Backers call for national mobilization in Florida's voucher fight
The battle over Florida's corporate tax credit scholarships continues to gain attention outside the state, with voucher advocates calling upon supporters to push hard to keep the Florida model intact.
The latest argument comes from Howard Fuller, head of the Black Alliance for Educational Options and former superintendent of Milwaukee (WI) public schools, home of one of the nation's first large-scale voucher programs. You can find his views on the Redefined blog run by Step Up for Students, which oversees the Florida program.
Fuller, a long-time civil rights activist, told Redefined that Florida's legal battle over vouchers for low-income children will resonate across the country. Vested interests have a big interest at stake, he contended, and backers of creating choices and opportunities need to remain vigilant, regardless of where they live.
“And that’s why I keep trying to explain to people, this is not a college debate,” Fuller told the blog. “This is a street fight. And you cannot approach a street fight quoting from a book. You got to understand how to wage this fight. And we all need to get focused on this fight in Florida, because it is critical. So I’m ready … let’s go. Because I’m frankly worried about losing that decision. Because it will not be decided on legal grounds. It will be decided on political grounds, being masked as a legal decision.”
Step Up for Students founder John Kirtley has told Redefined that he expected the fight to heat up politically if school boards don't back away from their opposition to vouchers. The Florida School Boards Association is party to the lawsuit challenging the program's constitutionality.
“If the FSBA proceeds with the suit, (Florida Federation for Children) will be heavily invested in these races around the state for years to come," Kirtley said.