Black History Month began Wednesday, and this year’s theme is “The Crisis in Black Education.” According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the group that founded BHM—this crisis “has grown significantly in urban neighborhoods where public schools lack resources, endure overcrowding, exhibit a racial achievement gap, and confront policies that fail to deliver substantive opportunities.”
President Barack Obama championed these publicly funded but independently run schools, whose promise is that freedom from traditional bureaucratic regulation will allow educators to innovate, thus improving student outcomes. Unlike vouchers—essentially publicly funded passes for select students to attend private school, which Democrats typically oppose—charters are a public form of “school choice” that enjoys bipartisan support. In particular, supporters see them as a lifeline to poor and minority families; most are located in urban and other low-income areas across the country.
But the charter movement was dealt a devastating blow last year when both the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter–aligned Movement for Black Lives called for a moratorium on these schools. With its resolution, the NAACP listed four conditions under which the nation’s oldest civil rights group would support further charter proliferation:
Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.
A majority of the Madison School Board rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter School several years ago.