The great charter school debate: Black leaders disagree on whether they're helping or hurting our students.

AuthorGoode, Robin White
PositionBE SMART

LAST OCTOBER, NATIONAL LEADERS OF THE NAACP ratified a resolution that called for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools. Other black organizations, including the Black Lives Matter movement, have joined in calling for a ban on charter schools until the following goals have been met:

  1. Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools.

  2. Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system.

  3. Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate.

  4. [Charter schools] 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.

However, the NAACP has been met with resistance from black leaders, including Michael Lomax, president of UNCF; Shavar Jeffries, president of Democrats for Education Reform; and Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children's Zone; who joined 157 other African American signers of an open letter opposing the moratorium.

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes, or CREDO, has studied the charter school landscape--but its results are a mixed bag. In its 2009 study, CREDO concluded that some charter schools were strong performers that helped low-income students of color achieve significantly better than their peers in traditional public schools. However, only 17% of charters fit that category...

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