Racial Bias in Education: NAACP Calls For Moratorium on Charter Schools
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) recently demanded a moratorium on charter school expansion. As Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP explained – this “resolution” is call for support of public schools.
The NAACP’s moratorium details includes:
- 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
- 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
Roslyn Brock, chairwoman of the NAACP board of directors, explained that her organization is “dedicated to eliminating the severe racial inequities that continue to plague the education system.”
Brock noted that the NAACP is asking “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.”
Last month Senator Elizabeth Warren acknowledged in a statement that “school choice” is hurting minorities.
Warren said: “Education is about creating opportunity for all our children, not about leaving many behind.”
The major problem with charter school expansion is that it takes financial resources away from public schools. For example, in Northampton, Massachusetts, over $2.2 million was spent on six charter schools. One council member pointed out : “Public school districts across the state are losing more than $408 million [to charters] this year alone – a loss of funds that is undermining the ability of districts to provide all students with the educational services to which they are entitled.”
And while charter schools claim that they do not impact public schools financially, research shows that current models for financing charters costs their counterparts by way of students, transportation budgets, educators, and specialized programs such as music or art.
Another by-product of “school choice” is cherry-picking students . This happened when Bay State charters purposefully neglected to enroll students with “disabilities” and children who do not speak English as their first language.
And while refusing to enroll certain types of children is a tactic used by charters, others exclude kids through suspensions via racially motivated adherence to rules created by the individual charter.
The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) found that when “compared to white students, black students were four times as likely to be suspended; compared to students who aren’t disabled, students with disabilities were two to three times as likely to be suspended.”
To break this down, African American students are 3 times more likely to be suspended or expelled from a charter; in part because how the teach interprets the child’s behavior weighs heavily on that educator’s perspective of minorities.
Because of this profiling bias , “25 percent of black students with disabilities received at least one suspension in the 2009–2010 school year.”
And yet, despite the obvious discrimination and educational problems charters pose, Washington State recently approved receipt of a $4 million federal education grant; of which a portion will go to financing charters regardless of the fact that state laws do not “allow for the spending of local levies on charter schools.”
However, in an effort to increase “students attending charter schools” the monies will be redirected.
The target of these charters is to funnel “educationally disadvantaged students who have historically struggled in traditional public school settings” into charters and yet historically those students are suspended or expelled out of the charter system – effectively leaving those children without the ability to obtain an education.
In support of the NAACP, Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), wrote in a letter : “In New York City, charter schools have created a system of ‘haves and have nots’ and do not accept or keep comparable numbers of high-needs students as traditional public schools – whether special education students, homeless children or English Language Learners.”