With emergence of charter schools, data points out resegregation in state schools


Courtesy of Kyla Alterman

Sixty years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, demographic data comparing charter schools to traditional public schools in Newark highlights the fact that state schools are segregated by race and income, and there are some indications that income and race-based educational inequalities are increasing.

According to data from the Delaware Department of Education, the newly-created ninth
grade class at Newark Charter School consists of 15 percent Hispanic and African-American students, with representation of low-income students also at 15 percent.

This contrasts starkly with the freshman class at Newark High School which is composed of 64 percent African American and Hispanic students and 70 percent low-income students.

The demographic differences suggest Newark Charter’s expansion into a high school could increase the already significant income- and race-based segregation in the area’s public school system.

Newark Charter School serves students from elementary school to high school, with campuses located off of South Main Street. The high school opened its doors to its first set of students this past school year, with seventh, eighth and ninth-graders enrolled in classes in the school’s new building. Every year, a new class will be added, with the high school’s first class to graduate in 2017.

Black American studies professor Yasser Payne said it is unfortunate that while public education is meant to provide equal opportunity, the public school system is on the front lines of funneling children from different backgrounds toward alternative educational opportunities.

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Stock Photo/THE REVIEW
Barriers such as the five-mile radius rule, uniform fees, institutional fees and free or reduced lunches.

Newark Charter takes funding away from the district schools in the area and, along with several other Charter schools, is a school for wealthier and lighter-skinned youth, Payne said.

“Education is theoretically the great social equalizer,” Payne said. “Everyone deserves a quality education. It’s a complicated issue, but the charter system in many respects is operating like private schools. We are seeing one particular manifestation of this in Newark Charter.”

Newark Charter School gives priority to applicants that live within a five-mile radius of the school, an area in which the population is significantly wealthier and includes fewer minorities than the portion of Wilmington inside the rest of Christina District School’s feeder pattern.

This partially contributes to the demographic differences between Newark Charter and the Christina district high schools, including Newark High.

In addition, there is evidence Newark Charter School’s demographics do not hold true to the demographics represented within the five-mile radius, according to a study completed by economics professor David Stockman entitled “Newark Charter School and Resegregation: A Demographic Analysis.”

According to Payne, since Newark Charter School is not held to these same feeder pattern standards, the argument that Newark Charter actually reflects the surrounding population would not be relevant even if it were accurate.

“I don’t think it’s representing the population in the sense that most students from Wilmington are bused out to neighborhoods like Newark to go to high school,” Payne said. “So I don’t think that’s a reasonable argument. This is where Wilmington’s youth are going to school.”

According to Payne, there are barriers beyond the five-mile radius that exclude low-income minorities from some charter schools in the state, like uniform fees, yearly institutional fees or the lack of free and reduced lunches. New legislation is in place requiring lunch programs in all charters starting in fall 2014, after significant community pressure.

The demographic differences between charter and traditional public schools in the same area has become common in New Castle County, and raises concerns that charter schools are creating a publicly-financed “separate and unequal” school system across the state.

While public and private schools in the state have long been separated by income and racial barriers, evidence suggests that charter schools are becoming a replacement for the private schools.

The percentage of charter school enrollment increased from less than 1 percent to 6.9 percent between 1997 and 2011, according to Delaware Charter School Data, a report prepared by Kelly Sherretz and Jenna Bucsak of the Institute of Public Administration at the university.

While traditional public school and nonpublic school enrollment both decreased over the same period, the decrease in private school enrollments represents a larger proportional impact (over 20 percent) than that of public school enrollments (4.6 percent).

Charter schools throughout the state, such as Wilmington Charter School and Newark Charter School, are often cited as scoring higher on state exams. Most of the higher-performing charter schools have a low enrollment of poor and minority students, and two charters with more low-income students than average perform better than average in reading and math.

Problems with the charter system in the state have inspired some state legislators to propose
reforms. Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-District 11) sponsored Senate Bill 209 to give the State Board of Education the ability to take into account the impact that a proposed Charter would have on the surrounding school district.

“The State Board of Education doesn’t have the authority to consider a school’s impact on the surrounding area during the approval process,” Townsend, an alumnus of the Christina School District, said. “The logic behind the current charter approval process is that schools wouldn’t be applying if other schools were doing the job—well that’s just not true.”

Townsend said someone submitting a Charter school application to the State Board of Education could essentially photocopy the application from a previously approved Charter school and the Board would have to approve it.

When it comes to Newark Charter in particular, Townsend acknowledges the demographic impacts the school creates, but does not see the school as having the same exclusionary practices as some other charter schools.

“There’s no doubt that Newark Charter has changed the demographics of the surrounding
schools, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the troubled practices of some of the other schools,” Townsend said. “Newark Charter isn’t skimming applicants the way some other schools do.”

Payne contends that low-income minority students do not have less aptitude than higher-income students, schools just often lack the necessary cultural competency to cope with the issues that can arise as a function of poverty. These issues might cause students to act out, but that does not mean low-income minority populations do not want to learn.

Payne said that educators in state districts often come from the same universities and are trained with the same generic curriculums. Educators leave these universities with educational methods that have gaps when it comes to teaching students from low-income minority backgrounds.

Since schools do not have the resources or expertise to deal with low-income students, the current solution seems to be creating schools that for whatever reason end up excluding them.

In fact, Payne runs a research project in which he trains members of the low-income
community in Southbridge, which has a near 100 percent high school dropout rate, to do scholarly research, and he has seen overwhelmingly successful results.

“I say send me your baddest and your worst for my PAR (Participatory Action Research) project. I will show that they’ll perform,” Payne said. “But the thing is I’ll tailor an educational program that is culturally competent and will be more rigorous, in fact than these schools—I train them like graduate students.”

