According to the leadership of the American Federation of Teachers, the opinion page of the New York Times, and the Center for American Progress, contemporary support of school choice is a smokescreen for racism.
This must come as a surprise for readers of this blog, many of whom support school choice because it gives greater opportunity for minority families trapped in schools that are failing to meet their children’s needs. Sorry to break it to you! It turns out (or so we are told) that because some racists used school vouchers 60 years ago to try and thwart integration and some unsavory characters spoke ill of public schooling more than a century ago, school choice is forever tainted.
This is a terrible argument.
It is a terrible argument because examples of racists twisting policies and ideas to suit their own purposes are everywhere: from the minimum wage, to federal support for housing, to labor unions, and even to traditional public schools themselves. Pointing out these examples is not a good way to argue about contemporary problems.
The old lawyerly saw advises “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. And when neither are on your side, pound the table.” School choice opponents are doing some serious table pounding right now. Don’t fall for it.