Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for our nation’s near future education secretary is adding fire to the debate over the coming “school choice” initiative being unveiled by the coming administration.
PBS News Hour covered this issue Friday (December 2nd) in a segment, which reported a scenario in Memphis, Tennessee. Lisa Stark, a news correspondent from Education Week gave her report for PBS while speaking with a few charter school representatives in Memphis and Cornell Brooks, the president of the NAACP.
“Nearly three million students in the U.S. attend charter schools in 42 states and the District of Columbia, about 6 percent of all public school students nationwide, Stark said.
“But in more than a dozen cities, at least 30 percent of the students attend charters. As in many cities, African-American parents in Memphis are voting with their feet. This was a struggling elementary school three years ago, when the state asked Freedom Prep Academy [in Memphis] to take it over. The charter school came in. Enrollment doubled,” Stark continued.
Stark also pointed out in her report that the NAACP is calling for a moratorium on new charter schools. The NAACP is particularly concerned about the disproportionately high rate of out-of-school suspensions students of color are placed on is charter schools across the country.
“If we think that setting up a system without standards, like an educational wild, wild West, is going to save public education — by public education, I mean education for all children — we are sadly mistaken,” Brooks told Starks in an exclusive interview with PBS News Hour.
The NAACP has strongly held that the organization is not anti-charter school. They are simply asking for more accountability from these institutions, which take public dollars to operate but are administrated privately.
To watch the entire PBS News Hour report on this highly debated issue, please click here.