Report: Small but growing number of charter schools are 'intentionally diverse'
- A small but growing number of charter schools are making student racial and socioeconomic diversity a “core part” of their mission, according to a new report released today by The Century Foundation.
- The authors’ 50-state analysis of 5,700 charter schools turned up 125 schools that are intentionally integrating their student populations, and 40% of these schools are less than five years old. A fifth of the overall sample of schools — 1,026 of them — show some consideration of diversity in their school design, and the 125 schools identified include international and dual-language models, Montessori schools, and project-based or expeditionary learning programs, with STEM also serving as a popular curriculum focus.
- A press release notes that students in charter schools are more likely to attend a segregated school than those in traditional public schools, but that “charter schools, if designed properly, can give more students access to racially and socioeconomically diverse classrooms.”
Over the next few weeks, the organization will also release in-depth profiles of some of the “diverse-by-design” schools to highlight the practices they are using to achieve more integration.
An Associated Press analysis last year showed that “extreme racial isolation” is significantly more common in charter schools, and that as of the 2014-15 school year, the number of schools with minority enrollment over 99% was growing. “The resegregation has been blamed on the effects of charters and school choice, the lapse of court-ordered desegregation plans in many cities, and housing and economic trends,” according to a Chicago Tribune story.
But just as the number of diverse charter schools has increased in recent years, so have efforts to prepare the future leaders of these schools. The Diverse Charter School Coalition (DCSC), a network of schools, recently announced its School Launch Program, in which leaders will participate in a 12-month, paid residency at a coalition host site beginning in July and then start their own school. DCSC also holds an annual convening and provides other resource materials.
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