This paper analyzes the way variations in charter-enabling legislation may exacerbate segregation and how federal and state reforms could better utilize the charter system to further integration. Part I discusses the history of school choice and the social science underlying its potential as a vehicle for integration as well as further segregation. Part II reviews research on charter school demographics and the effectiveness of relevant civil rights statutes. Part III analyzes themes in local charter legislation that can influence charter school segregation by limiting accessibility for low income families and students with disabilities. Finally, Part IV offers recommendations for policy changes at the federal and local levels. While legislation and litigation can still influence diversity and protect civil rights in education, this paper explains why we should be wary of the risk that may come with expanding private management of an essential public good.

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