Throughout the history of charter schools, they have not been synonymous with diversity. Compared to public schools, for example, which ended segregation in the 1960s, charter schools have been more prone to economic and racial segregation. According to analysis, 17 percent of charter schools have an enrollment that is 99 percent nonwhite, compared with just four percent of public schools.
Now, educators and policymakers around the country are taking on the cause of figuring out ways to bring diversity to the world of charter schools. With a shared vision of opening up more opportunities for minorities and those from disadvantaged communities to study at these schools, charters are becoming more inclusive by design.
Diverse learning environments contribute to stronger academic outcomes for students and greater access and cohesion, as well as boosting empathy and bringing awareness of understanding across lines of social, racial and economic differences.
What helps charter schools be more open to diversity is their flexibility in how they match curricula to individual communities around them. They draw in students from a bigger geographic area and link up with local districts and organizations to bring in a diverse group of students. Here are some examples of some charter schools opening the door to more students, more inclusion and more diversity.
This school brings a modern approach to its schooling, pinpointing the needs of its diverse student population. Brooklyn Prospect uses a weighted lottery system to give preference to students from low-income backgrounds. This ensures that there is a guaranteed mixture of socioeconomic status and ethnicities in its elementary schools, two middle schools, and high school. According to testing results, Brooklyn Prospect students are earning higher test scores and are getting solid hands-on attention with teachers and counselors.
Elmwood is a diverse K-8 community that puts a focus on social responsibility, arts integration, and community impacts. Elmwood highlights a focus on social curriculum as well as academic curriculum, helping students rely on a diverse school environment to shape their learning. The school has a low student-teacher ratio, which helps bring more one-on-one leading by educators, which can help boost testing and learning.
Bringing two middle schools together, Valor Collegiate Academies makes it its mission to overcome socioeconomic hurdles through social and academic curricula. Fifth graders are assigned mentors and sixth graders stepping into middle school starts out with a laptop to familiarize them with online learning. Valor makes sure that inclusiveness is brought into each classroom, helping to bring on higher test scores above the state average in New York.
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