The head of the New York chapter of the NAACP has made headlines for bluntly excoriating the concerned parent of a charter school student. The background: The NAACP is part of the teachers' union lawsuit against the Department of Education, which wants to close 22 failing schools and open charter schools in their place. One concerned Bronx mom, Janette Ramos, recently emailed NAACP head Hazel Dukes to urge the NAACP to drop the lawsuit. "If you and the NAACP continue on this horrible lawsuit against my daughter's school and the fellow 18 charter schools, it will not be the best legacy to leave behind," Ramos wrote. The Post reports that Dukes's reply was swift and, well, to the point.
"You are not a member of the NAACP and don't understand that you are doing the business of slave masters," Dukes explained to Ramos in an email sent June 1st. Ramos, whose daughter attends the Bronx Success Academy charter school, is now demanding Dukes's resignation. We called Dukes at her office to seek comment, and her assistant told us that she is out of the office today, adding, "There's an article every day about something or other, and she's not going to comment on every one of them." But this article, with its loaded rhetoric, is special! Given Dukes's prominent position in the organization, you'd think she'd at least tone it down a notch—"slave master" is not the preferred nomenclature; "Unpaid Labor Supervisor," please.
At a rally defending the lawsuit last week, the NAACP and supporters made the point that many charter schools share space in public schools that are struggling. State Bill Senator Bill Perkins told City Room, "Co-location is a form of segregation. The fact is, when you put a wall between one kid and another kid, that’s second-class treatment."