Segregated Charter Schools Evoke Separate But Equal Era in U.S.

John Hechinger, San Francisco Chronicle, December 22, 2011

At Dugsi Academy, a public school in St. Paul, Minnesota, girls wearing traditional Muslim headscarves and flowing ankle-length skirts study Arabic and Somali. The charter school educates “East African children in the Twin Cities,” its website says. Every student is black.

At Twin Cities German Immersion School, another St. Paul charter, children gather under a map of “Deutschland,” study with interns from Germany, Austria and Switzerland and learn to dance the waltz. Ninety percent of its students are white.

Six decades after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down “separate but equal” schools for blacks and whites, segregation is growing because of charter schools, privately run public schools that educate 1.8 million U.S. children. While charter-school leaders say programs targeting ethnic groups enrich education, they are isolating low-achievers and damaging diversity, said Myron Orfield, a lawyer and demographer.

“It feels like the Deep South in the days of Jim Crow segregation,” said Orfield, who directs the University of Minnesota Law School’s Institute on Race & Poverty. “When you see an all-white school and an all-black school in the same neighborhood in this day and age, it’s shocking.”

Charter schools are more segregated than traditional public schools, according to a 2010 report by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles. Researchers studied 40 states, the District of Columbia, and 39 metropolitan areas. In particular, higher percentages of charter-school students attend what the report called “racially isolated” schools, where 90 percent or more students are from disadvantaged minority groups.


In Minnesota, the birthplace of the U.S. charter-school movement, the divide is more than black and white.

St. Paul’s Hmong College Prep Academy, 99 percent Asian- American in the past school year, immerses students “in the rich heritage that defines Hmong culture.” Its Academia Cesar Chavez School–93 percent Hispanic–promises bilingual education “by advocating Latino cultural values in an environment of familia and community.” Minneapolis’s Four Directions Charter School, 94 percent Native American, black and Hispanic, promotes “lifelong learning for American Indian students.”

Charter schools, which select children through lotteries, are open to all who apply, said Abdulkadir Osman, Dugsi’s executive director.

“Some people call it segregation,” Osman said. “This is the parent’s choice. They can go anywhere they want. We are offering families something unique.”


Minnesota, 85 percent white, is a case study of the nation’s growing diversity. Since the 1970s, Minneapolis and St. Paul have become a magnet for Hmong refugees, who fought alongside Americans in the Vietnam War. In the 1990s, Somalis sought refuge from civil war.

St. Paul, where the nation’s first charter school opened in 1992, is 16 percent black, 10 percent Hispanic and 15 percent Asian-American, according to the U.S Census Bureau.

Charter schools should be similarly diverse, recommended a 1988 report that provided the groundwork for Minnesota’s charter-school law.


Instead, in the 2009-2010 school year, three quarters of the Minneapolis and St. Paul region’s 127 charter schools were “highly segregated,” according to the University of Minnesota Law School’s race institute. Forty-four percent of schools were 80 percent or more non-white, and 32 percent, mostly white.


Segregation is typical nationwide. Seventy percent of black charter-school students across the country attended “racially isolated” schools, twice as many as the share in traditional public schools, according to the report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

Half of all Latino charter-school students went to these intensely segregated schools, the study found. In the West and the South, the two most racially diverse regions of the country, “charters serve as havens for white flight from public schools,” the report said.


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  • Robert

    Forced integration is better than forced segregation?

  • dtih

    I volunteer to integrate my kids into the school the Obama kids go to, but the gov’t has to pay for this in the spirit of promoting diversity.

  • BO_Bill

    The Democrat Party is currently much more race realist than the Republican Party. One of the great unreported stories is the re-segregation of the DC schools following the Democrat takeover of Congress. The elimination of the school voucher system, championed by human-nature denying Republicans, removed all of the urban blacks from the presence of the children of our political class.

    Now, if we could only get these politicians to care about the families and futures of their constituents.

  • Question Diversity

    Of course most charter schools are “segregated.” That is because in most states, charter schools are sold as a solution to black and Hispanic academic failure. Surprisingly, Minneapolis/St. Paul has a white ethnic (though not specifically white) charter school, the German immersion school. How that school found a sponsor and got approved is beyond me. St. Louis and Kansas City are the only two cities allowed to have charter schools in Missouri (wonder why), yet, when the St. Louis City Police Officers Association, the quasi-union of city cops, wanted to start a charter school revolving around law enforcement careers, they couldn’t find a sponsor, nor get state approval. The SLPOA’s membership is 85% white, last I was told.

