Star Parker

Hymowitz concludes that the real "gap" in the country is a "marriage gap." There are indeed two Americas. One revolves around traditional family, is more educated and populates the higher income portion of the spectrum. The other revolves around broken families, is poorly educated, and populates the lower end of the income spectrum.

Of course, it's not clear whether more education produces stable families or vice versa.

But looking at the situation of blacks, it doesn't matter. It's a mess across the board. Kids are not getting educated and families are largely not intact.

Back to education and school choice.

Blacks must get their children educated if the economic picture is going to change, but it should be clear this challenge is multiplied by the fact that black kids are starting out overwhelmingly from families that are already broken.

Those that argue for school choice correctly make the case that competition produces better products, whether we're talking about computers or schools.

But in addition to the benefits of competition, it is inordinately important that single black mothers have the option of sending their kid to a school where the educational culture is defined by traditional values. This is not the case with public schools.

How much can be expected from a single, poor mother who must compete with a prevailing popular culture that conveys meaninglessness and relativism to her kid, and then must compete with a school system that conveys the same? This mother should, and must, have the option of sending her child to a school that teaches traditional values.

Schools can and must play a vital link in helping to break the cycle of kids from poor, broken families going on to create more poor, broken families.

It is ironic that a country that rejects the idea of imposing values on others maintains a monolithic public school system that does just that.

Politicians who pay lip service to the growing gap in incomes and the plight of our growing poor, black population must appreciate that this problem is first and foremost a crisis of freedom and values.

I suggest that no black American cast a vote for any candidate of either party that does not support school choice.


Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.