Grandmother Turned Education Activist Battles NAACP Over Charter Schools

When Sarah Carpenter grew up in a poor neighborhood in Memphis, Tenn., higher education seemed a pipe dream. So she was delighted when a charter school opened in Memphis with a focus on college prep. Carpenter sent her granddaughter there and became an education activist. She now runs Memphis Lift, a parent education advocacy organization funded partly by groups that support charter schools. This fall, Carpenter led a protest at the NAACP board meeting in Cincinnati, as the civil rights group voted on a resolution calling for a moratorium on new charter schools until a number of issues are addressed. Carpenter believes the resolution is misguided and says she supports any school that helps students succeed whether it’s a charter school or a traditional public school.

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