Charters Weakening (and hence, the double-down)

From the Cloaking Inequity blog (it references a convention in late July):
Last week at the NAACP National Convention in Cincinnati, the delegates voted in a new resolution on charter schools. Its approval as policy will not be official until the National Board meeting in the Fall of 2016.

The 2016 NAACP delegates at the national convention called for a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charters.

So for those of you who emailed me yesterday saying that NAACP chapters in various places have gone rogue supporting charters— know that the force of the national organization is NOT on their side.
In sum, I believe the NAACP, the nation’s vanguard of civil rights, has AGAIN demonstrated and articulated critical leadership sorely lacking from many other civil rights organizations on the issue of school choice.
Among other things, the resolution says that charters are targeting communities of color, increasing segregation, do not have public representation, use more punitive methods of discipline than regular public schools,  and that there have been numerous financial issues in many states.
Whereas, the NAACP shares the concerns of the Journey for Justice Alliance, an 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 $3B into new charter schools, many of which have already closed or have failed the students drawn to them by the illusive promise of quality.


Along with the NAACP resolution is this powerful statement from the Movement for Black Lives. It is not only one of the single best progressive platforms I have ever seen - comprehensive, bold, and visionary - it is utterly unsparing in what it says about charter schools:

The whole education section is worth reading closely and carefully, because there are a lot of things we need to hear. Along with the rest of the document, I find it a deeply compelling vision that I personally support.

"Sixty years since Brown v. Board of Education, the school-to-prison pipeline continues to play in role in denying Black people their human right to an education and privatization strips Black people of the right to self-determine the kind of education their children receive. This systematic attack is coordinated by an international education privatization agenda, bankrolled by billionaire philanthropists such as Bill and Melinda Gates, the Walton Family, and Eli and Edythe Broad, and aided by the departments of Education at the federal, state, and local level. Inequitable funding at the school district, local and state level leave most public schools — where poor communities of color are the majority — unable to provide adequate and high quality education for all students, criminalizing and targeting Black students through racist zero-tolerance discipline policies. The cutting of key staff such as teachers, counselors and nurses, and the inability to provide learning resources such as textbooks and science equipment, leave Black school districts unable to ensure their students graduate on time, college and career ready, and leave them vulnerable for privatization and education profiteers. Using mayoral control and state takeover, they impose their experimental, market-based approach to school reform. Key stakeholders, such as parents, teachers, and students are left out of the decision making process.Their concerns and needs are ignored by those appointed to run the school districts — individuals who are more accountable to the institutional leaders who have appointed them than t to the communities they are tasked to serve. This leaves room for corporations, lobbyists, and big philanthropy to play influential roles on education policy at the local, state, and federal level where their money can buy access into a cash-strapped system. Their aims are to undermine Black democracy and self-determination, destroy organized labor, and decolor education curriculum, while they simultaneously overemphasize Standardized Testing, and use school closures to disproportionately disrupt access to education in Black communities.

(continued below)
(continued from above:

"What does this solution do?

• Build an international movement of people of African descent to force nations to ratify and recognize education as human right, and end privatization.

• Guarantee public education is protected by federal government

• End state takeovers and mayoral control of public education while building new democratic structures, such as people’s assemblies, that prepare parents to govern again.

• All states should have Full Funding Formulas that adequately weigh the needs of all districts in the state.

• Federal funds can only go to districts that have elected school boards.

• Place a moratorium on charter schools and school closures.

• Increase federal funding for schools, forcing federal government to help out states and pay for a bigger chunk than they currently do.

• Repeal the “convert-charter-close” model and offer what was the fifth option at the time, community led transformation, which was articulated as sustainable school transformation; it calls for a community-based model of school transformation.

• End corporate backed market reformer programs such as Teach For America and the Broad Superintendents Academy.

• Eliminate the privately backed lobby from all levels of the federal Department of Education.

• Put a moratorium on all out-of-school suspensions.

• Shut down all juvenile detention centers.

• Remove police from schools and replace them with positive alternatives to discipline and safety."
Anonymous said…
Charter folks are pretty desperate in MA. They have the GOP Swiftboater group doing their charter ads. Then you have none other than Arne's mouthpiece, Peter Cunningham, urging "progressives" to vote to lift the charter cap in MA. (This would be the same Peter Cunningham that also said Diane Ravitch should campaign with Trump since she's against the common core standards and Trump is too...) Those DFERs are sinking pretty low, scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Here's the group the charter people hired to do the charter ads (note their lovely group of clients):
Why would any "Progressive" - or true Democrat, for that matter - vote for anything this group is associated with? And how could any true Democrat or Progressive ally themselves with this group?

Disgusting how low they will go all in the name of privatization & profiteering.

NO 1240 said…

• Increase federal funding for schools, forcing federal government to help out states and pay for a bigger chunk than they currently do."

I like the idea of greater amounts of federal funding being spent to high poverty schools. Last check, the US Department of Education was funded at $62B per year' not a small chunk of change.

IMO, the fight for charter schools- in Washington state- is far from over.

NO 1240 said…

I like the idea of greater amounts of federal dollars being sent to high poverty schools.
Ms206 said…
I agree with most of the demands, especially related to charter schools. I do not agree with the demands targeting out-of-school suspensions, closing Juvenile detention centers, and eliminating school police officers. First, if the NAACP wants to eliminate the aforementioned 3 things, what are the alternatives? They need to present alternatives. And don't tell me that PBIS is a replacement for all of these 3 things, because it is not. I teach at a school in lower NE Philadelphia where all of our students are economically disadvantaged. My school is about 50% black, 40 to 45% Latino/a, and 5 to 10 percent other races/ethnicities. 50% of our staff are people of color (most of the staff of color are black). Our principal is multiracial. Our dean, counselor, and 2 lead special education teachers are black women and they are on the leadership team. The black students at our school are not suspended unfairly.

Our school uses PBIS. PBIS is very effective, but it does not solve every problem. 5 to 10 % of our students have severe behavior problems. Some of these kids up end up getting special education services, some do not. Most of the kids with severe behavior problems receive some in-school behavioral health services and most have messed up home lives. Some of them take medication, but the meds can stop working at times or parents can refuse to give the medications. PBIS has limited efficacy with these kids who have severe behavior problems. Having a school police officer is important at our school because sometimes, kids become so violent that they need to be safely restrained, and SPOs are trained in how to restrain safely. Sometimes, it takes out of school suspensions to get the attention of the parent that their child has a problem. So like I said, give me some alternatives. We don't have the money at our school for in-school suspension. So what does the NAACP suggest our school do with students who start fights, endanger other students, and disrupt instruction? Out of school suspension isn't the answer, but PBIS isn't either. Is the NAACP against alternative disciplinary schools too? Sometimes parents threaten school staff or become violent and it is great to have a SPO to help the principal with these situations.

I get that the NAACP is trying to protect the rights of children of color. But so many children of color are losing hours of instruction due to their peers who have severe behavior problems. Not all children can be educated in a regular ed setting. What does a school like ours do when there is no alternative to out of school suspension if other students are to remain safe? Offer us some realistic alternatives and adequate money, and then maybe some change will take place.
Ms206 said…
More federal dollars would help, absolutely! But there has to be the political will. Republicans have little political self-interest to provide more money to high-poverty traditional public schools that serve children of color.

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