Tom Campbell's opinion piece, "We are re-segregating our schools,"
blames charter schools for "re-segregating" district schools. Using the term segregation, associated with the Jim Crow era ending 65 years ago, is intentional. This word alludes to a despicable time in our history.
This opinion piece was printed in media outlets across the state. Some inflamed the issue including a drawing of three white children with backpacks walking to the left, outside a fence ignoring one black child walking to the right, inside the fence. The black child looks back at the white children leaving her. As we know, a picture is worth a thousand words!
Make no mistake; the charter movement is under attack more than ever.
For the fourth year in a row district schools statewide have decreased in enrollment while charters, private and home schools increased. One in five K-12 student is opting out of their district school.
The education establishment is increasing negative propaganda for a strategic assault. Their goal is to stop the growth of K-12 education options at any cost or any message.
- Charter schools have a higher percentage of black students (26.2%) enrolled than district schools (25.2%). Both are basically the same! Since charter schools are schools of choice there is no "segregation" only "voluntary association." District schools mandate assignment for most using a child's zip code. If a school is predominantly one race, does it make it evil/corrupt? What about Morehouse or Spelman College? Are they trying to "re-segregate" or provide the BEST education for black students and others who wish to attend?
- Each charter school must have a transportation and lunch plan approved by the State Board. While not requiring the typical bus and cafeteria options, some charters may limit these programs while spending more on academic programing. Charter schools only receive an average funding of 73% of what district schools receive, and they do not receive any assistance with facilities. Facilities can account for 10-15% of total funding. Charters already do more for less funding!
- Charter schools receive flexibility with added accountability. Charters are closed if they do not meet certain academic performance, governance and financial mandates. When did you hear of a district school being closed due to academic performance?
School choice is a philosophical issue, whether the child is more important than a system! Using a term as "re-segregation" is a smoke screen against school choice. In fact, it covertly accuses students, parents, teachers, staff, and charter school supporters of being racist. What an arrogant, accusatory opinion piece!
Families need options and academic performance should be the common denominator in any education provider, not ethnicity of students.
If no one stands up to this bigotry, our educational options today may not be available tomorrow.
The NC Coalition for Charter Schools is a non-profit trade association that promotes and advocates for North Carolina Charter Schools. We consist of 31 member schools representing over 27,000 public charter school students.