Vouchers and the "New" Black Leadership

Tom Grayman is a pollster, publisher of The Intelligence Squad website, and author of the book Ghosts of Florida: Making Elections Fair for Blacks.

An article in yesterday's New York Times tells of how school vouchers are a hot-button issue in the Newark, NJ mayoral race. Cory Booker, part of so-called "new" wave of black leadership is for them, while his chief opponent, Deputy Mayor and "old guard" candidate Ronald Rice, is against them.

Vouchers may be the policy issue generating the greatest schism within the black community today. Polls show something like 60% of blacks support private school vouchers in theory, though that support drops to a minority when respondents are forced to consider the ramifications (typically a decrease in public school funding)of a private school voucher program. Blacks living in districts in which the public schools underperform see such vouchers as a chance at an escape for their children. Others, particularly those without school-age children see them as an attack on public schools.

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