Minority parents in New York have a message for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT): you are hurting our children.
In New York Monday, charter school parents staged another of several rallies to voice opposition to a lawsuit brought by the UFT and NAACP against the New York City Department of Education. If the organizations are successful with their suit, it would prevent enrollment or re-enrollment in 17 charter schools and stop the closure of 22 public schools.
The UFT and NAACP’s decision to sue has roiled inner city parents who depend on charter schools to ensure their children get a good education.
On Monday a slew of parents appeared before UFT headquarters to protest. Nearly a month earlier the NAACP felt their wrath when another estimated 3,000 people showed up at State Administrative Building in Harlem, carrying signs reading “NAACP don’t divide unite,” to protest the NAACP’s involvement.
“I am the product of the public school system that allows 70 percent or more of its black men to not graduate from high school,” said Candido Brown, a charter school teacher at May’s rally. “I could barely believe my ears when I found out that the NAACP was trying to shut down some of the most successful schools serving black and brown children in our city. NAACP, do not take away this awesome education from our children.”
At the UFT, parents could barely keep their voices steady. (NY gay marriage vote not a surprise to those on the inside)
“You have money for lawyers you have money for hats, you can’t buy my daughter’s education. I’m just keeping it real,” shouted one unidentified charter school mother. “I support unions, but I cannot support you condemning my little girl to failure tomorrow.”
Akeisha Adams, a parent at Explore Charter School, spoke to a crowd of about 400 in front of the UFT. Her brief speech resulted in mass chants of “drop the lawsuit.”
“[My children] want to get an education, an adequate education,” Adams said. “They don’t want to be afraid when they walk through the halls. They don’t want to succumb to all types of violence. They want an education and if you’re concerned about that then you’ll drop the lawsuit.”
A parent from Achievement First charter school spoke before the crowd to highlight how the lawsuit plaintiffs benefit while the children suffer. (Guiliani doesn’t make good on vow to marry gay couple)
“The old ways of the way this runs, the UFT has always benefited, right? Our children have not been learning for decades,” she said. “The UFT’s power just keeps growing and growing and growing, right? Now, that is what the teachers’ union is used to. They’re used to children and parents making sacrifices so the teacher’s union can keep its strong hold on public education. Guess what? We are here to tell them today, ‘no more!’
While charter school supporters want more options and better schools, the NAACP and UFT argue that they take resources from the regular public schools.