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On eve of vote, foes of NAACP charter school moratorium turn up the volume

By   /   October 14, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

photo by Heather Kays

MORATORIUM VOTE: Black education leaders and families are speaking out against the NAACP’s call for a moratorium on charter schools. Pictured are more than 25,000 people who attended a recent charter school rally in Brooklyn calling for additional charter school seats in New York City.

Parents, teachers, school reformers and some unexpected quarters of the media are pushing back hard against a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter schools that the NAACP is set to give final approval to Saturday.

According to the NAACP resolution, in targeting low-income and minority areas, pubic charter schools drain funding from traditional public schools and worsen segregation.

Thousands of African Americans beg to differ.

The Black Alliance for Educational Options and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools launched a campaign called ChartersWork, which began with 160 African-American education leaders signing a letter opposing the NAACP’s call for a moratorium.  A parent sign-on letter has grown from more than 1,000 signatures as of Oct. 6 to more than 2,700 as of Oct. 14.

Ron Rice, senior director of government affairs for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, told Watchdog.org that having a deep respect for work previously done by the NAACP doesn’t change the fact that a moratorium on charter schools would be counterproductive and unjust.

“The NAACP should honor the freedom of African-American parents to exercise choice over their children’s education, as it is the very same freedom that the NAACP fought so hard for in Brown v Board,” said Rice. “The over 700,000 African-American students who attend charter schools, and their families, understand the difference that school choice is making in their lives, so it makes sense that they’re speaking out in support of charter schools.”

The outpouring of support for charter schools has been widespread and has crossed typical ideological lines.

“We’re pleased that others, like the editorial boards of the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have heard them – as have influential African-American publications including the Atlanta Black Star, Compton Herald, Sacramento Observer, NBCBLK and WEAA Radio,” said Rice. “By sharing their personal experiences, African-American students and families are shining a light on the role of education in the African-American community – a conversation we need to be having at the national level.”

Derrell Bradford, executive director of NYCAN, told Watchdog.org that regardless of the outcome of the NAACP vote, support for charter schools in the black community would remain strong.

“African Americans are a people but black folks are individuals with our own minds and motivations,” said Bradford. “And right now a lot of black folks with kids in charter schools — black folks who run the schools, work in them and fight for them — don’t agree with the NAACP’s moratorium resolution. What they do agree on is freedom and choice are good things for their kids and communities and that’s why they’re choosing the schools. That’s the sort of thing that’s not going away no matter how misguided the vote or unfortunate the outcome may be.”

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