By Alexandra Bacchus
Black millennials value school choice in an effort to achieve education equality
79% of African-Americans support voucher programs that send low-income students to private schools
Low confidence in the effectiveness of standard public schools is driving minority parents, and black parents specifically, to support school choice through charter schools and voucher programs. The problem is that not all parents in low-income communities have the bandwidth or knowledge to pursue alternative options for their children’s education.
Why This Matters: Voucher programs that use government funding to send low-income students to private schools are supported by 79% of African-Americans. That percentage drops to 65% when asked about voucher programs for all income levels, showing that African-Americans don’t necessarily see it as an option that all students should have access to once they are out of low-income communities.
In low income school districts with limited access to public school funding, minority students are often the most impacted group because they cannot afford private options with smaller class sizes and personalized instruction. While there are ongoing debates on whether school choice diverts attention and funding from improving existing public schools, many Black-Americans view it as the best way to ensure a good education for their children.
School choice also includes charter schools, which are controversial because they often use public funds that could have otherwise gone to local public schools. The NAACP, the country’s oldest civil rights organization, is publicly opposed to charter schools, creating a divide with black millennials who are putting their preference for school choice into action as members of an active voting demographic.
Situational Awareness: Schools that serve mostly students of color receive $23 billion less funding than schools with mostly white students, according to EdBuild researchers. More effort must go into putting dedicated and well-compensated teachers into schools that need it, through things like teacher residency programs and more knowledge in the hands of parents so they can advocate better for student needs.
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