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Chartering Equity: Using Charter School Legislation and Policy to Advance Equal Educational Opportunity

Guided by the assumptions that charter schools will be part of our public educational system for the foreseeable future; that charter schools are neither inherently good, nor inherently bad; and that charter schools should be employed to further goals of equal educational opportunity, including racial diversity and school success, this policy brief addresses the challenge of using charter school policy to enhance equal opportunity.  Part I of the brief provides an overview of equal educational opportunity and its legal foundations and offers a review of prior research documenting issues concerning charter schools and their impact on equity and diversity. Part II presents detailed recommendations for charter school authorizers, as well as state and federal policymakers, for using charter schools to advance equal educational opportunity. The accompanying legal brief offers model language designed to augment existing charter school laws by adding language particularly aimed at ensuring that charter schools serve as a vehicle of reform consistent with the value of equal educational opportunity.