Press Release

AFT’s Weingarten and Johnson on NAACP Charter School Resolution

For Release: 

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Asher Huey

WASHINGTON—After final passage of the NAACP resolution calling for a moratorium on the expansion of privately managed charter schools and an increase in transparency and accountability in the charter sector, AFT President Randi Weingarten and Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson released the following statements:

“When Al Shanker and others envisioned charter schools, they proposed teacher-led laboratories where educators and parents could explore and incubate ways to improve instruction,” said Weingarten. “Charters were intended as part of—not a replacement for—the public school system. But some who promote and fund charters today have other designs, and the explosion of unaccountable charters has drained resources for children, forced the closing of neighborhood schools and destabilized districts and communities in cities like Philadelphia and Detroit. In many places—the state of Ohio being one particularly egregious example—lax oversight results in rampant fraud, waste and mismanagement. And in places from New York City to California, charters have been caught discriminating in their admissions to keep out high-needs students.

“The NAACP’s commitment to excellent and equitable education for all children, particularly children of color, is unimpeachable and well predates those who now criticize the civil rights organization. Rather than criticize, one should try to address the underlying reasons why the NAACP is calling for a pause in further charter expansion. Addressing the issues raised in its resolution—including real transparency and accountability standards for charters—is a necessary step in the fight for great public schools for all children. There is growing consensus, as seen in the Democratic Party platform and taken up by civil rights groups from the NAACP to Black Lives Matter, that we must end the expansion of for-profit and unaccountable charter schools. I look forward to continuing to work with the NAACP to improve public schools and win equity.”

Johnson added: “The NAACP’s opposition to for-profit charters and call for a moratorium on charter expansion is an important statement by one of the nation’s oldest civil rights groups. When strong regulations and accountability ensure that the needs of students and educators are the focus—instead of corporate profits—our communities are better off. Focusing on what every student needs and fighting for equity is what this resolution is about.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.