By guest blogger Amanda Ulrich
Fourteen socioeconomically and racially diverse charter schools from eight different states have joined together to form a national coalition to share resources and promote the creation of more schools like them across the country.
The founding members of the newly formed National Coalition of Diverse Charter Schools include some well-known charters such as New York City's Success Academy Charter Schools and High Tech High in San Diego.
Besides promoting new schools and sharing resources and technical assistance, the new organization will support research on the best policies and programs of diverse schools.
"Research shows that socioeconomically and racially diverse schools offer valuable academic, cognitive, and social benefits for students," says Halley Potter, a policy associate at the Century Foundation, in the coalition's press release. The foundation co-authored a May 2012 report on the new-breed schools with the Poverty & Race Research Action Council. "Diverse schools can help boost the achievement of low-income students while preparing all students for success in a 21st century economy that requires critical thinking and cultural awareness," she added.
The coalition outlines several of its core beliefs on its main website:
- Diverse schools provide greater opportunities for students to learn from one another.
- Diversity is a cost-effective method of boosting student achievement.
- Diverse schools promote the celebration and understanding of other cultures and viewpoints.
- Diverse schools invigorate and strengthen urban neighborhoods by bringing community members together.
- Charter schools can and should contribute to solving the historic challenge of integrating our public school system.
- Achieving diversity often requires deliberate efforts through recruitment, admissions policies, and school design.
- Diverse charter schools promote equality by ensuring that students from different backgrounds have the same educational opportunities.
To join the growing conversation on heightening diversity in charter schools, you can visit the Diverse Charters Blog, created by the coalition and included on its website.