Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why Black and Latino Parents Need To Be Leery of Charter Schools

Charter Schools Can’t Save The Black and Latino Communities

by Pam Garrison
Special to Ed Notes

The black community and the Latino community both have to be very careful when it comes to charter schools: Charter schools, instead of bringing positive change to a community, eventually divide and conquer that very same community (See the article I wrote on P.S. 160 in Co-op City and The Equality Charter School).

Moreover, charter schools exploit the house slave/field slave, crabs in a barrel, Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome issues (see the work of Dr. Joy Degruy Leary) within the black community. In other words, charter schools tend to create a dynamic in which a black family or a Latino family will only focus upon the education and educational needs of their own child(ren) at the complete and total expense of the education and educational needs of the rest of the children in their respective communities.

Now I know that some may say that concerned, committed, and active parents shouldn’t have to be concerned with “other people’s children”. However, this just isn’t the case because no one’s child grows up in a vacuum, completely and totally isolated from other children. Therefore, since your child(ren) can’t grow up in this world without being around other children, those of you who are parents have to have a healthy concern and care for all of the “other people’s children” because what happens to “other people’s children” has a direct bearing upon your child(ren).

More importantly, neither the black community nor the Latino community has arrived at a time when they can afford to simply not care about the other members of their respective communities. After all, President Obama even said in his July 16th speech to the NAACP, at their 100th Anniversary Convention, that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to help black and Latino children to achieve academically. Moreover, Obama talked about how the U.S.A. would not be able to maintain its status as a world power and as a top producer of college graduates if the black and Latino communities, as well as America as a nation, didn’t do something to help black and Latino youth achieve academic success.

In conclusion, charter schools with their lottery admission systems and creaming/skimming off the top of the local public schools’ population tactics can’t be a panacea or an all-encompassing cure for either the black community or the Latino community.

And yes, it still takes a village to raise a child. So that means that all black and Latino parents have to, while they are advocating educationally for their own children, advocate and support Cookie’s children, Luz’s children, Nadine’s children, and Julissa’s children as well.

The black community and the Latino community can’t afford to do anything less.

Pam Garrison teaches in NYC and is a member of the Grassroots Education Movement


proofoflife said...

I recently had a conversation with a friend ( teacher) who works at a charter. She is doing the intake. This means a group of teachers go to the house of the "choosen" few to read them the "riot" act on expectations for behavior and for academics. She said that several of the parents lied about their child having an IEP to get their foot in the door. Once in, the school is unable to provide the services mandated on the IEP. I asked if the school would then "kick" the kids out. She said they weren't allowed to do that , but they would then send the "troops" back into the home to convince the parents that their child was in the wrong setting. In this sense I smell segregation, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Anonymous said...

Instead of blaming charter or public schools for the inequality, how about looking at home. I see disaffected parent with no care or influence of their childrens' educations. In their view, it's the job of the schools and teachers.

If there is such a disparity, why are Asian students excelling at a monumental rate over black and Latino students in the SAME SCHOOL ??? It all begins at home. Point your finger at the charter schools, the public schools ... or whatever. The buck stops at home.

If parents don't take an active part in their child's education ... don't expect too much from the schools. You get what you put in.