Archives for category: Education Reform

If Democrats win control of the Senate, Bernie Sanders will hold one of the most powerful positions in Congress:

Sisters and Brothers,

I heard what Paul Ryan said about me: that if the Republicans lose the Senate, I will be the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

That sounds like a very good idea to me. It means that we can establish priorities for working people, and not just the billionaire class.

What would be equally exciting is if the Democrats took back the House, and Congressman Ryan was no longer Speaker. That would mean the clearest possible path to enact our agenda – the most progressive agenda of any party in American history.

In the last day, you have responded tremendously to our call to support four leaders who will help shift the balance of the Senate. More than 20,000 people have contributed more than $900,000 to ten candidates who are inspired by the political revolution.

During our campaign we pushed ourselves to reach goals that many thought impossible. That is why we set a very big, very audacious goal that we didn’t know if we could reach, but that we thought it was very important to try. But you’re about to smash that $1 million goal.

So, we’re going to need a bigger goal.

Let’s raise $2 million before tonight’s final FEC deadline of the campaign for candidates for the House and Senate. Can you start with a $3 contribution between Paul Clements, Catherine Cortez-Masto, Deborah Ross, Zephyr Teachout, Morgan Carroll, Nanette Barragan, and Rick Nolan?

Help us reach $2 million raised for House and Senate candidates


Consider for a moment the power that exists in the U.S. Senate. Right now, the Republican majority is using their power to block any meaningful action on addressing income inequality or climate change. In addition, without a Democratic majority the Senate is refusing to confirm federal judges and, incredibly, has left open a critical seat on the Supreme Court.

With a Democratic majority, we can change all of that. What Paul Ryan is specifically afraid of is the power of the budget committee. That committee defines the spending priorities of the entire government. The work of that committee says how much revenue the government should have, and where its money should go.

I have some thoughts on how the government should allocate its spending. I’m sure you do, too.

The first step to being able to enact our progressive agenda is taking back the Senate. And if we take back the House… well, the sky is the limit for what we can achieve.

Help us reach for our new, audacious goal of raising $2 million for candidates for the House and Senate by midnight tonight. Add a $3 contribution now split between Paul Clements, Catherine Cortez-Masto, Deborah Ross, Zephyr Teachout, Morgan Carroll, Nanette Barragan, and Rick Nolan.

Thank you for all you do.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

If you live anywhere near Philadelphia, you should not miss the premiere of the stunning documentary “Backpack Full of Cash.” It is an expose of the corporate education reform movement. It has the potential to inform the public about the billionaire-funded effort to privatize our public schools.

The producers and director are the same team from Stone Lantern Films that created the award-winning PBS series called “School” a decade ago.

“Backpack” is narrated by Matt Damon.

The producers found it far harder to raise funding for this film than for their “School” series. Try to see the film but also consider a contribution to their crowd-sourcing fund. They need our help to tell the story of an unprecedented assault on American public education. They have started a Kickstarter campaign to get your assistance in telling the story of the efforts to privatize public education. Please give whatever you can. This is a very professionally made film and it will help to educate the public about the dangers of corporate education “reform.”




Dear Friends and Supporters, 

We are very happy to announce the world premiere of our 95-minute documentary BACKPACK FULL OF CASH at the Philadelphia Film Festival with screenings to be held on two Saturdays, October 22 and October 29, 2016. BACKPACK producers Sarah Mondale and Vera Aronow will present the film and participate in a Q&A session after the screenings.

The film examines major threats to public education from the movement for market based reform, including the rapid growth of privately-run charter schools, vouchers and tax credit “scholarships”, cyber charter schools, standardized testing, and the attack on teachers. 


BACKPACK follows students, parents, teachers and activists through the tumultuous 2013-14 school year in Philadelphia and other cities, giving viewers an inside look at what happens to public schools when scarce taxpayer dollars are shifted into private hands. 