  • Anonymous

    “When you see an all-white school and an all-black school in the same neighborhood in this day and age, it’s shocking.”

    Only for the easily shocked, who dismiss the reasons for why that is happening.

  • thoughtcrime

    The Twin Cities German Immersion School needs to be 100% White…then we will have true “equality” of at least enforcement of policy.

    Of course the libtards are screeching about “racism”, Jim Crow and the “horror of it all!” How dare anyone question the libtard agenda of “diversity” where the “lion lays with the lamb” and everyone “just gets alone”. Sad…really sad.

    This may, and I mean MAY be a sign that some of the libtard, leftist, commie, feminist, globalist Clintonian rule is coming to an end. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    These folks always have a way of stamping out everything that is good in the world for their “pie in the sky” agenda that is based on fantasy rather than reality.

    They always start the conversation about the “inhumanity of racism” and how “all prejudices are based on ignorance and media myths.”

    How ironic that we were “debating” on this subject in the parking lot of a strip mall in which 2 of the stores had been robbed at gun point by black thugs.

  • Lucas

    When it comes to abortion, liberals are so-o-o pro-choice. But when it comes to freedom of association, they don’t want anyone to have a choice; they want you to fit into their idea of an ideal multi-mixed society which has yet to prove itself workable. After 45 years of trying to prove it works, it has failed miserably . Liberals still don’t get it. Perhaps it will take another 45 years for them to see the light. Perhaps never.

  • Peejay in Frisco

    San Francisco has become increasingly a preserve of very wealthy whites an asians,who dont care about how bad the public schools are, because they have the moolah to send their children to private schools that dont have very many blacks and hispanics.And they often forget about the whites and asians in the city that are not wealthy enough to do the same.That is why they elect a School Board that is usually packed with Commies, Pinkos, and Afro Centrics.

  • not willing to be a victim of liberal judges

    dtih wrote: “I volunteer to integrate my kids into the school the Obama kids go to, but the gov’t has to pay for this in the spirit of promoting diversity.”

    Exactly! I’m willing to send my kids to whatever school chosen for THEIR OWN kids by the judges who wrote up the desegregation plan for my county.

  • sbuffalonative

    “It feels like the Deep South in the days of Jim Crow segregation”

    Soon blacks will be back in chains and forced work in the cotton fields.

    That’s where it’s all leading. Mark my words!

  • Ziwtra

    The enthusiasts of multiculturalism claim that diversity is a strength and that people love it. Howe come that people – if given free choice, tend to send their kids to schools that constitute a majority of their own ethnic group or race?

    Blood is thicker than water, and leftists know it, which is why they desperately attempt to achieve forced integration that is bound to fail. Interestingly, these very leftists who cry loudest about “unequal opportunities” are even more selective of schools when it comes to their precious kiddies. If you confront them with their hypocrisy, they turn aggressive and make you feel embarassed about ever questioning their private matters.

    The high school I visited praised itself for the inclusiveness of many cultures and nationalities of the students, but guess where the principal of that school lived – in a lilly white suburb far far away from “culturally enriched” areas.

  • Jim

    No one’s really “shocked” by this. Feigning shocked stupefaction is just a ploy liberals use to show how wonderfully pc they are. I know a white kid whose parents were pc to a fault and stressed the need for a racially “blended” community. They sent their son to a public school, where he was immediately set upon by black and brown gang members. Now he’s at a military academy across the state that his parents had to take a second on their home to afford. I believe reality is actually sinking in a bit. They don’t discuss “blending” much nowadays, and I haven’t heard them gush praise for our President for some time now.

  • bob

    The cotton fields, like almost all of agriculture, were mechanized long ago, and there is no need for unskilled labor anywhere in farming.

    America’s great problem is the black underclass has no conceivable economic function or value in our modern economy, and they exist as mere parasites on the rest of us. The civil rights movement and affirmative action simply bypassed them.

    The recent black underclass riot in the Mall of the Americas is the harbinger of things to come.

