NAACP equates vouchers to school segregation effort

Posted February 25, 2014

State NAACP President Rev. William Barber speaks at a Feb. 25, 2014, news conference.

— North Carolina's school voucher program is the state's latest assault on minorities, civil rights advocates said Tuesday.

A Superior Court judge last week suspended the Opportunity Scholarships program until a lawsuit challenging its legality can be resolved. The NAACP has filed briefs supporting the position of the North Carolina Association of Educators and the North Carolina School Boards Association that the program is unconstitutional.

Under the program, about 2,400 students from low-income families would receive up to $4,200 a year in taxpayer funds to help pay for tuition at private or religious schools. More than 4,700 students had applied for vouchers for the 2014-15 school year before the program was halted.

State NAACP President Rev. William Barber called the voucher plan "old wine wrapped in a new wineskin," saying it smacked of 1970s-style efforts in North Carolina to evade court orders calling for the desegregation of public schools in the state.

"You cannot look at this issue in a vacuum, and you cannot dismiss the racialized components of what (Gov. Pat) McCrory and (House Speaker Thom) Tillis and (Senate President Pro Tem Phil) Berger and extremists are doing," Barber said during a news conference. "To take public money to engage in this kind of voucher scheme is wrong."

Private schools don't have the same accountability that public schools have, aren't required to meet similar academic standards and have far fewer certified teachers, he said. Also, the vouchers wouldn't come close to covering the tuition charged by most private schools, so few low-income families would be able to use them, he said.

Effort to shield legislative emails questioned

The NAACP plans to fight the voucher program as fiercely as it has North Carolina's new elections law, Barber said. Among the provisions of that law, passed by the General Assembly last year, are the elimination of a week of early voting, the end of same-day voter registration and a requirement, starting in 2016, that voters present photo identification at the polls.

"We will fight it – both the attacks on voting rights and the attacks on public education – and we will pull the cover off of these schemes and expose them," he said.

The NAACP and other groups have challenged the elections law, although state courts have ruled that their lawsuit won't hold up the May 6 primary.

The groups are trying to access legislators' emails regarding the law, and a federal judge asked last Friday for more information before ruling on the lawmakers' motion to quash the request.

"The government and their lawyers are now feverishly trying to hide information about why and how and who in the development of this voter suppression," Barber said. "If they feel this law is so worthwhile, why are they trying to hide their efforts?"


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  • Larry Lynch Mar 3, 2014
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    well well well -- lets just examine the issues here- the naacp and willie barber are on record as supporting abortion on demand. i'm against that. the naacp and willie barber is on record as being against gun rights and gun freedoms- in other words more gun control. im against that. naacp and willie barber is against school vouchers- i'm against that stance. naacp and willie barber are for bigger gov ment and more social programs- welp im against that as well. seems like me an the naacp/and willie barber don't have much in common.


  • caddy2076 Mar 1, 2014

    Where is the REAL LEADERSHIP in the NAACP? All the Rev. Barber does is stir up more racial hate and turmoil. Why can't they do something good for their race instead of always trying to make someone give them something?

  • Monkey_Joe Feb 28, 2014

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    More appropriately, equate him to Hitler and David Duke. People who had nothing but hate for races other than their own.

  • nufsaid Feb 28, 2014

    The vouchers seem to be an effort to let lower income families make a choice.

  • CarolinaTim Feb 28, 2014

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    The "L" stands for liberal. The NAACP only represents African Americans that are on the left. If they are conservative, they call them an Uncle Tom. Pathetic, don't you think.

  • kermit60 Feb 28, 2014

    I try to judge all people equally, but every time the NAACP or barber speaks it becomes harder to do. He seems to be more of a racist than most of the people he complains about.

  • tranzorg Feb 28, 2014

    The "Rev" shows his ignorance every single time he speaks about something.

  • Nope Feb 28, 2014

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    Do you want to share with everyone what the "L" stands for? I think I already know because I have seen a lot of the racist/stereotype comments on these boards.

  • Hal Price Feb 28, 2014
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    I don't know what the big deal here. It's the same old playbook the naalcp has been using for decades. The game plan is the same, "the man" has kept the black man down, nothing's ever fair, everything is racist, blah, blah, blah. That's all the naalcp is hot air. The media perpetuate the cause by constantly covering the fiasco that it is.

  • jackaroe123 Feb 27, 2014

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    I see you have a label gun, but I don't see any actual evidence.

    You know who else have been labeled dividers? MLK, Gandhi, the Founding Fathers, and my fave, Jesus. None of them sat back and accepted the status quo or injustice.

    In truth, it's issues that divide us, not people. Focus on the issues. All you did in that post is attack Rev Barber.