The guiding principles of the Save Our Schools organizers do not address charters directly. But they do call for an end to the resegregation of schools. As my colleague Forrest Hinton pointed out yesterday, that’s code for halting the spread of charter schools because they often enroll large numbers of low-income African American and Hispanic students. It’s true that 52 percent of students attending the nation’s 5,000 charter schools are non-white and it’s also true that more than 60 percent of the students at a majority of those schools are poor. But it is low-income parents of color who are the most dissatisfied with their schools and are choosing to send their kids to charters instead. The average charter school has a waiting list of over 200 students. Also, in many large cities the school systems themselves are almost entirely made up of children of color. So it’s no surprise that charters reflect neighborhood demographics.
The burst of critiques directed at the Save Our Schools march has been so lame as to be actively encouraging. If "desegregation is code for slowing down the spread of charters which, by the way 'we (Ed Sector) also don’t cheerlead for them or think of them as a panacea,'" is the best they can do, we're in pretty good shape. Especially since progressives have a proud 60 year tradition of opposing school segregation, led in part by some of the leaders at SOS.