Op-Ed: A Moratorium On New Charter Schools Is A Step For Civil Rights

At the 107th National Convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) last Saturday the board of directors ratified a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion and increased oversight in the governance and practices of charter schools.

In the days leading up to the convention and the passing of the resolution, national media, pro-charter organizations and advocates, charter school leaders, and parents took to the airwaves condemning the resolution as “misguided,” uninformed, and out of touch. My twitter feed was ablaze with tweets and retweets about deciding for parents, the NAACP erecting barriers, proof that charters are getting results, and references to past civil rights leaders “rolling over in their graves.”

A little over a year ago, I called for a moratorium on charter school expansion in Newark in an opinion written while I was the chief education officer for Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. This appeal was based on many of the very same problems that the NAACP has put forward for the nation to investigate and remedy. In Newark from the 2013-2014 to the 2015-2016 school years, charter school enrollment increased 55 percent from 9,334 to 14,501 students. This rapid expansion of charter schools occurred in an increasingly constrained fiscal reality for the Newark Public Schools District (NPS).

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