The denigration of charter schools often revolves around what Chris calls the "integration imperative": that school improvement is inextricably linked to an integrated society. Certainly, we see this in criticisms of New Jersey charter schools from people like Bruce Baker, Mark Weber, and Julia Sass Rubin, who often point out that, for example, charter schools in Newark enroll more black children than Hispanic children. Chris explains:
I take issue with today’s facile understanding of what constitutes segregation. It obsesses more about inducting people of color into white spaces than about building self-determination – and the power of choice – in marginalized communities.
Do we really agree that the reason poor black children are not achieving at high levels is because they have too few white people in their lives? Do we accept the idea that a school with mostly black students is a problem, but schools with mostly white students, as is often the case, are superior?...
When families from historically and purposefully marginalized communities enroll their children into small, controlled, safe, culturally affirming schools, is that the same thing as state-enforced educational redlining of families into inferior schools with scant resources?
Does it matter to political people that charter schools are popular with black parents, and are seen as an additional option for communities that generally have too few options?
Does it matter that these schools are producing gains for black students without having to wait for the dream of integration in the era of Donald Trump and #BlackLivesMatter?