School Choice & Charters

Black Lives Matter Leader in St. Paul Splits With Group Over Charter School Ban

By Arianna Prothero — September 08, 2016 1 min read

A leader of Black Lives Matter in St. Paul, Minn., is leaving the organization over the national group’s call to ban charter schools, according to the Pioneer Press.

Minnesota lawmakers created the nation’s first charter school law 25 years ago, and the Twin Cities are home to the nation’s first ever charter school.

The national Black Lives Matter group joined with over 50 other black advocacy groups last month in publishing an education policy agenda that, among many other things, calls for a moratorium on charter schools.

Earlier this summer, NAACP members also voted for a proposed ban on charter school expansion at their national conference, but the national board has yet to make a final decision on the proposal.

The groups’ stances, and the reactions to them from other black-led, pro-charter advocates, such as the Black Alliance for Educational Options, Democrats for Education Reform, and now Rashad Turner, formerly of Black Lives Matter St. Paul, highlight fissures among African-Americans on charter schools.

It’s too early to tell how all this may affect charter schools, but as black students make up a sizable proportion of their enrollment, any significant eroding of support among African-American families for charters will certainly impact the sector.

Nationally, black students make up 28 percent of charter school enrollment, compared to 15 percent of noncharter enrollment, according to a recent Education Week Research Center analysis of federal data from the 2012-13 school year.

I recently wrote on this topic for Education Week, and you can find that story—as well as more detailed charter school enrollment numbers by race—here.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.