Dream and Believe, Learn and Achieve

Daughter of desegregation hero endorses charter schools

Posted on January 18, 2017

Cheryl Brown Henderson

Oliver Brown


As the lead plaintiff in the historic U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, her father was among a group of plaintiffs suing various states for violating their Fourteenth Amendment rights to equal protection under the law based on the color of their skin. 

Now Cheryl Brown Henderson is publicly voicing her support for charter schools. Brown is the founding president and CEO of the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research and on the board of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

In an op-ed for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Henderson writes that “the struggle for civil rights is directly tied to the struggle to ensure that children of color can sit in the classrooms of excellent public schools just like their white peers.”

She said that charter schools are a valuable tool in achieving equality and success for children of color.

She further points out: “Across the country, three million students are enrolled in public charter schools and millions more are on waiting lists hoping for a spot. What’s important to realize is that the majority of those students are children of color. In fact, across the country, charter schools educate more children of color and children living in low-income households than traditional public schools.”

Brown references a Stanford University study which found that, compared to their similarly-situated peers in traditional public schools, children of color in charter schools learn dramatically more. 

“We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. . .” – U.S. Supreme Court in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, et. al. ruling, May 17, 1954.