"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Will NAACP Courage on Charters Blaze a New Trail?

Ever since Bush II and the dregs of Bill Clinton's DLC successfully framed NCLB's undeniable assault on public education, poor children, and their teachers as a civil rights crusade, I have been amazed at how acquiescent the NAACP has remained during the years of unrelenting denigration and humiliation of black and brown children in urban charter schools.  

Did the NAACP really believe the cynical rhetoric of the corporate usurpers and the predatory privatizers who built education industry empires on the backs of unpaid child laborers working 10 hour days to grind out test scores that are then held up as tangible signs of "educational equity?" 

Could the punishing segregated test prep charter schools for black children really become choice enough for NAACP leaders, who once led the charge for high quality integrated schools for all children?

How long would it take for civil rights leaders to throw off their passivity and inattention, so that schools might once more become instrumental in bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice?

One might argue that the NAACP has begun its awakening.  The ratification on October 15 of the resolution passed in July at the annual convention is a significant first step.  

Even so, there is evidence in the press release accompanying the ratification vote that the pressure from the neoliberal corporate press, the education industry, and the corporate foundations has had some success in influencing the final wording of the ratification statement:
We are calling for a moratorium on the expansion of the charter schools at least until such time as:

(1) Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools

(2) Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system

(3) Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate and

(4) 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.
Numbers 3 and 4 above could be worded more strongly, and here's why.   

As to #3 above, charter school rarely "expel" students, but suspensions are common and grade failure, more so. In effect, children who represent threats to the corporate brand, whether KIPP or another of the "no excuses" corporate chains, are provided a multiplicity of draconian reasons to leave.

As to #4 above, charter schools have been found to be more segregated than public schools, whether or not they have higher or lower test scores than the public schools they replace.


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