Hispanic church leaders -- flanked by kids and camels -- today urged Florida's teachers union to drop its lawsuit challenging a voucher program that provides private-school scholarships to children from low-income families.
Morgan Showalter writes in a recent commentary ("School choice too often leads to segregation," Oct. 21) that school choice "once promised an egalitarian mix of urban and suburban students of all races in one building, but in reality usually meant segregation, with black students confined to certain city schools and whites allowed a means of escape from them." What does the author mean? Isn't a lack of choice the essential definition of segregation? Students are more likely to be segregated when their ZIP codes dictate where they can and cannot attend school.
Many studies have proven that school choice not only helps poor and minority students but that it actually benefits them the most. Research also shows school choice is useful in achieving desegregation, which makes perfect sense: Choice enables low-income, minority students the chance to get away from, at least during school hours, the "situational poverty, sickness, food stamps and welfare" Mr. Showalter himself was so grateful to escape.
I agree that yes, of course we should work on "transforming our communities." But children can't afford to wait around while communities are transformed. They deserve better now. Mr. Showalter writes, "Educational choices will always be available but they may never be effectively available to all." Why is that? Because anti-choice activists would rather segregate children into the communities they're born into for the sake of preserving public education than offer all children freedom, hope and opportunity.
Teresa Mull, Victor, Idaho
The writer is an education research fellow at The Heartland Institute.