School Choice

John Legend Defends Charter Schools from the NAACP's Unfair Criticisms

'I was confused and upset by their decision'


John Legend

Musician John Legend is taking issue with the NAACP over its recent attempts to undermine charter schools and school choice reforms on grounds that they hurt children of color.

"I was confused and upset by their decision to press pause on the progress in one area of education that's been a bright spot for many communities of color," wrote John Legend in an op-ed.

As I reported in August, the NAACP decided to come out against new privately-managed charter schools, which "increase segregation," its members argued.

Legend's op-ed aptly summarizes why that view is mistaken:

What's shortsighted about the NAACP's decision is that it's ignoring the many successful charter schools that are delivering results for many communities. In New York City, third grade charter school students outscored students at district schools in math and in English. Charters here are closing the achievement gap between economically disadvantaged Black students and their more affluent white peers.

The NAACP understands that where you live, your skin color, your income level and zip code shouldn't determine what kind of education you can get in this country but unfortunately, in far too many places, it does.

More than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, our schools remain far too segregated by race, language and economic status. I couldn't agree with you more that we need deliberate integration of our public schools system in nearly every district in the country. The problem is clear but the solution is murkier.

It's true that charter schools serve a higher percentage of Black and Latino students than traditional public schools do. Sixty percent of charter school students are children of color. Black students make up 27 percent of public charter students while they represent only 15 percent of the student population in non-charter public schools.

It's a mistake to think that because charter schools are serving more students of color that they're complicit in the problem. Bias against communities of color goes far beyond which public school parents choose to send their children to. Segregation is the result of decades of discriminatory zoning laws, school funding models tied to property values, gerrymandered school district boundaries, and litigation to preserve the status quo.

Read the full thing here.

Legend's criticisms echo those of other black leaders who support charter schools and are frustrated with the NAACP.

"The public charter school moratorium put forward at this year's NAACP convention does a disservice to communities of color," Shavar Jeffries, president of Democrats for Education Reform, told The Washington Examiner.

No one would claim that all charter schools are well-managed. But they're often better than the alternatives, especially for disadvantaged students of color. Giving families more choice and control over how and where their children are educated is the moral, practical thing to do.

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  1. Legend didn’t get the message.

  2. Sabotaging the educational futures of thousands of children because it helps your political narrative is downright evil.

    1. But have you considered that nobody gets killed? What about the fact that they’ll live longer than their parents? Sure, they’ll never write an opera or own a business but they won’t live in poverty either will they? Hmmm?

  3. John- don’t you get it? Anything that causes people to question the left’s agenda must be stopped. Doesn’t matter whether it’s actually good for the disadvantaged or not.

  4. we need deliberate integration of our public schools system in nearly every district in the country

    I thought we were talking about “achievement”?

    1. Cargo cult of race. Once we, the less advantaged race, have all the things that the more advantaged race has, we will be as them. If we put the black children and the white children in the same school, they will magically have the same outcomes.

      1. It’s like he gets that the NAACP is more on the side of unions than “children of color”, but he still wades through mountains of muddled SJW thought and somehow arrives at the (or “a”) correct answer anyway – almost as if by accident.

        1. Or on purpose. If you show up at the finish line and aren’t covered in shit some people will just assume you’re part of the ruling class.

  5. Celebrities. Is there anything they don’t know?

  6. Selection bias schools are fun. And on the taxpayer’s dime! Yay!

  7. Since there’s all this prattling about “of color” these days, does that mean it’s acceptable to use the phrase “colored people” again?

    1. So much this. Round and round we go through the Progressive Rabbit Hole of Proper Speech. I’m sure it will be fine for certain folks to use the terms, but not for everyone else. Fucking Progs. Please die in a car fire.

  8. Who the hell cares?

    1. Maybe the progressive mob will drive his ticket pricing down.

  9. Hey John, when you go up against politics you’re just an another ordinary person, so you don’t know which way to go, so why don’t you just take it slow, like an ordinary person.

  10. I am shocked. Shocked. Could it be possible that the hierarchy of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People prefers being in the good graces of the power class?

  11. Never heard of the guy.. but I’m liking the cut of her “jib”.

  12. So having a disproportionately large number of black students in a school that does better is a bad thing for black students? Prog logic at its finest.

  13. Legend’s criticisms echo those of other black leaders who support charter schools and are frustrated with the NAACP.

    Frustrated? Why are they feeling frustrated? They would IF they were completely unaware of what the NAACP is today (another operative arm of the Democratic Party and thus beholden to the Teachers Union) but I don’t believe they’re that disconnected from reality.

  14. From the comments on the full article. “Charter teachers have no union or backup if things go wrong. They can hire and fire you at the drop of a hat. It ain’t about the students it is about the adults who teach them as well. It is more than just about our kids wearing a uniform.”
    You have to protect everyone’s jobs first before you go around thinking about the kids after all. Geez, doesn’t he understand the priorities??
    In an unrelated note, today I was lectured by a prog when I referred to HRC as “Cankles.” I was told I was body shaming, sexist and insulting entire ‘groups of people,’ by using that language.

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