CINNCINATTI, Ohio – The NAACP has officially lined up against black parents who want the best educational options available for their children.
Instead, the NAACP chose to align itself with the nation’s largest teachers unions and block competition with traditional unionized public schools when its executive board voted to back a moratorium on charter schools at a meeting in Cincinnati on Saturday.
The vote came despite hundreds of protestors, mainly black families who have turned to charter schools when their neighborhood schools failed them, descending on the meeting at the Westin Hotel Downtown to air their grievances.
“We have charter schools that are good,” Memphis grandmother Sarah Carpenter told the Cincinnati Enquirer during a protest at Fountain Square. “We are not against public schools. We want good schools of any type. Where was the NAACP when so many public schools were failing our children?”
The school choice movement is catching fire with black and minority families across the country who have struggled for decades with failing and dangerous urban public schools, and many charter schools are making significant progress in closing the achievement gap between minority and white students.
A recent report issued by Families for Excellent Schools shows pass rates for reading in the city’s charter schools increased from 29.3 percent in 2014-15 to 43 percent in 2015-16, while math proficiency increased from 44.2 percent to 48.7 percent over the same time frame, the New York Daily News reports.
And charter schools are slowly edging out public schools in the top 50 highest achieving schools in the city, going from six schools on the list in 2013 to 19 in 2016, according to the news site.
Those schools are comprised of 87 percent minority students, and 61 percent low income students, and demand for spots is very high.
“(U)nlike the rest of the school system, public charter schools are helping to shrink the achievement gap for black and Hispanic students — who scored 73 percent higher than their peers in district schools,” the New York Post reports.
A Quinnipiac University poll released in late July showed two out of three New Yorkers surveyed want more charter schools. It’ a similar situation in places like Memphis and several Ohio cities, according to protestors who made the trek to Cincinnati Saturday.
“We don’t want the NAACP to paint us with broad brush strokes,” said RaShaun Holliman, president and chief executive of the advocacy group Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools in Columbus, who joined Memphis demonstrators on Fountain Square. “We want to correct some of the ills done in our past. We had some bad actors. That drowns out all of the good that has been and is being done.”
Ironically, the U.S. Department of Education in September announced a $71 million grant to help Ohio expand on its 407 charter schools serving 120,000 students, 57 percent of whom are black. Nationwide, there are roughly 6,800 charter schools in 43 states serving 3 million students, according to the Enquirer.
But what the government, parents, teachers and students can’t provide for the NAACP is cold hard cash, which some believe is the main reason why the organization is siding with self-interested teachers unions instead of the black families it’s designed to protect, EAGnews reports.
The NAACP received a $100,000 “national partnership grant” from the National Education Association – the nation’s largest teachers union- in December 2014, the union’s tax documents show.
The payout is one of many over the years.
The NAACP approved an anti-charter school resolution in 2014, and reaffirmed its stance against the promising educational option with the board’s vote to approve a fresh 2016 resolution on Saturday.
“The resolution calls for the suspension on the expansion of charter schools,” NAACP President Cornell Williams Brooks announced Saturday.
“It does not call for the doomsday destruction of all charter schools in existence now,” Brooks said. “What it does call for is let us have a season of reason, a pause in the expansion while we figure this out.”