Laura Clawson writes about charters that target a specific demographic: Affluent white kids.

Two of the most celebrated charter chains are Great Hearts Academy and Basis, both located in Arizona but now opening in cities outside that state. Their key demographic is not poor black and brown students.

She quotes from a story that appeared in The Texas Tribune and the New York Times:

At the 16 campuses that Great Hearts operates in the Phoenix area (where nearly 60 percent of public school students are Hispanic or black), 69 percent of the nearly 7,000 students are white. Only two of Great Hearts’ Arizona campuses participate in a federal program that offers free and reduced-price meals for low-income students. Of the almost 5,000 Basis students in Phoenix, Tucson and Scottsdale, roughly 12 percent are Hispanic and 2 percent are black. None of the eight campuses offer free and reduced-price meals, which is also the case at the San Antonio school.

Clawson writes:

Making your “public” school cost $1,000 a year, require private transportation, and not offer free or reduced-price school lunches is slightly more subtle than naming it “No Poor Kids Academy.” But only slightly.

Schools like these benefit the whole push for more more more charters: By recruiting upper-middle-class students and giving them an especially well-funded education, these schools are likely to boost the overall academic outcomes of charter schools in general, so that when charters and traditional public schools are compared, the deck is just a little more stacked against public schools. But the basic model is the same, forcing public schools that accept and try to educate all kids to compete with schools that get to pick and choose.

To learn more about BASIS, read Julian Vasquez Heilig’s post. It is quite an operation.

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