Charter Schools and Segregation

While reading up for an EdWeek blog post I’m writing, I found this article about increasing segregation as an effect of expanding charter schools. Iris C. Rotberg, of Phi Delta Kappan, cites over 60 sources in this analysis of recent charter school policies, politics, and the effects in the U.S. and other nations. The article offers three main conclusions from a review of the research:

#1. There is a strong link between school choice programs and an increase in student segregation by race, ethnicity, and income.

#2. The risk of segregation is a direct reflection of the design of the school choice program.

#3. Even beyond race, ethnicity, and income, school choice programs result in increased segregation for special education and language-minority students, as well as in increased segregation of students based on religion and culture.

So, while the concept of choice is hard to argue with – everyone likes choice, and it shouldn’t only be reserved for the wealthy – the execution of that idea in public education policy is a complex and challenging proposition fraught with risks.

Take a look at the full article. Are we heading down a slippery slope?


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