Do Charter Schools Advance or Impede Civil Rights?

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On January 27th, 2017, the Institute for Education Policy at John Hopkins School of Education convened a group of leaders to discuss charter schools and their relationship with civil rights.

Moderator Dmitri Mehlhorn noted that in light of the recent call for a moratorium on charter school expansion by the NAACP and introduction of bills like the Charter School Act of 2017 in Maryland where the discussion was held, the group would be discussing the impact of charter schools, especially with students of color.

The question under discussion is how much, and how fast they grow and whether charter schools themselves can violate civil rights of children, especially children of color through segregation, through discipline practices, through narrow learning, or whether the cap on charter schools is itself a violation of civil rights by preventing low income students of color from escaping schools systems that are not serving them well.

The group was composed of Hilary D. Shelton (Director to the NAACP’s Washington Bureau / Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy), Gerard Robinson (Resident fellow, Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute), Matthew Cregor, Esq. (Education Project Director at the Lawyers’ Committee), and Dr. Ashley Berner (Deputy Director of the Institute for Education Policy at John Hopkins School of Education).

Check out the full video of the discussion, titled “Do Charter Schools Advance or Impede Civil Rights?”

Tenicka Boyd: I can’t imagine a world where the NAACP would say ‘let’s pause’ on schools succeeding with black children

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Tenicka Boyd, a New York based education activist and long-standing member of the NAACP, testifies on behalf of families who are well-served by charter schools. This was the first of seven public hearings held by the NAACP to hear from stakeholders about charter schools and “privatization” in public education. This hearing was done in Connecticut on December 3, 2016.

The “positivity project” spreads the power of appreciation

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There is nothing more powerful in the world than gratitude and positive mental attitude. Students at Oak Park High School in Kansas City recently were targets of the power when their teachers hatched a plan to deepen the teacher-student bond.

They created the “Positivity Project,” a personal challenge to identify individual students who inspires them and makes them want to come to work. Armed with personal statements, these teachers found students in the halls and surprised them with kind words of appreciation.

It will set your heart on fire to see the reactions when teachers told these students why they were important and appreciated.