Major new study finds Connecticut Charter Schools discriminate

Connecticut Voices for Children, the New-Haven based, nationally recognized policy research organization has issued a major new report entitled, “Choice Watch: Diversity and Access in Connecticut’s School Choice Programs.”

The CT Voices report is the most extensive, independent study that has been conducted about the performance of charter schools, magnet schools and other school choices options in Connecticut.

While the entire report is a “MUST READ” for those following the “school choice” debate, it is an especially important addition to the debate for those concerned about the Malloy administration’s commitment to expanding the number of charter schools in Connecticut and their on-going privatization efforts to turn public schools over to private charter school operators.

Among the key findings from the CT Voices study is that Connecticut’s Charter Schools are more segregated, systematically discriminate against Latinos and English Language Learners and fail to recruit, retain and serve their fair share of students who require special education services.

As the CT Voices study concludes,

Charter schools are typically hypersegregated by race/ethnicity and, in Connecticut’s four largest cities, actually offer students, on average, a learning environment that is more or equally segregated by race and ethnicity than local public schools.

Although Charter Schools serve just over 1% of the public school students in Connecticut, these privately run, publically funded schools have been receiving additional funds at a far greater rate than traditional public schools.

Governor Malloy and his administration are engaged in an unprecedented effort to increase the number of charter schools operating in the state.

However, the new CT Voices report re-confirms that when it comes to equity and fairness, the rush to divert public resources away from public schools and to charter schools is taking Connecticut in exactly the wrong direction when it comes to reducing racial isolation and providing quality services to students with special needs and those who require additional English language programs.

For example, according to the new report,

In 2011-12, a majority of magnet schools and technical schools were “integrated,” as measured by the standard set forth in the 2008 settlement agreement of the landmark Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation case: a school with a student body composed of between 25% and 75% minority students…In contrast, only 18% of charter schools met the Sheff standard. The majority of charter schools were instead “hypersegregated,” with a student body composed of more than 90% minority students…”

The failure of charter schools to provide equal opportunity to students is even starker when it comes to their unwillingness to serve bi-lingual students, students who need additional English language services or students with special education needs.

When it comes to educating English Language Learners, the new study finds that 76% of all charter schools have substantially lower enrollment of ELL students then the community they are supposed to be serving.

The failure of charter schools to serve students with special education needs is equally troubling.  Although state law requires that Charter Schools “attract, enroll, and retain” children with disabilities, the report found that many charter schools are simply failing to fulfill this legal requirement.

The new report from Connecticut Voices for Children also sheds a powerful light on Connecticut’s magnet schools and the state’s technical high school system.

You can find the full CT Voices report here: http://www.ctvoices.org/sites/default/files/edu14choicewatchfull.pdf

You can also find a New Haven Independent news article about the report here: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/ct_voices_for_children_report/

And a CT News Junkie report about the report here: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/report_claims_choice_schools_are_hyper-segregated/

  • Philip Stull

    It is good to have this report but anyone who thought otherwise has their head in the sand. It has and always will be about greed and discrimination is not part of their thought process. They do not believe in the “common good” and never will. They believe in “he that has the most wealth is the winner”, so keep that in mind as we fight this battle.

    • Philip Stull

      Just like in the Middle East where there are madrasah teaching that all humans are not equal, there are similar institutions in our country that believe that all humans are not created equal as well. Many in our country believe that the “others” are here to be exploited, so understand that and accept that some people’s motives are not easy to comprehend given your beliefs. Tribes and many different religions exist in our country and a great deal of research is needed to learn of their teachings and most of us don’t have the time or inclination to do this task. It is hard for many of us to think that other people can believe and act as they do because we would not act or think like that, but to them it is normal. Malloy, Pryor, Vallas, and many others are not here to serve the public but are here to serve their group.

