Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The NAACP's clout is a terrible thing to waste: Black rights group is wrong to sign onto UFT lawsuit

Here's an op ed in the NY Daily News by Michael Lomax, president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund, and Michelle Rhee:

…the NAACP ought to be ashamed for fighting to deprive kids and families of better educational options.

Where education reform has worked, as it has in New York City as demonstrated by student achievement gains, it is because schools have been held accountable for educating children and families have been given choices.

The lawsuit filed by the United Federation of Teachers and the NAACP would take troubling steps in the exact opposite direction.

…The UFT's agenda is clear enough. Teachers at the traditional schools that are slated for closure because of poor performance are union members. Charter schools are generally not unionized. So for the UFT, this is about protecting their members' jobs. We don't agree with that - but we understand where they're coming from.

But what is the NAACP's agenda? It has a storied history of fighting for the right of black children to go to public school. It won that battle, and we're all better for it.

But in this fight - the fight for children's right not only to go to school but to get a good education - the NAACP seems to have switched sides. It's fighting not for the right of kids of color to get a good education, but to keep failing public schools open and to limit kids' ability to go to public schools that are working.

Research shows a low-income child's life trajectory can be changed by spending three years in a row in a highly effective classroom, versus three years in a row in a weak classroom.

The great W.E.B. Du Bois said a great educator breathes "the real breath of life into boys and girls and makes them human, whether they be black or white, Greek, Russian or American."

That wisdom, we fear, is being ignored by the very organization Du Bois helped to found.


The NAACP's clout is a terrible thing to waste: Black rights group is wrong to sign onto UFT lawsuit

Thursday, June 2nd 2011, 4:00 AM

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