Cover Story

School choice surge

"School choice surge" Continued...

Issue: "School choice," Aug. 25, 2012

Emerson points to many African-American lawmakers not only backing educational choice bills but sponsoring them. In North Carolina, for example, Rep. Marcus Brandon, a black Democrat, joined a white Democrat and two white Republicans this year in sponsoring a bill that would have given tax credits to businesses that fund scholarships. In Florida, nearly half of Democrats, and most members of the black and Hispanic caucuses, have supported a similar scholarship program that 38,000 students used last year.

That unusual bipartisan cooperation doesn't hold everywhere. Not a single Democrat voted for Indiana's voucher law. Yet it's clear many minority students in the state are benefiting: At Ambassador and Trinity, about 95 percent of the students are African-American.

Stewart, the principal at Ambassador, sometimes gets pushback to her acceptance of vouchers: "Some of my colleagues in public schools feel that we have stolen children from their coffers." But opponents of school choice initiatives are having trouble gaining traction, apart from occasional judicial rulings citing constitutional roadblocks. No school choice programs have fallen into disfavor in states where they've taken root. Instead, enrollment has gone up.

That's good news for families like the Griffins. Roman and Sheila say Ambassador had a positive spiritual effect on their kids. "We are not anti--public school, necessarily," Sheila said, "but we are grateful to have our first choice, our first pick, which is [a] Christian school."

Daniel James Devine
Daniel James Devine

Daniel is a reporter for WORLD who covers science, technology, and other topics in the Midwest from his home base in Indiana. Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanJamDevine.

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