After months of research and seven public hearings in as many cities, the 12-member NAACP task force, formed after the NAACP called for a moratorium on charter schools, has released a report with its findings. The task force articulates recommendations in their report “Quality Education For All,” but confirms the group’s charter moratorium.
Advocates across the Network and thought-leaders in the sector have responded swiftly. Shavar Jeffries, Democrats for Education Reform president, commended the NAACP for its longstanding commitment to expanding educational opportunity for students of color, but said, “We continue to be troubled and disappointed with the NAACP’s focus on attacking public charter schools.”
schools that in many cities represent the best educational hope for black families.
Greg Richmond, President and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, points to the significant learning gains made by charter students in a piece on HuffPost: “Black charter school students gain 36 days of learning in math and 26 in reading compared to their peers in traditional schools, according to the 2015 CREDO Urban Charter Schools Report.”
Derrell Bradford, executive vice president at 50CAN and executive director of NYCAN, penned an op-ed on The 74: “It strikes me as surreal that at its national convention in a place where the fight for black opportunity may burn hottest, the NAACP issued its latest set of cold edicts to kill America’s — and Baltimore’s — charter schools…”
You’d have to look the other way to miss the irony.
Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, released this statement emphasizing the power of choice: “Charter schools are fundamentally about empowering parents with options for their children….Restricting the autonomy of charter schools defeats the unique and necessary alternatives they offer.”
Charter school students are graduating from college at three to five times the national rate.
Thought leaders in the sector have been quick to weigh in with compelling data. A recent study published in the 74 by Richard Whitmire highlights the long-term effects of charter schools, looking at the markedly higher rate in which charter school students are graduating from college. Read more about his finding here.
The National Alliance of Public Charter Schools also responded to the NAACP report, pointing to a national survey that showed 82 percent of black parents favored allowing parents to choose their child’s public school: “In communities where public schools have underserved families for generations, the best charter schools are showing something better is possible. The NAACP has always pushed for better, and we invite the organization to lock arms with us as believers in public education.
Charter schools alone cannot right all wrongs in our nation’s education system, just as they should not be exclusively blamed for them.
To connect with advocates working on charter policy, please reach out. Please check back for additional responses from Network members and partners.