  1. The Washington Post ran an article a while back re an ongoing argument between NYPD and the FBI… There isn’t any shortage of sting opportunities, given the unending string of lawbreaking in the intelligence community, including their vast corrupt network in Los Angeles and Ventura, stretching into many businesses here, and obviously involving some government employees. I defended a Tax Suit a while back by noting that the entertainment industry had stolen dozens of phrases and ideas from my copyrighted work–many poem titles and lines, and other creative expressions converted directly to film titles. The list of intellectual property violations numbers in the hundreds or thousands, including naming the following from my poems, without my consent or prior knowledge: Vantage Point (2007), Idiocracy (2006), The Aura (Spanish: El Aura) (2005), Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus, Sky High (2005 film), The Perfect Score (2004); The Score, Wake of Death (2004), Torque (2004), You Wish! (2003), (2003), Big Fish ( 2003), The Ring (2002 ), I Am Sam (2001), The Sixth Sense(1999), Beowulf (2007), Gryphon (2007), Stomp the Yard (2007), Made of Honor (2008) Felon (2008), Box Elder (2008) and Fata Morgana (2007) Avatar (2008/2009) Daybreak (2008) Vantage Point (2008). All these words and titles come from Plaintiff’s copyrighted work Tribute Anthology (2007), unmarketed, meaning the information was actually taken directly from my computer or discs. I’ve filed several federal suits, one of which was in litigation for a decade before the community–through extensive battery and fraud–made false accusations and created new issues to prevent a just public condemnation of the community for eviscerating my rights over the course of decades. The worst liars, and the worst of these criminals–they are actually violating criminal codes daily–are on the right. A good thing to note when you’re dealing with the manipulative self-impressed chess player sociopaths in the right wing intelligentsia, never accept the explanation they give you, always go back a step or two in time, and dig a little deeper. They’re invariably lying.
    The FBI would be quite content to use a citizen as bait in FBI stings over the course of a lifetime. There isn’t any shortage of sting opportunities, given the unending string of lawbreaking in the intelligence community, including their vast corrupt network in Los Angeles and Ventura, stretching into many businesses here, and obviously involving some government employees.These parties are all violating RICO , careful lies they believe are legally protected, with an obvious motive to attack an informant. Examine my federal cases, Central District of California Case Numbers, 01-4340, 03-9097, 08-5515, , 10-5193, US Tax Court 12000-07L –though I think you want to view my US Tax Court Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a good account of the day to day assaults, over the course of years.
    The intelligence community has framed me and given fraudulent psych profiles to the judiciary over the course of decades 2) the entertainment industry knew it, and quietly reaped the benefits of my creativity, fraudulently sold by the government (something like restitution or illegally seized property), and in fact colluded with the federal government, RICO 3) government and industry have killed my pets and physically attacked me for a decade in an effort to slow my investigation, and to intimidate, RICO II violation 4) government inspectors and FBI–those who were not complicitous, anyway– have ruthlessly used me in stings against the community and industry, in many cases ensuring i would be harmed by putting me in harm’s way against known, repeat offenders–often, I believe, as their own retaliation against me, RICO III 5) all of the above have curtailed my other options and interfered with my relationships in an effort to further their own schemes 6) i’ve lost a vast amount of intellectual property. my closest relationships, including a few engagements, were destroyed by the manipulations of the above individuals. i haven’t been truly free a day in my entire adult life, either manipulation of my options or direct interference with my cognition, usually both..7) some in the judiciary knew, and some should have known, that the allegations against me were contrived and fraudulent, and some have participated in harming me 8) while there is little political support for prosecuting criminal actions that involve half of government, two presidents, Obama and to an extent Clinton, tried to do what is right, right a very corrupt situation. you don’t need to be a genius to figure the politics involved, the problems they’ve faced so doing.9) you probably won’t get a denial of any of this if you ask US Senators, and can in fact find letters of support from them as exhibits in my case filings. 10) yet the press has not covered this because? 11) the right has been physically attacking me or harming my pets in connection with every public criticism i’ve made. These parties are all engaged in RICO conduct, careful lies they believe are legally protected, with an obvious motive to attack an informant. Examine my federal cases, Central District of California Case Numbers, 01-4340, 03-9097, 08-5515, , 10-5193, US Tax Court 12000-07L –though I think you want to view my US Tax Court Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a good account of the day to day assaults, over the course of years. Those in government who support this sort of llegal persecution are invariably lying. Invariably–and that’s from someone who spent a decade documenting four decades of lies.

  2. It’s no coincidence that as Catholic schools closed in NCC this has happened.

    • Donviti, the relationship btwn charter and private (incl. Catholic) schools in NCCo. is something of a chicken-and-egg dynamic. Catholic school closures may have come first, but they have also been exacerbated by the expansion of charters. Charters (in many cases) provide parents what private schools have for decades, though w/o the tuition–that is, they eliminate the most troublesome or demanding kids from the student population and send them back to the genuinely public schools (or create barriers to their initial admission). The biggest impact DE charter expansion has had on other Ed. options is visible in the private school sector, which has shrunk significantly since ~2005. This is appealing to the benefitting families, some of whom could not afford private school. But from other taxpayers’ perspective it essentially means that we’re subsidizing effectively private schools (no elected board oversight, etc.) to the detriment of actual public schools–those which the vast majority of children attend and which are directly linked to property values, via public perception of community desirability. Not very farsighted public policy.

  3. […] towards blue states for a public school model, like the state of Delaware, where a combination of private and charter schools segregate the public system by both race and […]


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