How Some Charter Schools Exclude Minorities | 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!


As Charter Schools Narrow Achievement Gaps, Some Rethink Strict Discipline via WBUR

When Tim Nicolette, the executive director of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, talks about high expectations, some of the schools he represents — especially the ones with high test scores — also have significantly higher rates of discipline.

Hence the phrase you hear all the time when people talk about charter schools: the so-called “no excuses” model. KIPP Massachusetts is part of a national network of charter schools that followed that model at one point.

“If you go back to 2004, you might have seen silent lines in the hallway all the time,” explained Caleb Dolan, KIPP Massachusetts executive director. “And you might see a lot of silent time in the classroom.”

He admits those high expectations on kids’ behavior might have been too hard on them. Over time, Dolan said school leaders started hearing from graduates who made it to college, and many said they found themselves overwhelmed by all the freedom they had there.


Under DeVos, a Smaller Department of Education via Inside Higher Ed

The biggest losses were at two key units within the department: the Office of Federal Student Aid, which oversees all federal support for college students, and the Office for Civil Rights. OCR, which has been under the microscope for policy changes involving investigations of civil rights complaints, has lost nearly 70 staffers overall, or about 11 percent of its workforce, since last year. Those numbers are trending in the opposite direction of what members of Congress, who recently appropriated more money for the office, hope to see for support of the agency’s civil rights work.


A Shadow System Feeds Segregation in New York City Schools via The New York Times

“When we have a publicly funded school system, the notion that you can pick and choose your students is problematic,” said Matt Gonzales, director of the school diversity project at New York Appleseed, an organization that pushes for integrated schools. “It undermines the democratic, free, and open nature of public education.”

In the extent of its choice system, New York is unique. Across the country, about three-quarters of all students simply attend their zoned neighborhood schools.

But as students increasingly chose their schools, the system evolved so that many schools became the ones choosing the students. 


One thing to read this week…

‘It’s like a black and white thing’: How some elite charter schools exclude minorities via NBC News

This clearly was no ordinary public school.

Parents of prospective students converged on Lake Oconee Academy for an open house on a bright but unseasonably cold March afternoon for northern Georgia. A driveway circling a landscaped pond led them to the school’s main hall. The tan building had the same luxury-lodge feel as the nearby Ritz-Carlton resort. Parents oohed and aahed as Jody Worth, the upper school director, ushered them through the campus.

Nestled among gated communities, golf courses, and country clubs, the school felt like an oasis of opportunity in a county of haves and have-nots, where nearly half of all children live in poverty while others live in multimillion-dollar lakeside houses.


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