UNCF Joins Coalition in Sending Letter to the NAACP Regarding Proposed Moratorium on Charter Schools

Sep 23, 2016 12:00:00 AM

by Michael Lomax

In a press release issued Wednesday, September 21, the UNCF joins more than 160 education and community leaders in asking the NAACP to reconsider a proposed resolution that calls for a moratorium on charter school growth across the country. UNCF joined the coalition by signing a letter sent to NAACP on Wednesday, stating a desire to meet with NAACP leaders to better inform them about how charter schools are helping Black families. Read UNCF’s statement by president and CEO, Dr. Michael L. Lomax: “We all know there is no perfect system—traditional, charter, or private schools. We have seen issues arise in all sectors. All schools that fail to produce excellent educational outcomes should be held accountable for their actions. But as the letter explains, a blanket moratorium on charter schools would limit students’ access to some of the best schools and deny parents the opportunity to make decisions about what’s best for their children. “What we want is for parents to be able to choose the best possible option for their children. There should not be a “one-size-fits-all” approach in education, and parents often want the option to select the schools that best meet their needs and set their children up for success. And even more importantly, our studies have shown that Black parents overwhelmingly support charter schools and being able to choose the best option for their children. “As policymakers and other groups seek to reform education, some students (namely, low-income students of color) are still languishing in failing schools. Waiting to address these issues means that these students are falling farther behind in the midst of all the changes. But we should be clear that creating options does not mean that we don’t work to reform all schools. Providing educational options, such as charters, helps ensure that all families have the opportunity to gain access to a high-quality education, no matter their zip code.”

Michael Lomax

Since 2004, Michael L. Lomax has been president and CEO of UNCF, the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships and other educational support to African American students. He is a leading advocate of college readiness—students’ need for an education, from preschool through high school, that prepares them for college success. Under his leadership, UNCF has raised $1.5 billion and helped more than 92,000 students earn college degrees and launch careers. Annually, UNCF’s work enables 60,000 students to go to college with UNCF scholarships and attend its 37 member historically black college and universities. Dr. Lomax has worked to provide educational opportunities for African Americans and other Americans of color. Before coming to UNCF, Dr. Lomax was president of Dillard University in New Orleans and a literature professor at UNCF member-institutions Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. He also served as chairman of the Fulton County Commission in Atlanta, the first African American elected to that post. At UNCF’s helm, Lomax oversees the organization’s 400 scholarship programs, which award 10,000 scholarships a year worth more than $100 million. He also launched the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building, which helps UNCF’s 37 member historically black colleges and universities become stronger, more effective and more self-sustaining. Under Dr. Lomax's leadership, UNCF has fought for college readiness and education reform in through partnerships with reform-focused leaders and organizations. He serves on the boards of Teach For America, the KIPP Foundation, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Stand for Children. He also co-chaired the Washington, DC, mayoral education transition team and the search committee for a new DC school chancellor. Dr. Lomax serves on the boards of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of African American History and Culture and the Studio Museum of Harlem. He founded the National Black Arts Festival.

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