Breaking: Charter moratorium moves forward from Senate Education Committee

In 2016, I first broke the news about the NAACP calling for a moratorium on charter schools in the post @NAACP calls for national moratorium on charters. The California legislature is begining to heed the civil rights organization’s call as the Senate Education Committee passed SB 756 on a 4-3 vote (I first discussed this bill in the post Charter Moratorium on Tap: Update on Legislative Effort in California). This bill would make the NAACP charter moratorium resolution the law in California. The California NAACP is co-sponsoring the bill. Here is a draft of our NAACP support letter:

The Honorable Maria Elena Durazo

Member, Senate Education Committee

The State Capitol, Room 5066

Sacramento, CA 95814

SUBJECT:          SB 756 (Durazo)

POSITION:         Support

Dear Senator Durazo,

The California NAACP is pleased to co-sponsor and strongly supports SB 756 (Durazo), which establishes a five-year moratorium on new charter schools. Establishment of a moratorium on charter proliferation would provide time to reconsider and make effective policy decisions regarding the mostly unregulated environment in which charter schools currently operate.

The bill is in alignment with the NAACP’s national resolution from 2016, which calls for a moratorium on charter expansions until transparency and accountability can be achieved for all schools.

The proliferation of privately managed charter schools, fueled by money and power from outside of school communities, has caused economic and educational instability for hundreds of existing neighborhood schools, especially in communities of color. Charter schools were intended to be hubs of innovation to benefit all students not silos that further segregate and isolate students based on race and income. In larger urban school districts, research shows that unregulated growth of charter schools means neighborhood public schools become more racially segregated and carry a higher proportion of cost for educating high needs special education and English Language learner students, exacerbating fiscal and academic pressures on teachers, administrators, and support personnel.  Such inequities are unethical and unsustainable.

The California NAACP places high value on public education for all students. We advocate for a system of publicly governed schools that is accountable to communities through local elections and direct democratic control. For these reasons, the California NAACP is pleased to co-sponsor and support SB 756 (Durazo), and look forward to working with you to ensure passage of this important measure.

The bill still has a long road— it heads to the appropriations committee next and will probably absorb some amendments there. But you should know that the charter school lobbyist and their billionaire supporters have been spending heavily against the bill on busing, matching t-shirts and Subway box lunch for hundreds of protestors as the various charter accountability and transparency bills have come up for debate in Assembly and Senate education committees. However, the Network for Public Education Action and other grassroots groups have been countering with phone calls, emails and other activities.

Will charter face a moratorium in California? It remains to be seen. So goes California, so goes the nation. Get ready Betsy DeVos.

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

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p.s. Shout out to Dr. Roxanna Marachi! First author of the NAACP national charter moratorium resolution. Photo is of her representing the California NAACP and testifying yesterday in support of 756 at the Senate Education Committee.



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