On Saturday, the NAACP passed a resolution codifying a call made earlier this year for a moratorium on charter schools. This call signals that the NAACP, and other major minority activist groups, are no longer serving the real interests of the people they claim to represent.
The Wall Street Journal has a great piece out today on just how out of touch the NAACP is when it comes to the needs of poor black families.
The NAACP’s statement Saturday shows how out of touch its well-to-do board members are with American education. It calls for a ban on new charters until “charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools.”
Now, the focus of the column is on the NAACP because of their vote. However, the bigger issue here, and the one that goes well beyond what the NAACP said. Rather, the point is about the issue of accountability.
Hello? Inner-city schools are the definition of unaccountable as they promote failure year after year. Charters should be held accountable, and some charter operators have done a poor job. But they can be and are shut down. The proof of charter performance are the long waiting lists in most cities to get in. Parents vote for charters with their feet when spaces are available.
What happens when these groups call for the government to halt any change or innovation in the traditional education system? Children suffer. Education is built entirely on innovation and figuring out how to transmit information in a way that it benefits the students. Unfortunately, when a system grows stagnant, there is little urge to change. These systems have grown fat on government money and little transparency. There have been many fights to try to change this (Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana fought hard for it while he was in office), but teachers unions have stood opposed to these changes every step of the way because it creates some new hardship on teachers.
And, as a teacher, I get that it can be tough. Mandates from principals, local districts, the state, and the federal government all add up to a lot of extra paperwork. Teachers actually do have to work well beyond the traditional hours of a school day. However, the purpose of the job is to create someone who is ready for the world. The idea that we have to stop innovating the education system, whether it’s with charter schools, voucher programs, or whatever other change we can put in place to challenge the current state of education, is absurd.
When the NAACP calls for something like this, they are saying they don’t want to improve education. They don’t want to challenge the current system. They don’t want to force it to become better. The ones who suffer most are minority students in large urban areas. They aren’t able to escape failing systems, and they suffer their whole lives for it.