Virginia Walden Ford, a national board member and a founding member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), wrote an op-ed for the Heritage Foundation’s The Daily Signal about the NAACP opposing school choice and the growth of charter schools.
The organization is part of a teachers union lawsuit in Florida to eliminate a scholarship program that helps low-income families. The NAACP also drafted a resolution calling for a moratorium on new charter schools.
“The NAACP, which was started to support the rights of black people, is now taking a position that, in my opinion, only hurts black children and other children of color’s chance of getting a quality education in this country through access to school choice,” Ford wrote. “Involving itself in lawsuits against the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program seems counter to their mission.”
Ford speaks from personal experience. After her son began failing in school, a neighbor helped her get a scholarship for him to attend a better school.
“Because of that scholarship, he was able to be successful and graduate and move forward with his life. This is what I’ve seen over the years with the children who have had access to school choice, including public charter schools and private and public scholarship programs like the tuition tax credit scholarship program in Florida.”
The NAACP fought against the “separate but equal” doctrine enshrined in law in the Plessy v. Ferguson case, which the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1896.
“But now the NAACP, who fought so hard for us to get the education we deserved in the ’60s, is trying to make it harder for parents to make the same decisions our parents did then on behalf of their children,” Ford wrote. “Threats to school choice options like the Florida tuition tax credit scholarship program create unnecessary limitations for families who can’t get access to quality education simply because they live in the ‘wrong ZIP code’ or don’t have resources to attend quality private schools.”
The BAEO co-authored a letter to the NAACP, asking to meet with the organization before it passed the anti-school choice resolution.
“My hope is that the NAACP and other leaders in the African-American community who support these lawsuits in Florida will spend a moment talking to the parents and children who have been touched by school choice.”