheet.

It would be more apt to call Public Schools a failure in Civil Rights as the quality is continually on the decline in order to pass more students.
petedskier
not rated yet Feb 08, 2010
Yeah. No problem with objectivity and conflict of interests here. A report from a lobbyist organization completely supports the stance of that organization. Who would have predicted that?


Will an argumentum ad hominem charge change, "The study's key findings suggest that charter schools, particularly those in the western United States are havens for white re-segregation from public schools…" Perhaps the poster could cite real data to show the error?
Skeptic_Heretic
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 08, 2010
Perhaps the poster could cite real data to show the error?

Perhaps the study could provide data supporting it's own claim.
freethinking
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 08, 2010
Though my kids are in public schools and I support public schools for all its many flaws I am all for charter and home schools.

Why? They provide competition to the public system.

The three major problem in public schools is the teachers union, and federal government intervention, and special interests.