Just this weekend, the Associated Press (AP) released a story suggesting that charter schools that are chosen by and serving predominantly students of color are contributing to the “segregation” of public schools.
Education Post believes that parents deserve the freedom to choose the school that works best for their children. Below are quotes from Education Post’s network of advocates and parents who tend to agree.
The AP story completely misses the fact that the real driver of segregation in American education is zoned neighborhood schools tied to segregated housing patterns. The story lets traditional public schools off the hook and ignores the history of segregated education that existed long before the charter school movement. The power to choose a charter school that is both racially and culturally affirming while also producing strong academic results is not “segregating” students; it is a solution by parents to forced isolation and segregation.
“Most Black folks wouldn’t call Morehouse or Howard segregated,” said Dirk Tillotson, charter school advocate in California. “Separation and segregation are different; segregation in this context is aligned with racism and involves the use of power, of excluding us and leaving us with less than a fair share. To say Black families are ‘pushed’ by charters misses the point—they are pushed by a historically racist system that I personally don’t think has really changed its spots.”
“Picking a school isn’t just about quality and performance, there are definitely other factors,” said Rebecca McCarter-Hall, wife and mother of two school-aged children. “Will my child be safe inside of and commuting to school every day? How far away is the school and can we afford daily transportation costs? Hell, will the school even be open next year? This is why I’m happy that charter schools came along—they provided options. And while some of them are performing the same or worse than the traditional neighborhood schools, there are also just as many that are serving our students extremely well!”
“There are so many shades of wrong coming out of this AP story, but the most egregious act committed is the attack on black and brown parents,” said Vesia Wilson-Hawkins, former Metro Nashville Public Schools student, parent and staffer. “The article shames them for doing what every white and wealthy parent in America does—selecting the best educational situation for their babies.”