The venerable NAACP has issued its first call to arms for education in nearly a decade. Finding Our Way Back To First: Reclaiming World Leadership by Educating All America’s Children is exhaustively researched. The problem is that it looks pretty exclusively at the best practices in American public schools.
No mention is made of:
- Private schools; or
Indeed the NAACP formulated its proposals after consulting with the American Federation of Teachers. Thus, perhaps not so surprisingly, the NAACP proposals look like a wish list for teachers’ unions:
- Effective teaching;
- Pre-kindergarten preparation;
- Targeted spending; and
- Expanded time for learning.
On the last point, specifically, the NAACP wants “a longer school day” and “a longer school year,” the organization’s education director, T. Beth Glenn, said at a press conference at the DuPont Circle Hotel on December 6, 2012. On the question of resources, former South Carolina governor Richard Riley said at the DuPont Circle Hotel press conference that “We need to do much more with much less in education.” Riley served as President Clinton’s Secretary of Education.
Yet and still, clearly the NAACP is seeking more spending for public schools. Underscoring this point, U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was also on the dais at the event and made at least two calls to “level the playing field.”
“The money is out there,” NAACP head Benjamin Todd Jealous told the crowd of supporters at the press conference. “We just need to flip our priorities.”
“We have a resource gap,” he argued. “We need more resources.” In attendance at the packed conference were NAACP members from around the country.
Clearly, the NAACP is recommending wealth redistribution. “Property tax dollars drive most school spending,” Finding Our Way notes. “Almost immediately the deck is stacked to favor children living and attending schools in wealthier communities.”
“On average, African-Americans and Latinos earn less and own fewer homes than their white counterparts.” Vouchers giving disadvantaged students the opportunity to attend private schools would address this imbalance but that is not one of the NAACP’s recommendations.
Rather, the group recommends more spending on poor public schools. “Under a need-based funding model, dollars ‘follow the student,’ and students with greater educational needs (e.g., low-income students or English language learners) receive higher per-pupil funding allocations,” Finding Our Way claims. “This allocation results in higher overall per-pupil allocations for schools with greater concentrations of higher needs students.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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