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The Power of Black-Led Charters by Rep. Marcus Brandon

In observing and celebrating Black History Month, we took some time to catch up with former State Representative Marcus Brandon to talk about the good he sees in charter schools and the power of Black-led schools.  Check it out!


Name: Representative Marcus Brandon

Organization: CarolinaCAN

Title: Executive Director


Why do you support charter schools?

I support all schools but particularly charters because I believe in the original mission of using institutions to be innovative about education, and charters have always served as incubators for educational innovation.  Charters continue to explore new ways to learn and new practices; they have always met this demand, and so I am very proud of the charter network in North Carolina.  When I was in the General Assembly I fought for the bill to lift the cap on charter schools.  I wanted to start a charter school but we couldn’t because there was a cap.  I was a sponsor of that bill and also a sponsor of the bill for the charter transportation grant.  I believe that parents should be able to have options and to choose what is best for their children.


What “good news” do charter schools bring to children and families? 

As Board Chair of The Point College Prep and Leadership Academy, I am going to speak in terms of Black charter schools because that is what we are.  We offer Black children an environment that reflects them in every aspect of their school.  From the time they walk in the door we remind them of who they are and that they come from Royalty.  We call them Kings and Queens, and there is an expectation that they conduct themselves as such.  African American families in Guilford County can find an educational environment that looks like them and celebrates them.  Whether they are wealthy, middle class, working class or Free and Reduced Lunch, all of them get this experience.  All of them are celebrated and all of them have the expectation to be excellent.


Who is someone you feel brings out the best in the charter community and why?

I have to say Dr. Michelle Johnson, Director of The Point College Prep.  I have been in awe of Dr. Johnson for the last 10 years.   She has moved the Black-led charters  forward and is teaching other Black educators that we can do this.  The way she inspires her staff, the way she believes in their personal and professional development – for example, by establishing a Master’s degree cohort with High Point University – she is creating an aura of excellence and not anything less.  This has permeated throughout the charter school community.  Other Black-led schools use her as a reference and she has always been available to anyone who calls, ready and willing to help.  She has set a precedent for what Black-led schools can look like, and the charter school community has been different for the past 10 years because of that.  Just by our existence we are letting Black parents know they have a choice and they have an option, and through her education of the Black community in this matter you now see parents choosing schools and using vouchers.  There is a school that is just for you, and she is letting parents know that they are empowered to make that decision.  The number of students that are now taking advantage of different options has grown tremendously.

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