As charters and choice expand, so does segregation

Report by Amy Hawn Nelson
January 5, 2017

UNC Charlotte Urban Institute   (Charlotte)

Nationwide, the number of charter schools has been increasing; enrollment has more than doubled over the past ten years. Data is showing that charter schools are more segregated than traditional public schools. The Charlotte region has undergone a huge demographic shift, largely due to the increasing number of Hispanic residents. The number of charters has also increased; 15,535 students attended charter schools in Mecklenburg County in 2015-2016.

The challenge is that often when students enter a charter school, money follows them. In 2015-2016, charters received $25 million from CMS in pass-through funding. Additionally, enrollment in charters increases, though data suggest that, on a wide range of measures, outcomes of traditional public schools are typically higher. The table PDF below shows the demographics of charters in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties.