School Choice Made a Difference


(This post was originally posted 11/29/18.)


(Author’s note: As we enter the last few weeks of the presidential campaign, there are several campaign issues which have been previously addressed in this blog. These include Medicare for All, single-payer healthcare, socialism, school choice and others. In the next few weeks I will be re-posting many of my previous posts on these issues as a review for voters. For this limited time I will be posting six days a week instead of the usual twice a week. These earlier posts will be intermingled with new posts on current topics.)


The Florida Gubernatorial election is finally over. Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum finally conceded the election to Republican Ron DeSantis after a recount showed DeSantis was still ahead by about 30,000 votes.

Ironically, DeSantis can thank black women for his victory. Yes, there is a solid argument that black women rejected the black candidate Gillum in favor of – their children.

According to CNN exit polling of 3,108 voters, of the roughly 650,000 black women who voted in Florida, 18% or about 117,000 chose DeSantis. This exceeded their support for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott (9%). In other words, they selected the Republican gubernatorial candidate but not the Republican senatorial candidate.

William Mattox, director of the Marshall Center for Educational Options at the James Madison Institute, writes in The Wall Street Journal that the reason is school choice.

More than 100,000 low-income students in Florida participate in the Step Up For Students program, which grants tax-credit funded scholarships to attend private schools. Even more students are currently enrolled in the state’s 650 charter schools.

Most Step Up students are minorities whose mothers are registered Democrats. Yet these “school choice moms” split their votes when it comes to protecting their ability to choose where their child goes to school.

Four years ago Governor Rick Scott narrowly won re-election for the same reason. In 2016 more than 10,000 scholarship recipients joined Martin Luther King III in Tallahassee to protest a lawsuit filed by the teachers union in America’s largest-ever school choice rally. Yet, despite this outpouring of minority support for school choice, Mr. Gillum chose to ignore the wishes of minority constituents and instead backed the teachers’ unions who oppose school choice. Black women, and 44% of Latinos, made him pay for this betrayal.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called school choice “the civil rights issue of our time.” Yet Democratic leaders refuse to acknowledge and support school choice even though it is the key to upward mobility in minority children. Politicians who claim to represent the interests of families should take heed of this Florida experience and support the interests of parents who only want what’s best for their children.