The strongest source of support for school choice in Texas is among Black Democrats. As is common across the nation, it’s minority parents whose children attend inner-city schools, which tend to have fewer resources and score lower in testing. That’s what explains this result:
That support has become apparent in recent polling by the University of Houston – Hobby School of Public Affairs which reports school choice was supported by 61% of the state’s population.
What some analysts have found surprising is that backing for “vouchers” is strongest among Black Texans with 73% of African-American Democrats in favor of taxpayer-funded choice.
But the teachers unions are against school choice, and the unions are a significant power inside the Democratic Party. There has also been a long, history of people insisting that school choice will be bad for Black students. Even Forbes has run pieces insisting that school choice has a racist history. The NEA – the largest teachers’ union – headlines a piece, “School Vouchers – An Enduring Racist Practice”.
Schooling is to some extent segregated because the population is. But that’s not the point. Rather, we should insist on having better schooling. This is even more true for those who already start out at the bottom of our society. And yes, it shouldn’t be that skin color or any other accident of birth determines that but still. What is it that most benefits those from that background?
“Harvard, University of Wisconsin and Brookings studied programs in New York City, the District of Columbia and Dayton. African-American children did much better on test scores having had advantage of a voucher program.”
Who benefits from school vouchers? The children of the Black voters who are more in favor of school vouchers than the general population. That now shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise. Who wouldn’t support a program that benefits their own children?
But we should all support it on exactly those same grounds. The only people opposing it are those who benefit from the old system it will replace. The teachers’ unions who produce those inner-city school systems which so many Black parents want their children to opt out of.
The other point we should take from this is that school choice is not a party-political idea. It’s really not white Republicans driving it all if 73% of Black Democrats support it. School choice is very simple indeed, it’s about creating better education for the children of this country. This is why it is so heavily supported by the parents of those children currently sentenced to the worst parts of the current American education system.
The people who see the very worst parts of the current system overwhelmingly support school choice. Given their experience, so should all of the rest of us.
CommentsComments are turned off for this article.