NAACP Chapters Calls for End to Moratorium on CA Charters

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With the United Teachers of Los Angeles on their backs, California legislators are considering a moratorium on the establishment of new charter schools three NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) boards are insisting the moratorium will tarnish the Golden State.   Esmeralda Fabián Romero has the story in LASchoolReport.

The San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino branches have submitted separate resolutions to NAACP’s state board saying they oppose the moratorium, a move that breaks with the state organization’s education chair, Julian Vasquez Heilig, who was a driving force behind the national board voting in favor of the measure.

In an email obtained by LA School Report, Alice A. Huffman, president of the California Hawaii NAACP, told leaders in the three local branches that the state branch “has already taken a position of opposition and would appreciate it if you all would rescind your positions.”

Huffman could not be reached for comment. The resolutions also come as California lawmakers are considering restricting charter schools in the state, a move that California NAACP supports.

It also states that only 10 public schools in California with a majority African-American student enrollment fall in the top half of student performance statewide in English and math, and eight of them are public charter schools.

Similar resolutions have been created in the Riverside and San Bernardino branches.

“We’re hopeful that it can be adopted in California, and then the national board will do their research and investigate the facts in order to look at this again from the perspective of what is really going on with the African-American students locally, statewide and nationally,” Christina Laster, education chairwoman for the Riverside branch, told LA School Report.

Laster said that the charter moratorium has been “a huge issue” within the organization. She said every branch has different rules and her branch did not require a vote, but that San Diego’s did.  “By us coming out with the resolution, people can be aware that the moratorium is not helping our kids,” she said. “I believe they will now have a platform to voice their concern.”

John Futch, president of the San Bernardino branch, said enough members of his group had approved the resolution for it to be submitted. “I understand that if it passes (at the state level) then it would be recognized by the national NAACP. That’s what we expect.”

He added, “I have seen successful charter schools. And I have seen not very successful traditional schools. That’s a concern. As an advocate, you want what’s best for kids, sometimes you have to come out of the box.”

Vasquez Heilig, who is a professor at Sacramento State University . . . accused members of the individual branches of being paid by the California Charter Schools Association, specifically in Riverside. The association opposes the charter legislation now being debated in Sacramento.

Myrna Castrejón, the charter association’s president and CEO, said, “That’s a bag of goods. . . . the system has done nothing to provide targeted supports. So it makes sense that NAACP branches representing regions of the state with the highest black student enrollment are crying foul on the charter school moratorium. They want quality options in the public school system. They want charter schools.”

Laster denied that she was paid by the association to push the resolution.

“I have never received one penny from CCSA. That’s insane,” Laster said. “What’s been missed here is that there’s an assumption that all parents need some kind of direction from an outside stakeholder to tell them what’s best for their children. We’re missing the whole dynamic of supporting parental choice. They are able to make their own decision. We don’t have the power to direct parental decision.”

Four bills are moving through the California legislature. Assembly Bills 1505, 1506 and 1507 would limit charter schools in the state, and one would cap the number based on how many the state has by 2020. The bills, which have passed the Assembly Education Committee, also would grant local school districts sole authority over their approval. Another bill, SB 756, would impose a five-year moratorium on charter schools and passed its first policy hearing in the state Senate last month.