Today the Idaho Latino Advocacy group Communidad y Justicia issued a scathing complaint to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) declaring that Idaho’s charter schools are violating state and federal law by failing to provide services for minority populations including non-native English speakers, non-white students, Free and Reduced Lunch students, and special education students
This complaint comes on the heals of several stinging reports both via my own information requests with the Idaho Department of Education as well as a newly released report by the state’s Charter Commission detailing in depth the wild disparity between the demographics of charter schools’ student bodies and those of their surrounding traditional public school districts.
Data from these reports dispelled any doubt that charters in Idaho are inclusive schools providing mandated services to minority populations as both state and federal law mandate they be; instead, data indicates that charters’ students are overwhelmingly white, affluent, English speaking, and nondisabled.
In other words, segregated.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2015
Contact: Sam Byrd
Centro de Comunidad y Justicia
4696 W. Overland Rd., Ste. 228
Boise, ID 83705
Phone: (208) 378-1368
Discrimination Complaint Filed Against Idaho Public Charter Schools
On Monday, May 18th, the Centro de Comunidad y Justicia, (CCJ) filed a discrimination complaint against the Idaho State Department of Education, the Idaho State Board of Education, the Idaho Charter School Commission, and Idaho’s 48 Charter Schools and their Boards of Directors.
The complaint filed with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education’s office in Seattle, seeks equal opportunity and representation in Idaho’s charter schools for Latino students, students with limited-English Proficiency (LEP), students with disabilities, and students from low-income families.
According to evidence originally reported by Levi Cavener, a Special Education teacher from Caldwell, and later confirmed by the Idaho Public Charter School Commission, CCJ alleges that “Idaho’s charter school system has evolved into a unequal public school system that discriminates against students of color, LEP students, students with disabilities (many whom are Latino), and students from low-income families.”
In filing this complaint, CCJ has no desire to limit or deny the educational benefits of charter schools to any other students. Rather, CCJ simply seeks equal opportunity and representation in Idaho’s public charter schools for Latino students, students with limited English proficiency, students with disabilities, and students from low-income families.
The immediate relief requested by CCJ includes a thorough investigation of Idaho’s public charter school system, including all of Idaho’s 48 public charter schools, the Commission and the Idaho Dept. of Education; and a determination by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) that Idaho has implemented a public charter school system that discriminates based upon race, color, national origin, ethnicity and disability.
A complete copy of the complaint filed by the Centro de Comunidad y Justicia is attached to this press release.
Here is a link to the complaint. It’s worth a read!
Also worthwhile to check out is the OCR’s “Dear Colleague” letter mentioned in the complaint regarding minority inclusion in charter schools.