Don’t Blame Public School Choice For Society’s Failures, says John Legend

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Grammy and Academy Award winner John Legend has been using his voice for more than singing these days. The “All of Me” singer recently penned a essay in response to the NAACP’s moratorium on charter public schools. Check out what he had to say.


Black kids across the country are being given a raw deal.

Slavery ended 150 years ago, but the problems of structural racism are old and ongoing. We still have a huge wealth gap rooted in decades of job, wage and housing discrimination. A persistent gap between Black and white student achievement points to an education system that fails to provide a ladder of opportunity for everyone. And African-American communities continue to deal with a criminal justice system that over-polices us, over-arrests us, over-incarcerates us and disproportionately takes the lives of our unarmed youth simply because of the color of our skin.

As the oldest voice on civil rights in America, the NAACP has always been a leader in understanding the issues that communities of color are facing – including in our public education system. Achievement gaps have slowly been shrinking, but average test scores of Black students are still roughly two grade levels lower than those of white students in the same district. A shameful percentage never end up with a diploma.

That’s why I was confused and upset by their decision to press pause on the progress in one area of education that’s been a bright spot for many communities of color.

Charter public schools are not the solution to every problem that’s plaguing public education. The NAACP is right to raise some questions over the practices of some individual charter schools.

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