Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) is troubled by the new report released today by the NAACP Task Force on Quality Education. We believe the report’s recommendations mirror the recent policy statement released by the National Education Association and further highlight the organization’s ties to union interests rather than its commitment to students of color.
While GCSA recognizes the long and highly esteemed history of the NAACP, especially in issues related to public education, we feel the most recent recommendations and last year’s call for a charter moratorium by the organization is out of touch with the dire need for education reform. Instead, the NAACP should direct its efforts at the systems that continue to under-educate millions of black children across the nation. Currently, only six percent of all U.S. public school students are enrolled in charter schools. In Georgia, that number is less than five percent.
Cheryl Brown Henderson, whose father Oliver Brown was the leading plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education, stated in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the organization is “wrong on charters.” She went on to say, “…as advocates for civil rights and educational equality, our task is not to close off an important path to learning, but to expand this success and build on it.”
In Atlanta, that success is evident in a number of charter schools in the Atlanta Public School System. Their good work and gains for students of color is evident on the most recent Georgia Milestones results. Their success on the Georgia Milestones assessments was recognized last week by APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen.
In its report, the NAACP calls for the elimination of for-profit charter schools. Under Georgia law, every charter school is required to be operated by a 501c3 nonprofit board. Currently, only nine of the 106 charter schools in the state contract with a for-profit management organization. That’s only eight percent of all Georgia charter schools.
Georgia Charter Schools Association believes strong board governance is the key to a successful charter school or local board of education. These boards need to hold all service providers accountable.
Rather than sit on the sidelines and point out what they think is wrong, Georgia Charter Schools Association encourages NAACP members to take a more active role in leadership positions within charter schools and the boards that oversee them. This would allow the nation’s oldest civil rights organization to become part of the solution rather than the status quo. Students of color in Georgia and the nation don’t deserve to be stuck in perennially failing schools. Instead, they need more public education options, including public charter schools.
About Georgia Charter Schools Association
The Georgia Charter Schools Association is a nonprofit membership organization for Georgia’s public charter schools and petitioners. Our mission is to advocate for, foster and support autonomous, high-quality charter public schools throughout Georgia. We believe every child in Georgia should have equal access to a high-quality, transformative public education.