Young Leaders to Back Vouchers, Author Says

By Billups, Andrea | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 10, 2001 | Go to article overview

Young Leaders to Back Vouchers, Author Says


Billups, Andrea, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The tide of opposition against school vouchers will be reversed as younger leaders take power at key black and minority organizations, predicts the author of a new book about the publicly funded private school scholarships.

"When it happens, it will be huge," says Terry Moe, a political scientist at Stanford University and the author of "Schools Vouchers and the American Public," published by the Brookings Institution.

Mr. Moe, a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution who has written about the voucher movement for more than a decade, says that some opponents contend that vouchers are a dead issue, but he believes support eventually will gain ground as younger generations demand more educational equity.

Many blacks want vouchers, despite the fact that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People now opposes them, he said. Prominent black political leaders, including some in the Congressional Black Caucus, have failed to support vouchers out of fear of losing political support from teachers unions. But those groups are out of touch with their constituents, who are seeking to escape bad schools, Mr. Moe said.

As more prominent black leaders, such as Martin Luther King III and Andrew Young, announce their support for vouchers, and such groups as the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) continue to gain support, the fire for vouchers will be stoked, said Mr. Moe, with Democrats taking over an issue that conservatives and libertarians first raised.

Those political groups have been out front on vouchers as a cornerstone to education reform, but Mr. Moe argues that it should be a key issue for liberals and Democrats.

"The key reason that it isn't is the teachers unions," he said. "Ultimately, I think they are going to be alone on this.

"There are groups springing up to do what the NAACP refuses to do," he said. "Once the civil rights groups shift, the ballgame is going to be over. The power of the civil rights groups will drag the Democrats along."

Mr. Moe discussed his research at a Brookings Institution event on Thursday. …

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