The American Civil Liberties Union issued a blistering report about the charter industry in Arizona, claiming that charters choose their students, instead of the other way around.

The title of the report is Schools Choosing Students: How Arizona Charter Schools Engage in Illegal and Exclusionary Student Enrollment Practices and How It Should Be Fixed

The 26-page report begins:

In the 1990s, Arizona became one of the nation’s rst adopters of charter schools. The vision was to give parents more academic choices for their children and to provide learning environments more tailored to students’ individual needs. In many cases, however, Arizona’s charter school program has had the opposite result: Charter schools are choosing students who fit their mold.

Indeed, more than two decades after charter schools emerged in Arizona, admission policies and procedures at many of the state’s charter schools unlawfully exclude some students or create barriers to their enrollment. Many schools have been able to get away with exclusionary practices for years without accountability.

Though charter schools operate independently, they are part of Arizona’s
public education system and use taxpayer funds. As such, they are required to “enroll
all eligible pupils who submit a timely application.”1 If more students apply than
can be accommodated, schools can randomly select students through a lottery system.2

Arizona charter schools are also forbidden from discriminating against students on the basis of “ethnicity, national origin, gender, income level, disabling condition, proficiency in the English language or athletic ability.”3

But an analysis of Arizona charter schools’ enrollment materials shows many schools have policies and procedures that are clearly illegal or exclusionary. Speci cally, out of the 471 Arizona charter schools that were analyzed,
at least 262, or 56 percent, have policies that are clear violations of the law or that may discourage the enrollment of certain students.

Do you think that Betsy DeVos cares? Will the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights take action to reduce and eliminate illegal discrimination?