The Democratic Congress recently signed a death warrant for the DC voucher program and we witnessed some in the center-left media come out swinging in defense of the policy.
Support for school choice is mainstreaming. And while we have seen serious setbacks on voucher policy in recent years, supporters of private schools choice should not be discouraged.
Education tax credits are making huge strides, with new programs multiplying and old ones expanding. And the support is increasingly bipartisan.
So congratulations and thanks to South Carolina State Sen. Robert Ford, the latest high-profile Democrat to support education tax credits:
State Sen. Robert Ford is lending his voice — a black voice rooted in the African-American struggle for equal rights — to the S.C. fight over school choice. To the dismay of his African-American Senate colleagues, the Charleston Democrat is hawking a bill that would give students [an education tax credit or scholarship supported by credits] to go to a private school.
Ford, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor … is making the case that the students who would benefit most from a [tax credit] program in South Carolina are African-Americans who attend poorly performing schools.
“All of us have been defending the system,” Ford said. “It’s time to stop. I’m not pussyfooting with this anymore.”
Ford might be a bit lonely at first in South Carolina, but he stands in good company across the nation.
Florida’s donation tax-credit program became law in 2001 with the vote of a single Democratic legislator. Last year, a third of statehouse Democrats, half the black caucus and the entire Hispanic caucus voted to expand that program.
New or expanded tax-credit initiatives were signed into law by Democratic governors in Arizona, Iowa and Pennsylvania in 2006. That same year a Democrat-controlled legislature in Rhode Island passed a donation tax credit and a Democratic governor and legislature in Iowa expanded the tax-credit dollar cap by 50 percent in 2007.
Last year six states moved a school choice bill through both chambers and five more passed a bill through one chamber. Georgia passed a universal donation tax credit program, and Louisiana passed both a voucher program and an education tax deduction.
Ford is right that the public school system has failed children and taxpayers for decades. Now the system is failing to maintain the only thing that matters to it; political support.