Department or Program

African American Studies


Charter Schools are offered as the solution to the current educational crisis plaguing Black, poor communities across the country. They have been touted as a method of progress while being tied to neoliberal, philanthrocapitalist ventures. However, I offer a different perspective by questioning: “How does our invocation of educational progress actually elide the suffering of Black people, and more specifically, Black students?” To answer this question, I analyze the goals, missions, and logics of four New York City charter management organizations: Uncommon Schools, Achievement First, Success Academy, and KIPP. I do so in order to understand the actual impact that these ventures have upon Black students. I then argue that urban Charter Schools are not only problematic, but they are actually quite harmful. This project considers Charter schools to be racializing assemblages that are heavily invested in the settler colonial project, contrived notions of “the human,” and the proliferation of anti-Blackness. Charter schools rely upon settler notions of land and ownership to invade urban space, to preserve a Master/Slave antagonism that empowers the settler order, and to reaffirm Blackness’ inherent fungibility by profiting from Black bodies while simultaneously inflicting punitive practices. For this very reason, I advocate for the abolition of the western colonial form of K-12 schooling. This form is inherently settler colonial and anti-Black; it can not be redeemed by simply changing its funding source. As long as the current model of K-12 schooling exists - regardless of the type of school - it will perpetuate settler colonial violence and anti-Blackness. In order for American education to thrive, it must be decolonized. Such a transformation should be tied to an overall movement to abolish colonial ties from society; this would require a total destruction of the current model, and the construction of a more sustainable model of education.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Shepard, Cassandra

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 .docx


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