In the News: Why Does the NAACP Oppose Charter Schools?

This summer, at its national convention, the NAACP voted to support a moratorium on the growth of charter schools. Why?

As Paul E. Peterson notes in US News, this decision is puzzling for a number of reasons.

ednext-aug2016-blog-ototn-naacp-chartersFirst of all

Forty-eight percent of African Americans say they favor the formation of charters, while only 29 percent stand in opposition, with the remainder taking the neutral position. In fact the opinions of African-Americans resemble those of the American public as a whole – 51 percent support, 28 percent oppose, 21 percent neutral.

Peterson continues

Not only does the black community support charters, but African-American students enjoy over-representation in charter schools. According to the U. S. Department of Education 27 percent of all charter students are black, even though black students constitute only 16 percent of the overall public school population. 

and finally

Civil rights groups oppose charters even though African-Americans are learning more at charters than at public schools. According to a 2015 study of charters in urban regions across the country, conducted by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, African-American students at charters out-performed comparable students at nearby public schools in math by roughly a half years’ worth of learning. Reading gains were also hefty. 

Peterson notes that  the NAACP national board has not yet approved the convention resolution so it is not yet official organizational policy.

The data on support for charter schools comes from the 2016 Education Next poll, which was released yesterday. The complete results from the 2016 Education Next poll are available here.

— Education Next

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