Grouping Kids by Race or Ethnicity in Charter Schools Has Merit, Backers Say

Dave Weber, Orlando Sentinel, May 1, 2011

Segregation in Florida’s charter schools is more by circumstance than design, say charter supporters. They argue that addressing the academic shortcomings of students often means devoting more attention to minorities.

They point to annual state reports showing that black and Hispanic students who attend charter schools are more likely to score higher on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests in reading, math and science than their counterparts in traditional public schools.

They highlight successful charter schools, such as the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) national chain that targets black and Hispanic students. The KIPP charter, which opened last fall in Jacksonville and has 96 percent black enrollment, recently received accolades from Gov. Rick Scott for helping minority students achieve academically.

That’s justification for grouping students by race or ethnicity in charter schools, supporters say.

{snip}

But others are not sold on charters that are top-heavy by race or ethnicity. Some Orange County school-district officials are questioning the approach.

“It is not balanced,” said School Board member Christine Moore, who has raised concerns.

An Orlando Sentinel analysis shows that one in eight of the state’s 456 charter schools has enrollments 90 percent or more of a single race or ethnicity, with more than half of the charters topping the two-thirds mark. That’s a considerably higher proportion than in traditional public schools and adds to the existing number of out-of-balance schools where educators often struggle to improve student achievement.

Civil rights activists say creating schools with populations that are heavily Hispanic or African-American simply creates more campuses that lack money, have poorer-quality teachers and lower student improvement.

{snip}

But black and Hispanic schools are not the only concerns Frankenberg [Erica Frankenberg, an assistant professor at Penn State University] and others have. The explosion of charter schools, which are attended by nearly 6 percent of the state’s public-school students, has resulted in more predominantly white schools, too.

{snip}

Researchers at Stanford University looked at charters in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and Florida’s did not show well. The 2009 study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes lists Florida among six “states that demonstrated lower than average charter school student growth than their peers in traditional schools.”

{snip}

School district officials across the state complain that it is difficult to deny requests for a charter or pull the plug on failing schools because the charter movement is pushed by influential state leaders, including Scott and former Gov. Bush. His foundation is lobbying the Legislature to make the approval process easier for some charter schools.

{snip}

The A-graded Lake Eola Charter is popular with more-affluent parents seeking education options in downtown Orlando. Its white enrollment of 65 percent puts it among the 15 “whitest” of Orange’s 235 schools, state data show. Five other of Orange County’s 28 charters are on that list of 15 whitest schools, too.

Legacy High Charter in Ocoee at 77 percent has the largest proportion of white students of any public school in Orange County. Hope elementary and middle charter, which shares its campus, is close behind at 69 percent. Nearby Ocoee High, which Legacy students otherwise might attend, is only 37 percent white.

{snip}

Nearby, the tiny communities of Oakland and Belle Isle both started charters, predominantly white, that are alternatives to the more diverse local public schools. Belle Isle officials said a big concern was finding an alternative to Oak Ridge High School, which routinely receives D’s and F’s in state grading.

{snip}

Nearby public schools feel the pinch from charters. Although Pine Castle Elementary, which serves Belle Isle, is an A school, it lost students to the new Cornerstone Charter, which opened at the Methodist church next door last fall.

{snip}

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  • olewhitelady

    Most parents who sign their children up for charter schools are probably people who are interested in their kids’ success. Many low-IQ ghetto folks might not care enough about their children’s schooling or be too lazy to seek a slot in a charter school. Thus, I wonder if charter-school students of any ethnicity might tend to be brighter than that group’s average, given that they’d probably inherit the parents’ intellect.

    Another consideration would be whether a particular charter school scales the students’ grades or grades on a curve. In such cases, a black child in a school that’s all or mostly black would have a greater chance of receiving a high grade than he would in a mostly white school.

    Regardless, most liberals don’t really care about black success, but only the appearance of it. To many, graduation from high school and college and the acquisition of a high-paying job is a civil right. Of course, the liberals themselves would never want an Affirmative Action physician or lawyer, and they’d never send their children to schools run by such people.

  • SoMO born, Southern bred

    We told you years ago that segregation was better for everyone!!! It’s taken half a century for The Powers That Be to even glance at evidence that we were right. We were right then, and we’re right now. Segregate grade schools!!! Let the kids focus on lessons instead of who’s beating up whom after school. In colleges or universities let people go all together; they’re adults and should at least by then have a decent command of reading, writing and arithmetic. Today, grade school kids are lucky to be even 50% literate by 12th grade. That’s why I advocate home schooling for parents who care about their kids. Yes it is race, stupid! It does matter, and I’m tired of the diversity drivel that says it doesn’t.

  • Anonymous

    Segregating students by race works, but we just must NOT do that–it raises “grave concerns” and it’s “not balanced” so the sociologists tell us. Also according to civil rights activists, schools that are predominately Hispanic or African American will inevitably and invariably have poorer-quality teachers and lower student improvement. (Even as they are actually and measurably doing better.)

    It’s long past time to abolish government [read:public] schools. They have proven beyond any shadow of doubt, year after year for decades that they do not educate anyone very well, and most very badly indeed.

  • WR the elder

    It is sad but unsurprising that even if you can prove with mountains of data that white children do better in white majority classrooms, this fact will be deemed irrelevant — by white educators and administrators. They only care about improving the test scores of blacks and Hispanics, not of whites. Actually, what they really care about is “closing the gap”. Note that closing the gap can be achieved by increasing the scores of black and Hispanic children, but it can also (and more easily) be achieved by lowering the scores of white children. So one way to “close the gap” is to have plenty of black children in the classrooms attended by white children. That won’t raise black test scores but it will lower white test scores.

