Monday, October 17, 2016

NAACP takes a stand against charter school growth

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 6:52 AM

The NAACP board of directors last weekend confirmed a resolution that urges an end to expansion of charter schools.

This adds an important voice to a debate dominated by billionaires, such as the Walton family, who are backing the movement in capitols and in other ways. The charter schools are often pitched as solutions for minority students but, as the NAACP notes, they have also served to segregate racially, economically and by ability.

“The NAACP’s resolution is not inspired by ideological opposition to charter schools but by our historical support of public schools ― as well as today’s data and the present experience of NAACP branches in nearly every school district in the nation,” Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP, said in a statement. “Our NAACP members, who as citizen advocates, not professional lobbyists, are those who attend school board meetings, engage with state legislatures and support both parents and teachers.”

In its entirety, the resolution calls for a freeze on the expansion of these schools until charter schools are subject to the same accountability as traditional public schools and develop a funding system that does not hurt other schools. It also calls for charter schools to end harsh discipline practices that push out students and segregate high-performing children “from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.”

The resolution suggests that instead of giving students access to charter schools through school choice, policymakers should focus on enhancing the quality of traditional public schools, despite their many shortcomings. Indeed, it is the nation’s black and brown children that often bear the brunt of underperforming schools ― whether they be charter or public. 
Fix existing schools rather than create parallel school systems next door with less accountability. Makes sense to me.

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