Critics of school choice say it shortchanges low-income black and Hispanic families in particular because so many moonlight, leaving them little time to investigate what is open to them. But if so, then why do 56 percent of blacks and 62 percent of Hispanics favor private-school vouchers (“The School Choice Election Bonus,” The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 14)?
Consider charter schools. Demand for admission far outstrips the supply of openings. For example, in New York City there are some 53,000 families on charter school wait lists. And in New Bedford, Mass. there are more than 446 families on a wait list for enrollment in a K-8 public charter school.
The news is similar elsewhere. There are now more than 400,000 students in Florida and 260,000 in Arizona who attend charters or receive tax-credit scholarships. Granted, not all of these are low-income blacks or Hispanics. But the majority of those on wait lists are low-income blacks and Hispanics.
I believe the number of students will continue to grow in the years ahead. That’s because parents of all races and socioeconomic status want the right to choose what they alone believe is best for their own children. Few parents are willing to sacrifice the education of their own children on an ideological altar. I don’t blame them.
As a product of a K-12 public-school education, it pains me to say this. But the evidence says I’m right. For example, state tax-credit scholarships, which Arizona started in 1997 and which Florida copied in 2001, appeal to more and more families. Equally popular are education savings accounts that allow parents to use state per-pupil funding for tutoring, private- school tuition and other education expenses.
(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)