Connecticut NAACP keeping education a top priority, including charter school concerns
NEW HAVEN >> Racial disparities in employment, housing, health, law enforcement, and a new president, are all issues the NAACP continued to discuss throughout 2016. But starting a nationwide discussion on education, more specifically charter schools, was a top priority at the Connecticut NAACP’s annual state convention Saturday.
“The charter schools are in our communities, in no other place. They’re in the poor, minority districts. So we need to figure this thing out,” NAACP State Chairman Scot X. Esdaile told members attending the convention Saturday morning.
On Oct. 15, the NAACP national board called for a moratorium on charter school expansion and for the strengthening of oversight in governance and practice.
The board said it wanted charter schools to be subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools, that public funds not be given to charter schools at the expense of the public school system, that charter schools stop expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate, and that charter schools stop “to perpetuate de facto segregation” of high performing children from children whose “aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.”
“We are moving forward to require that charter schools receive the same level of oversight, civil rights protections and provide the same level of transparency, and we require the same of traditional public schools,” Chairman Roslyn M. Brock said at the time in a statement. “Our decision today is driven by a long held principle and policy of the NAACP that high quality, free, public education should be afforded to all children.”
After the announcement, seven national special hearings on charter schools were set to take place in Los Angeles, Detroit, Memphis, New Orleans, Orlando, and the first was on Saturday at the Omni New Haven Hotel.
“We need to have our young people a the forefront, have that discussion to try to make the changes that are necessary,” Esdaile said.
On Saturday, a diverse group of panelists, from both sides of the charter school argument, made presentations to local, state, and national leaders, including members of the NAACP national board, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
“We want to hear from people,” Esdaile said.
“We hear what (charter school advocates) want, we hear what (charter school opponents), but what do we want?” Esdaile asked members. “That’s what we need to determine after hearing what everyone has to say.”
Doris J. Dumas, president of the NAACP Greater New Haven branch said while there are many issues communities of color face today, education is among the most important.
“It all starts with education. If we want to make our communities better, we need to start there,” Dumas Connecticut NAACP keeping education a top priority, including charter school concerns: