Albany (NY) charter schools (segregation, harassment of public official)

…On Wednesday, 2,250 charter school students, parents and educators packed the Palace Theatre for a special screening of the movie [Waiting for Superman], sponsored by the Brighter Choice Foundation, which supports 11 charter schools in Albany. The screening audience was one of the biggest in the nation, according to Brighter Choice officials who asked the film's producers to show the movie here because Albany has such a high number of the publicly funded, privately run schools.

…At the screening on Wednesday, students wearing school uniforms paraded the aisles holding placards bearing the cellphone number of Albany school board President Dan Egan. A speaker on stage told the crowd to text "Charter $ Now" to Egan all night and through the weekend, in an attempt to sway the district to pay the higher reimbursement rate it now owes charters.

Jasmine Olds, a 14-year-old freshman at the Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls, handed out cards with Egan's e-mail address and soliciting volunteers for the "Parent Army." She said the movie will bring a welcome focus to the differences of charter schools…

A coalition made up of hundreds of pro-charter groups called Education Reform Now is capitalizing on angry audiences worked up by the film…

Also see: CHARTER TACTIC REPREHENSIBLE; November 2, 2010; Times Union (Albany, NY) 

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THE CHOICE TO BE APART, September 7, 2010, The Times Union (Albany, NY)
Albany's charter schools have created a second school system that is almost entirely segregated.

Virtually all of the schools' students -- 96 percent -- are black or Hispanic, according to a Times Union analysis of data from the 2008-09 school year, the most recent available. Achievement Academy Charter School had only one white student and Albany Preparatory Charter School enrolled just 16 white students, the highest number of any charter school in the city.

The privately run schools are funded by the Albany City School District, where the minority enrollment has been steadily increasing. According to the latest available figures, 80 percent of the district students are minorities…

Still, isolating students by race can have a lasting ripple effect on their education, said University of California at Los Angeles, professor Gary Orfield, who conducted a national study earlier this year on charter school segregation.

"The message is, we're preparing you to live and work in a segregated environment," he said.

If charter schools are to become a significant part of public education, they need to prepare students for the diverse world they will encounter outside of school, Orfield said. Nationally, three of four black students who attend charters are in "intensely segregated" schools with student populations that are at least 90 percent minority, according to the study by The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles, a think tank co-founded by Orfield…

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