Education Opinion

Black Community Split Over Charter Schools

By Walt Gardner — August 29, 2016 1 min read
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No racial group is a monolith. That’s certainly true when the subject is charter schools (“Condemnation of Charter Schools Exposes a Rift Over Black Students,” The New York Times, Aug. 21). The latest example is the clash between the NAACP and the Movement for Black Lives Matter against the Black Alliance for Educational Options.

The former argue that charter schools have worsened segregation and disrupted black communities. The latter point out that charter schools allow thousands of poor black students to get a better education than in traditional public schools. There is truth to both sides. But I believe that it’s up to parents alone to decide which schools their own children should attend. In this case, the issue involves blacks. But it also applies to parents of all other races as well.

The trouble is that reportage and commentary of educational issues too often ignores nuances (“The NAACP vs. Minority Children,” The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 27). Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and whites are depicted as solid blocs who hold similar views. That totally ignores reality. When busing began at the high school where I taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District, black students from professional families were appalled at the behavior of black students from the inner-city.

Stereotyping any race undermines efforts to understand each other. That’s certainly the case when the subject is charter schools. They will be either deified or demonized depending on who is asked, regardless of color.

The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner’s Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.