WASHINGTON Charter school parents in New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington State are calling on parents across the country to sign onto a letter that gives them a voice in the national dialogue surrounding charter public schools and parental choice. The letter, which lives at www.charterswork.com, urges the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to reconsider the position it took in July to put a moratorium on charter public schools.
The letter reads, in part:
The NAACP is an organization to which we are deeply rooted and for which we have tremendous respectBut we recently learned about the NAACPs resolution calling for a moratorium on the growth of charter schools, and believe it is simply wrong. It does not represent our voices, or that of the communities where we live.
We dont care about labels when it comes to public schools, we only see schools where our children succeed and others where our children struggle. We cant afford to turn our backs on any schools where our children are beating the odds. We urge you to hear our voices as parents and vote against this resolution.
To access or sign onto the full letter, click here.
Authored by parents from Seattle, Washington; Houston, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Newark, New Jersey, the letter joins a chorus of voices from across the country who view charter schools as critical to student success and who do not feel their voices are represented by the NAACPs stance on charter schools. Last week over 160 Black leaders including Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of Oliver Brown, plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education, and founding president and CEO, Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research sent a letter to the NAACP, in which they urged cooperation among everyone who is serious about improving education for every child in America.
Both letters are part of the ChartersWork campaign, which will run through the end of 2016 and focus on elevating Black voices and stakeholders from the civil rights and charter communities dispelling myths and putting the focus of this conversation back on what works for children.
When I reflect on what the NAACP has helped Black people accomplish since its founding in 1909, I am surprised that the NAACP might not support a high-quality charter school like ours, where my son and his peers are surpassing district and state grade-level averages across literacy and math after just one year, said Shirline Wilson, a parent of a Rainier Prep student in Seattle, Washington, and one of the four authors of the parent sign-on letter. With this letter, I join the voices of thousands of parents who believe that high-quality charter schools are part of the solution, not contributing to the problem in American public education. It is my hope that the NAACP will consider the consequences of a moratorium and not stand in the way of our progress.
In addition to housing the parent sign-on letter, which will be delivered to the NAACP ahead of their national board meeting on October 15, www.charterswork.com hosts a suite of resources to help parents amplify their voices, including testimonials from all four parent authors and support for engaging on social media.
Education should not be one size fits all, said Latoya Taitt, a parent of a Henry Johnson Charter School student in Albany, New York, and one of the authors of the parent sign-on letter If we dont do all we can to provide the best possible ways of learning for our kids, how will we produce the thought leaders of the future the ones who will be making decisions for the world. This is my choice as a parent.
About the Black Alliance for Educational Options
The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) is a national non-profit education advocacy organization founded in 2000 by prominent Black educators, elected officials and civil rights activists. BAEOs mission is to increase access to high-quality educational options for Black children by actively supporting transformational education reform initiatives and parental choice policies that empower low-income and working-class Black families. For more information on BAEO visit http://www.baeo.org.
About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org.