August 17, 2010
Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow wrote the post “Charter schools and integration” for the law blog 'Balkinization'. Although charter schools offer the potential for a better education than neighborhood schools, writes Minow, they tend toward self-segregation. Minow recently wrote "In Brown's Wake," which examines the legacies of Brown v. the Board of Education.
Nationwide, children of color are enrolled in charter schools disproportionately to their percentage in the student population, but largely because of the higher concentration of charter schools in urban areas. Charter schools in Arizona are disproportionately composed of white students while increasing numbers of racially separate schools in Michigan can be traced to the rise of charter schools. Hispanic parents disproportionately select thematic charter schools, and schools with specialized curricular programs in a particular language or cultural heritage appeal to distinct communities such as Somali immigrants, Native Hawai'ians, African-Americans, or Hispanics.
Racially-mixed enrollments would be more likely if charter schools bridged districts and crossed lines between cities and suburbs or between towns and rural communities.