DFER National President Shavar Jeffries Releases Statement on Century Foundation Report
Washington, D.C. (April 4, 2019) – Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) National President Shavar Jeffries released the following statement in response to The Century Foundation report on charter school integration:
“The report released today by The Century Foundation inaccurately portrays charter schools as a significant source of problems in school segregation.
Public charter schools are concentrated in neighborhoods with high proportions of students of color to provide them an alternative to the low-performing traditional public schools that those students previously had no choice but to attend. They exist as a means to equalize educational opportunities and give every child—particularly traditionally underserved students—access to a high-quality public education.
By design and toward the goal of fairness, public charter schools admit students through a lottery system to ensure a fair process for admissions. There are no quotas, nor should there be, that limit which students are and are not admitted according to their race and ethnicity. Several of the report’s recommendations run directly counter to these principles and would likely undermine the creation of high-quality neighborhood-based public charter schools.
While there is no doubt to the benefits that diverse learning environments can provide, what matters is that our students are receiving high-quality instruction that puts them on a path to success. And there is no reason to believe that children of color need to learn alongside white children as a condition of receiving a high-quality education. Across public charter schools in urban regions, which disproportionately serve low-income and minority students, Black students in poverty receive the equivalent of 59 days of additional learning in math and 44 days of additional learning in reading compared to their peers in traditional public schools.
Charter schools were never intended to solve the gross inequities plaguing our nation’s education system, but they have empowered parents and students with high-quality public school options so that more children have access to the education they deserve.”