Parents of children in charter schools, as well as leaders in the African-American community, are speaking up in defense of educational choice and what they view as the positive impact charter schools have made in their communities. In July, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), adopted a moratorium against charter schools. CharterWorks, a campaign opposing the moratorium, is now taking the lead in convincing the NAACP to reconsider its decision.
The CharterWorks campaign, led by the Black Alliance for Educational Options and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, launched September 21 with an initial press release explaining the campaign’s mission. On October 15, the NAACP will have a meeting to finalize its decision on the moratorium.
In advance of the NAACP meeting, CharterWorks has a released a letter addressed to NAACP board members that CharterWorks will deliver on October 15. The letter, from more than 160 black education and community leaders, explains the importance of charter schools to African-American families. The letter, along with a statement from prominent signees in support of the campaign, features leaders such as Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of Oliver Brown, plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education.
“I am troubled that in 2016, the NAACP would oppose placing better educational choices in the hands of families across the country,” Henderson writes in her statement. “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.”
Along with the letter from black education and community leaders, CharterWorks has released a letter from five African-American parents addressed to the NAACP urging them to reconsider their position in the October 15 meeting. The letter allows supporters to add their name to the letter.
Ron Rice, senior director for government relations with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, explained in an interview with Bold the importance of the CharterWorks campaign.
“This campaign is important because the voices of 700,000 African-American families need to be heard on this issue,” Rice said. “While adults may argue, children need options right now to make sure they are prepared for college and their career choices. The resolution does nothing except to deny the choice of a good education to a population that can least afford not to have choices.”
Vanessa Descalzi, senior manager of communications with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, also said in an interview that, “Ultimately, the goal is to amplify the voices of parents and leaders within the African-American community about these issues.”
Although the NAACP will meet October 15 to make a final decision on the moratorium of charter schools, the CharterWorks campaign will last until the end of the year. It is not only the hope of the campaign that the NAACP will reconsider its decision but also that NAACP board members will take a closer look at charter schools in the future.
“It is important that black parents, students, graduates and supporters of charter schools tell their stories, share their aspirations and goals and do so to the next president, to members of Congress, their state, county and local elected officials and other advocacy organizations that purport to speak for Black people,” Rice said.
Photo by The Rick Smith Show
Hayley Folk is a writer, currently studying Public Relations, in her senior year at California Baptist University. She loves fashion and beauty, sharing other's stories and promoting self-care and confidence.