Charter Schools: Success or Segregation?

by Stacie Vos

 

Lauded for providing opportunities for low-income minority students, many criticize charters for drawing resources away from the public schools their students would have attended if they hadn’t “won the lottery.” In the name of civil rights, the charter movement and its many wealthy allies create a new system of inequality, that between the low income minority students of public schools, and the similar students who make it into charter schools.

In other words, the charter system claims to be ending the achievement gap, while they are in fact creating a new one. It is as if only a fraction of low-income students deserve the opportunity to a good education. What is more, many of the teachers are new, young, and untrained, as the charter schools require people who are willing to work the hours of camp counselors, year round.

The NAACP has recently protested charters, and a parent of a NYC school student published an OP-Ed. in the Sunday Times on what she sees as the coming consequences of a new charter school system in the city. Here is an excerpt of her account:

The apparent reason for opening a charter school in a gentrified neighborhood like Cobble Hill (or the Upper West Side, where a Success Academy opened last year) is to bring more middle-class and upper-middle-class families into the publicly funded charter system. But if the Success Academy succeeds in its mission, it could well end up destroying schools like P.S. 261 that already succeed in attracting these families. My daughter’s new friends include the children of both marketing executives and maintenance workers. At drop-off recently, I watched as she and a friend who lives in a nearby housing project walked hand in hand down the hall. In its promise of a more just world, the sight made me almost teary-eyed. I wonder how much longer those kinds of scenes will prevail.”

Many charter schools only serve low-income students, making it impossible for their students to learn among a diverse group of students. Didn’t our country decide long ago that this was a horrible thing to do to children, and a horrible thing for our country?

If you don’t know much about charter schools, I’ll give you a tip on how to locate them in your area: Look for the new building with Astro-Turf on the playground, a symbol for the sustainability of this trend in education.

 

Here is a PBS video on the charter movement in New Orleans: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/video/blog/2009/05/what_is_the_impact_of_charter.html

 

School Book Article on why parents like Rosenfeld resent the Success Charter System: http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/03/19/why-some-parents-resent-the-success-charter-schools/

Link to Rosenfeld’s Op-Ed. piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/opinion/how-charter-schools-can-hurt.html?_r=2&src=me&ref=general

Link to article on the NAACP’s protest of charter schools last summer: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/11/nyregion/naacp-on-defensive-for-suit-against-charter-schools.html

Research for yourself: The Huffington Post: Charter Schools: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/charter-schools/

 

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