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On October 15, 2016, Members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Board of Directors ratified a resolution Saturday adopted by delegates at its 2016 107th National Convention calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion and for the strengthening of oversight in governance and practice.
To follow is the resolution:
“The NAACP has been in the forefront of the struggle for and a staunch advocate of free, high-quality, fully and equitably-funded public education for all children,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the National NAACP Board of Directors. “We are dedicated to eliminating the severe racial inequities that continue to plague the education system.”
The National Board’s decision to ratify this resolution reaffirms prior resolutions regarding charter schools and the importance of public education, and is one of 47 resolutions adopted today by the Board of Directors. The National Board’s decision to ratify supports its 2014 Resolution, ‘School Privatization Threat to Public Education’, in which the NAACP opposes privatization of public schools and public subsidizing or funding of for-profit or charter schools. Additionally, in 1998 the Association adopted a resolution which unequivocally opposed the establishment and granting of charter schools which are not subject to the same accountability and standardization of qualifications/certification of teachers as public schools and divert already-limited funds from public schools.
We are calling for a moratorium on the expansion of the charter schools at least until such time as:
(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 and
(4) 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.
Historically the NAACP has been in strong support of public education and has denounced movements toward privatization that divert public funds to support non-public school choices.
“We are moving forward to require that charter schools receive the same level of oversight, civil rights protections and provide the same level of transparency, and we require the same of traditional public schools,” Chairman Brock said. “Our decision today is driven by a long held principle and policy of the NAACP that high quality, free, public education should be afforded to all children.”
While we have reservations about charter schools, we recognize that many children attend traditional public schools that are inadequately and inequitably equipped to prepare them for the innovative and competitive environment they will face as adults. Underfunded and under-supported, these traditional public schools have much work to do to transform curriculum, prepare teachers, and give students the resources they need to have thriving careers in a technologically advanced society that is changing every year. There is no time to wait. Our children immediately deserve the best education we can provide.
“Our ultimate goal is that all children receive a quality public education that prepares them to be a contributing and productive citizen,” said Adora Obi Nweze, Chair of the National NAACP Education Committee, President of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP and a former educator whose committee guides educational policy for the Association.
“The NAACP’s resolution is not inspired by ideological opposition to charter schools but by our historical support of public schools – as well as today’s data and the present experience of NAACP branches in nearly every school district in the nation,” said Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the NAACP. “Our NAACP members, who as citizen advocates, not professional lobbyists, are those who attend school board meetings, engage with state legislatures and support both parents and teachers.”
“The vote taken by the NAACP is a declaratory statement by this Association that the proliferation of charter schools should be halted as we address the concerns raised in our resolution,” said Chairman Brock.
“NAACP RESOLUTION CALLING FOR A MORATORIUM ON CHARTER SCHOOL EXPANSION AND STRENGTHENING OF OVERSIGHT OF GOVERNANCE AND PRACTICE
WHEREAS, charter schools have been a rapidly growing sector of the education system, increasingly targeting low-income areas and communities of color; and
WHEREAS, charter schools with privately appointed boards do not represent the public yet make decisions about how public funds are spent; and WHEREAS, charter schools have contributed to the increased segregation rather than diverse integration of our public school system; and
WHEREAS, research and reports have documented disproportionately high use of punitive and exclusionary discipline in addition to differential
enrollment practices that violate protections of student rights for public schooling; and
WHEREAS, research and civil rights organizations have documented violations of parent and children’s rights, conflicts of interest, fiscal mismanagement, and psychologically harmful environments within several rapidly proliferating charter management organizations; and
WHEREAS, analyses on annual missing charter funds have been estimated at nearly half a billion dollars nationally; and
WHEREAS, researchers have warned that charter school expansions in low-income communities mirror predatory lending practices that led to the sub-prime mortgage disaster, putting schools and communities impacted by these practices at great risk of loss and harm; and
WHEREAS, current policies force district campuses to accommodate co-locations of charter schools, resulting in shortages of resources and space and increasing tension and conflict within school communities; and
WHEREAS, weak oversight of charter schools puts students and communities at risk of harm, public funds at risk of being wasted, and further erodes local control of public education; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP shares the concerns of the Journey for Justice Alliance, and alliance of 38 organizations of Black and Brown parents and students in 23 states, which has joined with 175 other national local grassroots community, youth, and civil rights organizations calling for a moratorium on the Federal Charter schools program, which has pumped over $3 billion into new charter schools, many of which have already closed or have failed the students drawn to them by the illusive promise of quality.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms its 2014 resolution, “School Privatization Threat to Public Education,” in which the NAACP opposes the privatization of public schools and/or public subsidizing or funding of for-profit or charter schools; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP will continue to advocate against any state or Federal legislation which commits or diverts public funding, allows tax breaks, or establishes preferential advantages to for-profit, private, and/or charter schools; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP calls for full funding and support of high quality free public education for all children; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP calls upon units to seek to pass legislation at the State and Local levels that will ensure that parents have access to Charter School Advocacy Boards and that Charter Schools be required to provide schooling for students that are dismissed from school for disciplinary reasons; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP will seek legislation to strengthen investigative powers of those bodies that oversee charter school fraud, corruption, waste, etc.; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, as a tool to help address exclusionary student disciplinary policies and practices of publicly funded charter schools, NAACP units should: a) review the US Department of Justice-US Department of Education joint guidelines on school climate and school discipline http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-departments-education-and-justice-release-school-discipline-guidance-package b) encourage charter school administrators to apply that guidance to its student disciplinary practice; and c) work with parents of charter school students in appropriate cases to file complaints with the Office of Civil Rights, US Department of Education, to challenge unwarranted exclusionary practices (e.g., suspensions and expulsions); and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP hereby supports a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP opposes bills that would weaken the investigative powers of any legislative body from uncovering charter school fraud, corruption, and/or waste; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP supports legislation AND EXECUTIVE ACTIONS that would strengthen local governance and transparency of charter schools, and, in so doing, affirms to protect students and families from exploitative governance practices.”