sincere letter shows that she is an advocate for diversity in schoolsand serving the needs of all students, whether they are rich or poor. We at Newark
Charter School couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, her facts are largely based on
misinformation and misperceptions. Thank you for the opportunity to provide clarity.
Mrs. Hoffman asserts that Newark Charter School’s 15% low income demographic (it is
%) is low compared to the area (undefined what she means by “the area”
).According to 2010 Census data, the State of Delaware is 11 % low income.While Newark Charter School is not located in the urban Wilmington community orother communities with higher rates of poverty, most
of Delaware’s charter schools are.
For example, Kuumba Academy, Edison Charter School, East Side Charter School,Delaware College Prep Academy, and Reach Academy, Academy of Dover, and FamilyFoundations were created, in part, to target the needs of low-income families. Othercharter schools are located in Middletown, Clayton, Georgetown, New Castle, andNewark and serve the needs of different populations.It is important to note that, just a few months ago, Newark Charter School made frontpage news when it offered to merge with a struggling Reach Academy
a school whosepopulation was almost entirely African American and predominantly low-income. Thatschool was on the brink of closure. At no gain to itself, Newark Charter School offeredto take every student at that school and provide them with a Blue Ribbon Schoolexperience through Newark Charter School. I mention this to demonstrate that Mrs.Hoffman and Newark Charter School appear to agree key ideas.District schools, too, serve different communities based on geography and communitydemographics. For example, in Red Clay District, Brandywine Springs, North Star andLinden Hill schools all have lower poverty rates than does Newark Charter School.Schools that transport students from urban areas tend to have a higher low-incomepopulation of students compared to schools that draw from the community in which theyare located. As a charter school, we cannot
“engineer” our student population in order to
make the demographics come out a certain way
. Delaware’s charter law, which predates
the existence of Newark Charter School by six years, encourages charter schools to give afive-mile radius preference to students. The intent is to enable parents to be involved in
their children’s education. This is consistent with Delaware’s Neighborhood
SchoolsAct, which requires the same of district schools.While families in Wilmington can apply to our school, it is true that the lottery and five-mile radius preference, coupled with the nearly 2,000 student waiting list, make theirchances of enrollment low. However, this same is true for students living in wealthierareas such as Greenville, Pike Creek Valley and Hockessin. Students in affluent areasoutside the Newark community have the same chances as do students in less affluentareas.