Dear Senator Sanders,
On behalf of the thousands of Black boys who want to attend a charter school if space please abandon your call for a moratorium on the creation of new charter schools and back away from calls for additional regulations that are not in the best interests of schools or students. Black and brown families deserve the right to choose their public schools too.
Moreover, our Black boys deserve the high-quality education that public charter schools afford them.
Public charter schools are in high demand among families of color. According to a recent survey from Democrats for Education Reform, 58% of Black Democratic voters and 52% of Hispanic Democratic voters support charter schools.
Additionally, 67% of African American and 62% of Latin Gen X’s and millennial’s support charter schools. Instead of calling for limits on the choices Black and Hispanic families can make, you should be listening to these communities. If you were, you’d surely hear their call for high quality choices within the public-school system.
In Brown v. Board of Education, the court struck down laws that limited the educational options and opportunities for Black students.
It sickens us that now, 65 years later, we are again fighting politicians who would seek to tell our families which public schools we can and can’t choose for our children. Public charter schools offer hope and opportunity to millions of students, especially Black boys, and your call would move our nation backwards towards educational inequality.
Unfortunately, America has suffered the last few years with someone leading us who doesn’t believe that all citizens should have equitable rights.
District-operated public schools have systemically failed Black boys for generations. I can attest to this as having been a public traditional school teacher. As a Charter school leader and teacher, I see the work happening within innovative classrooms.
Many Charter schools are bridging the educational gap for Black boys and millions of children in America who aren’t afforded an equitable education in traditional public schools.
As a result:
1) Many charter schools are located in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, in the communities where the need for high-quality public education options is most acute; and,
2) Nationwide, Black and Hispanic families are more likely to choose charter schools for their children, accounting for 60 percent of total charter school enrollment. What’s more, the research indicates that those families are making the right choice.
A 2015 report from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University on students in 41 urban regions across the country found that Black charter school students gained 36 days of learning in math and 26 days in reading over their non-charter school peers. For Black students in poverty, gains were even more substantial: 59 days in math and 44 in reading.
It is clear from your statements on charter schools that you have fallen victim to many of the myths about charter schools.
As a educational advocate, I encourage you, like I do all stakeholders, to visit the various schools within your local community. See the work that happening in the classrooms beyond numbers on paper. Engagement is the true key to turning the page in advancing America’s educational system.
A call for a moratorium on charter schools is expanding the doors for the school to prison pipeline. The very schools this call would be preventing are the very ones that are transforming the lives of millions of kids in this great country.
Jason B. Allen
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.