Jeff Bryant: Why Democrats Should Unite For a Charter Moratorium

Jeff Bryant argues cogently in this article that Democrats should unite on behalf of a charter school moratorium.

If the Democratic party wants to revive its base–labor and civil rights–it should heed Jeff’s sound advice.

Charters and school choice were never a natural fit with the public philosophy of the Denocratic party, which recognized the power of government to advance the common good, because charters are typically non-union, typically more segregated than the district they are in, and are aligned with the privatizing philosophy of the Republican Party.

It is passing strange to see any Democrat lending support to a policy championed by Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, the Walton family, the Koch brothers, and every Republican governor.

Read the entire article. Here is an excerpt:

“Democrats know that success for their party relies on bringing labor and civil rights advocates together on key issues.

“Faced with disastrous Donald Trump, labor and civil rights advocates are rallying in common cause behind health care for all, a living wage for every worker, a tax system where the wealthy pay their fair share, tuition-free college, and an end to senseless, never-ending wars.

“Here’s another rallying point labor and civil rights agree on: A moratorium on charter schools.

“This week, the nation’s largest labor union, the National Education Association, broke from its cautious regard of charter schools to pass a new policy statement that declares charter schools are a “failed experiment” that has led to a “separate and unequal” sector of schools that are not subject to the same “safeguards and standards” of public schools.

“To limit the further expansion of these schools, the NEA wants a moratorium on new charters that aren’t subject to democratic governance and aren’t supportive of the common good in local communities.

“The NEA’s action echoes a resolution passed earlier this year by the national NAACP calling for a moratorium on the expansion of charters and for stronger oversight of these schools. These declarations also align with a policy statement issued last year by the Movement for Black Lives, a network Black Lives Matter organizers, calling for a moratorium on charter schools.

“Now that labor and civil rights groups have come together in a unified call for a moratorium on these unregulated, privately-operated schools, prominent leaders in the Democratic party can champion this issue knowing they have a grassroots constituency that supports them.

“Democrats in states where charters have been the most controversial – such as Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and California – should be especially interested in leading on this issue for a number of reasons.

“A Shared Concern For Basic Rights

“First, in most communities, unregulated charters are segregating students and undermining democratically governed public institutions.

“In their calls for a charter school moratorium, NEA, NAACP, and the Movement for Black Lives express a basic concern that these privately-operated schools are not subject to the same legal constraints as other public institutions, including federal and state laws and protections for students with disabilities, minorities, and school employees.

“The statements share a belief that charter schools have become counter-productive to a school system intent on serving the needs and interests of all students, and they argue that charters are reversing the progress achieved by civil rights milestones like the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

“All three organizations maintain that charter schools, as currently conceived, undermine local public schools, particularly those that are in communities that are already marginalized by racial prejudice and economic inequities. These organizations insist that charters must not be financially supported at the expense of local schools.

“Each statement shares the concern that charter schools are not subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools, and they argue that making charters subject to a democratically elected local authority is the way to bring these schools back in line with responsible governance.

“Charters: An Idea Gone Awry

“In a press release announcing its new charter school policy, the NEA declares that charter schools have evolved far from their original intent to serve local communities as “incubators of innovation” and have instead become a force undermining local schools “without producing any overall increase in student learning and growth.”

“NEA’s contention that charter schools are an idea gone awry has widely held support.”

“The original vision of charter schools as laboratory schools, where teachers would have a stronger voice, has evolved to a more politically conservative vision that views charters as competitors of public schools in a market where only the schools with greater advantages can survive.”

from sarah http://ift.tt/2tXB175

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