Last week I spoke with Halley Potter, a fellow at the Century Foundation. Halley is the author of recent briefs including A Better Start, on the importance of racially and economically diverse preschools and A New Wave of School Integration, highlighting the 90 school districts and charter schools that are taking steps to be racially and socioeconomically diverse.
Halley is also part of a group of educators who have created a new grassroots organization (sound familiar?) called the National Coalition of Diverse Charter Schools. Unlike magnet schools, which have an explicit mission of desegregation, there are currently few structures in place to support and encourage racial and socioeconomic diversity in charter schools.
The NCDCS is currently hiring an Executive Director and will expand its work over the next year, supporting and connecting charter schools with similar missions of diversity, leading federal, state and local advocacy in support of weighted charter lotteries and other mechanisms that create diversity, and encouraging other charter schools to move forward in this work.
Lee Montessori in Washington DC, Magnolia Montessori for All in Austin, Texas and Baltimore Montessori Charter in Baltimore are part of the 91 schools now in the Coalition. Would your school like to join?
Charter schools that would like to join the coalition should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org expressing their interest in joining the network and provide the following:
- Information about mission of your school with reference to racial and socioeconomic diversity.
- the racial and socio-economic demographics of your school and the demographics of your community.
- How your school is maintaining/working to increase racial and socioeconomic diversity in recruitment & in supports at your school.
Public Montessori schools have been at the forefront of creating racially and economically schools for over fifty years. Here is an exciting opportunity to continue this important work.