Special Report:

Controlling the Narrative

Parental Choice, Black Empowerment & Lessons from Florida

It has been 31 years since the first modern private school choice program began in Milwaukee, 29 years since the first charter school opened in  Minnesota, and 10 years since Arizona created the nation’s first education savings account program. Yet in many states, the opportunity for America’s 7.7 million Black public-school students to access these potentially life-changing learning options remains out of reach.

Florida is a notably bright exception.

Florida has more than 600,000 Black students, among the highest number of any state. It has among the most expansive suite of education choice options. And now it has among the highest number of Black students enrolled in those options.

The latter shouldn’t be a surprise. Black student achievement across America continues to lag. Black residents are more likely to have negative views of neighborhood schools. Black parents are particularly supportive of school choice. Yet the extent to which Black parents, educators and communities have embraced choice in Florida has been little noticed by the press, policymakers and the general public, both in Florida and beyond.