Do Charter Schools Help or Hurt School Desegregation Efforts? (by Guest Blogger Jacelyn Spisak)

527715_435612759791191_473221461_nFirst, read this link.

There has been a lot of controversy over the past few years over charter schools and with charter schools like the Southwest Charter School I can see why.

With there now being up to 95 charter schools across Oregon by next fall, based on this article do you think charter schools in Portland are helping or hurting the necessary desegregation in our schools? 


9 thoughts on “Do Charter Schools Help or Hurt School Desegregation Efforts? (by Guest Blogger Jacelyn Spisak)

  1. Good question Jacelyn.
    I think charter schools are hurting the desegregation in our schools. It seems like charter schools do a “great” job of grouping students together based on their families income and the students interests. Charters schools make me feel like its “smart kids over here” and “At-risk kids over there”.

  2. I read the article and it seems to me the issue particular to the article is whether Southewest Charter School will be providing the variety, that is “choice,” that charter schools are meant to provide. I also interpretted the issue of the article to be the redundance in material provided by the charter school, and that the whole reason for creating charter schools and redirecting funds towards them that would otherwise go to neighboorhood public schools, is so that other learning styles and interests can be accomodated. Nonetheless, in terms of desegregation, I am curious what the student demographics are for charter schools. Jacelyn or Megan, are they typically homogonous with more affluent, white students? If so, what could be done to remedy this issue? Perhaps, doing away with the lack of advertising, as highlighted in the article, and instead make clear to students in the public schools system all of their options around their education, that is attending charter schools if desired. How could all students, and maybe that is to say their parents, be better informed about their options when it comes to their education?

  3. I would imagine that charter schools are highly segregated, because they cost parents more and also require parents to actively seek out better educational opportunities for their children. Those two factors, time and money, reflect economic standing, and based on our readings economics is a major indicator of neighborhood, job security, education, and race.

    Charter schools are a natural response to the current system. If America’s public education did not leave one wanting, then charter schools would serve no purpose. Parents who have children don’t have time to become political activists and try to change the system. It’s easier for them to simply choose a different school to enroll their children in. “The consumer decides,” and the amount of charter school demand should be telling the nation that our public education needs work.

    • I totally agree with you Basil. Time and money does reflect economic standing and would further segregate charter schools due to the amount of effort required to get in. It also takes knowledge that these charter schools exist. A parent who has to work hard all day in order to feed their family isn’t going to have time to go to an informational meeting, or even seek out knowledge of these existing programs. Their going to just stick to what they know is their.

      I also agree with your reference to supply and demand in regards to charter schools. Like the end of the article says, she’s going to see what is needed to be filled and she’s going to develop a program that fills it. If schools aren’t able to provide, someone else will.

    • Great point, Basil. Indeed, time and money are markers for economic standing. It makes sense then that Charter schools which require both components would be attended primarily by white, affluent students and, therefore, perpetuate segregation. Thank you for your contribution–always well said and enriching insight!

  4. I personally believe its hurting public schools and is making a division of with those who have more and those who have less. A classmate stated that perhaps the focus should be more on public schools and not create more schools to place labels as too who deserve private education or public education.

    • I agree with this! I feel as though public schools are being undermined, as though people who have less go to public schools. There is nothing wrong with a public school ( I actually think they are better actually!)

  5. Wonderful question Jacelyn. In order to better assess whether these schools are helping to desegregate the Portland school system, we would need to see the demographics of the students at these schools. From what I gathered from this article, it was of great importance to offer students more “choice” with the development of charters. They were created to present different sets of curriculum based on certain learning styles. I feel that it was our public school system should be striving for in the first place. Right now, there seems to be a set standard that slapped into the school system that is obviously not working. To offer alternative styles of learning and more emphasis in areas that generally get cut out because of school funding, this would seem like what we should be emphasizing with all public schools.

    I do have an issue with how the two sets of standards public schools are offered versus charter schools. The last portion of the article mentioned how a charter was being set up by Erica Jayasuriya. I do believe she was heading the failed attempt of REAL charter school that saw nearly a half million dollars funneled into this school that would later lead to the demise of this school because of inappropriate accountability. Although these schools are created to offer something different from the public schools in the neighborhoods, there needs to be better accounting so that funds are not just wasted to pay for overhead and lining these boards pockets with this public money.

  6. I have an issue with charter schools and I apologize if I sound ridiculous…
    But I feel as though some parents who have a kid with behavioral issues see a charter (or private) school as a way to help straighten their kid out because they will somehow gain more discipline there then they would at a public school.
    I say this because my brother attended both private and charter schools K-7th grade and always dealt with bullies and mistreatment.
    As soon as he switched to a public school it all stopped. He made lots of friends and flourished.
    Public schools get a bad rap too much and they shouldn’t. Charter schools are not the end all be all cream of the crop. There are very good public schools out there.
    They are not any less.

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