The school choice battle rages on — public school proponents believe their way of implementing education is the best way, while proponents of charter schools believe their way of instructing our youth is better.
To educate our youth, do we have to choose public or charter schools? Can we take elements from both sides to educate our children and can we focus on what works best?
On Wednesday’s NewsOne Now, Roland Martin, Angela Rye, Keith Campbell, Paris Dennard, and Bob Woodson discussed school choice and how to cut through all of the jargon and rhetoric to get to what really matters — educating our children to make sure they have the best possible outcomes.
Keith Campbell, Founding Board Member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, told Martin he does not believe that school choice should be “as controversial as it is.” He added, “What we’re talking about is giving communities and educators opportunities to create great new schools and our kids desperately need them.”
Martin told the panel that for too many African-Americans caught up in the school choice debate, “we’ve allowed Black politicians, even Civil Rights organizations, to frame this as if somehow this is the end of the world as we know it, when I think the end of the world for us is when our kids are not getting educated.”
NewsOne Now panelist GOP Political and Communications Strategist Paris Dennard agreed with Martin’s assessment, saying, “At the end of the day, this is not about what Republicans think or Democrats think or what special interest groups or unions think, this has to be about what the parents think as it relates to the educating of their children.”
“If you look at the numbers and the statistics, our children are just not learning. And if you want to talk about a civil rights issue, this is one that all Civil Rights organizations, all community organizations, should rally around — fixing the public school system — and if charter schools happen to be the way to help a majority or less of a majority of our students learn and achieve, this has to be put on the table.”
Angela Rye, Principal of IMPACT Strategies, said, we “need to take a step back and figure out, what are all of the problems that exist? What do we do that is best for the kids? How do we ensure that there are standards across the board in our core curriculum and elementary and secondary schools?”
“Our kids are not globally competitive across the board, especially Black kids. There’s a disparate impact on Black children, so what do you do to ensure that they’re competitive?”
Rye, who is not yet a mom, said if she had children she would do “whatever is best” for her kids, as her mother did for her. She told Martin her mother “figured out ways to sure up” her educational experience when the private school she attended “fell short.”
“Sometimes parents don’t have that opportunity to do that,” said Rye.
Bob Woodson, President and Founder of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, explained there is a “big contradiction and hypocrisy” being perpetrated when it comes to school choice.
“Civil Rights leaders to a person do not send their kids to [public] schools. Jesse Jackson, Eleanor Holmes Norton — I can go down the whole list. None of them send their kids to public schools in D.C. They do not do that.”
Woodson highlighted the fact that public schools in Washington D.C. have a “higher per-capita expenditure of any school anywhere and were 48th in outcomes of kids. So there is no correlation between how much we spend and outcomes for kids.”
“What low-income parents are asking for — give them the same choice that upper-income Blacks are able to exercise because they have the money,” said Woodson.
Watch Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the battle over public and charter schools in the video clip above. Be sure to listen to the rest of the conversation on school choice in the audio clip below.
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