As advocates for public school choice, we disagree strongly with the NAACP’s call for a moratorium on charter schools and have published numerous opinion pieces about the issue. Most recently, our colleague at Education Post, Chris Stewart, wrote a blog arguing that the NAACP’s four conditions for lifting the moratorium do not pass the reasonable test.
In response, the NAACP suggested we link to two articles making their case. The first is an oped in Ebony and the second is an announcement from the organization describing plans to hold hearings on the issue. In the interest of promoting dialogue, we present them both.
The op-ed says:
Let us be clear, there is a role for high performing charter schools. However, we cannot continue to ignore the proliferation of low-performing charter schools that lack accountability. According to the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, while 27 percent of charter schools outperform traditional public schools in math and reading, 25 percent of charters performed worse. Charter schools are doing no better than traditional public schools at meeting the expectations that we parents hold for our children’s education.
We are sensitive to the needs of African-American parents across our country whose public school systems have failed their children. Parents should not have to wait for the public school system to get this right. However, many parents have also been lured by the false promises of charter school systems that actually underperform public schools. As The New York Times reported earlier this year, in Detroit the results have been disastrous to both traditional and charter schools. And, there are similar races to the bottom in communities all across the country.
The announcement on the hearings says:
‘This will be the first of several hearings around the nation taking a deep look at the issues facing public schools, as well as the pros and cons of charter schools,’ said Alice Huffman, chairman of the task force and president of the California NAACP State Conference. ‘By bringing people from our community together from both sides, we can bridge the gap in the issue of accountability between public schools and charters.’
The task force was created in October after board members approved a moratorium on expanding public charter school funding until safeguards are in place to provide better transparency regarding accountability, and to prevent cases of fraud and mismanagement.