In October 2016, the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP) adopted a resolution calling for a national moratorium on charter schools. On Wednesday, July 25, the NAACP released a report based upon public hearings held in seven cities regarding the proposed moratorium. In response, ConnCAN CEO Jennifer Alexander issued the following statement:
“We agree with the NAACP’s call for school finance reform to ensure that all public school students receive equal and adequate funding, and we stand by our position that Connecticut’s non-profit charter schools are part of the solution to providing every child the education they need and deserve. We are disappointed that this report recommends limiting the flexibility and innovation of charter schools — recommendations that, if adopted, would thwart success. The NAACP’s position disregards the wishes of tens of thousands of families of color nationwide who have chosen to enroll their children in public charter schools or who are on enrollment waiting lists. These families know charter schools work.
The reality is that too many Connecticut students graduate high school unprepared for college or careers, and our rate of progress toward postsecondary readiness is far too slow. This is especially true for children of color, who will soon be the majority of our state’s workforce. Recent statewide achievement data show that only three out of ten Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino students are on track to college or career readiness in English. Only two out of ten of these student are on track in math.
Right now, access to a great public education is profoundly inequitable. There are three ways families can get a quality education for their children: they can buy it by moving to a zip code with strong public schools or by paying for private school; they can steal it by lying about their residence; or they can get lucky and receive a spot at a quality, public charter school through a lottery.
Connecticut’s charter schools have a proven record of providing underserved children with quality education, closing achievement gaps, and preparing students for success in college and the workforce. This spring, U.S. News & World Report named a public charter school, New Haven’s Amistad Academy, as the top high school in Connecticut and the 20th-ranked high school in America. The latest statewide student achievement scores show that another charter school, Booker T. Washington Academy, is the highest-performing school in Connecticut in math, with 87% of students on track for college and career readiness in that subject. 86% of students who attend Booker T. Washington Academy are Black or African American, and 82% quality for free and reduced-price lunch.
Our students and our economy cannot wait for better, more equitable education outcomes. We must do more, faster, to ensure that our children get the education they need to succeed. That means supporting and strengthening all types of public schools, including charter schools.”