The NAACP wants to slow the expansion of charter schools until they can figure out what’s going on.
Last weekend, in Cincinnati, members of the NAACP’s board of directors ratified a resolution adopted by delegates at its 107th National Convention. The resolution calls for a moratorium on charter school expansion and the strengthening of government oversight.
“The NAACP has been in the forefront of the struggle for and a staunch advocate of free, high-quality, fully and equitably funded public education for all children,” said Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the National NAACP board of directors, in a statement. “We are dedicated to eliminating the severe racial inequities that continue to plague the education system.”
The NAACP wants a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools until several issues are addressed: the lack of accountability and transparency standards in charter schools, diversion of public funds to charter schools at the expense of public schools, expulsion of lower performing students from charter schools perpetuating “de facto segregation” of the highest performing children from those whose “aspiration may be high, but talents are not yet as obvious.”
Ratifying this resolution reaffirms a prior resolution adopted in 2014 titled, “School Privatization Threat to Public Education.” In that resolution, the NAACP outlined its opposition to school privatization and the public subsidizing of for-profit or charter schools.
The resolution drew support from United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, who praised the NAACP in “A Message to the NAACP Board of Directors.”
“In New York City, charter schools have created a system of ‘haves and have nots’ and do not accept or keep comparable numbers of high-needs students as traditional public schools—whether special education students, homeless children or English language learners,” stated Mulgrew.
Nor are charters always successful even with the children they do accept. According to the latest available data, although New York City charters educate 7 percent of the students, they account for 42 percent of the city’s suspensions, effectively forcing out students who do not fit in. In one of the largest charter chains, Success Academy, a principal created a “Got To Go” list as a way to push out “difficult” students.
“At the same time, as charters are permitted free space in public schools, public school students in those buildings often lose access to important facilities like gyms and art rooms, and see themselves relegated to second-class status as charters use private funds to modernize the classrooms and facilities that only their students use,” Mulgrew said.
Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP, said that the organization isn’t anti-charter school, but pro-public school.
“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,” said Brooks 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.”