Friday, September 30, 2016

Questions Of Race And Charter Schools Divide Education Reformers : NPR Ed : NPR

Questions Of Race And Charter Schools Divide Education Reformers : NPR Ed : NPR:

Questions Of Race And Charter Schools Divide Education Reformers





Questions of Race And Charter Schools Divide Education Reformers.
LA Johnson and Chelsea Beck/NPR
What does it mean to declare that #blacklivesmatter in education?
Last month the Movement for Black Lives, representing elements of the Black Lives Matter movement and related groups, issued a detailed policy platform denouncing what it called "corporate-backed," "market driven" "privatization" in school reform, and helped set off a furor over this question.
Under the section labeled "community control," M4BL called for an end to state and mayoral takeovers of school systems in favor of local, democratically elected boards, more equitable school funding and a de-emphasis on standardized testing. The group also demanded a moratorium on new charter schools, on school closures and on out-of-school suspensions, which they link to the school-to-prison pipeline.
The NAACP also backed a moratorium on charter school expansion in a preliminary resolution over the summer. It cited "weak oversight" of privately managed charters, instances of mismanagement of public funds, "exclusionary discipline," and "increased segregation" as a result of the expansion of charter schools.
Then, this month, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, a pro-charter group, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools launched a campaign called ChartersWork to push back against the moratorium.
Some education leaders are rushing to embrace the newly frank conversation about the racial impact of education reforms. Others are caught awkwardly in the middle. And, some, especially conservative, reformers feel alienated.
"We're watching the old NCLB/Race to the Top coalition come apart, and we'll see what will come out the other side," says Rick Hess, director of the education policy center at the American Enterprise Institute.
NPR Ed reached out to men and women from across the country, engaged on all sides of this debate, for their thoughts via email and phone.

The Organizers

Hiram Rivera is a co-author of the Black Lives Matter platform. As the executive director of the Philadelphia Student Union, he's spent decades as an advocate for local voices in public schools.
Hiram Rivera is a co-author of the Movement for Black Lives platform and executive director of the Philadelphia Student Union.
Chelsea Beck/NPR
"I think the charter moratorium is the part that has angered the reformer movement the most, but it's a very small piece of the overall transformation of the public school system.
"The moratorium calls for a halt in expansion, not closure, until assessment can be done of the entire school system.
"Transformation starts by looking at the root causes of the problems we have today ... the criminalization of black youth. The use of standardized testing to justify the closure of schools. The gutting of funding."
Jonathan Stith is a co-author of the platform and national coordinator of the Alliance for Educational Justice, a coalition of grassroots student groups.
Jonathan Stith is a co-author of the Movement for Black Lives platform and national coordinator of the Alliance for Educational Justice.
Chelsea Beck/NPR
"We're not the first to call for a moratorium [on charter schools and school closures]. It's been interesting to see who cheers for what. The teachers' unions applaud the privatization piece, but are silent on our call to get police out of schools.
"We see a really big hemorrhage in education affecting hundreds of thousands of black young people in this country.
"A lot of charters are just shiny versions of the school-to-prison pipeline. There are reports of fraud.
"I have yet to see a black community that has voted directly for charter schools. They always are imposed. Districts are being taken over by governors or mayors and given very little voice. And so there's this false language around choice.
"At the same time, we're not with the status quo. We're clear that 50 years after Brown vs. Board of Education, public schools have never served black children."

The Charter Backers

Jacqueline Cooper is the president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, which promotes school choice.
Jacqueline Cooper is president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options.
LA Johnson/NPR
"The NAACP moratorium is inexplicable to me. Over 700,000 black students are enrolled in public charter schools. Studies show that charters are working for low-income black students.
"Who is anyone else to tell a parent where their child Questions Of Race And Charter Schools Divide Education Reformers : NPR Ed : NPR:

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