Segregated by choice, state's charter schools face a test
The cafeteria at Noble Academy charter school in Brooklyn Park is adorned with Laotian-style ornamentation, a nod to its mostly Hmong student body. Employees at St. Paul’s Higher Ground Academy can converse in the first languages of its predominantly East African population. Nearly all the students at Friendship Academy of the Arts in Minneapolis are black.
To compete for students, Minnesota’s charter schools mold themselves with distinct identities that often appeal to individual racial or ethnic groups. That approach has helped create schools so racially homogeneous that more than three-quarters of elementary students at Twin Cities charters attend schools with 80 percent or higher white or nonwhite enrollment.