By Jason Allen
Don’t get me wrong, as a member of the NAACP, former youth & college division leader, founder of the my college chapter and liaison between local schools to the ACTSO competition, I believe in the local, regional and national work of NAACP leaders. However, this time, I believe that the NAACP as a whole has gotten it wrong about charter schools.
The call for a moratorium on all charter schools is ridiculous to me. Mainly because I know several other NAACP leaders who support charter schools. How can we advocate for members and citizens to support their local community schools except charter schools?
That to me sounds like discrimination.
I feel like this call of action is waging a war between educational advocates and civil rights activists. There is a happy medium, I believe we just have to be willing to find it. As I’ve read responses and heard NAACP leaders talk about charter schools, I’m trying to figure out how can an organization that was built on providing a voice, equity, freedom of speech, choice and empowerment now say that we only want to support public traditional schools and no charters?
We have to be cautious not to take on the behavior of the oppressors that we seek to gain freedom from!
Here are some questions for NAACP supporters of this moratorium to consider:
- What happens to Black, Brown and mixed raced owned and operated charter schools in this country under this call for a moratorium?
- What happens to Black, Brown and mixed raced charter school leaders who are making positive changes?
- What happens to Black, Brown and mixed raced charter school teachers who are helping our students?
- What happens to Black, Brown and mixed raced parents who have invested in their school of choice?
- What happens to our children when we take away their choice?
I would encourage local, regional and national NAACP leaders to visit more schools; traditional public, traditional charter, alternative, magnet, partner and other schools of choice to see what’s going on outside of the “data.”
In fact, if we are truly wanting to help public education, we should employ the standards of family and community engagement. We should see more leaders holding superintendents, school board leaders, teacher unions and educational agencies accountable. Where’s the accountability metric? What’s the expected outcome?
We can no longer be in an emotional state of mind and use “racism,” “discrimination,” or “bias” to be our sounding board or claim to fame. Our children need solutions, our parents want results, our teachers want support. This is a right that should be afforded to all children, parents and teachers, because education isn’t a just a choice, it’s a civil right.
NAACP, don’t be on the wrong side of history in the advancement of educational opportunities and rights of our children.
This piece first ran here at EdLanta.
Over the last 10 years, Jason B. Allen has worked in Education servicing our students, families and communities in various positions from After School and Summer Camp Director, Teacher Assistant, Associate Teacher, ELA & Reading Teacher (elem, middle and high school), Parent Liaison and a Family Engagement Specialist. A major goal of his is to ensure that all youth have positive role models to emulate and aspire them to find greatness in their endeavors. Throughout his academic career, he has mentored many young, African American males through his national mentoring program, BMWI (Black Men with Initiative), serving as the third National President. He has also volunteered with several community organizations including PTSA, Lillie’s Foundation and the JoJo Martin Renal Disease Foundation. He has served in various Board Chair capacities, completed Board Certification through the GA Charter Schools Commission, GA Leadership Academy Economic & Leadership Development Certification. He’s also a YouCAN advocate with 50Can and a 2017 GA Forward fellow. Embedding the spirit of service, the main goal of Mr. Allen is to simply help others along his life’s journey. He’s dedicated to servicing those in need, determined to do the right thing for the right reasons and dependable; living by his word being his bond.