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As D.C. Gentrifies, Some Charter Schools Aim to Reach Broader Spectrum

Three decades after cities across the country dismantled mandatory busing programs designed to desegregate public schools, Washington Latin Public Charter School dispatches buses around the city to neighborhoods with public housing and others with million-dollar homes. By 8 a.m., the students, dressed in polos and khakis, converge in a refurbished brick school, where the sign in the hallway offers a Latin welcome: “Salvete.”

Charter schools, which enroll students through a citywide lottery, have the potential to create schools that are far more diverse than traditional neighborhood schools, which, by virtue of their attendance boundaries, sort families by race and class.

But despite the promise of becoming social mixing grounds, the District’s charter schools are slightly more racially segregated than the city’s traditional public schools.