ERIC Number: ED451267
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Nov
Charter School Equity Issues: Focus on Minority and At-Risk Students. Policy Brief.
This report examines equity issues at charter schools serving predominantly minority or at-risk students. Increasing charter school enrollments of such students indicates the popularity of this choice for disadvantaged populations. Overall, charter schools enroll larger percentages of minority students than public schools. Advocates note that charter schools can revitalize deteriorating public schools and provide choice to disadvantaged families. Charter schools are generally smaller, are newly created, have a distinct curricular focus, and offer personalized learning environments. They value teacher empowerment, professional fulfillment, and innovation. Critics claim, however, that students most at risk of academic failure are being placed in untested, unregulated schools and that choice has created more deeply segregated schools than the schools from which students exited. Policymakers must create safeguards regarding charter school curriculum, recruitment, and admissions. Some states hesitate to implement charter school reform because of concerns for the lack of definitive research demonstrating effectiveness, possibilities of racial segregation, academic quality of specialized schools, and syphoning academically stronger students and students from higher socioeconomic levels. Though charter schools often enroll large numbers of underserved students, they have become more segregated than traditional schools. Some states have laws about diversity in charter school enrollment. Policymakers must be aware of culturally biased recruitment strategies. They must review the quality of charter school curricula, monitor student enrollment, and ensure that all students understand their range of options. (Contains 26 references.) (SM)
Descriptors: Accountability, Admission (School), Charter Schools, Elementary Secondary Education, Enrollment Trends, Equal Education, High Risk Students, Minority Group Children, Racial Segregation, School Choice, Student Recruitment
Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning, 2550 South Parker Road, Suite 500, Aurora, CO 80014-1678. Tel: 303-337-0990; Fax: 303-337-3005; Web site: http://www.mcrel.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning, Aurora, CO.