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What If The NAACP Is Actually Right?

Jose Vilson Jose 4 Comments

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 …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 4

  1. peanutgallery

    What About Our Daughters have their own alterior motive. This was an easy bandwagon to jump on. They, like Dr Perry, absolutely want Pres Ben Jealous to resign. They have taken issue with the premise of the NAACP’s very existence, being male dominated and patriarchal (according to them).

    Yes, the charter and public school system need to resolve some issues so public education can be the “great equalizer”.. But the other naysayers do not have a lot to stand on. Dr Perry I had respect for until he quoted an article that was published in one of the most bigoted Birther Tbagger non-credible publications around. Common’ Perry, you can do better than that..if this is about the kids. Really?

  2. Nevine Spicer

    I love your passion for education and helping children!

    It’s hard to make any generalizations when there are so many schools in the US as well as so many problems in education and society in general. Focusing on any one problems without showing the big picture idea will lead to wrong conclusions. I believe this is the problems with all the information given by the media. Noneducators see only a fraction of the big picture and it leads to inaccuracies.

    My latest endeavor is to help parents become involved in educating their children. Learning starts at home. If we empower parents to contribute by making sure their children are ready for school, it will lighten the burden of teachers. Students’ abilities are often too broad for a teacher to educate effectively. The gap in student abilities needs to be narrowed. Parental involvement is one of the most important contributors to students’ success. I feel this point is often overlooked.

    Visit my site and share your wise insight on how I can help parents contribute to fixing the crisis in education. Help me empower parents to become involved by teaching their children at home.

    Thanks for your great insight and wisdom.
    http://www.mommyteaching.com

  3. Nevine Spicer

    I agree with your points and admire your passion and dedication to helping children.

    The education system is not providing all students with an equal education. Sometimes the media focuses on one isolated problem in education without showing the big picture problem. This selected viewing of the education crisis can lead many to make wrong conclusions.

    I am very passionate about fixing the crisis in education. My focus has been on trying to empower parents to teach their children at home as a supplement to school learning. If parents are able to do their part at home, kids will be ready for school. Parental involvement plays a huge role in why charter schools show better student performance than regular public education.

    I respect your insight and wisdom. Please visit my sight and give me feedback on how I can help parents teach their children at home. After all, learning does begin at home. If we educate parents on how to teach, it become a win win win for teachers, schools, and students.
    I’d love your feedback.
    Mommyteaching.com

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