Thursday, December 4, 2014
ACLU and Community Legal Aid Society File Segregation Complaint Against Delaware Charters, Call for Moratorium
Yesterday, the ACLU of Delaware, ACLU Racial Justice Project and Community Legal Aid Society filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights asserting that Delaware’s charter school policies discriminate against students of color and students with disabilities. They also perpetuate segregation. “We hope that the Office of Civil Rights recognizes that any system of selection that has the effect of almost completely excluding children with disabilities from the ‘high-achieving’ charter schools is deeply disturbing and must constitute illegal discrimination,” says Dan Atkins, Legal Advocacy Director of the Disabilities Law Program of Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.
The complaint asserts that "over three-quarters of charter schools operating in Delaware are racially identifiable. High performing charter schools are almost entirely racially identifiable as White. Low income students and students with disabilities are disproportionately relegated to failing charter schools and charter schools that are racially identifiable as African American or Hispanic, none of which are high performing." They assert charter schools are also increasing segregation in traditional public schools.
They ask for the following solutions to the problem:
- A moratorium on the authorization and opening of new charter schools until an effective desegregation plan has been implemented;
- Utilization of a random opt-out lottery for charter school admissions;
- Assurance that the cost of attending a public charter school is free and that parents are not required or pressured to purchase uniforms or raise money for the school;
- Capping class size in traditional public schools at the same level as charter schools and ensuring that total funding for traditional public schools is equal to that of charter schools;
- Providing additional funding to schools with a disproportionately high number of students of color, students with special needs and low-income students;
- A plan to ensure that students with disabilities are recruited and reasonably accommodated in all charter schools.
The full complaint is here.