Want More Diversity in Vermont, Promote School Choice

December 13, 2018

by Rob Roper

Florida experienced some very close statewide elections this cycle, including its race for governor in which Republican Ron Desantis edged by Democrat Andrew Gillum. The interesting and deciding factor in that race was that an unusually large number of African American women abandoned the Democratic (and fellow African American) candidate Gillum to vote for Desantis. Why? School choice.

The Wall Street Journal did an analysis of the race titled, “‘School Choice Moms’ Tipped the Governor’s Florida Race.” According to the Journal, Desantis won 18% of the black, female vote, which is considerably more than single digit level most Republicans usually get from African Americans. Not insignificantly, Desantis also won an impressive (for a Republican) 44 percent of the Latino vote, also credited in part to his support for school choice.

In Florida, more than 100,000 low-income students, most of whom are minorities, participate in the Step Up For Students program, which grants tax-credit funded scholarships that allow these kids to attend private schools. Apparently, the moms of these 100,000 were enough voters to tip a race decided by around 40,000.

For many minority communities, school choice is seen as “the civil rights issue of our time,” and in this particular case, a civil rights imperative even more important than electing Florida’s first African American governor.

There have been many news headlines in Vermont over the past several months lamenting the lack of diversity in our state. Yet, here we have the oldest, and I would argue, the most comprehensive and dynamic school choice system in the country. Maybe it’s time to shout that fact from the rooftops and let the country know of our role in “the civil rights issue of our time.” Maybe even expand the system that we have now. If we want more African Americans to see Vermont as a place that is welcoming, let’s lead on an issue they clearly care deeply about.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.
Read more...

Latest News

4800 Vermont Workers Face Mandatory Fee and Certification (Part 1 of 2)

May 21, 2019 By David Flemming About half of U.S. workers need an occupational license to do their job, a huge increase from the one in twenty workers in 1950....

Niceties Aside, It’s an Authoritarian Police State

May 20, 2019 by Rob Roper In a recent commentary featured on Vermont Digger, Steering Clear of the Shoals of Socialism, David Moats urges his fellow leftists to...

Union Dues Developments

May 17, 2019 by John McClaughry A year ago the Supreme Court ruled that public sector labor unions could not require nonmembers to pay agency fees of usually...

Roll Call! House Increases State Minimum Wage (90-53), 2019

. S.23 – AN ACT RELATING TO INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE .  PASSED in the State House of Representatives on May 15, 2019, by a vote of 90-53 ....

Roll Call! House Bans “Single Use” Plastic Bags, Etc. (120-24), 2019

. S.113 – AN ACT RELATING TO THE MANAGEMENT OF SINGLE USE PRODUCTS . PASSED in the State House of Representatives on May 9, 2019, by a vote...

Video