Key participants include children whose lives were upended by the dramatic events that rocked the Philadelphia school district in 2013-14, as well as local leaders including City Council member Helen Gym, Philadelphia’s Chief Education Officer Otis Hackney (former Principal of South Philadelphia High) and School Superintendent William Hite. The film also features interviews with historian Diane Ravitch, policy analyst Linda Darling Hammond, and journalist David Kirp, among other national figures.  One of our goals, as filmmakers, is to emphasize the importance of just, fair public schools that are places of hope for children of all backgrounds.

We are especially happy to be premiering BACKPACK FULL OF CASH  in the city where we spent so much time filming with the support and cooperation of so many wonderful people. Please join us at one of the festival screenings. We hope to see you there.


PFF25 Festival Screenings

Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 5:10PM

Prince Theater, Philadelphia, PA


Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 4:10PM

Prince Theater, Philadelphia, PA 

View the full program guide here.

Purchase your tickets here!

Thank you for supporting our work.  


Sarah Mondale – Stone Lantern Films and Vera Aronow – Turnstone Productions


John King inherited a lot of very bad ideas from his predecessor Arne Duncan. One of them is the belief that teacher education programs can be judged by the test scores of the students taught by their graduates. King recently issued regulations cementing the regulations that Duncan began fashioning a few years back. It would be asking too much to expect anyone at the U.S. Department of Education to rethink their failed policies of the past 7 1/2 years.

Fortunately we have a commentary from lawyer Sarah Blaine that explains why the King-Duncan regulations are nonsense. They will increase the nation’s teacher shortage and demoralize those who spend their days trying to teach children.

In the original post, I called this “Arne’s Worst Idea Yet.” Now it is John King’s “worst idea yet.”

It has no validity. It will worsen the problems it is intended to solve.

Sarah Blaine called this proposal “asinine.” Read her entire post.

Here is an excerpt:

“Now, please bear with me. Out here in lawyer-land, there’s a slippery concept that every first year law student must wrap her head around: it’s the idea of distinguishing between actual (or “but for”) causation and proximate (or “legal”) causation. Actual causation is any one of a vast link in the chain of events from the world was created to Harold injured me by hitting me, that, at some level, whether direct or attenuated, “caused” my injury. For instance, Harold couldn’t have hit me if the world hadn’t been created, because if the world hadn’t been created, Harold wouldn’t exist (nor would I), and therefore I never would have been hit by Harold. So, if actual or “but for” causation was legally sufficient to hold someone responsible for an injury, I could try suing “the Creator,” as if the Creator is somehow at fault for Harold’s decision to hit me.

Well, that’s preposterous, even by lawyer standards, right?

The law agrees with you: the Creator is too far removed from the injury, and therefore cannot be held legally responsible for it.

So to commit a tort (legal wrong) against someone else, it isn’t sufficient that the wrong allegedly committed actually — at some attenuated level — caused the injured’s injury (i.e., that the injury would not have happened “but for” some cause). Instead, the wrong must also be proximally related to that injury: that is, there must be a close enough tie between the allegedly negligent or otherwise wrongful act and the injury that results. So while it would be silly to hold “the Creator” legally responsible for Harold hitting me, it would not be similarly silly to hold Harold responsible for hitting me. Harold’s act was not only an actual or “but for” cause of my injury, it was also an act closely enough related to my injury to confer legally liability onto Harold. This is what we lawyers call proximate (or legal) causation: that is, proximate causation is an act that is a close enough cause of the injury that it’s fair — at a basic, fundamental level — to hold the person who committed that injurious act legally responsible (i.e., liable to pay damages or otherwise make reparations) for his act. [As an aside to my aside, if this sort of reasoning makes your head explode, law school probably isn’t a great option for you.]

