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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New report on K12, Inc. in California

  |   Tags: Charters, Corporate Profiles, Equity, K12, Key Issues, Oversight, Quality

A new report from In The Public Interest examines a California virtual school managed by the for-profit education company, K12, Inc. The study focuses on student performance, management practices, and oversight mechanisms at California Virtual Academies (CAVA), whose students are “at risk of low quality educational outcomes, and some are falling through the cracks entirely, […] Read More »

News from Cashing In On Kids

• The Florida charter school started by Jeb Bush was shut down in 2008. The school is described by The New York Times as “an image-softening vehicle for [his] political comeback.” Suffering from financial woes and academic inconsistencies, the local school board voted to immediately terminate Bush’s Liberty City Charter School’s contract. Bush’s Foundation for […] Read More »

11-Point Program for Reform

After a recent poll found that voters want greater oversight for charter schools, In The Public Interest and the Center for Popular Democracy released The Charter School Accountability Agenda: An 11-Point Program for Reform, which outlines steps for states to ensure public accountability and provide oversight to improve student learning and reduce instances of fraud. […] Read More »