Segregation is making a comeback in Florida's public schools with the new wave of charter schools springing up across the state.
One out of eight charter schools has a student body with 90 percent or more of a single race or ethnicity, an Orlando Sentinel analysis of the state's 456 taxpayer-financed charters shows. That compares with one out of 12 traditional public schools.
Those top heavy charters are adding to the list of out-of-balance public schools that have perplexed educators since integration 40 years ago. Educators have worked for decades to reduce the imbalance through rezoning, school-transfer options, magnet schools and other devices to shift students and make schools more diverse.
But the charter trend is toward segregation, and more of the charters with skewed enrollments may be on the way…
Today, many of the new Florida charters are targeting black or Hispanic students. There are charters for Jewish, Greek, Puerto Rican and Native American students, too…
Equally troubling, civil-rights advocates say, is the rise in charters with largely white student populations, evoking memories of "white flight" from public to private schools across the South during integration…
The Sentinel's analysis shows that more than half of the state's charters — 54 percent — have two-thirds or more of a single race or ethnicity, compared with 44 percent for traditional public schools.
"I don't know what the solution is, but we need to slow up on all of this charter stuff until we see what the consequences are," [Christine Moore, an Orange County School Board member] said…
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FLORIDA CHARTERS LESS DIVERSE THAN OTHER PUBLIC SCHOOLS /Sentinel analysis shows growth in charters with concentrations of single race orethnicity; April 30, 2011; Orlando Sentinel (FL)