Jennifer Berkshire – How Parents May Be Signing Their Children’s Rights Away by Enrolling Them in Charter Schools

Here’s a question for you: If you dramatically scale up schools in which students have fewer rights than students who attend traditional public schools, with what do you end up? If you answered “more students with fewer rights,” congratulations — you have won the opportunity to learn more on this important, yet little discussed topic.

Dr. Preston Green [3] is a professor of law and educational leadership who has been monitoring a series of court rulings regarding the rights of students in charter schools. Or make that the lack of rights. Dr. Green warns that both state and federal courts have issued rulings stating that students in charters do not have the same due process rights as public-school students. So what does this mean for cities like Los Angeles where a dramatic expansion of charter schools is on the table? “Half of the publicly-funded schools in Los Angeles might be legally permitted to ‘dismiss’ students without due process.” says Dr. Green. “We have to ask ourselves if such a scenario is acceptable.”

I asked Dr. Green to explain some recent court rulings on student rights, and how they relate to the larger debate over whether charter schools are public or private entities. His thoughts on these matters follow.

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