I was wrong.
For 15 years I have dedicated myself to empowering low-income families to choose the best school for their kids. I was the strongest advocate for parental choice you would ever meet.
But I was wrong.
For almost two decades I swatted away false arguments from choice opponents. “There’s no evidence students do well in choice programs.” No, the consensus of studies show they do. “Creams the best low-income students away from public schools.” Sorry, studies show just the opposite.
But the scales have now fallen from my eyes. I have to leave the movement. Why?
I just learned that vouchers will mean the end of high school football. Yes, that’s right – giving low-income parents choices will mean the end of that great American tradition – and I just can’t tolerate that.
You see, high school football used to be the most important thing in my life. When I was 15 and my father told me our family was moving from Iowa to Florida, my only question was, “Does the high school have a good quarterback”? When I was 17, the only thing I wanted for my birthday was a case of Gatorade (three practices a day, in full pads, in the summer in South Florida). Some of my fondest memories are of taking the field for the Fort Lauderdale High School Flying L’s. Yes, that was our team name.
Given this background, I hope my fellow choice advocates will understand my abdication.
A group called Save Texas Football has just come out with a video explaining how choice will kill high school football in Texas. As I watched it, I was so impressed by the quality of the message and the production, I said to myself, “There’s no way a grassroots, amateur group did this.” Sure enough, the group behind the video is Progress Texas, a 501C4 advocacy group that is run by veterans of Texas Democratic politics. C4s don’t have to reveal their donors, but I’ll buy you a hot dog at this Friday’s game if the major funder of this group isn’t the Texas teachers union.