The confirmation battle over Betsy DeVos eroded middle ground over school choice, but Democratic infighting over school choice goes back to the Jimmy Carter era. He supported school vouchers before teacher unions began to flex their political muscle.
To progressives like Martin Luther King III and many others, school choice is an extension of the civil rights movement. His remarks to 10,000 school choice supporters at a rally in Florida last year emphasized school choice as a way to expand opportunity and embrace diversity.
The Heart Pine School accepts school choice scholarships and reflects the environmental consciousness and progressive values of its parents. Yet two anti-school choice lawsuits championed by other progressives would kill the scholarships that help the school live up to its vision.
Civil rights leader Wyatt Tee Walker, chief of staff to Martin Luther King Jr., is a noteworthy bridge between the civil rights and school choice movements. He helped lead the charge for the first charter school in New York.
Mary McLeod Bethune was an American hero. She was also a school choice pioneer, opening a private, faith-based school in Daytona in 1904 to expand education opportunity for African American girls. Now the state of Florida may honor her with a statue in the U.S. Capitol.