NAACP: Halt Charter Schools
Our nations historic civil rights organization does what is right, not what is popular
Charter schools have been infecting inner cities for the last few decades. Big business, under the guise of school reform, invades poor neighborhoods, set up non-union charter schools and pulls money away from the usually already underfunded public schools. Now the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has had enough. In a statement this weekend, they called for an immediate moratorium on expanding new charter schools nationwide. This is big news.
Across the country, there are 7,000 charter schools that have opened since 1991, when Minnesota opened the first school. These schools are publicly funded, but are run like a private school. 90% are non-union. Many take a very aggressive approach to preventing unions from coming into the school and blame teachers’ unions for all problems within schools. These charter schools also pull very important resources from the public schools, and oftentimes are set up in communities that are majority minority that face increased poverty levels. Unlike true public schools, they do not need to admit everyone. Instead they hold a lottery to only admit certain students. They also have the ability to get rid of students that they feel do not meet their criteria. Like a business, they are worried about their bottom line. For charter schools the bottom line is not only profit but test scores. They teach to the test. After drilling their students in knowledge for the test, any student that they believe won’t do well on the test is counseled out of the school. This leaves the charter with their version of the cream of the crop, while the public district school is now even more underfunded and is left with only the students who need the most help.
The NAACP sees the privatization of public education as one of the biggest threats to equality in this country. For decades the NAACP has fought for inclusionary public education that leaves no child behind. The organization sees charter schools as raiding the funding from public schools to help the few while many continue to suffer. While the NAACP did not call for an outright ban on charter schools, they did call for the expansion of charter schools to stop until some conditions can be met. These conditions are:
- Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools
- Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system
- Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate and
- Cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.
As the NAACP has always done, they are willing to take a position that is not always popular but is right for the students and the educators. While major corporate media giants like the private education funded Washington Post have attacked the decision, the country’s largest civil rights organization has once again stood up to big money, corporate interests because it is what is best for their community, our children and this nation. Nice work NAACP!