Do Charter Schools Increase Racial Segregation? | Last Week’s Best Articles

Our team is always seeking the latest news in the field of education. As advocates for a quality education for ALL students, we know we have to stay up-to-date on everything that’s going on in the education spheres of our nation…from the White House to the local public school district, from new legislation to the small acts of bravery and kindness made by a single teacher, from the milestones and celebrations to the hazardous injustices affecting many of our nations students.

Here are the best stories we came across last week…because we believe you should stay up-to-date, too!

On Monday, the Associated Press published an article asserting that charter schools had increased racial segregation in schools around the country. As you might expect, this got a lot of people in the education community talking, and many pushed back against this claim. We’ve included both the Associated Press article and a rebuttal to the piece, in this week’s round-up.

US charter schools put growing numbers in racial isolation via The Associated Press

Charter schools are among the nation’s most segregated, an Associated Press analysis finds — an outcome at odds, critics say, with their goal of offering a better alternative to failing traditional public schools.

National enrollment data shows that charters are vastly over-represented among schools where minorities study in the most extreme racial isolation. As of school year 2014-2015, more than 1,000 of the nation’s 6,747 charter schools had minority enrollment of at least 99 percent, and the number has been rising steadily.

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools spokeswoman Vanessa Descalzi said today’s charters cannot be compared to schools from the Jim Crow era when blacks were barred from certain schools.

“Modern schools of choice with high concentrations of students of color is a demonstration of parents choosing the best schools for their children, rooted in the belief that the school will meet their child’s educational needs, and often based on demonstrated student success,” Descalzi said. “This is not segregation.”

In a Deeply Flawed ‘Analysis,’ the Associated Press Blames Public Charter Schools for America’s Segregated Cities via The 74 Million

America is inexcusably segregated today, but it is ridiculous to imply that charter schools are to blame. Decades of housing choices, largely driven by suburban and intra-urban white flight, are reinforced today by inequities that are hardwired into our neighborhood school systems where funding, quality teachers, and other resources are unfairly distributed.

The parent choice that helped create segregated schools is the kind driven by a moving van, not by public charter schools. We will never be able to, nor should we, prevent families from moving where they want, but we can offer quality choices to families who can’t afford to move. Let’s please stop with the paternalism that passes judgment on their choices based on the idea that an all-black or all-Hispanic school will necessarily be bad for their children.

Tax Bills Could Expand Private School Benefits and Hurt Public Education via The New York Times

Under the House and Senate bills, families who can afford to put money away for private or sectarian schools each month would be able to watch their savings earn interest and capital gains free of taxation. In the Senate bill, even homeschoolers could withdraw up to $10,000 a year for school expenses in their own living room — from tax-favored savings accounts.

By contrast, the drastic curtailing of state and local tax deductions in both bills could hamstring local governments’ efforts to finance their public schools. State, county, and city governments have always struggled to raise taxes or pass bond measures for schools, but were able to argue that increases in sales or income tax rates could be deducted from federal income taxes.

One thing to read this week…

The constitutional right to education is long overdue via The Conversation

Public school funding has shrunk over the past decade. School discipline rates reached historic highs. Large achievement gaps persist. And the overall performance of our nation’s students falls well below our international peers.

These bleak numbers beg the question: Don’t students have a constitutional right to something better? Many Americans assume that federal law protects the right to education. Why wouldn’t it? All 50 state constitutions provide for education. The same is true in 170 other countries. Yet, the word “education” does not appear in the United States Constitution, and federal courts have rejected the idea that education is important enough that it should be protected anyway.

Did any of these articles particularly speak to you? We would love to know your thoughts! Let us know in the comments below:

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