In separate conventions over recent weeks, the NAACP, the nation’s oldest black civil rights organization, and the Movement for Black Lives, a network of Black Lives Matter organizers, passed resolutions criticizing charter schools and calling for a moratorium on their growth. Charters were faulted by the groups for supposedly draining money from traditional public schools and allegedly fueling segregation. The NAACP measure, which still must be ratified by the board before becoming official, went so far as to liken the expansion of charters to “predatory lending practices” that put low-income communities at risk.
Some 28% of charter-school students are black, which is almost double the figure for traditional public schools. A report last year from Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that across 41 urban areas black students in charters gained on average 36 extra days in math learning a year and 26 in reading while Hispanic students gained 22 in math and six in reading. Black students in poverty notched 59 more days in math. This is the definition of “advancement.”The NAACP didn’t bother to ask black parents what they think: a 2013 poll of black voters in four southern states by the Black Alliance for Educational Options found that at least 85% agreed that “government should provide parents with as many choices as possible.” No less than half in every state supported charter schools. Another sign of support is the hundreds of thousands of black students nationwide who sign up for lotteries for a seat at a charter.
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