The NAACP has outlined its position on further expansion of the charter school movement and has called for a moratorium on it. At its 107th National Convention on Saturday, the organization ratified a resolution calling for support of public education, which falls in line with its previous viewpoints.
“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,” Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the National NAACP Board of Directors, said in a statement. “We are dedicated to eliminating the severe racial inequities that continue to plague the education system.”
The organization says charter schools are not subject to the same level of standards as traditional public schools and that privatization of the educational system leads to underfunding public schools. It has historically been a supporter of public education said it adopted a resolution in 1998 opposing “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.”
But school choice advocates are criticizing the NAACP for its position saying the organization is “on the wrong side of history.”
“Why isn’t the NAACP concerned that only 7 percent of Black students who graduate from traditional public high schools are college and
career-ready?” asked Rev. Ronald Slaughter, a board member of Merion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, N.J. in a communique to EBONY.com. “The majority of those who decide to go to college will have to take remedial courses during their freshman year in order to
‘be ready’ for college by their sophomore year.”
Slaughter, who is also pastor of Newark’s St. James AME Church, says that charters are, in fact, held to an accountability standard because of the difficulty in keeping them open in his state. “If public schools had to submit to the same process to remain open, there are many in our communities that wouldn’t make the cut.”
In its statement, the NAACP recognized the past inadequacies seen in public school systems and that they are not ideologically opposed to charters, but current data and the experiences of their branches with traditional schools.
“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,” said president Cornell Brooks.