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What If The NAACP Is Actually Right?

by Jose Vilson on June 7, 2011

in Jose

Someone recently tagged me to this piece from What About Our Daughters. I’ll let you read the rest of it on your own, but this is why misinformation is so dangerous:

As I understand it, and readers I invite you to correct me if I’m wrong, charter schools ARE public schools. So the battle isn’t over public school education, but WHO CONTROLS that public school education and the facilities where the children attending the schools are located. And I am also assuming that ALL of the kids in both charter schools and non charter schools in Harlem are children of color so what “protected class” is involved? Everybody is Black or Brown!

According to an editorial written by Jealous (he doesn’t actually write his own work-but anywhoo), he states:

“We believe that if we make all our schools great places to learn, we will have more than better institutions and better-prepared students — we will have a better country. Benjamin Jealous’ Assistant

Um so parents in NYC, what efforts, other than filing a lawsuit, is the NAACP making to improve the schools in NYC? But finally to why I wrote this post — this heartbreaking quote from Kathleen Kernivan:

“My child cannot be told that she’s not going to get to go to her school in September,” said charter school parent Kathleen Kernivan. “I cannot look her in the eye, as a parent, and tell her, ‘Well, the problem is that this group of people that Mommy told you about during Black History Month, that did all those great things a long time ago – they want to stop you from doing great things.”

OK, you’re wrong. There’s a dubious nature in which this piece was written, and it’s one that ultimately continues to ignite the racial fires stoked by those that the NAACP seeks to sue to begin with. First, Ben Jealous’ piece was very well-written, even if I don’t agree with all of his points. Secondly, it’s worth noting that the premise of charter schools started benevolently enough, but the Shock Doctrine methods of the charter school movement (i.e. – slicing up schools at will) only serves to dilute the teaching quality and school quality for our students most-in need.

Need proof? Will this article by Richard D. Kahlenberg about low-incoming students and KIPP do? Will this piece from Paul Thomas on how the “no excuses” movement is really a drilling of bourgeois values do?  But it’s about race as much as it’s about the edu-deformers. Which is why WAOD is wrong to begin with: when only a small percentage of our students really benefit from charter schools than public schools, we can’t get clouded in our judgment of what charters do just because they seem new.

If charters aren’t better than public schools by many measures, the NAACP (and any other astute observers) have every right to question why they only bring charter schools to the poorest neighborhoods. Because it’s obviously not about our daughters. Or our sons, too.

Jose, who marches to the beat …

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