How Important Is Integration to Nonprofit Charter School Leaders?
The Nonprofit Quarterly | December 11, 2017
From their supporters’ perspective, charter schools are a key ingredient in the prescription our nation’s struggling education system needs to cure its ills. They provide a way to free educational leaders from the bureaucratic shackles of traditional public school systems, constraints believed to deprive students of a quality education. Or, Ethan Gray of Education Cities put it speaking to Chalkbeat, “Give us the freedom from overly prescriptive regulation and micromanagement, and in turn we will promise to help kids achieve on assessments at a certain level and create a strong school culture.”For individuals who are concerned about children and their education, charter schools are an opportunity. Forming a nonprofit organization to operate one or more charter schools is a more direct way to do good than engaging in the often-messy political process required to change traditional public schools from within.Shifting focus from cities and school districts to individual schools may benefit some, but there’s an apparent unintended and unwelcome impact on the nature of the larger communities where the schools are embedded. Though some children saw improved test results and graduation rates, according to a recent Associated Press report, “national enrollment data shows that charters are vastly over-represented among schools where minorities study in the most extreme racial isolation.”