NAACP members call for ban on privately managed charter schools
Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) listens to Hillary Clinton at the NAACP annual convention in Cincinnati on July 18. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
The NAACP has long expressed concern about charter schools, but now its members are taking a tougher stance. At their recent annual national convention late last month, members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People approved a resolution that included language calling for a moratorium on the expansion of privately managed charters.
For years, resolutions at annual national conventions of the historic organization have raised issues about charters, but the 2016 resolution uses stark language. The new resolution (see text below) notes that “charter schools with privately appointed boards do not represent the public but make decisions about how public funds are spent,” and it cites a number of problems with some charters, including punitive disciplinary policies, fiscal mismanagement and conflicts of interest.
The resolution won’t be official NAACP policy until the organization’s national board meets soon and decides whether to approve it — but the message from the majority of its members are clear. It says in part:
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* “Charter schools have contributed to the increased segregation rather than diverse integration of our public school system.”
* “Weak oversight of charter schools puts students and communities at risk of harm, public funds at risk of being wasted, and further erodes local control of public education.”
* ” [R]esearchers have warned that charter school expansions in low-income communities mirror predatory lending practices that led to the sub-prime mortgage disaster, putting schools and communities impacted by these practices at great risk of loss and harm…”
Charter advocates criticized the NAACP vote, with charter school founder and operator Steve Perry telling NewsOne Now that the NAACP convention is out of touch with its members in the states. Education Secretary John King told participants at the annual National Association of Black Journalists–National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in Washington that there shouldn’t be “artificial barriers” to the growth of quality charters, which he called “drivers of opportunity for kids,” according to TakePart.com.