The NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization, has adopted a resolution calling for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools until concerns identified in its resolution are addressed. The moratorium call extends to “at least such time as:
- Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools;
- Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system;
- Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate; and
- Charter schools cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.
Taxpayer-funded and privately managed, charter schools presently are treated in public policy as private for some purposes and public for others. They often are not subject to accountability and transparency provisions, such as open governing board meetings and records, financial conflict of interest, and financial audit requirements, that apply to other taxpayer-funded schools. Black students are disproportionately impacted by charter school disciplinary actions and high charter school failure rates which lead to closures. The NAACP historically has fought movements toward privatization that divert public funds to support nonpublic school choices.
“We are moving forward to require that charter schools receive the same level of oversight, civil rights protections and provide the same level of transparency, and we require the same of traditional public schools,” NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock said in the statement announcing the resolution. “Our decision today is driven by a long held principle and policy of the NAACP that high quality, free, public education should be afforded to all children.”
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García applauded the resolution, stating, “The NAACP vote is an important wake-up call that some charters are not serving the needs of communities and that much greater oversight and accountability is needed… . We strongly support more inclusive and otherwise positive alternatives to charter schools. We should invest in proven strategies – strategies such as smaller class sizes, parental involvement, magnet and community schools – that we know help to improve the success of all of our students.”