As much as I loathe linking to the disgusting website Salon, every once in a while it publishes a worthwhile article.
Such is “Charter schools and the struggle for progress: Why the NAACP has it wrong on the chapter of the civil rights struggle,” by Carrie Sheffield.
During Tuesday’s vice presidential debate, Tim Kaine cited Barbara Johns, an African-American civil rights activist who led a walkout of her Farmville, Virginia high school to protest school segregation in 1951. Kaine said that walkout led to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision striking down “separate but equal” doctrine.
More than 60 years later, the dream of educational equality is far from realized, and sadly the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), by considering a moratorium against charter schools, is now playing the role of obstructionist. Cheryl Brown Henderson, daughter of Oliver Brown, the plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education, recently joined with CharterWorks, a campaign opposing the moratorium.
Launched September 21, the CharterWorks campaign is organized by the Black Alliance for Educational Options and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools began with an initial press release explaining the campaign’s mission. On October 15, the NAACP will meet to finalize its decision on the moratorium. Brown Henderson is part of a group of hundreds of African-American leaders hoping to convince the NAACP to reconsider its decision.
For these pro-charter families, the current education system is failing and charter schools offer an alternative to the status quo. Many charter schools in urban areas — such as New Orleans, New York and Washington, D.C. — have seen improvement among students who struggled in previous learning environments. For them, and for their allies like myself, the charter school movement is the next chapter in the civil rights struggle.
Read the full article here.