The school choice movement is sweeping the nation like a tidal wave this year with multiple states having already passed new programs, and several others (Georgia and Florida) rapidly advancing their own legislation as we speak.
Opponents of school choice, which to be quite candid mostly just include teachers, their unions, and other government bureaucrats (the people who profit off the status quo) have few credible lines of attack against the programs. It’s hard to argue that government schools are slaying it these days. Letting families determine how to direct their tax dollars and pick the educational path that’s best for their unique children has been popular across many demographics.
But one common attack the opposition tries to make against school choice is that, you guessed it, it’s racist. The Left’s old one trick pony defense when all else fails. How exactly is giving parents their tax dollars and letting them pick where to send their kids to school racist? You’ve got to jump through some mental gymnastics with them, but essentially their argument is that choice programs will allow white flight from public schools and leave black kids with even worse outcomes than they already get in the system. This of course doesn’t track as black kids also have access to choice programs when they pass and could also go to better schools.
And according to a new poll from EdChoice, their families are more than eager to take advantage of education savings accounts when they pass. Their recent study found that 78% of black parents support education savings accounts (ESAs). These are the most popular models within the school choice apparatus and the structure that states like Florida and Georgia are pursuing.
Under this model, parents get a portion of the money already being spent on their child (a combination of state and local funds) in an ESA. The ESA operates kind of like an HSA but for education. So they can use those dollars for private school, online courses, homeschooling, tutoring, or should they prefer it, their public school. The dollars can usually be rolled over year after year as well to help prepare for higher tuition costs in high school.
The study also found that black parents overwhelmingly support charter schools with 74% polling favorably, and 79% supported vouchers.
It isn’t hard to understand why these programs would be so popular in the black community, because black Americans have continuously gotten the raw end of the stick in the government school system for decades. They tend to go to poorer schools that receive less funding, they are more impacted by the preschool to prison pipeline, and their parents report deep concerns over the bullying they feel their children face in schools.
School choice is anything but racist. In fact, it’s an answer to the systemic racism that actually exists in our government school system thanks to practices like redlining that forced black people to live in poorer areas and go to worse schools for decades.
The teachers’ unions are going to have to get another line when it comes to school choice, because the black community isn’t buying what they’re peddling.