A new study of racial segregation in North Carolina shows that 30% of regular public schools are racially imbalanced, but 60% of charter schools are.
These findings echo the work of the UCLA Civil Rights Project, which has found that charter schools are frequently even more segregated than their surrounding district.
In Georgia, there are charter schools that are overwhelmingly white in districts where there are hardly any white students in the public schools. The Pataula Charter in Calhoun County is 75% white, but the local schools are only 2% white.
The first question is whether charter schools will become the new name for segregation academies?
The second question is why our society has turned its back on racial integration?
This is a real problem. I went to a charter high school in North Carolina, the second-to-last one allowed under a state law that capped charters at 100. It was a college preparatory school, one of the very few charter schools in the state focused more on advanced students who can’t afford private school rather than students with special learning needs or low-income students who need academic catching up. The school’s original building was in the middle of a public housing project downtown and next to a HBSC. My freshman year was the school’s first year, and it was a pretty awesome project when it started. We did a lot of work on documenting the history of the community, were kind of scrappy and rough-and-tumble, tended to come from rural counties or were kids from the city who had gone to public schools and not found a sufficient education. There were no guarantees of results, and so attending the school was a risk for students and parents. The school made efforts to recruit minority students, but there were issues from the get-go—the school didn’t have a cafeteria or busses and students had to have achieved a particular level of math upon enrollment. The last made it particularly difficult to recruit racial minorities, as the existing segregation of schools meant and segregation of classes within schools meant that few minority students had the required level of math.
The school is now approaching its 15th year and one of the best high schools in the country. The population is as white as ever and its demographics have also narrowed in other ways. Rather than being populated mainly by rural quirky hippie students who didn’t do well in public schools and whose parents were willing to take a risk, due to the stellar education provided there are now huge numbers of rich suburban white kids applying based on the school’s test scores. The school did a huge capital campaign and moved to a new building (after the public housing project had been torn down and replaced by a new development of $200K condos) in a more well-off neighborhood up the street. I get alumni e-mails asking me for big chunks of change, and I’m sad because I actually had planned to give a bit to my school as an adult because I loved the education it provided so much, but I have no interest in supporting the children of wealthy white parents who just don’t want to bother paying for private school. As far as I know, minority recruiting continues, but the problems mentioned above persist. Meanwhile, the situation with Wake County Public Schools isn’t getting much better.
(Source: azspot, via projectqueer)