Commemorating the 60th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile penned a call to stop school privatization claiming it has increased segregation, directly undermining the 1954 court decision to desegregate schools.
Posting the letter to her website, Brazile writes, "The economic and racial inequities that existed 60 years ago persist in our communities today. They must be addressed." One of those concerns she means to address is "stopping school privatization." But it would not be enough for a Democratic strategist to simply stop there -- Brazile lists "a wide range of community concerns" that she says contributes to this rampant segregation in school districts: blocked access to health care, income inequality, and voter ID laws.
But keeping it more on topic, Brazile views charter schools as havens for racial segregation and argues that privatized schools are responsible for the trend. She mentions Tuscaloosa, Alabama where one-third of black students "attends a school that looks like Brown never even happened." She also repeats the often heard arguments that charter schools are producing nearly the same results as public schools and are helping to increase the achievement gap.
Stand.org shares their research that finds evidence to the contrary. Their research shows the achievement gap shrinking for minority and low-income students who attend well-run charter schools -- specifically citing privatized schools in Boston and New York City that are closing the black/white achievement gap in math by more than half. Stand also found that black and Hispanic students read better and are more skilled in math than those attending public school. Charter schools are said to also be slowing the drop-out rate and increasing college enrollment.
Brazile also accuses privatized schools of "effectively separating black and white students." Yet evidence provided by the National Center for Education Statistics points out the obvious: there are higher concentrations of minority students enrolled where there are higher concentrations of minority population. Plus, many charter schools target minority and low-income areas to provide a better education than they would otherwise have, like ex-NBA star Jalen Rose's Leadership Academy in Detroit.
"Vouchers and charter schools just don’t live up to the hype," says Brazile. She adds, "Integrated schools help students achieve academic success in the present and personal success in the future." For her, and other Democrats like her, state-run schools are the only solution when it comes to the education of minorities.
But what is perhaps her most brazen move, Brazile is hijacking history by inserting, out of thin air, intentions not found in the original ruling of Brown vs. Board of Education. Claiming to speak "in the spirit of Brown," Brazile enables herself to add a wish-list of social justice programs to bolster her charge:
The economic and racial inequities that existed 60 years ago persist in our communities today. They must be addressed. In the spirit of Brown, students, parents and educators are demanding solutions that go beyond the dysfunctional 'education reforms' and address a wide range of community concerns, from stopping school privatization to providing universal early childhood education to raising the minimum wage.