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Calling for Moratorium on Charter School Expansion and Strengthening of Oversight in Governance and Practice

WHEREAS, charter schools have been a rapidly growing sector of the education system, increasingly targeting low-income areas and communities of color; and

WHEREAS, charter schools with privately appointed boards do not represent the public yet make decisions about how public funds are spent; and

WHEREAS, charter schools have contributed to the increased segregation rather than diverse integration of our public school system; and

WHEREAS, research and reports have documented disproportionately high use of punitive and exclusionary discipline in addition to differential enrollment practices that violate protections of student rights for public schooling; and

WHEREAS, research and civil rights organizations have documented violations of parent and children's rights, conflicts of interest, fiscal mismanagement, and psychologically harmful environments within several rapidly proliferating charter management organizations; and

WHEREAS, analyses of annual missing charter funds have been estimated at nearly half a billion dollars nationally; and

WHEREAS, researchers have warned that charter school expansions in low-income communities mirror predatory lending practices that led to the sub-prime mortgage disaster, putting schools and communities impacted by these practices at great risk of loss and harm; and

WHEREAS, current policies force district campuses to accommodate co-locations of charter schools, resulting in shortages of resources and space and increasing tension and conflict within school communities; and

WHEREAS, weak oversight of charter schools puts students and communities at risk of harm, public funds at risk of being wasted, and further erodes local control of public education; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP shares the concerns of the Journey for Justice Alliance, an alliance of 38 organizations of Black and Brown parents and students in 23 states, which has joined with 175 other national local grassroots community, youth, and civil rights organizations calling for a moratorium on the Federal Charter schools program, which has pumped over$3 billion into new charter schools, many of which have already closed or have failed the students drawn to them by the illusive promise of quality; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms its 2014 Resolution, "School Privatization Threat to Public Education," in which the NAACP opposes the privatization of public schools and/or public subsidizing or funding of for-profit or charter schools; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP will continue to advocate against any state or Federal legislation which commits or diverts public funding, allows tax breaks, or establishes preferential advantages to for-profit, private and/or charter schools; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls for full funding and support of high quality free public education for all children; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls upon units to seek to pass legislation at the State and Local levels that will ensure that parents have access to Charter School Advisory Boards and that Charter Schools be required to provide schooling for students that are dismissed from school for disciplinary reasons; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP will seek legislation to strengthen the investigative powers of those bodies that oversee charter school fraud, corruption, waste, etc.; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that as a tool to help address exclusionary student disciplinary policies and practices of publicly funded charter schools, NAACP units should: a) review the U.S. Department of Justice-U.S. Department of Education joint guidelines on school climate and student discipline; b) encourage charter school administrators to apply that guidance to its student disciplinary practice; and c) work with parents of charter school students in appropriate cases to file complaints with the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, to challenge unwarranted exclusionary practices (e.g., suspensions and expulsions); and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP hereby supports a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP opposes bills that would weaken the investigative powers of any legislative body from uncovering charter school fraud, corruption, and/or waste; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports legislation and executive actions that would strengthen local governance and transparency of charter schools and, in so doing, affirms to protect students and families from exploitative governance practices.