Civil rights attorney Wendy Lecker chastises a charter advocate who says that all charters should not be smeared by the recent scandals involving Jumoke Academy, “Dr.” Michael Sharpe, and “Dr.” Terrence Carter. Her own charter, she says, has an open lottery and accepts all who win the lottery.

Lecker offers a mini-history lesson about how “choice” schools served in the South to perpetuate segregation. Then she delves into the statistics of the charter school with the “open lottery.”

Lecker writes:

“Open lotteries result in segregation. Pure and simple. In fact, open choice was used as a way of keeping southern schools segregated in the wake of the Brown decision. And over fifty years of evidence since then proves that unfettered choice segregates schools. The only way to achieve diversity in a choice system is to carefully design a controlled choice policy that consciously seeks diversity. In my district, Stamford, we abandoned an open lottery for our magnet schools years ago, as we found it that it increased segregation. Stamford has a mandatory integration policy. When our schools fall out of balance, we redistrict. Enrollment in our magnet schools is done through a lottery that consciously controls for demographics. Our schools are integrated because we make the conscious effort to integrate, rather than blindly declaring that “all can attend.”

“Ms. Dichele’s Side by Side charter school is a perfect example of how an open lottery works against diversity. When you compare the demographics of Side by Side charter school to its host district, Norwalk, Side by Side has ten percent less poverty, half the percentage of English Language Learners and half the percentage of students with disabilities that Norwalk’s schools have. Moreover, while state data show that Side by Side has zero percent teachers of color, Norwalk’s school district has 15.9%.”

Lecker understands that it makes no sense to have two separate and unequal publicly funded school systems, especially when they don’t serve the same demographics.