NAACP Ratifies Confusing Policy Against Charter Public Schools

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CINCINNATI - As expected, the NAACP Board of Directors ratified a call for a moratorium on charter public schools at the organizations fall meeting today, despite calls from Black leaders and families around the country urging the organization to reconsider. The confusing statement from the NAACP calls for a temporary moratorium on the expansion of charter schools yet acknowledges that in many cases, traditional schools have failed Black families. The vote came amid protests from more than 150 parents and grandparents from Memphis Lift, who had traveled to Cincinnati to urge the organization to represent them and stand with the more than 700,000 African American families who have voted with their feet to send their children to charter public schools.

Black charter school leaders, including former Black Lives Matter leader Rashad Turner, also hosted a breakfast meet-and-greet on Saturday morning for NAACP board members to learn more about charter schools and dispel some of the mischaracterizations cited in the organizations resolution - first passed at the NAACP's July convention. Unfortunately, only one board member of 63 attended the breakfast, and an NAACP staff member quickly came to pull her out of the conversation. The charter school leaders also delivered petitions from more than 3,000 parents calling for the NAACP to reject the moratorium under the banner of #ChartersWork.

In response to the boards action today, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools president and CEO Nina Rees released the following statement:

"We are disappointed that the NAACP's Board of Directors ratified a misguided call for a moratorium on charter public schools. Across the country, charter public schools are working for hundreds of thousands of Black families. Today's decision doesn't just ignore the fact that charter schools are working for so many students and families delivering 36 more days of reading and 26 more days of math to African American students than traditional public schools. It also ignores the thousands of families and Black leaders who have stepped forward over the last two months urging the NAACP to reconsider their decision. More than 150 parents and grandparents traveled to Cincinnati to ask the NAACP, When are you going to start representing me? The answer from the boards vote: Not today.

"However, we are encouraged that in their misguided policy, the NAACP is clear that they are not opposed to charter schools. There's an opportunity to have a conversation among people and organizations that share the goal of providing an excellent and equitable education for all students."

Today's decision follows yesterdays news that the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) issued a letter calling on the NAACP to reconsider. The CLBC letter was the latest in a chorus of voices speaking out against the resolution and calling on the NAACP to stand with Black families. In September, 160 Black leaders sent a letter to the NAACP urging the organization to reconsider a moratorium and learn more about how charter schools are working to help communities of color. Black charter school families from New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington state also penned a letter to the NAACP, expressing their stance on charter schools as a critical component to student success. Their ChartersWork petition attracted more than 3,000 signatures from parents from across the country in a matter of days and the list is growing.