The tendency of charter schools to increase school segregation has been well established, but less is known about what school administrators perceive as the mechanisms causing segregation among charters and traditional public schools. Using the results of exploratory surveys of North Carolina charter school directors and district superintendents, this study finds that administrators in both sectors feel very little power over the racial and socioeconomic diversity of their schools for reasons largely inherent in the school choice model. In the case of charter school directors, applicant pools limit their efforts to balance their student populations. School districts are limited by families’ opportunities to exit provided by charters. These results suggest that lottery-based school choice policies will only increase segregation for two reasons: (1) few mechanisms governing charter school enrollments ensure diversity and (2) the charter school option weakens public support for district-based desegregation efforts.
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