"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

"Charter schools operated by EMOs tend to be strongly racial segregative for both minority and majority students"

The corporate charters have become so politically toxic that Arne Duncan won't even mention them anymore. In a Politico interview with the gushing Mike Allen, the Dunc could only refer to "many states reducing restrictions on innovation." And there is good reason. With less than 20 percent of the corporate charters outperforming public schools and with two major studies just days apart demonstrating the charter contribution to resegregation of American education, it gets harder and harder for purported Democrats to support policies that favor apartheid.

The first study was from the Civil Rights Project, and this one is from the Education in the Public Interest Center at the University of Colorado: Schools Without Diversity: Education Management Organizations, Charter Schools, and the Demographic Stratification...

From the Executive Summary:
Five primary findings were reached:
  • Charter schools operated by EMOs tend to be strongly racial segregative for both minority and majority students as compared with the composition of the sending district. Only one-fourth of the charter schools had a composition relatively similar to that of the sending district.
  • For economically challenged students, EMO-operated charter schools more strongly segregate students than do their respective local districts. The student population is pushed out to the extremes. Most charter schools were divided into either very segregative high-income schools or very segregative low-income schools. Between 70% and 73% of the schools were in the extreme categories of the scale, depending on the comparison.
  • EMO-operated schools consistently enrolled a lower proportion of special education children than their home district. Past research has shown that charter schools have less capacity for special education children. Thus, parents tended to select away (or were counseled away) from charter schools. A small group of charter schools focused on special needs children and were, consequently, highly segregative in this regard.
  • English Language Learners (ELL) were also consistently underrepresented in charter schools in every comparison. While one-third of the EMO schools had an ELL population similar to the sending district, the distribution was highly skewed, with well over half the EMO schools being segregated.
  • When examined for the years 2001 to 2007, the composition of the charter schools trended closer to the public school district for each of the four demographic groups examined. However, this phenomenon was an artifact of balancing extremes. For both for-profit and nonprofit EMOs, the segregation patterns of 2000-2001 were virtually identical to those in 2006-2007. Consequently, a pattern of segregation attributable to EMO-operated schools is being maintained.

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