JUNE 13, 2011
NAACP Should Support Poor Children, Not Status Quo
Regarding William McGurn’s “The NAACP vs. Black Schoolchildren” (Main Street, June 7): The NAACP’s disgraceful opposition to closing two dozen of New York City’s worst schools exposes yet again the peculiar tendency of today’s most progressive organizations to preserve a status quo forged in the 1960s. The civil rights of impoverished African-American children take a back seat to the rights of teachers unions as they struggle to keep a boot on the neck of the public education system.
The NAACP’s drift to the left, not unlike the ideological journey of other advocacy groups such as the AARP, has been evident for years. With all of the problems in the black community—out-of-wedlock births, absent fathers, young men in prison, extraordinarily high unemployment, wretched schools, etc.—Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, was focused late last year on the harmful effects of alleged tea party bigotry. Wouldn’t shaking up a public school bureaucracy that contributes mightily to an African-American cycle of poverty and despair be a higher priority than rooting out a handful of racists in the tea party?
School choice is not a panacea, but charter schools and vouchers can’t possibly produce a worse outcome than the present system.
Forcing minority kids to stay in the terrible inner-city public schools in Harlem, Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago etc., is the real face of institutional racism. There is an expanding gap between those who have skills that society wants to pay for and those who don’t. Where do those kids fail to get the skills? Big city public schools. Mr. McGurn’s column on teachers unions and “civil rights” groups battling to keep poor kids in bad schools explains why the gap exists.
Roger A. Keats
Dripping Springs, Texas
Not too long ago, Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and School Superintendent Michelle Rhee tried to reform a failed school district. They offered fifth-generation poor children a path out of dependency to ascendancy. The citizens of Washington in a subsequent election chose dependency.
Now we see a similar scenario playing out in New York. where parents are trying to escape the Democrats’ plantation and their teachers-union keepers. How ironic it is that the NAACP is promoting another generation’s being condemned to poverty, ignorance, joblessness and dependency.
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