Report charges many charter schools exclude children in violation of the law
Over 1 in 5 of California’s charter schools have restrictive admissions requirements or other exclusionary practices that keep out many students with the greatest academic needs, a report released today by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and the public interest law firm Public Advocates alleges.
These practices, the report alleges, “violate the California Education Code, the California and U.S. Constitution, and state and federal civil rights laws.”
The report, titled, “Unequal Access: How Some California Charter Schools Illegally Restrict Enrollment,” says that according to the California Charter Schools Act of 1992, charter schools are required to “admit all pupils who wish to attend,” except for space limitations.
“Charter schools may not enact admissions requirements or other barriers to enrollment and must admit all students who apply, just as traditional schools cannot turn away students,” the 28-page report charges.
Of the 1,228 charter schools in California, the report said that it has identified 253 that have practices that are “plainly exclusionary,” based on information posted on the schools’ websites.
These practices include:
- Denying enrollment to students who have weak grades or test scores;
- Expelling students who do not have strong grades or test scores;
- Denying enrollment to students who do not “meet a minimum level of English proficiency;”
- Requiring students to meet “onerous” requirements for admission, including students or parent having to write essays or be interviewed;
- Discouraging students from immigrant background from applying by requiring parents or students to provide social security numbers or other citizenship information;
- Make enrollment conditional on parents volunteering or donating funds to the school.
In a lengthy statement, Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association, said, “We agree with Report charges many charter schools exclude children in violation of the law | EdSource: