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May 14th, 2012
11:41 AM ET

Charter schools: Segregation or choice? CNN education contributor Steve Perry on why inner-city charter schools lack diversity

More than 2 million kids are enrolled in charter schools, 32% of which are African American - and of that 32%, more that half attend schools comprised mostly of minority students. This morning, CNN education contributor Steve Perry explains the lack of diversity, saying "We had to convince white people to come to a very good school in the hood."

Perry is the founder of charter school Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, CT. The demographic of his school has, in the past, been primarily black, poor students–until they were given a quota to provide some semblance of balance. Perry explained the reasoning for the so-called "segregation."

"The children who are typically choosing charter schools are the children who don't have the best education options in the nearby neighborhood, which in many cases are people of color and/or low-income students. They choose the schools they feel are going to give the best opportunity to fulfill what they believe is their true potential. So, many of those families choose charter schools and overwhelmingly they are people of color," he says.

But, he vehemently refutes the segregation claim, saying there is a fundamental difference between choice and segregation.

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