Well, it appears that Arne Duncan would have failed his torts class. You see, Arne didn’t get the memo regarding the distinction between actual causation and proximate causation. Instead, what Arne proposes is to hold teacher prep programs responsible for the performance of their alumni’s K-12 students (and to punish them if their alumni’s students don’t measure up). Never mind the myriad chains in the causation link between the program’s coursework and the performance of its graduates’ students (presumably on standardized tests). Arne Duncan somehow thinks that he can proximally — fairly — link these kids’ performance not just to their teachers (a dicey proposition on its own), but to their teachers’ prep programs. Apparently Arne can magically tease out all other factors, such as where an alumna teaches, what her students’ home lives are like, how her students’ socio-economic status affects their academic performance, the level of her students’ intrinsic motivation, as well as any issues in the new alumna’s personal life that might affect her performance in the classroom, and, of course, the level of support provided to the new alumna as a new teacher by her department and administration, and so forth. As any first year law student can tell you, Arne’s proposal is asinine, as the alumna’s student’s test results will be so far removed from her teaching program’s performance that ascribing proximate causation from the program to the children’s performance offends a reasonable person’s sense of justice. [Not to mention the perverse incentives this would create for teaching programs’ career advising centers — what teaching program would ever encourage a new teacher to take on a challenging teaching assignment?]”

Sam Husseini of the Institute for Public Accuracy invited me and several others to submit questions for John King’s press conference at the National Press Club. I was interested in knowing what he thought about the NAACP’s call for a moratorium on new charter schools until there were assurances of accountability and unless they stopped diverting resources from public schools. You will note that Secretary King continued his full-throated advocacy for more charters and said that it was up to states to make the rules. Not only does he completely ignore the existence of the nation’s public schools, not only does he disregard the NAACP, he intends to keep shoveling hundreds of millions of federal dollars to new charter schools with no expectation of accountability or transparency.

Husseini wrote:

Some of the questions I got from folks were asked at the “news maker” event with Education Secretary John King at the National Press Club yesterday. Here are those questions — as asked by the moderator, which may be slightly different than how they were submitted — along with King’s responses. Here’s full PDF. Here’s full video. (Part of the first question here was from Diane Ravitch, as was the last question, below. The middle question was from my partner, Emily Prater, who is a third grade teacher at a Title I school in Washington, D.C.

MR. BALLOU: Charter Schools. You’ve said, “What I worry most about is we have some states that have done a really great job with charter authorizing and so have generally high quality charters and have been willing to close ones that are underperforming. On the other hand, you have states who’ve not done as good a job, 17 places like Michigan. We have a history of a low bar for getting a charter and an unwillingness to hold charters to high standards. What’s your view on where charter authorizing should be by the time you leave office, and how do you plan to get there? As someone who cites your own education in New York for saving your life and trajectory, and what of non-charter public schools? For some time, one of the arguments against charters was over resources about charters getting better resources than public education.

And there’s actually a second question sort of tied to this. A few days ago, the NAACP’s national; board called for a moratorium on new charter schools until laws are revised to make charters as accountable and as transparent as public schools. Do you agree with them, that charter schools should meet the same standards of accountability as public schools? And if you do, will you stop funding new charter schools as they recommend?

SECRETARY KING: So, let me start with this. We are fortunate, I think, as a country to have some high performing charters that are doing a great job and providing great opportunities to students. Charters that are helping students not only perform at higher levels academically, but go on to college at much higher rates than demographically similar students and succeed there. That’s good, we should have more schools like that and I think any arbitrary gap on the growth of high performing charters is a mistake in terms of our goal of trying to improve opportunity for all kids.

That said, where states are doing a bad job on charter authorizing, that has to change. You know, I’ve talked about the example of Michigan. We have states that have set a low bar for getting a charter, and then when charters perform poorly, they fail to take action to either improve them or close them, which is the essence of the charter school compact. Charter schools were supposed to be a compact, more autonomy in exchange for greater accountability. And yet, some states have not followed through on that compact. That is a problem.

