Whiteness and economic advantage in digital schooling: Diversity patterns and equity considerations for K-12 online charter schools

Bryan Mann

Abstract


Scholars and policymakers have yet to hold a robust conversation about diversity in K-12 online schools. This study builds on research that suggests online charter schools enroll higher percentages of White and economically advantaged students compared to national K-12 school enrollment averages. While these findings remain consistent, the study presented here employs techniques used in school segregation and diversity research to develop a more nuanced understanding of online charter school enrollment patterns. While more White and wealthy students attend online charter schools compared to other types of schools nationally, there are differences across states. Understanding the nature of these differences helps consider possibilities for moving online charter school enrollments toward increased diversity. While diversity in traditional schools has benefits, this article concludes with cautions about how to achieve equity through diversity in online spaces and if these goals are attainable. If online charter schools achieve racial and economic diversity, their leaders need to apply critical lenses in developing online programming to ensure diverse enrollments lead to equity.

 


Keywords


K-12 online learning; diversity; segregation; charter schools

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.27.4532

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