Members of the NAACP outside Sessions' office. (@CornellWBrooks via Twitter)Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has been nominated to serve President-elect Donald Trump as Attorney General. That’s driving liberal mad, given to the erroneous allegations that he’s a racist.
Nevertheless, as Christine noted yesterday, the NAACP staged a sit-in in his Mobile, Alabama office unless Sessions withdraws his nomination or they get arrested. NAACP President Cornell William Brooks tweeted a photo of their protest yesterday afternoon. And yes, they did get arrested (via CNN):
An NAACP sit-in to protest the nomination of US Sen. Jeff Sessions as US attorney general ended late Tuesday when six people were arrested at Sessions' Mobile, Alabama, office.
The arrests of five men and one woman included NAACP President Cornell W. Brooks, said Malik Russell, director of communications for the civil rights group. They face charges of criminal trespass in the second-degree, according to Mobile police.
The protesters arrived earlier Tuesday and said they would stay until Sessions is no longer the nominee or they were arrested.
"We are asking the senator to withdraw his name for consideration as attorney general or for the President-elect, Donald Trump, to withdraw the nomination," Brooks said Tuesday afternoon from Sessions' office.
Despite the Left viewing Sessions as the spawn of Satan, he fought to desegregate schools and took on his state’s Ku Klux Klan chapter, calling that the leader of the chapter be put to death for the murder of a black teenager. It paved way for a $7 million civil verdict against the Alabama KKK, gutting it. Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard noted this when the Alabama senator was formally nominated.
The allegations of racism were grounded in his failed 1986 federal judgeship nomination, where he allegedly make racially insensitive remarks while serving as a U.S. Attorney.
The late Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), who was a Republican at the time, voted down Sessions’ nomination, but later regretted the vote. Adding that once he worked with Sessions after he was elected to the U.S. Senate, he came to see the man as an egalitarian.
The NAACP’s Cynical Stance Against School ChoiceBy Jason L. Riley
Photo: Getty Images
The organization would rather deny black children good schools than risk losing money from teachers unions.
The NAACP’s opposition to school choice isn’t new but it’s now official. And it is not going over very well with other black organizations and families who have been working tirelessly in recent decades to expand educational options for low-income blacks and close the racial achievement gap.
“We are absolutely stunned that the NAACP voted to put distortions, lies and outdated ideologies about charter schools above what is in the best interest of our children,” said Jacqueline Cooper, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, in a statement issued after the civil-rights organization voted Saturday for a moratorium on charter schools. “It is inexplicable to me that such a storied organization, responsible for leading a powerful civil-rights movement to tear down barriers for generations of black people, would erect new ones for our children.”
What the NAACP has done is indeed appalling but hardly stunning.
The organization’s primary concern today is self-preservation and maintaining its own relevance, not meeting the 21st century needs of the black underclass.
The NAACP says its charter skepticism is rooted in the fact that inner-city charter schools often have predominantly black and Hispanic student bodies. Yet the charter-school revolution has presented reams of evidence that the racial balance of a classroom, however aesthetically pleasing, is less important than the quality of the principal and teaching staff.
Charter schools, which are public schools that select students randomly through a lottery, typically reflect the racial makeup of the neighborhoods where they are located. Since at least the 1960s, black parents have been calling for better schools in their own communities—not for access to predominantly white schools located elsewhere.
More than 700,000 black children now attend charter schools nationwide, and the waiting list is tens of thousands of families long.
In poll after poll, dating back decades, no group champions school choice with more vigor than low-income black parents, who back charters at a ratio of nearly 2 to 1.
High-performing charter-school networks are attempting to meet the demand in states such as California, New York, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Illinois, Louisiana and elsewhere—only to have groups like the NAACP use the racial makeup of some charters against them.
Numerous studies employing gold-standard random-assignment methodologies have shown that underprivileged black children with access to charter schools are much better off than their peers in traditional public schools.
They not only learn more but are also more likely to finish high school, attend college and avoid drug abuse and teen pregnancy. Inner-city black students with access to the best charter schools regularly outperformed their white peers from the richest suburbs on standardized tests.
Charter-school students with disabilities outperform traditional public-school students without disabilities.
The Black Lives Matter activists who fret about racial disparities in incarceration rates and support the NAACP’s anti-school-choice posturing might consider the fact that our jails and prisons are not full of high-school and college graduates.
Blacks are 16% of the public-school population in the U.S. but 27% of charter students. The NAACP is faulting charter-school proponents for targeting the very communities where the demand for school choice is most acute.
According to the civil-rights activists, whether black students are learning anything matters less than whether they are sitting next to white students.
Never mind the empirical data showing that black children need good teachers and safe learning environments far more than they need white classmates.
That said, responding to the NAACP merely on the merits misses the point.
Ultimately, the organization’s opposition to school choice isn’t based primarily on its efficacy.
The NAACP receives significant financial support from teachers unions, who oppose charter schools because most operate outside of the collective-bargaining agreements that allow organized labor to control so many aspects of public education.
Powerful labor unions like the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers and their thousands of state and local chapters put the interest of their members ahead of the interests of low-income blacks, and today’s NAACP is willing to give them cover.
The NAACP also has a vested interest in maintaining the fiction that the challenges facing blacks today are no different than they were a half-century ago. The civil-rights movement has become an industry that trades in racial grievance and clings to relevance by pretending that white racism alone largely explains today’s racial disparities.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is advancing its own interests, which are no longer the interests of blacks. It ought to change its position on school choice—or at least have the decency to change its name.