Now, those decisions are made at the state level, they’re made based on state law. What we’ve done in the administration over the last eight years is two things. One is we’ve provided resources to improve charter authorizing in states and worked with states to strengthen their practices around reviewing the quality of charters, reviewing the quality of charter applications.

And two, we’ve invested in increasing the supply of great high performing charters. But, to the extent that what folks are saying is they want states to do a better job on charter authorizing, I agree. But where we have states that are doing a good job on charter authorizing and we have charters that are doing great jobs for kids that want to grow, they should be able to. And I think this is an issue where we’ve got to put kids first. We’ve got to ask what’s best for the students and parents.

As Arne would often point out, students and parents aren’t as concerned about the governance model as they are about is my child getting a quality education? We’ve got to be focused on that, which is one of the reasons why I think arbitrary caps don’t make sense, is we shouldn’t limit kids’ access to great opportunities.

MR. BALLOU: A lot of teachers have been writing. (Laughter) What do you propose to do about the equality of pay between teachers and administrators, for example, like yourself? One teacher says, “I worked 12 hours yesterday, I didn’t have time for lunch. Did you have time for lunch? I make $47,000 a year. How much do you make,” which of course is public record. “I can’t go to the bathroom when I need to. Can you go to the bathroom when you need to? And please don’t talk about how great teachers are. We don’t need empty rhetoric. We need resources, we need policies that actually help us teach, not help profiteers.” How do you– a pretty upset teacher there.

SECRETARY KING: Yeah, look. I think we see across the country, we see states that have not made the investment they should in their education system. We did a report earlier this year, the department, looking at the difference in state investment in prisons versus K-12 education. And what we found is that we see over the last 30 years rate of increase in investment spending on prisons that is three times as high as the rate of increase in spending on K-12 education.

That suggests to me that as a society, we haven’t put our resources where we should. So, are there states that should be spending significantly more on teacher salaries? Absolutely. And should we be paying more to teachers, especially teachers who are willing to serve in the highest needs communities and the highest needs fields where we have real demand? Absolutely. And the President’s proposed that. The President proposed a billion dollars for an initiative called Best Job in the World that would support professional development, incentives, career ladders for teachers who teach in the highest needs communities.

So we agree about the need for more resources and focusing those resources on teachers. One of the places I worry most about is in early leaning. We did a study on preK pay and found that in many communities around the country, pre-K teachers are making half what they would be making if they were working in an elementary school, which again suggests that our priorities are not right.

So this is a place where I agree with the questioner, we need to invest more resources in educators. We should pay our teachers very well because we know that teachers are essential to the future of our country. And we need to make sure the working conditions are good. It’s not just a question of teacher pay. I think of a place like Detroit, you know. If the water is leaking from the ceiling and there are rodents running across the floor, those working conditions are not ones that are going to make teaching a profession that people want or a profession people will want to stay in over the long term. And so we’ve got to make sure that working conditions are strong.

And the final point I’d make, is this is one of the reasons that supplement, not supplant, is so important because if you consistently under-resource the highest needs schools, the result will be poor working conditions in those schools and the inability to retain the great teachers that our highest needs students need.

MR. BALLOU: We’re running quickly out of time. Had an issue with one of your senior staff who had to resign over waste fraud and financial abuse. Have you been able to clean up the issues in the Inspector General’s office?

SECRETARY KING: So, this is about an employee in our IT department who made mistakes and was accountable for those mistakes, chose ultimately to resign. He’s no longer with the department. We have a very strong team around our IT and we are very focused, as folks are across the administration, on continuously strengthening cyber security. This is actually cyber security awareness month. Just came from a cyber security convening at the department this morning. We’re very focused on making sure that our IT systems are as strong as possible, that we protect the security of data. And that we insure that we’re providing good services.

So for example, is a tool that we’ve built and through our investment in the strength of our IT systems, and work across the administration to leverage technology on behalf of taxpayers and students, allows students to find information about every college, to find out about their graduation rates, how much people make who’ve graduated from that school, how able folks who’ve graduated from that school are able to repay their loans. It’s a great tool that we’ve made available and that is continuously evolving to try to provide services.

