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Knowledge From the Field

Diverse Charter Schools: Can Racial and Socioeconomic Integration Promote Better Outcomes for Students?

Published: May 2012

Publisher(s): Poverty & Race Research Action Council; Century Foundation

Author(s): Kahlenberg, Richard D.; Halley Potter

Funder(s): Century Foundation

View Report (38 pages; 1.64MB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Low-Performing Schools


The education policy and philanthropy communities to date have funded charter schools that have high concentrations of poverty and large numbers of minority students. This report suggests widening the focus to support charter schools that provide high-needs students with a racially and economically diverse educational setting. The report highlights the benefits of diversity, provides examples of seven academically successful charter schools and their approaches to racial and economic integration, and offers policy and funding recommendations.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

=Socioeconomically and racially diverse charter schools offer civic, social, and cognitive benefits for all students, provide resources for improving academic performance, foster experimentation with new pedagogical approaches, and broaden the political constituency for charters.

=The experiences of academically successful charter schools with diverse student bodies reveal a variety of approaches to making integration work, including intentional location, targeted student recruitment, weighted admissions, thoughtful pedagogies and academic success, and school cultures that embrace diversity.

Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Charter; Diversity; Low-Income; Minority; Outcomes

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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