  • Cliff Yablonski

    What a perfect experiment in racial differences, I’d love to see the state academic achievement test scores of the German Immersion School versus the all black Dugsi Academy.

    I’m sure if there’s any difference it must be due to some insidious institutional racism.

  • Zapp Branigan

    Short video of the German Immersion School, bless their hearts.

    Now go to any youtube video of a black middle school to compare and contrast the differences.

  • Dom

    10 – sbuffalonative

    I not so sure. That black guy said it in youtube. “You don’t need to fear that someone is going to enslave you. Unless there is a plantation that needs people to smoke weed and play nintendo all day you are safe.”

    you needs it? 🙂

  • rjp

    Discontinue public schools completely.

    Issue vouchers for charter schools at 75% of the former expense. Donate the use of the former school building and assignh maintainance responsibilities — do not give the property, it would get sold or mortgaged.

    Charter schools for all.

    Give them what they want, let them fail miserably. But with public schools dismantled, it will be the end of the argument.

  • Anonymous

    Sadly enough the problem with segregating schools means that unless White schools push a racist/race realist agenda (like you know that the black ones are doing )then these kids won’t be exposed to the reality of black viciousness and be able to draw an opinion on their own. Sure, the parents will be doing their part but sometimes it does take a village. I just hope these kids aren’t the next wave of bleeding hearts because no one told them the real reason for their segregation.

  • Guilty Liberal

    I’m starting to think the real problem with ‘diversity,’ is it’s not about diversity at all, And the real problem with ‘multiculturalism,’ is it’s about crushing all but one culture.

  • Greg

    Ahhhh, the wonders of diversity. Of course, if you have a patriotic bone in your body or any semblance of pride toward your ancestors and their sacrifices; you understand the problems this diversity begets.

    Instead of American children growing up and learning about Columbus, Washington, Jefferson, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the preeminence of Christianity and a Judeo-Christian culture, the advancements the Occident provided to the world, etc. what we have are ethnic enclaves where the values of Afro-voodooism, Asian strictness and closed-mindedness, and Hispanic culture is taught as being equal to the most advanced civilization on Earth.

    The only solution? End immigration. All of it. Today.

  • Anonymous

    Whites have to speak a whole other language in order to get in touch with their special whiteness at this German immersion school. It’s only 90% white and no doubt doing all it can to bring about ‘inclusion’.

    Why would it be lefties complaining the loudest? The Hmong and the East African students are all learning how great are their traditions and contributions, and how important it is to celebrate their special gifts of color, while the white students are also are learning about how great are the tradition and contributions and the special vibrancy of East Africans and Hmong.

  • cajunrebel87

    that last line bothers me:”In the West and the South, the two most racially diverse regions of the country, “charters serve as havens for white flight from public schools,” the report said.” because the schols allow 100% black student populations, but there is no 100% White school:”Forty-four percent of schools were 80 percent or more non-white, and 32 percent, mostly white.” only 32% MOSTLY White? ayway, I looked up this clown: Myron Orfield is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota and is the Executive Director of the Institute on Race and Poverty.

    and he claims to know what it felt like during Jim Crow in the South.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s something I would like to see any liberal of goodwill answer: if “integration” and “diversity” are such good things, why then do you not establish your own private or charter schools, perhaps in America’s inner cities, and then send your children to them? You can bus in whatever racial groups which you believe necessary to enrich your children’s lives. Think of what enriched experiences your children will have.

    i.e., put your money where your mouth is.

  • Pat Buchanan in his book “Suicide Of A Superpower,” points out the success of the American school system. White students outperform all other White students, except those from Iceland. Asian-American students outperform all other Asian students except those in Shanghai.  Hispanic students outperform all other students in Mexico Latin, and Central America. and American Blacks outperform all Africans.

  • Modern segregation works like so:

    Any non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual, or non-Christian group can create a segregated environment for themselves, even on the taxpayers dime, all based on the underlying cultural and legal meme that white, male, heterosexual Christians are the arch victimizers of our society at large.

    But any group that choses to segregate itself because all its members are either white, male, heterosexual or Christian is immediately presumed to be sinister and immediately subjected to government and legal harassment until they allow someone from outside the group to join, and that someone will be in the specifically to undermine its cause and unity at every turn. 

    This is how the US because subject to minority rule and foisted matriarchy.