January 2, 2013: In this morning's Washington Post's education blog, "The Answer Sheet," Valerie Strauss reposted an article by Julian Vasquez Heilig, at left, an associate professor of eduational policy and planning at the University of Texas at Austin.
Heilig states that at a recent University Council for Educational Administration convention in Denver, he was "blown away by how judges are treating charter schools as private schools and the implication that these [decisions] have for students who attend these schools."
... Students attending public schools are guaranteed constitutional protections. There are constitutional safeguards for student expression. Public school students are protected from unreasonable search and seizure. The Constitution also requires public schools to provide procedural due process safeguards when suspending or expelling students. Of the seven states in the Ninth Circuit with legislation authorizing charter schools, only Oregon guarantees that all federal rights apply to charter schools. With the exception of Oregon, state legislatures do not compel charter schools to follow constitutional guidelines with respect to due process. California and Idaho merely require potential charter school operators to disclose their disciplinary policies in their initial charter application. Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, and Nevada do not even demand that charter schools disclose their disciplinary policies at the time of application.
Heilig's focus is that students of color attending charter schools "should be concerned about the potential lack of constitutional due process protection," specifically, since recent studies from the U.S. Dept. of Education's Office for Civil Rights found that African-American students were more likely to be subjected to disciplinary actions than white students.