- The NAACP and the Movement for Black Lives have both recently called for a moratorium on charter schools, passing resolutions saying charters have worsened segregation — but there are other voices in the black community that say charters have provided a lifeline.
- The New York Times reports opponents of charters say they have contributed to the closing of neighborhood schools that disproportionately impact black communities, they limit enrollment and push out students in ways that leave neighborhood schools with harder populations to serve and they have harsh discipline policies that reinforce the school-to-prison pipeline.
- Many black families, however, have escaped some of the nation’s lowest-performing schools and found refuge in high-performing charters, and they say the opposition is academic, a privileged hostility to alternative schools by people who don’t have to make these decisions for their own kids.
The debate within the black community over the value of charters represents how much work administrators of both types of schools have to do. In many ways, it is the same work. They have to improve the quality of instruction and diversity of their teaching staffs, and many have to rethink discipline. Charter schools have as much variety in quality as traditional public schools do, and opinions within the black community are as varied as opinions within the white community.
Some white parents believe charter schools are a critical piece of the national effort to improve K-12 education while others think there should be a halt to charter expansion. The reasons on both sides of the debate mirror those between the NAACP and the Movement for Black Lives against other black parents and community leaders. No one should expect black families to approach the problem or the solution as a block. Schools have to do the hard work of responding to the diverse demands of their stakeholders regardless of the community they serve.