My letter to the editor in the Lehigh Valley Express Times refutes a claim that charter schools are promoting racial segregation:
A recent article cites claims by both Bethlehem NAACP President Esther Lee and Bethlehem School District Superintendent Joseph Roy that charter schools are resulting in segregation. Roy even claims students are leaving the district for charter schools because they “don’t want their kids around kids who speak Spanish or poor kids.”
But enrollment data from the state Department of Education show they are wrong.
According to state enrollment data, the Bethlehem School District is 37 percent Hispanic, 10 percent African American, and 47 percent White.
Charter schools in the area are collectively near mirrors. The three charter schools serving Northampton County are 39 percent Hispanic, 11 percent African American, and 37 percent White (with a higher percentage “Multi-Racial”). That’s the opposite of segregation.
Indeed, a recent study from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania finds that charter schools across the state have significantly higher enrollment of African-American and Hispanic students.
Lee and Roy are either grossly misinformed about charters schools or misleading readers to advance their agenda. Either way is disappointing from folks in education policy leadership roles.