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How will history remember the @NAACP on charters?

27 Jul 1963, St. Louis, Missouri, USA --- The St. Louis Board of Education was picketed by the NAACP after the Board issued a modified enrollment plan which the NAACP did not go far enough in integrating the schools. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

I have written extensively over the years here at Cloaking Inequity about the political framing of school choice as being about civil rights and parental choice. I previously disputed this framing in the post Reframing the Refrain: Choice as a Civil Rights Issue.

Yesterday on Facebook, I posted the article Charter schools reason for Mayor Kevin Johnson’s bad behavior? in a Sacramento Facebook group. A member of the Facebook group commented that charter schools are not a movement and solely about parent choice. I responded by disagreeing and posting the following articles. First, I talked about what appears to be the neoliberal end game for charters that became readily apparent in the Puerto Rico financial crisis.

With a few lines of legislative language, Puerto Rican politicians sought the privatization of their schools and the teacher labor force— they legislated an alternative system of private control of education in one fell swoop of a pen. Folks, this is the end game.

Second, school choice is a very WELL funded movement behind the scenes. For example, the Koch Brothers have spent millions and millions of dollars trying to convince Latina/os that school choice is for them via their Libre Project.

Also add the Walton Family Foundation to the list of incredibly wealthy backers. They have given hundreds of millions to school choice causes over the years. Who else thinks this Walton Family Foundation funded panel next week at the Urban League convention in Baltimore could get interesting?

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 5.45.19 PM.png

So how about the NAACP? Our nation’s vanguard organization for civil rights. What’s our view on charters… the same civil rights organization that Dr. Martin Luther King said:

Eternally true…

In 2010, at the national convention, the NAACP members weighed in by supporting an anti-charter resolution and the NAACP National Board concurred.

2010 NAACP Charter Resolution-page-0012010 NAACP Charter Resolution-page-002

I think this resolution on the official position of the NAACP on charters is very clear. Charters create “separate and unequal conditions.” The research supports this statement (See Charters and Access: Here is Evidence). More recently, in 2014, a NAACP resolution weighed on the role of school choice in the private control and privatization of education.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.10.47 PM.png

It is readily apparent that the view of the NAACP is that charters schools = civil rights privatization. As California NAACP Education Chair, I appreciate that we’ve taken a strong stand against for-profit charter schools. When I was doing the background work on this post yesterday, I tweeted out the resolutions above. One response to my tweet from one of my followers was that the resolutions primarily focus on “for-profit” charters. I think this is the wrong read. The second paragraph in the 2014 resolution goes even further. It important to note that the NAACP also took a stand against committing or diverting public funding and tax breaks to charter schools.


As we are well aware in many communities such as Detroit and New Orleans, charters are becoming a privately controlled system utilizing public money. It is very clear that this well-funded movement is succeeding at sapping the financial strength of democratically-controlled neighborhood public schools and placing the capital of our education system in private hands. We have to look no farther than the Gulen-affiliated charter schools, the second largest chain of charters in the United States, to see how accountability, finance, immigration, teacher quality and other loopholes can be taken advantage of for financial gain by allegedly bad actors.

Watch the film Killing Ed to learn more about what’s been happening with Gulen charters right under our nose.

In sum, I believe the NAACP will AGAIN be on the RIGHT side of history and civil rights when remembered for our criticism of charter schools.

For more on what’s going wrong with charters click here.

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About Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig (705 Articles)
Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State Sacramento.

3 Comments on How will history remember the @NAACP on charters?

  1. Excellent post and the one on the NAACP call for a moratorium on charters.

    We should demand that Hillary and other Democrats take concrete steps to stop supporting the corporate education “reform” movement and undoing the damage.

    Picking a career educator to be secretary of education instead of another corporate tool like Arne Duncan or John King would be a good start.


  2. Hear, hear. And if anyone thinks that Hillary “Wall Street” Clinton will lift a finger to stop the end game, I have three lovely spans for sale between lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.


  3. Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig: You particularly, and others have used valid and reliable research to prove that in the American experiment and arc, and the goals toward universal and attempted equitable education. Your research demonstrates that charter schools and “privatization” work against those goals – socially – and in the data. THE EXPERIMENT IS OVER! I believe that the deep DNA of “racism” and to a lesser extent, “class-ism” in our society shows us here in the USA that ONLY a Democratic Process – “elected public school officials” state by state, as outlined in the 10th Amendment will help us approach the goals of equity, equal access, and universal education. I think the our national experience with having President Obama as our first African American leader points out, very sadly, and now the nomination of Donald Trump, shows us how deep the “racism” grips the USA. I would guess, Dr. V. Heilig, you already knew this – I’ve been idealistically optimistic and now I’m actually scared at the prospect of a President Trump. Back to the topic: The LIBERTARIAN ideal found in M. Friedman’s “Free to Choose” … that in many ways idealistically started us on this path of “privatization” in schools – now prisons, the Army Corps of Eng., (remember Hurricane Katrina) in the de-regulation of off-shore drilling, (remember the BP Oil Spill) – the Charter School takeover of public education in New Orleans. I have, personally, followed “privatization” in many forms in New Orleans where I lived for 30+ years. My personal examination of “privatization” and the “ideals” found in M. Friedman’s, book, and his economic “libertarian” model – if you study the historical DNA of those ideas that reach back to our nation’s founding, with the writings of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” is also in our nation’s historical DNA. I’m the author of a Master’s Thesis: (1986) “Education Vouchers: The Issue of Parental Choice in American Education” and “privatization” then, 30 years ago, was seen as an “experiment” … Again, the experiment is over.


13 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Breaking News: @NAACP calls for national moratorium on charters – Cloaking Inequity
  2. No New Charter Schools – NAACP Draws Line in the Sand | gadflyonthewallblog
  3. NAACP Calls For National Moratorium On Charter Schools | PopularResistance.Org
  4. NAACP Supports Education Inequality in People of Color in LAUSD - California Political Review
  5. Black Organizations Say No - or at Least, Slow Down - to Charter Schools - ThinqOPEN
  6. Black Organizations Say No — or at Least, Slow Down — to Charter Schools | Rachel M. Cohen
  7. Black Organizations Cast a Cold Eye on Privately Run Charter Schools |
  8. Black Organizations Cast a Cold Eye on Privately Run Charter Schools – ALTERNET
  9. Civil Rights organizations vs. Wealthy: Are charter schools better? – Cloaking Inequity
  10. Education Activists Converge on Presidential Debate - ThinqOPEN
  11. Education Activists Converge on Presidential Debate – Cloaking Inequity
  12. An education reform civil war in the Black community? – Cloaking Inequity
  13. Under Trump, Liberals Rediscover School Segregation | Rachel M. Cohen

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