This blog post was written by Sonia C. Park, Executive Director, Diverse Charter Schools Coalition. The mission of the Diverse Charter Schools Coalition is to catalyze and support the creation and expansion of high-quality, diverse-by-design public charter schools through strategic research, advocacy, membership activities, and outreach. DCSC’s membership has grown from 14 founding member schools and networks to over 70. Collectively, DCSC members represent 211 individual schools serving close to 80,000 students in 22 states and the District of Columbia.
Authorizers are receiving applications from, and approving, a more diverse array of public charter schools than ever before! This is exciting: it means that one of the primary goals of the charter movement — innovation — is alive and well.
Although there was a consistent decline in the opening of new public charter schools from 2014 until 2017, more recently there has been an increase in the number of new independently run and community-focused schools. This suggests that charter school authorizers are listening to the desires and aspirations of communities and families, and providing unique learning opportunities tailored to the students they serve.
The rise of Diverse-By-Design public charter schools seeks to counter the trends in American schools, which are more racially segregated now than in the 1970s. Studies have shown that school segregation breeds social inequality, disparate access to society’s resources, and less acceptance of people who differ across multiple social identities. Since Justice Marshall’s dissent, researchers have proven these benefits of socio-economically and racially diverse school settings:
- Academic achievement improves.
- Achievement gaps decrease.
- College attendance increases.
- 21st Century skills sharpen.
Read the complete #WithCommunities blog post and learn more about community-centered charter schooling on the NACSA website.