  • Anonymous

    A big reason why charter schools do better is because they take away the most motivated and parental supported students from their area. To get into a charter, you often have to go through several other steps that public schools don’t take, like lotteries. This is why it appears that charter schools do better to educate minority and lower income students when in reality they are just taking the best of the crop.

  • Jay

    When they talk about the ‘need’ for racial integration in school, they always say that we live in a ‘global’ economy and that we need to learn about the ‘perspectives’ of others to compete more successfully.

    They offer no data in support of this, just their feelings and opinions. Actually, the schools are being used as social policy. By lumping all races, colors and creeds together, the liberals hope to CREATE the reality that is not reflected in housing patterns in the real world.

    Trouble is, the housing patterns persist. The races don’t like to live with each other. Where I’m at, there are literal armies of ‘hipsters’ who reclaim ghetto neighborhoods from blacks and latinos, and there is no racial integration with them. So if white liberals want to live around each other, what hope is there for their dream of a multi-cultural/racial, social justice paradise?

  • sbuffalonative

    Blacks know they did better in segregated schools. They talk about it all the time on black talk radio.

    Most blacks would love to have their own race-based schools but their leaders won’t allow it. To do so would be to admit that the segregationists were right and the intregrationists were wrong.

    I suspect someone is working on a convoluted theory that will allow them to return to race-based schools BUT will prove that segregation is wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Notice the ownership implication when liberals complain that a charter school “takes” students “from” a public school? The students belong to the pubic schools – if they leave, the schools are deprived of their rightful students/medieval peasants. I think public school administrators would attach radio collars and legal custody orders to students if they could.

    Never forget: if you enroll your child in a public school, he/she belongs to these bureaucrats in their minds. The parents are regarded like divorced dads with joint custody.

  • MarCo

    Civil rights activists say creating schools with populations that are heavily Hispanic or African-American simply creates more campuses that lack money, have poorer-quality teachers and lower student improvement.

    {snip}

    But black and Hispanic schools are not the only concerns Frankenberg [Erica Frankenberg, an assistant professor at Penn State University] and others have. The explosion of charter schools, which are attended by nearly 6 percent of the state’s public-school students, has resulted in more predominantly white schools, too.

    {snip}

    My conclusions?

    Whites are willing to invest in charter schools, enough to keep them afloat.

    Frankenberg and her ilk hate the idea of white-majority schools.

    The uber-powerful teacher’s unions hate charter schools…that’s reason enough to support them.

  • Anonymous

    Follow the money…

    If simple solutions like reverting to race based educational segregation work the best, then the ENTIRE social enablement system on which ‘finding racism in $chool$’ and _sustaining_ the achievement gap as a means to create shakedown victims will fall apart.

    Even to blacks, results matter more than reasons why.

    This is also why blacks want to stay close to whites so as to ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer and your income source under your thumb’.

    Should there ever be a ‘good enough’ point where blacks are doing alright, white funding for black grievances might actually dry up. Got keep that money tree green and the best way to do so is to constantly rub our faces in black outrage and failure.

    Finally, Ole’ White Lady, sorry to burst your bubble but one of the most frustrating elements of the restrictions on genetic science research into the nature of intelligence is the statistical reliability with which one factor constantly shows up: Most kids of really bright parents are not bright themselves.

    Rather, they end up typically halfway between their parents average and their population groups’ mean for IQ.

    If a black child’s population mean for IQ is 87 and his/her parents average out to 110+125/2 = 117, then his IQ is going to be half the difference (30.5) added to his pop group mean or 87+16 = 103.

    Not dumb by any means but not able to sustain the advantages his parents have achieved through genetic lottery as much as hard work.

    This applies to every child of every race -except- the heavily ‘thoroughbred’ Ashkenazi and Parsi, who have fixed the trait at an inordinately high level in trade for all the penalties that inbreeding causes in small populations who refuse to intermarry with larger ones.

    This statistical IQ constant is a genotypic indicator that at least some of the issues related to intelligence may be traceable to a remarkably few alleles which are epigenetically selected for on a generational basis of key sequence rotations within specific degrees of haplotype assortation.

    And the powers that be _will not_ let us explore this.

    Because then there would be no ditch diggers and no one would be fooled by idiotic policy lies spewed as truth by politicians.

    Truly heritable intelligence is the gift that will take us out of this transitional phase of our social evolution. Failure to achieve it is what will guarantee we end up back in the Dark Ages. Or worse.

  • diversity = adversity

    Charter schools are a great start. Might I also suggest segregating boys and girls into classes with same gender teachers. Kindergarten does not have to be, but definately all gradelevels after that should be gender segregated. All rooms in the school should also be video surveilled. Any troublemakers will immidately sent to disciplinary detention/segregation. In my local public school district, troubled students are sent to “P.A.S.S., where they sit in cubicles and have nothing but schoolwork to do, and are guarded at all times by policemen. It is very much like jail.

    I wholeheartedly support charter schools and private homeschoolers. Sent public schools won’t let homeschooled children take part in their activities perhaps charter schools will.

  • sommers

    I agree with the poster above. Separate, voluntarily, by race and gender in schools. All involved will do better I expect.

    This forced integration experiment came out of the 60’s/70’s “liberal” movement in an attempt to enforce some sort of equality.

    Now you have more females graduating college than males. The problem there is the vast majority of them migrate into government where they end up doing the most harm to the original intent of the founders. They fight against strict rules or laws.

    That’s how I see it anyway.