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On January 31, the U.S. Department of Education opened an investigation of the Red Bank Charter School, which local groups accuse of excluding minorities. Will Betsy DeVos continue this investigation or will she shelve it?
Local civil rights groups complain that the charter school is far whiter than the district school and contend that this is no accident.
“Critics of the charter school have long complained that minorities are underrepresented in the charter school, contributing to an over-representation of minorities in the public school district, where the population is also more economically challenged than the charter school’s enrollment.
“According to state data, the charter school is 50 percent white, while the borough schools are about 7 percent white. Hispanics comprise just 38.5 percent of the charter school, while they are 81 percent of the borough schools. Both are about 10 percent black.
“The complaint was brought by Fair Schools Red Bank, a group of parents with children in Red Bank public schools, and the advocacy group Latino Coalition of New Jersey. Both the Education Department and the Justice Department received the complaint, which was filed in November, according to a Education Department official.
“Their complaint accuses the charter school, by virtue of its enrollment practices, of making Red Bank “the most segregated school district in the state of New Jersey.”
Charter schools long ago figured out that careful selection of students is key to high test scores. Unfortunately, they can’t share this lesson with public schools, which must enroll everyone who walks in, at any time of year.