by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
During a speech before the Nebraska legislature, Democratic state senator Justin Wayne promised to vote against a school choice bill if his colleagues agreed to send their kids to the public school system.
“I will vote to kill this bill if you send your kids to one of the kid’s schools in my district that we’re waiting to turn around,” Wayne offered to the lawmakers.
Wayne, who is black, acknowledged that he struggled with the issue and rejected a school choice bill his freshman year in the Nebraska chamber.
“My community can’t wait anymore,” he said.
The bill currently on the table in the Nebraska senate is titled LB364 Adopt the Opportunity Scholarships Act and provide tax credits.
“The only people who are opposing school choice today are the same people who have choice. And many of them exercise that choice,” Wayne remarked.
The Nebraska Democrat insisted that his anti-school choice counterparts take their kids out of expensive private schools and enroll them in public schools, so they can witness the under-resourced learning environments first hand and have a stake in improving them for all students.
“When they fall behind, when they don’t have the resources…when they’re dealing with suspensions and things like that, then we can all go through it together,” he said in reference to the senators’ kids.
“Don’t make a choice that you won’t allow anybody else to make just based off of income,” Wayne implored his fellow legislators.
No one should be shocked that a Democrat would offer such a full-throated defense of choice. A clear majority of people who vote Democratic support choice, as Donna Martinez highlighted in this forum earlier this month.
Yes, even Democrats like the idea of school choice. A new Real Clear Opinion poll for the American Federation of Children shows overwhelming support for empowering parents by giving them choices for how and where their children are educated.
The poll found that support for school choice cuts across racial and even party lines, with 73% of white, 66% of black, 68% of Hispanic, and 66% of Asian voters in support. Seventy-five percent of Republicans favor school choice, compared to 69% of Democrats.