Jeff Bryant writes for the Educational Opportunity Network, where he describes here the new uprising against privately managed charter schools. He says that local grassroots groups and voters are rebelling against the influence of billionaires and hedge fund managers who fund the charter schools.

He offers examples of this uprising:

*the recent decision by the NAACP annual conference to call for a moratorium on new charter schools;

*the endorsement of the NAACP decision by the Movement for Black Lives, a group affiliated with Black Lives Matter;

*the support of the moratorium by Journey for Justice, an organization of civil rights activists;

*the resounding defeat of the charter school candidates in Nashville.

Jeff says that the response of the charter industry has been either outrage or silence:

The way pro-charter advocates have responded to these…events is telling.

Regarding the civil rights groups’ calls for a charter moratorium, the pro-charter response has been a hissy-fit driven by fiery rhetoric and few facts.

Shaffar Jeffries, president of Democrats for Education Reform, a Washington D.C. based charter advocacy financed by hedge funds, issued a statement declaring the NAACP resolution a “disservice to communities of color.”

In a nationally televised newscast, Steve Perry, founder and operator of a charter school chain, lashed out at Hilary Shelton, the bureau director of the Washington, DC, chapter of the NAACP, for being a sell out to the teachers’ unions and for abandoning children of color.

The contention that the NAACP has sold out to teachers’ unions holds little water since that organization has been a recipient of generous donations from pro-charter advocates as well. And any argument that curbing charters is a de facto blow to black and brown school kids is more a rhetorical trope than a factual counter to the evidence NAACP cites, showing where charters undermine communities of color.

Regarding the defeat of big money-backed pro-charter candidates in Nashville, the usual outlets for charter industry advocacy – Democrats for Education Reform and the media outlets Education Post and The 74 – have been totally silent.

These responses are telling because the charter industry has heretofore been such masterful communicators.

Advocates for these schools have long understood most people don’t understand what the schools are. Even when presidential candidates in the recent Democratic Party primary ventured to express an opinion about charters, they horribly botched it.

So for years, the powerful charter school industry has been filling the void of understanding about charters with clever language meant to define what these schools are and what their purpose is.

The schools, we’ve been told, are “public,” even though they really aren’t. They’re supposed to outperform traditional public schools, but that turns out not to be true either. Even when the charter industry has tried to cut the data even finer to prove some charters outperform public schools, the claims turn out to be grossly over-stated.

We’ve also been told charter schools are a “civil rights cause.” Now it turns out that’s not quite the case either.

As the public comes to realize who is behind charter schools and that they will diminish the funding of neighborhood public schools, the charter narrative loses its luster.

The next big trial of the phony “charter narrative” will be in Massachusetts this November, where billionaires and conservative Republicans are behind an effort to expand the number of charters allowed—twelve a year for every year into the future. And they are selling their proposal by claiming it is intended to “improve public education” and pretending that privately managed charters are “public schools.” Will the people of Massachusetts fall for it?