Sunday, February 07, 2010

So does the CA Charter Schools Assoc:


We want to make you aware of a report that was released today regarding the performance of charter schools in serving some subgroups of students, as you may get questions about it from parents and members of your community, including the media.

"Choice Without Equity: Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards," by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, is based on an analysis of Federal government data and an examination of charter schools in 40 states and the District of Columbia, along with several dozen metropolitan areas with large enrollments of charters.  Unfortunately, the authors chose to focus their findings purely on demographics and "exposure" to diversity rather than the academic performance of charter school students, proving they are out of step with the reality of today's schools and students' needs.

CCSA Key Messages

·         Among other problems:

o    The report compiles skewed and incomplete data that, in the authors' own words, is largely based on "assumptions" and "suggestions."

o    This study, for example, neglects to take into consideration important factors, such as parental choice, the similarity of student populations between inner city charters and inner city traditional schools, and that charter schools intentionally locate in neighborhoods with the greatest need.

o    The researchers ignored the fact that charter schools are about choice, not chance.

·         The charter movement shares the goals of diverse schools and communities as a social good and we are working to ensure that our schools have greater diversity. But our first concern is on educational excellence wherever children in need may reside.

·         California charter schools are very diverse, have open-enrollment, and offer innovative programs to meet student's needs regardless of their race, ethnicity, or language of origin.

·         In California, charter schools' focus on high-quality education for all students is paying off, as African-American and Latino student achievement is better than in traditional public schools on any comparison, be it by state, by district, and particularly by neighborhood.

Additional Resources

·         Statement from Jed Wallace, CEO of the California Charter Schools Association

·         Statement from Nelson Smith, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

·         "Choice without Equity" by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA

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