Please read the NAACP report on charter schools.

Ever since it was released, charter supporters have complained bitterly about the report and accused the NAACP of being paid off by the unions.

This is ridiculous. It is a sound and sober report.

Consider its recommendations.

1. There should be more equitable and adequate funding for schools serving children of color. The school finance system is extremely unfair and inequitable over states, districts, and schools. School funding in 36 states has not returned to its pre-2008 levels, when budgets were slashed. Federal funds in real dollar amounts have declined for Title I and special education over the same period.

Do charter supporters disagree?

2. School finance reform is needed to ensure that dollars go where the needs are greatest.

Do charter supporters disagree?

3. Invest in low-performing schools and in schools that have a significant opportunity to close achievement gaps. “Students learn in safe, supportive, and challenging learning environments under the tutelage of well-prepared caring adults.” Authorities must invest in incentives to attract and retain “fully qualified educators”; they must invest in creating instructional quality that provides a stimulating and challenging learning environment; they must invest in wraparound services that meet the need of children, including early childhood education, health and mental services, extended learning time, and social supports.

Do charter supports disagree? What would they object to? Maybe they would reject the idea that teachers should be “fully qualified,” since that might be a slap at Teach for America’s teachers, who are never fully qualified when they begin teaching.

4. Mandate a rigorous authorizing and renewal process. States with the fewest authorizers have the best charters. Only local school districts should be allowed to authorize charters, based on their needs.

This would be a problem for many charters, because they like it when there are many authorizers, and they can go shopping to find one that will give them an okay. They hate being overseen by local districts, because they see themselves as competitors to public schools, not collaborators. But that is part of what makes charters obnoxious.

5. Eliminate for-profit charter schools and for-profit charter management companies that control nonprofit charters. Not a dollar of federal, state or local money should go to for-profit charters. The report notes that the widespread reports of misconduct of for-profit charters and their for-profit managers is reason enough to forbid them. As for-profits, they have an “inherent conflict of interest,” and may well put the interest of their investors over those of students.

Do charter supporters disagree? Obviously, this is a sticking point for many charter supporters, including Betsy DeVos, who welcomes for-profit charters. More than 80% of the charters in her home state of Michigan operate for profit, and they get poor results. That doesn’t bother her at all. It bothers the NAACP.

Now, I ask you, what part of these five recommendations suggests that the NAACP is wrong? That it was doing the bidding of teachers’ unions? Is it so objectionable to charter advocates to propose that children should be taught by fully qualified educators? Are they prepared to fight for teachers who are not fully qualified?

Later in the report, on page 26, is an expanded discussion of the recommendations, including a recommendation that charters hire only certified teachers and that charters abide by common standards for reporting on disciplinary practices and admitting and retaining students.

I commend the NAACP for its common sense proposals to reform the charter sector.

Are charter advocates prepared to go to the mat to defend for-profit operations?

What part of this report and its recommendations has lit a fire of outrage in charter land?