Is it a coincidence that Charter School Week is the same week as the landmark Supreme Court Decision Brown vs the Board of Education?
On May 16, Arizona House Republicans stood to honor Charter School Week while a proclamation was read. A few minutes later Rep. Gerae Peten reminded us all that Friday, May 17, 2019 is 65th anniversary of the landmark desegregation case Brown vs the Board of Education. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these two events overlap.
If you have read “Democracy in Chains,” you know the links between the Brown decision, Southern pushback against desegregation, taxpayer-funded private school vouchers, racial disparities across school districts, and the rise of the “public choice” movement in education.
The popularity of customized charter schools and tax-funded vouchers for private education — and the related budget cuts to public education — have led to white flight from public schools and increased segregation in our schools overall. Charter schools that cherry pick high-performing students and weed out others exacerbate the equity problems.
Arizona has been shortchanging it’s children for too long. We have been marching backwards. It’s time to shift gears and go forward by fully funding public education.