In a letter to members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People coordinated by the Black Alliance for Educational Options and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools over 160 Black education leaders in this country call for the NAACP to reconsider its resolution calling for a moratorium on the growth of charter schools.
There are numerous prominent signers to this campaign, including many from the nation’s capital. These include Peter Anderson, head of school Washington Latin PCS; Patricia Brantley, CEO Friendship PCS; Dr. Marco Clark, CEO Richard Wright PCS; Diane Cottman, executive director Latin American Montessori Bilingual PCS; Jami Dunham, CEO Paul PCS; Dr. Ramona Edelin, executive director D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools; Donald Hense, chairman and founder Friendship PCS; Brian Jones, chair National Alliance for Public Charter School and D.C. Prep board member; Linda Moore, founder and senior advisor Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community PCS; Cassandra Pinkney, founder and executive director Eagle Academy PCS; Dr. Joe Smith, COO and CFO Eagle Academy PCS; Deborah Dantzler Williams, head of school Inspired Teaching Demonstration PCS; and Shantelle Wright, CEO Achievement Prep PCS.
I especially appreciate the comment made by Cheryl Brown Henderson, founding president and CEO, Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research; and the daughter of Oliver Brown, plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education:
“Over 60 years ago my father joined with numerous parents to stand with the NAACP and fight for all African American students stuck in a separate, broken education system. Brown v. Board of Education created better public education options for African American students, and made it the law of the land that neither skin color, socioeconomic status, nor geography should determine the quality of education a child receives. I am eternally grateful to the NAACP for their leadership on this case and for giving African American families the opportunity to send their children to the best schools that would help them to succeed. But I am troubled that in 2016, the NAACP would oppose placing better educational choices in the hands of families across the country. Charter public schools present African American families, especially those in low-income communities, with the choice to choose a public option that is best for their child. We must protect this choice.”
The press release announcing the letter directly asserts that Black children are the beneficiaries of having the option of enrolling in charters. “According to the most thorough and respected study of charter school results, conducted by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, Black students learn more when they attend charter schools. Black students in charter schools gained the equivalent of 14 extra days of learning in reading and 14 extra days of learning in math per year compared with their Black peers in traditional district schools. For low-income Black students attending charter schools, the learning gains were even more dramatic-the equivalent of 29 extra learning days in reading and 36 extra learning days in math.”
In fact, Black families are voting for charter schools with their feet. The letter states that “Black students now account for 27 percent of charter school enrollment, versus just 16 percent of traditional school enrollment.”
The signatories are requesting a conference with NAACP board representatives prior to their fall board meeting.