Charter Schools Don’t Segregate

Published September 13, 2010

The Sept. 7 story about Albany’s charter schools, “The choice to be apart,” is reasonably balanced and informative. However, the lead paragraph asserts as a fact something that is untruthful: namely, that the city’s charters have “created a second school system that is almost entirely segregated.”

Segregation is a deliberate action by a ruling authority “to cut off from others,” especially (as Webster’s notes) “to separate by races.”

As the story goes on to point out, Albany’s charter schools are opening doors of opportunity, not slamming them in a racially exclusionary manner. It happens that charters have appealed especially to minority families who seek a better education for their children. And rising test scores suggest they are finding it there.

It is professional bean counters, such as those at UCLA’s Civil Rights Project, who wrongly characterize an open-enrollment school as “segregated” simply because minority head counts are a bit higher than for the school system as a whole.

In their ideal world, students would be shipped from school to school on the basis of their skin color simply to satisfy some social engineer’s notion of a perfect racial balance.

To go with that kind of state-directed racial distribution instead of honoring parental choice sounds a lot like, well, segregation.

Robert Holland

Senior Fellow for Education Policy

The Heartland Institute