Charter schools aren’t much more segregated than nearby schools students otherwise would attend, concludes an analysis by a team lead by Gary Ritter, a University of Arkansas education policy professor, in Education Next.
That contradicts the UCLA-based Civil Rights Project’s Choice without Equity: Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards. That’s because the Civil Rights Project compared charter schools, often located in high-minority urban neighborhoods, with all traditional public schools, which are located in much more diverse areas. In inner cities, students in both charters and traditional public schools “attend school in intensely segregated settings,” write the Arkansas team.
Their findings jibe with a 2009 report by RAND, which followed students in five cities who moved from traditional public schools into charter schools: RAND found transfers have “surprisingly little effect on racial distributions across the sites.”
The Civil Rights Project’s report also complained of nearly all-white charter schools.
In some cases, like Idaho, charter school students across all races attend schools of white isolation: majorities of students of all races are in 90–100% white charter schools.
“No kidding!” responds the Arkansas team. “The state of Idaho is nearly 95 percent white.”
Public schools are segregation academies because students are forced to go to school where they live, writes Greg Forster (with Whitney Tilson quotes), looking at New York City.