The Washington Post reports — and an education authority explains — why the NAACP national convention recently approved a resolution calling for a moratorium on approval of privately managed charter schools financed with public money.
The reasons listed in the resolution are familiar.
* “Charter schools have contributed to the increased segregation rather than diverse integration of our public school system.”
* “Weak oversight of charter schools puts students and communities at risk of harm, public funds at risk of being wasted, and further erodes local control of public education.”
* ” [R]esearchers have warned that charter school expansions in low-income communities mirror predatory lending practices that led to the sub-prime mortgage disaster, putting schools and communities impacted by these practices at great risk of loss and harm…”
In Arkansas, particularly in Pulaski County, billionaires named Walton are running the public education agenda, not voters. This has included an explosion — despite a lack of demonstrated benefits and many contra-indications — of “virtual” charter students, segregation, school transfers for racial reasons and even a new voucher program. In Little Rock we’ve already seen the continued permitting of charter schools targeting minority students with academic results worse than those in conventional public schools. Why? Because the Waltons insist “choice” must be superior.
Carol Burris, a former New York high school principal, says it is an “affront” to those who truly support public education to use the word “public” with charter schools simply because they receive tax dollars, while escaping accountability. In an essay included in the Post report, she says:
The message is clear: privately managed charter schools may call themselves public, but they often exclude the public in poor communities when it comes to having a say in school governance.