Responding to a recent story pointing out that Orange County charter schools are disproportionately white, a number of charter-school parents took umbrage in the comments at any insinuation that they had racial motivations.
Charter.Parent writes: "Our decision to move our child to a charter was 100 percent the result of wanting our child to be motivated and inspired to learn. Project-based learning supplies this; more traditional educational methods of memorizing and regurgitating used by district schools do not. It is very disappointing that Orange County charters are not more diverse, but if local schools can't motivate even a gifted child, then parents are going to send their kids to schools that can, even if they value diversity. The author should interview parents with students at charters and district schools. I suspect he will find a much more nuanced picture of what different parents value for their children's education, and it won't be that they are looking to avoid minorities."
MissyR offers similar thoughts: "My children attend an OCS charter because 1) it is a more socially conscientious environment for the difficult middle school years, 2) it is the right place for my child with special needs, and 3) I feel it is a safer situation during this time of gun violence in schools. I would love to see more diversity in the student body and certainly did not choose it because there is less."
Colormetruthful says the story was "lazy journalism": "Having been there a few years, I can say that the division you see between charters and others is almost completely due to socioeconomic factors. How many economically disadvantaged parents can drive their children to school and pick them up every day? If your child needs free or reduced lunch/breakfast to be able to eat, then why would you even apply to a school that doesn't provide it? You wouldn't. Because of this, the applicant pool for charter schools is going to closely mirror the affluent or upper-middle-class residents of the community. If you want to talk about racial disparity, then let's talk about the socioeconomic disparities that disproportionately have a negative impact on people of color, but don't just opine that charter school parents are racist."
Of course, the story did make those points and didn't call charter-school parents racist, as Edward Teach points out: "You people in the comments talking about where your little Suzy and Johnny attend school and why need to get a grip. The author of this piece didn't call you racist. Learn to read for Christ's sake!"
And on Facebook, Judy Nelsen Fogg says there definitely are racial imbalances between North Carolina's charter and traditional public schools. Speaking of the teachers profiled in a story about a Durham charter seeking to reconcile from the school system, she writes, "I applaud your honest and bold action in speaking out about the obvious though typically ignored disparity between charters and public schools. It most definitely is and will continue to be 'white flight,' and ultimately we all lose when an education for our children has come to this."