The NAACP National Board has scheduled an Oct. 15 vote on a proposed moratorium on charter schools, which are publicly funded, accessible and accountable schools that are privately run and have autonomy over staffing, spending and scheduling decisions.
In the weeks since the proposal was made, African-American community leaders and education advocates across the country have been expressing their support for charter schools.
“Millions of black students, teachers, principals, and advocates working in education prefer charter schools, but we are constantly marginalized out of view as if there is no good reason to exercise our choice on behalf of our children,” education blogger and activist Chris Stewart recently wrote on Huffington Post. “Recent actions by the NAACP and M4BL (Movement for Black Lives) only further push us to the fringes.”
“Particularly in underserved communities, charter schools are real difference-makers for kids,” Education Post Executive Director Peter Cunningham said. “They provide quality choices for families who need them.”
In addition, both the Black Alliance for Educational Options and the United Negro College Fund have strongly backed charter schools for their service to African-American families in need of better schools for their children and opposed the NAACP’s proposed moratorium.
A full rundown of voices speaking out against the NAACP proposal can be found here.
Recent research and polling clearly show that charter schools are both popular among African-American families and, in many cities, more effective than traditional public schools in providing a quality education.
Strong Academic Results
In a 2015 study from Stanford University’s respected Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), urban charter schools largely outperformed traditional public schools in both reading and math:
Across 41 regions, urban charter schools on average achieve significantly greater student success in both math and reading, which amounts to 40 additional days of learning growth in math and 28 days of additional growth in reading,” CREDO researchers concluded. “Compared to the national profile of charter school performance, urban charters produce more positive results.
Popularity among African-American Families
In the results of Education Next’s annual poll released last month, nearly twice as many African-American respondents (45 percent) supported the formation of charter schools as opposed them (23 percent).
Nationally and across all demographics, there are more than a million students on charter school waiting lists, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.