From the Report:

The original vision of charter schools in the 1990s was to provide new opportunities to improve the quality of education for thousands of students living in under-resourced communities. However, charter schools can also heighten existing inequities. Through admissions policies that exclude vulnerable students by erecting various barriers to entry, charter schools have the potential to create a two-tiered system of public education. We believe charter schools are viable only if they are open to all students. Although charter schools may be privately controlled and receive non-government funding, they are part of California’s public education system. The California Constitution requires that all students, whether they choose to attend traditional public schools or charter schools, have equal access to educational opportunity. Like other public schools, it is illegal for charter schools to select which students to enroll. The state legislature made this principle clear in the California Charter Schools Act, which plainly requires charter schools to “admit all pupils who wish to attend.”

In other words, except for limitations due to space, charter schools may not enact admissions requirements or other barriers to enrollment and must admit all students who apply, just as traditional public schools cannot turn away students.

In this ground-breaking report, Public Advocates and the ACLU of Southern California partnered to review charter schools throughout California.

On April 25, 2017 Public Advocates and the ACLU of Southern California issued a statement as follow-up to the response from schools to this report. For that statement and documents, click here.


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