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Many charter schools succeed

The Columbus Dispatch
September 19, 2016

Last month, comedian John Oliver unleashed funny broadside on charter schools in America. He spotlighted the worst of the worst charters, the ones that fail students, escape rigorous oversight and cost taxpayers.

The pro-charter Center for Education Reform responded with a video contest, “Hey John Oliver, Back off My Charter School!” The center offers a $100,000 prize to the chosen school of the winner who “shows John Oliver why making fun of charter schools is no laughing matter … and why we need more opportunity, not less.”

What a great opportunity for the winner to respond with facts and a dollop of humor.

What’s not amusing, though, is the NAACP’s updated stance on charters. In July, NAACP delegates passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on charter schools, pending an October vote of its national board. The NAACP asserted that charters have aggravated school segregation, eroded local control of schools, wasted public funds, and disproportionately disciplined minority students.

But they’re missing the point. As with all public schools — and remember, charters are public schools — there are good ones and bad ones. If they fail, they should close.

A 2015 Stanford University study of charters in 41 urban areas in 22 states showed significant long-term gains: Low-income black students received the equivalent of 59 days of additional learning in math and 44 days of additional learning in reading compared with their peers in traditional schools.

We hope NAACP board members consult with parents of charter students before the October vote.

— Chicago Tribune