No Minority Representation on Charter School Founding Board


Charter schools are public schools that are created by a contract, or charter, between a school’s founders and the state as proposed for Alamogordo. Charter schools are exempt from many, though not all, of the rules and requirements that apply to traditional public schools. The unique rules of charter schools are creating an atmosphere of “white supremacy” within the charter school movement. 

There are 98 charter schools in New Mexico, constituting over 11% of all public schools.

The Alamogordo public should be warned and should be vocal in opposition when it comes to charter schools  in small towns, Alamogordo taxpayers beware!

Within New Mexico current laws governing charter schools make it difficult to close charter schools that are underperforming academically, most of those closed were for fiscal mismanagement, rather than academic failure New Mexico laws are weak as 13 states have charter school laws that require the closure of schools that fail to perform academically for a certain number of years.

New Mexico should also make it easier for charters to serve the students who would gain the most benefit from them. The system in New Mexico favors children whose parents have the knowledge, time, and fluency in English to successfully navigate the application process.

Charter schools modestly increase school segregation for Black, Hispanic, Asian, and White students. On average, charters have caused a 6 percent decrease in the relative likelihood of Black and Hispanic students being exposed to schoolmates of other racial or ethnic groups.

That is exactly what the founders of the proposed Charter school for Alamogordo have in mind; a campus designed for elite students not open to ALL students. Look at the makeup of the board, look at where the school is proposed to be located, not in the inner city but in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in town with no bussing to bring kids from the poorer neighborhoods into the proposed school. 

Alamogordo has a history of segregation both, racial or economic segregation. This  is a 21st century effort to further perpetuate the efforts of economic and racial segregation by an elite group within the economic elite ruling class of Alamogordo. 

Notice who is on the founding board, no Hispanics, no persons of color, no members of the LBGTQ community, no economic challenged members. That tells the public exactly who the founders are targeting as students.

Fourteen states allow charters to give priority to disadvantaged populations of students , not New Mexico nor the Alamogordo charter criteria, as the law does not allow such in New Mexico. The founders know it yet in their pre application talk around economic and racial segregation, spinning a tale of diversity when their own founders are on record against diversity and inclusion education mandated by the state. 

The charter school movement has been a major political success, but it has been a civil rights failure leading to significant segregation. Now there are more and more charter schools that are almost exclusively black, Hispanic or White only with little racial diversity. 

As the country continues moving steadily toward greater segregation and inequality of education for students of color or lower income in schools with lower achievement and graduation rates, the rapid growth of charter schools has been expanding a sector that is even more segregated than the public schools

The Civil Rights Project has been issuing annual reports on the spread of segregation in public schools and its impact on educational opportunity for 14 years

We know that choice programs can either offer quality educational options with racially and economically diverse schooling to children who otherwise have few opportunities, or choice programs can actually increase stratification and inequality depending on how they are designed

The charter effort, which has largely ignored the segregation issue, has been justified by claims about superior educational performance, which simply are not sustained by the research. Though there are some remarkable and diverse charter schools, most are neither. The lessons of what is needed to make choice work have usually been ignored in charter school policy. Magnet schools are the striking example of and offer a great deal of experience in how to create educationally successful and integrated choice options.

Latinos are under-enrolled in charter schools in some Western states where they comprise the largest share of students except in Latino enclaves. At the same time, a dozen states (including those with high concentrations of Latino students like Arizona and Texas) report that a majority of Latino charter students attend intensely segregated minority schools. Patterns in the West and in a few areas in the South, the two most racially diverse regions of the country, also suggest that charters serve as havens for white flight from public schools.

White charter school enclaves—defined as charter schools located in school districts that are thirty percent or less white, but that enroll a student body that is fifty percent or greater white— are emerging across the country. The emergence of white charter school enclaves is the result of a sobering and ugly truth: when given a choice, white parents as a collective tend to choose racially segregated, predominately white schools. Empirical research supports this claim. Empirical research also demonstrates that white parents as a collective will make that choice even when presented with the option of a more racially diverse school that is of good academic quality.

Charter schools operate under different rules than traditional public schools (TPS), they are only forced to abide by the regulations included in their charter contract. The problem being New Mexico rarely conducts investigations to ensure that charter schools comply with their obligations, often resulting in the circumvention of proper procedure. Case in point, charter schools manipulate enrollment processes to recruit the smartest students and the kids easiest to teach.

Charter schools are, by law, required to implement a lottery system for student admissions IF they receive more applications than they have spots in their classes. But laws on the book mean nothing if they are not enforced, as is the case with charter school enrollment decisions. Charter schools implement strategies both before and after application in order to enroll top students.

Applications to most charter schools are intended to dissuade all but the most motivated families from applying to the institution. This is done by creating unnecessarily lengthy application forms and procedures to limit applications from families unwilling or unable to dedicate the time necessary to complete these forms. While lengthy applications themselves exclude many low-income applicants, complicated language and additional fees discourage children with uneducated parents from applying. Moreover, charter applications target minority populations by creating English-only application forms, inhibiting children of non-English-speaking and immigrant parents from attending.

Public schools can’t always meaningfully reduce their second largest cost source, salaries, as students leave for charter schools. "If, for instance, a given school loses 5% of its student body—and that loss is spread evenly across all grade levels—the school may be unable to lay off even a single teacher." An analysis of a Pennsylvania school district facing competition from charters shows that districts are often unable to recoup even 20% of the money lost to charter schools in the first year. Even given five years to adjust, districts could not be expected to recover any more than ⅔ of lost revenue. 

Santa Fe a larger school district than Alamogordo schools says charter schools are hurting existing public schools. “Some school districts, like mine, are experiencing adverse effects from opening charter schools,” Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez said.Charter schools take resources and teachers from public schools,” Chaves said.

A school board member from Las Cruces who asked to remain anonymous, as he is friends with some APS board members. suggested that it is almost criminal for the APS board to not be vocal in opposition to the proposed charter in Alamogordo. He said, “they truly do not realize the strain the charter will place on their high schools finances and staffing nor the racial and economic makeup of the students that remain. The remaining students that don’t qualify for the charter will fall further behind and the school board will own that further burden of further poor performance. Where is their accountability and leadership?” 

Alamogordo has an opportunity to be a great leader in education for the state of New Mexico if the APS Board would engage with state of the art educational standard, implement STEM as a priority and focus.

A charter school will only harm APS, lead to further economic and racial division within the community and harm the community as the divide between haves and have nots widens. 

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