Key Issues


State constitutions describe the education that must be provided to children in various ways: “free and uniform,” “adequate,” “open to all children,” “general, suitable and efficient,” etc. States have struggled to enforce these provisions, particularly as they apply to children of all races and ethnicities, leading to the creation of federal laws to protect these children, as well as other specific groups of children, such as those with disabilities, those living below or near the poverty line, and English language learners.

Some charter school operators have set up barriers to entry and seek to serve more affluent, more advantaged and more homogeneous groups of students.

The specific barriers and excluded students vary. In Washington, D.C., charter schools expelled students at 72 times the rate of neighborhood schools. New York City’s Success Academy reportedly failed to comply with special education laws and “pressured parents” to send their kids to other schools. In Phoenix, where most students are Hispanic or African American, Great Hearts Academies has 5,000 students at 16 area schools, and 69 percent are white non-Hispanics.

The Schott Foundation’s Opportunity to Learn campaign describes the barriers charter schools erect that exclude students:

Some charters choose not to hire reading coaches, English learner teachers or special needs providers. They might only print their promotional brochures in English or advertise in a way that makes struggling students feel unwelcome. In the end, charters have many ways to say: “This school may not be for you.”

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Success Academy’s “Got to Go” list weeds out certain students

  |   Tags: Barriers to Enrollment, Charters, Civil Rights Issues, Equity, Key Issues

The New York Times reports that at Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy Charter School is weeding out “weak or difficult students, and intentionally not sending annual re-enrollment forms to certain students. After interviewing 10 currents and former employees, the Times discovered that one of the schools’ principals has a “Got to Go” list, which singles out the children […] Read More »

Texas school board rejects Athlos charter school AGAIN

  |   Tags: Accountability, Charters, Equity, Transparency, Weak Oversight

The Texas school board of education rejects the Athlos Academy charter application for the second year in a row. The application submitted by Idaho-based Athlos Academies to open two new charter schools in the Dallas area was vetoed by a vote of 12-2 at the Texas State Board of Education meeting on July 17th. Education […] Read More »

UnChartered Territory

The School Project made a series of documentary films about the effect of school closures on Chicago’s families and educators.  “A team of documentary filmmakers began following affected families and educators, policymakers, and advocates as the closures unfolded — and their stories became a jumping-off point for exploring so many urgent questions facing public education today.” […] Read More »