So IT is really a strength now of the department. But as is true across– for any employer, there are sometimes employees who make mistakes and we have systems in place to insure that that’s dealt with.

Pasi Sahlberg spoke at Wellesley College in a public lecture on October 13. The video has just been released.

As you will see, his presentation is an interactive performance, not a traditional lecture. He uses video, music, and data easily and flawlessly. He makes us think. He educates us.

The full video is an hour and a half. It includes not only Pasi’s presentation, but introductions by Barbara Beatty, the historian of early childhood education and chair of Wellesley’s education department; Dr. Paula Johnson, the 14th president of the College; me, introducing Howard Gardner; and Howard Gardner introducing Pasi.

Wait until you have some free time, kick back, and enjoy!



According to WSB-TV, which released the first public poll on the school takeover amendment, 41 percent of Georgians oppose the takeover while just 39 percent support it.

In short, we are winning!

As a parent of two Clarke County Schools students, I understand the importance of strengthening public education. That’s why I’m focused on fighting the growing corporatization of our public schools and speaking out against the school takeover. It’s nothing more than a political power grab that would silence parents.

Amendment 1 is so misleading that Georgians have declared that it violates voting rights. An Atlanta parent, a reverend and a public school teacher filed a lawsuit on behalf of all Georgia voters, challenging the deceiving ballot language.

Kimberly Brooks, mother and plaintiff, sees through the scam.

From the AJC: “You have to ask,opportunity for whom? If you read the fine print, you’ll see this is an opportunity for the state to take our voices away.

Question: If the amendment language is rigged to deceive voters, how do we beat it?  

Answer: We beat it by talking about the state takeover district, informing people of what is really at stake and advocating for real solutions to the problems with our schools that are struggling, not creating expensive and destructive false cures that will enrich corporate and political interests and do very real harm to the children it purports to “help.”

Getting involved and spreading the word are vital if we want to stop this takeover. Our efforts will make all the difference on this issue. It is up to us to help voters know that “No on Amendment 1” is the only way to go when they get to that part of the ballot…regardless of the tricky language.


The more people know about this proposal, the less they like it — which is why we can win. Voters react with alarm at the prospect of giving power to an unelected political appointee who can close schools, fire teachers without cause or hand our schools over to out-of-state, for-profit corporations.

Janet Kishbaugh, an Atlanta parent, is voting “No” on Amendment 1 for this very reason.

From a recent video: “For every parent, the most import thing… [is] to have direct input into the decisions made about our kids, and we shouldn’t allow the state take that away from any community.”

Though we are pulling ahead, we must stay involved as the fight continues until November 8. Stay informed, spread the word and show your opposition.

Early voting begins on Oct. 17 in most parts of Georgia. Vote “No” on the school takeover.


Bertis Downs

P.S. Volunteer with Keep Georgia Schools Local and keep the momentum going. Email volunteer@ to learn about their volunteering opportunities.

Click to view this email in a web browser or to share on Facebook.

Perhaps you read the editorial in the New York Times a few days ago, blasting teacher education programs and approving John King’s new regulations to judge them by the test scores of the students who graduate from them. The editorial cites the Gates-funded National Council on Teacher Quality’s claim that 90% of teacher education institutions stink. NCTQ, you may recall, publishes rankings of teacher education programs without ever actually visiting any of them. It just reads the catalogues and decides which are the best and which are the worst, based in part on their adherence to the Common Core and scripted reading programs.

I agree that the entry standards for teacher education programs must be higher, and I would love to see online teaching degree programs shut down. But King’s new rules don’t address entry standards or crummy online programs. Their main goal is to judge teacher education programs by the test scores of the students who studied under the graduates of the programs. They will discourage teachers from teaching in high-needs districts. They will allow the U.S. Department of Education to extend its test-crazed control into yet another sector of American education. This is federal overreach at its dumbest.

