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Voucher Left

Meet Florida’s newest school choice Democrat

OPA-LOCKA, Fla. – If you want to know why Florida state Rep. James Bush III supports educational choice, take a ride with him. Just a few blocks from his legislative office, District 109 – which Bush called “one of the largest and poorest and most violent and neglected districts in the state” – is more Mad Max than Miami, a hodge-podge of industrial zoning and bars-over-windows residential. On a recent Sunday, Bush bumped a rented Mustang down a moonscape of graded road, lined with teetering chain-link fence and littered with cast-offs: a flat-screen TV, a jet ski, a crushed camper...

Lessons from the Renaissance school

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – With a little help from their culinary instructor, the multi-ethnic group of first- and second-graders at BB International School chop, grate, dice, squeeze, season, stir and serve. They tong noodles into bubbling red sauce. They sprinkle in chili flakes. And along the way, they learn far more than how to rock an impressive bucatini with amatriciana. The instructor, Alexa Altamura, adds a dash of math (slice the onion into cubes), a drop of geography (the pink salt is from the Himalayas), a pinch of global trade (tomatoes are originally from Mexico). She folds in a smidgen of anatomy...

James Baldwin on education alternatives

This is the latest post in our series on the center-left roots of school choice. Rosa Parks wanted a charter school. Cesar Chavez wanted freedom schools. No president pushed federal funding for school choice more than Barack Obama. School choice critics shamelessly try to shackle choice to Trump, or Devos, or any other figure loathed on the left. But it’s a fact that plenty of folks on the left, from everyday people to social justice icons, have long appreciated alternatives to traditional public schools, particularly for low-income families and communities of color. Add James Baldwin to the list. Baldwin – writer, activist,...

Democrats, school choice & the big strike that left the big split

This is the latest post in our series on the center-left roots of school choice. The crowd shots that illustrate the Democratic Party’s big split over school choice are, in one key respect, starkly black and white. Or, at least, black, brown and white. On one side: Thousands of teachers on strike, from West Virginia to Oklahoma to Arizona. Overwhelmingly white. On the other: Thousands of parents at school choice rallies, from Florida to New York to Illinois. Overwhelmingly black and Hispanic. None of these recent events happened at the same time. And to be clear, last spring’s strikes were primarily for better...

School choice … for teachers

This is the latest post in our ongoing series on the center-left roots of school choice. Four years ago, Angela Kennedy, a teacher in Orlando, Fla., actualized an idea once prominently advanced by school choice supporters on the left. After 14 years of mounting frustration with public schools, she started her own private school. Today, thanks to more than 70 school choice scholarships, Kennedy’s faith-based Deeper Root Academy is a high-quality haven for low-income and predominantly black students. It’s also another concrete example of what’s possible, for teachers and principals, when school choice expands. What better time than now to remind people. This...

Remember this school choice Democrat

Forty years ago, school choice liberals started working with popular Democratic Congressman Leo Ryan to put school choice on the ballot in California. Then, tragedy struck.

Peace, love & accountability

The idea of accountability through school choice isn't new. School choice liberals strongly backed the idea a half century ago.

Loving the Earth, lauding school choice

Mangrove School in Florida, where more than half the students use school choice scholarships, stresses environmental consciousness. It's yet another example of the endless varieties of schools that might be possible with expanded school choice.