Updated: @NAACP Holding Charter School Hearings Across Nation

The NAACP’s most recent national resolution on charter schools has elicited a vigorous discourse about charter schools in the United States. The nation’s largest and oldest civil right organization is also a democratic, community-based organization. The National Board of the NAACP after its vote to support a charter moratorium (See Breaking News: Charter Resolution Ratified by @NAACP National Board) announced the National Task Force for Quality Education on October 15. This new group is charged with studying education quality, “until safeguards are in place to provide better transparency regarding accountability, and to prevent cases of fraud and mismanagement.”

The task force will be taking input from advocates, teachers, parents, and policy experts across the nation. The task force will focus primarily on issues surrounding “inadequate school funding, charter school accountability and its impact on school funding for under-funded districts.”

Alice Huffman is the chairman of the task force and president of the California NAACP State Conference. This task force also includes Hazel Dukes, Michael Curry, Gloria Sweet-Love, Derrick Johnson, Scot Esdaile, Da’Quan Love, Robin Williams, Peter Rose, Adora Obi Nweze, James Gallman and Philip Murphy. Ms. Huffman stated,

[New Haven is the] first of several hearings around the nation taking a deep look at the issues facing public schools, as well as the pros and cons of charter schools… By bringing people from our community together from both sides, we can bridge the gap in the issue of accountability between public schools and charters.

The task force hosted the first of seven public hearings about issues involving public education and charter school oversight in New Haven, CT.  The event was located to draw individuals from the Tri-state area and throughout New England. It was the first public session for the task force of National NAACP officials charged with studying and recommending education policy. Key participants included:

  • James Comer, Yale University
  • Steve Perry, Capital Preparatory Magnet School
  • Edward Joyner, New Haven Board of Education
  • Jeremiah Grace, Director, North East Charter School Network
  • Gary Highsmith, HR Director, Hamden Board of Education
  • Tenicka Boyd of Students First NY

The New Haven hearing lasted for about 4 hours. So it requires some patience to make it all the way to the end.

(In some cases, you might want to throw tomatoes at presenters. That’s not possible on a YouTube video.)

There will be future hearings across the United States. Task force members will invite policy experts to present at the hearing in 15 minute segments. Members of the public can also sign up to speak. Visitors seeking to speak are asked to register one hour before the session begins. To accommodate the public, individual speakers may be asked to adhere to a time limit or appoint a representative to speak on behalf of a group.

The five focus areas at the hearings are currently:

  • Charter funding
  • Oversight and accountability
  • Charter governance
  • Charter performance
  • Charter fiscal management

The current hearings are:

New Haven, CT December 3, 2016

Memphis, TN January 10, 2017 Holiday Inn at University of Memphis 5:30-9 pm

Orlando, FL January 27, 2017 Rosen Center Hotel 2-6 pm

Los Angeles, CA February 9, 2017 2-6 pm LA City Hall

Detroit, MI March 8 or 9

New Orleans, LA TBD

New York, NY TBD

This is the opportunity for members of communities of color to have voice about their experiences in charter schools and provide input for the reform of a reform to provide more transparency and accountability to ensure the civil rights of students are not being violated in charter schools.

For all of Cloaking Inequity’s about the NAACP and charters click here.

For all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts about charters click here.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.

Special thanks to NAACP communications for verbiage paraphrased and used verbatim in this post.

p.s. Check out our conversation about charters on the Rick Smith Show.

p.s.s. Coming soon to Cloaking Inequity. Our new piece on charters and segregation recently published in the Stanford Law and Policy Review. Stay tuned.

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