Charter schools and diversity
Charter schools are more integrated than public schools in general, says the Harvard Civil Rights Project. But its study still managed to attack charters for failing to promote “diversity.” Surprise! Minorities tend to enroll in urban schools; whites tend to enroll in suburban schools. The Boston Globe reports:
”The system’s been touted as this market-based system where if you allow people to choose it will bring about more diversity, but there are not really equitable policies built into charter school law to ensure that,” (co-author Erica) Frankenberg said. ”A lot of states have adopted this idea of school choice but haven’t even considered the issue of race.”
Charter school supporters argued that the study does not compare charter schools to the ethnic makeup of their school districts, and that charter schools, especially those in cities like Boston, attract more minority students because they provide a better education than their public school counterparts.
Actually, the charter school movement’s priority is improving student learning, not promoting “diversity.” Parents and students choose charters for a better education, as the Globe discovered at Media and Technology Charter High, a Boston-area school that’s 90 percent black and Hispanic.
Some students said that while they may miss out on the cultural experiences of a racially mixed school, they are more concerned about gettting a solid education.
And it’s not like many of these students would be attending a racially mixed school if they hadn’t chosen a charter.
Charters are supposed to focus on a target population with shared interests, values or needs. I’m writing a book about a charter high school that targets underachieving Hispanic students with college aspirations. Enrollment is 85 percent Hispanic; most students come from Spanish-speaking families and will be the first in their family to go to college. More diversity would dilute the school’s mission.