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Teachers' union-backed network runs anti-school-choice campaign, claiming programs are 'deeply rooted' in racism
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Teachers' union-backed network runs anti-school-choice campaign, claiming programs are 'deeply rooted' in racism

A network backed by the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers' union, plans to run an anti-school-choice campaign, claiming that voucher programs are "deeply rooted" in racism, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported Friday.

According to school choice advocate Corey DeAngelis, Partnership for the Future of Learning, a "network of 700 education and social justice field leaders from 300+ organizations and 20 foundations," sent an "embargoed toolkit" set for the campaign's release on January 22. The network's website lists the NEA and the NEA Foundation as some of its "funders." The network is "housed and supported by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors," its website states.

The release of the new campaign coincides with National School Choice Week.

DeAngelis reported that the network's "Truth in Education Funding" tool kit's main messaging tactic is "to call school choice racist." The tool kit reportedly claims that school choice voucher programs are increasingly being adopted nationwide "despite overwhelming evidence that they are harmful public policy."

"In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to dismantle public education as a critical foundation of democracy, whether through legislation that harms LGBTQIA+ communities at school or banning inclusive books and curricula," the network's tool kit states. "This effort is inextricably linked to the push for private voucher programs."

"Private school vouchers are historically rooted in segregation, discrimination and racism," it adds.

The tool kit purports to be a "guide to understanding vouchers and supporting public education."

The network claims that the public education system is "equitable," "effective and inclusive" compared to "harmful" voucher programs, which allow parents' tax dollars to follow their children to the school they believe will serve their education best.

The Truth in Education Funding website argues that voucher programs are "rooted in segregation" because they "were first introduced during the Civil Rights era when efforts to desegregate schools were at a peak."

"At that time, publicly funded scholarships to attend private schools were intended for white families to escape state desegregation efforts. While current pro-voucher advocates don't put segregationist intentions on display, research shows that voucher programs increase racial isolation and offer no educational benefits," it continues.

However, considering today's school choice programs allow for all students, regardless of race or economic status, to attend and fund the school of their preference, the network's and the teachers' union's grievance with the programs is much more likely the fact that they can remove funds from underachieving public school systems. Voucher programs pressure public schools to boost their performance or risk losing their students — and thereby, the taxpayer dollars that follow those students — to better-performing school systems.

"Voucher programs pose a significant threat to the fiscal health of state budgets and to funding for public schools, which is often inadequate. Yet state legislatures are pouring more and more public funding into voucher programs, all while misrepresenting their fiscal impact," the website claimed.

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