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Public Charter Schools, Families, and the New Jersey Charter School Association Intervene In School Desegregation Lawsuit

Public Charter Schools, Families, and the New Jersey Charter School Association Intervene In School Desegregation Lawsuit

September 18, 2019

Lawsuit Unfairly Blames Charter Schools For School Segregation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, a group of New Jersey public charter school parents, schools, and the state charter school association filed a motion to intervene in Latino Action Network v. State of New Jersey, a lawsuit filed in May 2018.

In their misguided attacks on charter schools, Plaintiffs completely fail to acknowledge two fundamental facts:  that public charter schools are providing students in urban settings with a high-quality education; and, that public charter schools have been providing a solution to school segregation for years.

Missing the mark, Plaintiffs cite data that public charter schools serve a disproportionate number of Black and Latino students in New Jersey, without indicating that most public charter schools operate in urban neighborhoods where a large majority of Black and Latino students live.  Moreover, Plaintiffs choose to ignore a critical truth:   because public charter schools in New Jersey can enroll students across municipal boundaries, parents who want to make the choice to enroll their students in a diverse-by-design charter school can – and many do.

National Alliance Senior Director of Legal Affairs Rob Reed released the following statement:

“Plaintiffs conveniently overlook the fact that New Jersey public charter schools are providing a remedy to school segregation and, as such, are part of the solution, not the problem. Charter schools are committed to providing a quality public school for every student, and Plaintiffs’ assumption that schools serving predominantly students of color are inherently low-performing is simply incorrect, as New Jersey charter schools prove. 

With more than 35,000 students – primarily from urban communities – on waitlists in New Jersey, we should be looking to find ways to increase opportunities for children to attend high-quality public charter schools; the public should not be misled, and charter schools should not be scapegoated for segregation, a serious issue that requires thoughtful wide-ranging solutions.

A recent Urban Institute study found that New Jersey’s public charter schools did not contribute to school segregation and are instead leading the way in breaking down barriers of race and zip code as they may serve children across municipal boundaries. Rather than laying blame, it would be wise to learn how public charter schools are creating intentionally diverse schools and delivering on the promise of a high-quality education for Garden State students.”

The National Charter School Legal Action Fund has supported this case since its inception and applauds charter school parents, the New Jersey Charter Schools Association and their partners for intervening in this case and valiantly fighting to protect parent choice while pushing back on the unfounded and deeply flawed notion that high-quality charter schools, chosen by parents and families of color, are the cause of school segregation in New Jersey.

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