Federal Complaint Puts Charter School Segregation on Blast
The ACLU and the Community Legal Aid Society allege that 75 percent of charter schools in Delaware are racially divided.
Hailed as the future of public education, charter schools were sold to the public as an innovative, taxpayer-funded solution to failing schools in poor minority neighborhoods and a growing achievement gap between black and white schoolchildren.
A new federal civil rights complaint, however, alleges that charter schools in Delaware have actually turned back the clock to the era of separate-but-equal education.
The complaint, filed jointly by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Community Legal Aid Society earlier this month, contends that more than three-quarters of charters statewide are identifiable as either mostly white or mostly minority, and the predominantly white ones far outperform the mostly minority ones on standardized achievement tests.
“Specifically, the state’s Charter School Act of 1995 has led to the proliferation of high-performing charter schools with practices and policies that result in the disproportionate exclusion of African-American and Hispanic students, low income students and students with disabilities,” according to the complaint, filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The disparities, the complaint continues, stem from state-sanctioned “preferential treatment” of some students, including its “failure to adequately regulate school-level barriers to admission” such as expensive uniforms, mandatory parental involvement and activity fees.
The ACLU and CLAS want the Office for Civil Rights to stop Delaware from authorizing and opening new charter schools until the state comes up with an acceptable desegregation plan—including eliminating funding disparity between charters and traditional public schools.
"The power of choice should be with the student and the family, not with the charter school," Kathleen MacRae, the ACLU's executive director, said at a press conference announcing the lawsuit.
The Delaware complaint, while eye-opening, is simply the latest challenge alleging racial Federal Complaint Puts Charter School Segregation on Blast | TakePart: