Education

NAACP Set To Denounce Charter Schools, Although Blacks Love Them

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is poised to call for a national moratorium on charter school openings, even though charter schools are very popular with black parents.

Polls have repeatedly shown that, among blacks, support for charter schools is substantially higher than opposition. In heavily-black cities like Washington, D.C., many parents have voted with their feet, transferring their students into charter schools rather than keep them in standard public schools that are often viewed as failing. Nationwide, roughly a quarter of charter school students are black, even though black children are just 15 percent of public school enrollment overall.

But there has been a backlash against charter schools among progressives, who view them as an effort to undermine traditional public schools by depriving them of students and resources. Charters are particularly unpopular with teachers unions (many charter schools, though not all, lack unions or follow different contracts), who have pushed hard to realign the Democratic Party against charters. (RELATED: Unions Boos Hillary After Charter School Mention)

Now, the NAACP may be poised to join that backlash. During a Saturday meeting, the NAACP’s 63-member board of directors will be voting on a resolution that, if passed, would call for a nationwide moratorium on new charter schools. The vote is based on a resolution that was approved by NAACP members during a national meeting last summer.

It wouldn’t be the first time the NAACP has passed a resolution critical of charters (it did so all the way back in the 1990s, when the first charters were founded), but this resolution is more noteworthy because of the recent explosive growth charters have seen around the country, particularly in heavily-black urban areas. The vote could also influence the administration of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, should she triumph in November’s election. Clinton has historically been a supporter of charters, but on the campaign trail she has given hints that support may be wavering.

On Thursday, Clinton policy adviser Christopher Edley told Politico there “was much about the NAACP resolution with which she would agree.”

Meanwhile, supporters of school choice, including a great many Democrats, are making a major push pressuring the NAACP to vote down. In September, more than 160 black education leaders signed a public letter opposing the measure. Kevin Chavous, founder of Democrats for Education, claimed the rejection of charters would create a “new form of Jim Crow” in American education by trapping blacks in failing public schools.

“In calling for the moratorium, the NAACP has demonstrated that it does not share the viewpoint … of the more than 700,000 Black families who have voted with their feet to send their children to public charter schools,” said the Black Alliance for Educational Options in a joint statement with the National Alliance for Public Charter School, which was sent to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The vote has even drawn attention from the editorial boards at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other press outlets, which have almost unanimously defended charters.

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