Are California’s Charter Schools the New Separate-But-Equal “Schools of Excellence,” or Are They Worse Than Plessy?

  • Joseph O. Oluwole
  • Preston C. Green


The lack of quality education many charter schools offer disproportionately and adversely impacts communities of color. This article considered two models of charter school governance in use by California and Ohio. The first model posits that a fundamental tenet of charter schools is freedom from the burdensome bureaucracy traditional public schools bear. Based on the argument that deregulation enables charter schools to employ more innovative instructional and management practices, it assumes higher achievement scores would follow. The second model proposes to address educational inequality by increasing accountability on charter school authorizers by increasing regulatory practices. These models example the variety of governance models extant. In addition, arguments supporting each model are presented. The authors conclude with a discussion that supports the position that while autonomy is essential to maintaining the original objectives of charter schools, states must hold authorizers accountable for student achievement.
Conceptual Study