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Charter schools come with inherent advantage: few poor students

Miami Dade County charter schools have many advantages to tradition schools but this one stands out: the number of poor children enrolled is disproportionately low compared to traditional public schools — an advantage for the charter schools, given that poverty correlates with poor academic performance.

Charter schools in Miami-Dade also enroll a smaller share of black students than traditional public schools, according to federal data. In traditional public schools, one-third of children are black, compared to one-fifth of children in charter schools.

The imbalances persist despite local, state and federal rules aimed at promoting open access to charter schools and preventing discrimination. The Waterstone school, for example, is open to all Miami-Dade students under its contract with the school district, while giving preference to students who live within four miles of the school — an area that includes Campbell Drive K-8. More here from the Miami Herald investigative series Cashing In On Kids.

Charter schools, which receive public tax dollars but are run by independent boards, say they do not handpick which students they enroll. Most say they rely on random admissions lotteries. Story here.