Following on Tuesday’s post about residential segregation and school segregation it’s worth mentioning the recent regulatory change at the Department of Education allowing charter schools receiving federal funding to weight their admissions lotteries to recruit more low-income students. Basically it brings federal policy more into alignment with state policy. The change is a response to the increasing gentrification of some successful public charter schools (although this mostly happens when there is an underlying scarcity of good schools in the public sector, for instance in Washington, D.C.). It’s a change I’ve supported for a while but it’s not one without risk. The case for helping low-income students seems obvious but critics of this move have a point when they argue that once the door is open all sorts of preferences could follow. Why not for gifted students or STEM, for instance? You can raise a slippery slope argument to just about anything, yes, and one reason we have elected officials is to make decisions about where to draw the line. But given the established tendency in education to favor higher-achievers and the affluent it’s something to keep an eye on.
Also, if you follow these issues, check out this Chalkbeat article about NYC.