John Merrow, who knows much more than the Times’ editorial writer on education (the same person for the past 20 years or more), has a different and better informed perspective.

He writes that the problem is not teacher education but the underpaid, under-respected profession.

The federal government thinks that tighter regulation of these institutions is the answer. After all, cars that come out of an automobile plant can be monitored for quality and dependability, thus allowing judgments about the plant. Why not monitor the teachers who graduate from particular schools of education and draw conclusions about the quality of their training programs?

That’s the heart of the new regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education this week: monitor the standardized test scores of students and analyze the institutions their teachers graduated from. Over time, the logic goes, we’ll discover that teachers from Teacher Tech or Acme State Teachers College generally don’t move the needle on test scores. Eventually, those institutions will lose access to federal money and be forced out of business. Problem solved!

Education Secretary John B. King, Jr., announced the new regulations in Los Angeles. “As a nation, there is so much more we can do to help prepare our teachers and create a diverse educator workforce. Prospective teachers need good information to select the right program; school districts need access to the best trained professionals for every opening in every school; and preparation programs need feedback about their graduates’ experiences in schools to refine their programs (emphasis added). These regulations will help strengthen teacher preparation so that prospective teachers get off to the best start they can, and preparation programs can meet the needs of students and schools for great educators.”

Work on the regulations began five years ago and reflect former Secretary Arne Duncan’s views.

John Merrow says that the Department is trying to solve a problem by issuing regulations that will make the problem worse. Teacher churn and attrition are at extraordinary high levels. The regulations will not encourage anyone to improve teaching.

He writes:

Strengthen training, increase starting pay and improve working conditions, and teaching might attract more of the so-called ‘best and brightest,’ whereas right now it’s having trouble attracting anyone, according to the Learning Policy Institute, which reported that

“Between 2009 and 2014, the most recent years of data available, teacher education enrollments dropped from 691,000 to 451,000, a 35% reduction. This amounts to a decrease of almost 240,000 professionals on their way to the classroom in the year 2014, as compared to 2009.”

Merrow writes, in the voice of wisdom, a voice that has been non-existent in Washington, D.C., for the past 15 years:

I am a firm believer in the adage, “Harder to Become, Easier to Be.” We need to raise the bar for entry into the field and at the same time make it easier for teachers to succeed. This approach will do the opposite; it will make teaching more test-centric and less rewarding.

This latest attempt to influence teaching and learning is classic School Reform stuff. It worships at the altar of test scores and grows out of an unwillingness to face the real issues in education (and in society). While it may be well-meaning, it’s misguided and, at the end of the day, harmful.

Listen up, New York Times editorial writer!

This is one of the very best poems from Some DamPoet. He/she wrote it after the Gates Foundation admitted that its plans were not working out as well as they hoped, but that they intended to double down on their foundering efforts. The Los Angeles Times reprimanded the Gates Foundation for its hubris. So does Our Poet.

“The Charge of the Gates Brigade” (based on “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Half a wit, half a wit,
Half a wit onward,
All in the Valley of Dumb
Bill and Mel foundered
“Forward, the Gates Brigade!
Charge for the schools!” he said.
Into the Valley of Dumb
Bill and Mel foundered


“Forward, the Gates Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the Coleman knew
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and lie.
Into the Valley of Dumb
Bill and Mel foundered


Teachers to right of them,
Teachers to left of them,
Teachers in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with fact and stat,
Boldly they tuned out that,
Into the Ravitch jaws,
Into the mouth of cat
Bill and Mel foundered


Flashed all their BS bare,
Dashed was their savoir faire
VAMming the teachers there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered.
Plunged in with mir’s-n-smoke
Valiantly went for broke;
Cluelessly rushin’
Reeled from reality’s stroke
Shattered and sundered.
VAMming attack, for naught,
Bill and Mel foundered