  • jrp1900

    Sometimes I wonder if the American history isn’t some joke being played on us by a whimsical or even malevolent god. Once upon time in the USA children of color could not even GET INTO public schools, now it seems we can’t get them OUT of public schools quick enough! Everyone has heard of Prudence Crandall, who endured public hostility and ridicule because she dared to enroll an African American child in her Canterbury school. What would Prudence Crandall make of school privatization in Connecticut? I’m pretty sure she would be appalled. Ms Crandall realized that public schooling was an important engine in the fight against racial discrimination. If children of all “races” were schooled together, this would strike a major blow against the white supremacist contention that although “blacks” were in America, they were not really OF America, and thus they excluded from the rights of citizenship. In the infamous Dred Scott case, the US Supreme Court decided that African Americans were not of America, and they had no rights that “a white man was bound to respect.” The US Supreme Court was wrong, wrong, wrong. And Prudence Crandall was dead right: African Americans are indeed OF the United States. And being citizens (being people!!), they have a right to equal protection of the laws and other rights and privileges appropriate to a republic.
    And so it follows that African Americans have a right to education under conditions of social equality. In Prudence Crandall’s time it wasn’t a matter of “separate but equal,” because among the so-called “whites” few people cared if African American children got ANY education at all. As far as most people gave any thought to the matter, African Americans were merely “hands,” laboring bodies. They were not “souls” and they did not have minds (or mental capabilities) worth cultivating. In the South, it was illegal to teach a slave to read, and in the North few places admitted African Americans into what public schools there were. If blacks got education it was mostly a matter of “free negro schools” (supported by philanthropic white and black businessmen) or informal schooling in the context of the churches. The racism of “separate but equal” was only necessary when public schooling came into being on the widest social scale.
    Of course, “separate but equal” really meant “separate and grossly unequal.” Not until 1954 was the United States government even interested in this obvious violation of the Bill of Rights. There was the period from the mid-19050’s until roughly the 1980’s when the US government was nominally committed to racial integration. Certain school districts were under enduring court orders until they achieved an appropriate level of desegregation. Magnet schools and redistricting were the preferred methods, as busing had proved too cumbersome and politically explosive. With the rise of right-wing federalism, desegregation was no longer an important goal, and the rest is the history we are now living. Federal courts have shown far less interest in educational discrimination and schools are as segregated now as they were in 1954.
    And this is where charter schools come in. Charter schools represent a privatized version of “separate but equal” and in this regard they represent a further abandonment of school integration as a social goal. It has always been understood in the American experience that public schools are crucially linked to claims on citizenship–2nd class schools imply 2nd class citizenship. So what kind of citizenship is likely to come out of corporate charter schools that are overwhelmingly minority but overwhelmingly white in terms of who owns the charter school companies? These schools are often “colonialist” in their approach to poor children of color, and they make clear that their prime concern is to make these children attractive to buyers in a labor market. In other words, charter schools are not too much focused on developing children for citizenship. Or to put it differently, they think it is more important to make children into “human resources” than to make them well-rounded PERSONS who can think for themselves.
    Because this is the good old USA I don’t believe the charter school companies are taking over public schools in the cities just because they want to help “black and brown children.” Nah, they are in it for the money. In corporate America people do good deeds only when it pays. American businesspeople are not well known for their selfless altruism. The proof of this point is reported by Jon Pelto: charter schools go out of their to avoid helping English language learners and special ed students, because these cohorts are “difficult” and “costly.” If it was all about helping “the kids,” then these kids are surely some of the neediest and the charter school companies would be falling over themselves to provide help. The fact that they don’t this, is most revealing.
    It’s all enough to make you weep. Poor people (and especially poor people of color) are generally despised in the United States. Politicians will use the poor for all sorts of purposes–who can forget Ronald Reagan’s charming tale of “Cadillac welfare queens?” The only time the poor are spoken of in a relatively neutral fashion is when someone sees a chance to make money off them. This is what happened when privatization reared its head in “welfare to work” schemes and now it’s happening with school privatization and charters. It’s all just one big hustle…

  • Rafael G

    I dont think any of this info is new to anyone whos been following for any decent amount of time. Im just glad it came from someone ON the board of education. It lends the hope that SOMEONE is still looking out for the people bests interests

  • buygoldandprosper

    Link to more coverage:

    http://ctmirror.org/school-choice-many-schools-hyper-segregated/

    I guess it is OK if a bankrupt pastor and a dark-skinned flim-flam man
    are going to be in charge.
    It’s all about the Benjamins…errr, it is all about the children!
    Also. State checks funding this nonsense do not bounce. Yet.

  • Maggie Tarbox

    Whenever I go to Professional Development workshops where I meet teachers from other: towns, states and I tell them that the student population in my district is 95% African American/Black- they freak. Schools are not segregated any more- they say- I say segregation de facto. Bloomfield is an AWESOME district . Teachers care about and follow kids from elementary-middle-high school. Charters and Magnets steal the best of the best. And then don’t produce????? Have had many parents bring their kids back to Bloomfield after a bad charter school experience. BTW- I am highly qualified by any measure- Praxis, National Board Certification in English/Language Arts grades 7-12. I can teach down to grade 5. I have been told by a supervisor (not this year- but we shall see) that I can not get full credit on my Teacher Evaluation (Jonathan- you need to address this) because I am required to have a math goal. Really? I never claimed to be highly qualified in math, yet all teachers have ONLY Literacy and Math “Smart (sarcasm intended) Goals. This madness is driving me nuts. However, every day I go in and do my best by my kids! I love them dearly and will go to the wall for them.
    Maggie Tarbox

    • Linda174

      You are wonderful….exemplary for sure! Love to you!

    • jrp1900

      Maggie Tarbox: “Segregation de facto.” Absolutely! And in the fight for justice, I’m so glad I’m on your team! You are obviously not one to give up easily!

    • cindy

      Wait…back up…did you say every single teacher, regardless of what they teach must have a literacy and a math SLO?

  • Philip Stull

    I think we should start asking candidates where they stand on the Federal Common Core and the Charter School movement. Even though these are narrow issues they will tell us a lot about who they are working for. Let’s start putting them on the spot.

    • cindy

      yes. yes. yes. yes. yes!!!