Black Leaders Criticize NAACP, Black Lives Matter

Published September 29, 2016

Kira Davis writes of the moment she became a school choice supporter forever. As director of a Gary, Indiana after-school program, she watched fellow African-American parents sit in an auditorium for a charter school lottery. More children had applied to attend a public charter school than the school had space for, so the children were selected at random through a lottery. Davis writes:

Naturally, when all the names had been called many parents and guardians who didn’t hear their student’s name were visibly upset. One elderly lady who knew me from our program touched my arm. She was weeping.

“Is there anything you can do? We need this. My grandson needs this so much! I can’t send him back to that school! Isn’t there anything you can do?”

… Knowing this woman was raising multiple grandchildren alone and on a pension, I was torn up for her plight. At that moment she saw this new charter school as the only chance her student had at a decent and stable education. That was the moment I became staunchly and forever pro-school choice. It wasn’t fair that these parents had to depend on the luck of the draw to escape their failing schools, while parents in wealthier areas, and (forgive me) whiter areas had much more palatable public options.

Davis goes on to call out NAACP for opposing school choice. The advocacy organization has recently drawn up a resolution it’s considering that calls for a nationwide ban on opening new charter schools. It has long opposed school vouchers also, even though either majorities or pluralities of African-Americans support both charters and vouchers when polled.

A number of other black leaders have recently criticized NAACP and Black Lives Matter for opposing school choice, including a coalition of 160 charter-school supporters and a former Black Lives Matter leader from Saint Paul who quit his post over the disagreement.

“Our public education system has people who are sometimes literally dying for the lack of educational opportunity. And when I think of charter schools in my community here in St. Paul and their benefit to students of color – low-income students – to call for a moratorium or an end to charter schools just lets me know that something funny is going on,” Rashid Turner told The74, a progressive education-focused website.

SOURCES: Forbes, The Federalist, The74


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