Teachers to right of them,
Teachers to left of them,
Teachers behind them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with fact and stat,
While Bill and Mel chewed fat
They that had fought the BAT
Came through the Ravitch jaws,
Back from the mouth of cat,
All that was left in end:
Bill and Mel foundered


When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Gates Brigade,
Bill and Mel foundered

Parents, students, educators and other citizens are invited nvited to learn about the hoax of Amendment 1on the ballot. It is an effort by the far-right to change the Georgia state constitution to allow the state to take over schools with low test scores and give them to charter corporations. Tea Party Governor Nathan Deal says it is for the poor minority kids, whom he wants to “save.”

Please join civil rights activists to learn more about Amendment 1 and the myth of the New Orleans miracle.


The national board of the NAACP endorsed the resolution passed by its 2016 annual convention calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion!

So-called reformers, who falsely claim to be in alliance with the civil rights movement, should read the resolution with care. They should stop closing schools, they should abandon privatization, they should turn their efforts and money to helping improve public schools. They should help to foster desegregated schools and communities. They should insist on health care facilities and fully funded services at every school. They should support social justice for all children and families, not privatization of public services, which generates segregation and inequity.

Here is the statement of the national board of the NAACP:


October 15, 2016

CINCINNATI – Members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Board of Directors ratified a resolution Saturday adopted by delegates at its 2016 107th National Convention calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion and for the strengthening of oversight in governance and practice.

“The NAACP has been in the forefront of the struggle for and a staunch advocate of free, high-quality, fully and equitably-funded public education for all children,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the National NAACP Board of Directors. “We are dedicated to eliminating the severe racial inequities that continue to plague the education system.”

The National Board’s decision to ratify this resolution reaffirms prior resolutions regarding charter schools and the importance of public education, and is one of 47 resolutions adopted today by the Board of Directors. The National Board’s decision to ratify supports its 2014 Resolution, ‘School Privatization Threat to Public Education’, in which the NAACP opposes privatization of public schools and public subsidizing or funding of for-profit or charter schools. Additionally, in 1998 the Association adopted a resolution which unequivocally opposed the establishment and granting of charter schools which are not subject to the same accountability and standardization of qualifications/certification of teachers as public schools and divert already-limited funds from public schools.

We are calling for a moratorium on the expansion of the charter schools at least until such time as:
(1) Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools

(2) Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system

(3) Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate and

(4) Cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.

Historically the NAACP has been in strong support of public education and has denounced movements toward privatization that divert public funds to support non-public school choices.

“We are moving forward to require that charter schools receive the same level of oversight, civil rights protections and provide the same level of transparency, and we require the same of traditional public schools,” Chairman Brock said. “Our decision today is driven by a long held principle and policy of the NAACP that high quality, free, public education should be afforded to all children.”

While we have reservations about charter schools, we recognize that many children attend traditional public schools that are inadequately and inequitably equipped to prepare them for the innovative and competitive environment they will face as adults. Underfunded and under-supported, these traditional public schools have much work to do to transform curriculum, prepare teachers, and give students the resources they need to have thriving careers in a technologically advanced society that is changing every year. There is no time to wait. Our children immediately deserve the best education we can provide.

“Our ultimate goal is that all children receive a quality public education that prepares them to be a contributing and productive citizen,” said Adora Obi Nweze, Chair of the National NAACP Education Committee, President of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP and a former educator whose committee guides educational policy for the Association.

“The NAACP’s resolution is not inspired by ideological opposition to charter schools but by our historical support of public schools – as well as today’s data and the present experience of NAACP branches in nearly every school district in the nation,” said Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the NAACP. “Our NAACP members, who as citizen advocates, not professional lobbyists, are those who attend school board meetings, engage with state legislatures and support both parents and teachers.”

“The vote taken by the NAACP is a declaratory statement by this Association that the proliferation of charter schools should be halted as we address the concerns raised in our resolution,” said Chairman Brock.


Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.