Create Charter Schools That Reduce Segregation
Charter schools are officially the new “it” in education reform. For President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and a score of elected officials across the country, “more charter schools” is the ubiquitous answer to what ails schools enrolling large shares of disadvantaged children of color.
In late June, Louisiana lifted its cap on the number of charter schools allowed under state law. Last month, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts filed legislation that would do the same in his state. State officials are open about their hopes that lifting such caps will improve their chances of getting a share of the $4.35 billion in “Race to the Top” funding made available under the federal stimulus law.
Secretary Duncan in fact has urged states to lift their caps on charters, saying they would be at a disadvantage in receiving stimulus money if they didn’t. Reassuringly, he has balanced in his statements the benefit of autonomy and the need for oversight of the publicly funded but largely independent schools—a degree of reason often absent from the rhetoric...
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