Press Release

NAACP Task Force to Hold Hearing on Education Quality Detroit and Michigan State Conference to Host Event

March 8, 2017

NATIONAL NAACP LEADERSHIP AND CHARTER AND PUBLIC SCHOOL ADVOCATES TO DISCUSS TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY AND IMPACT OF CHARTERS ON UNDERFUNDED SCHOOL DISTRICTS

DETROIT, MI – A new NAACP task force studying education quality will hold its fifth in a series of at least seven national hearings on the impact of charter schools on underfunded school districts. The task force will take input from advocates, teachers, parents and policy experts as a means of honing its policy on charter schools.

The National Task Force for Quality Education, along with the Detroit branch and the Michigan State Conference, will host the fifth of seven national public hearings concerning public education quality and the increasing transparency and accountability of charter schools as well as their impact on already underfunded school districts.

“We can learn a lot about what a national agenda on education policy from the Dept. of Education might look like by looking at Detroit,” said NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks. “As we look at the problematic issues facing public education in Detroit due in large part to the advocates of privatization, we realize the extent to which we must remain vigilant regarding any potentially dangerous national policies coming from Sec. Betsy DeVos or out of the Dept. of Education that favor unproven strategies threatening the stability of our education system,” said President Brooks.

This event is the fifth hearing organized by the NAACP’s National Task Force for Quality Education.

The task force was created in October after board members approved a moratorium on expanding public charter school funding until:

  • Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools.
  • Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system.
  • Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate.
  • Charter schools cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.

New NAACP Board Chairman Leon W. Russell sees these hearings as a continuation of the organization’s historical support for public education quality and access.  “The issue of public education’s quality and sustainability are issues the African-American community can only ignore at its own peril. The issues of charter schools and privatization require a sound analysis regarding their potentially positive or negative impact on public education and this is what these hearings are about,” said Chairman Russell.

The NAACP Task Force Hearing on Quality Education, hosted by the Detroit branch and the Michigan State Conference will be held on Wednesday, March 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School @Northwestern, located 2200 W. Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48208. The event is free and registration begins at 5 p.m.

Invited Key participants include:

  • Alycia Meriweather, Interim Superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Clark Durant, Founder, Cornerstone Charter Schools Michigan
  • Tonya Allen, President & CEO, Skillman Foundation; Co-Chair, Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren
  • Ivy Bailey, President, Detroit Federation of Teachers
  • State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, State Representative, District 8, Member of Education Committee
  • Thomas C. Pedroni, Associate Professor, Curriculum Studies, Wayne State University
  • Iris Taylor, President, Detroit Board Community School District
  • Lauren Johnson, Vice President, American Federation of Teachers
  • Sharlonda Buckman, President, Detroit Parent Network
  • Amari Harris, Renaissance High School (DPSCD) and Virgil Mason, Chandler Park Academy High School (charter), Students Representatives

The first task force hearing was held in early December in New Haven, CT and additional hearings have been held in Orlando, Memphis, and Los Angeles. Additional hearings are being scheduled for New Orleans and New York City.

“We hope that by bringing people from our community together, we can better grasp and understand the impact of charters on school funding, “said Alice Huffman, chairman of the task force and president of the California State Conference of the NAACP.

Visitors who wish to speak at the hearing are asked to pre-register before the session begins. To accommodate the public, individual speakers may be asked to adhere to a time limit or to appoint a representative to speak on behalf of a group.

 

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Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.