Is the Charter Schools Program financing white-flight academies?
By Carol Burris
North Carolina’s private Hobgood Academy opened its doors in September of 1970. For decades, the overwhelmingly White private school, located near a public school whose students are overwhelmingly Black (90 percent), served as a haven for White families willing to pay tuition rather than send their children to an integrated public school.
However, the privilege of segregation came with a cost — $5,000 a year in tuition that parents decided taxpayers should assume. As North Carolina teacher Justin Parmenter explains here, the academy’s parents created a Google site called “Let’s Charter Hobgood” to band together and convert the private academy to a charter school. In what looks like an attempt to allay any fears that the charter might be forced to integrate, the following was posted: “No current law forces any diversity whether it be by age, sex, race, creed.” After three attempts, parents pulled it off, and Hobgood Academy became a charter school.