Community School of Davidson and Charlotte Lab School are two of the most sought after schools in Charlotte, NC. Both institutions have impeccable reputations, producing some of the most successful students in the state, but both schools also lag in socioeconomic and racial diversity. Next year, both schools are looking to change that issue, pledging to reserve more spots for low-income students. Some leaders disapprove of the new mandate, but the institutions are emphasizing that the purpose is to reach out to lower income students who otherwise would not have an opportunity to get into a similar school
“We are passionate about the notion socioeconomic integration in education.” said Joy Warner, founder of Community School of Davidson.
In 2004, Warner sought to focus on student diversity when creating her school, but the state struck down her plan almost immediately. Mary Moss Brown, founder of Charlotte Lab School, has a similar philosophy but suffered the same end results.
Brown aggressively advertised her school to the local community but after a series of charter school closing, those that specifically targeted low income students, many people grew leery of about the promises of new start up schools. After more unsuccessful attempts, Brown and Warner saw light at the end of the tunnel after hearing about Central Park School for Children in Durham. According to the Charlotte Observer, the Central Park School for Children is, “a charter school that piloted a lottery that gave perference to low-income studens. When the state allowed other charter schools to seek the same permission,” Brown and Warner joined immediately.
For now, both Brown and Warner have implemented the lottery for next year’s school application and Brown plans to reserve, “enough seats to 25 percent poverty next year, with the goal increasing year by year to 40 percent by 2023.”
This is a big step for both school however more must be accomplished and strategist in the future to implement a consistent flow of diversity at both schools.