One black mother supporting vouchers in Florida testified about why it is important to her to have the opportunity to send her child to a religious school. "I make sure her religious values are coming from home ... Then when my child steps out of my home and into this institution, she's receiving the same thing. That's consistency."
It is crucial that poor black kids, coming overwhelmingly from single parent homes and from communities where promiscuity and out-of-wedlock births are commonplace, have the opportunity to attend schools where traditional values and character building are part of the curriculum.
A religious education cannot be forced and should not be forced on any American kid. But denying parents, particularly the ones that need it most, the opportunity to choose a religious school for their child is blatantly un-American.
In a recent column, Edward Lazear, the chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, noted, "Half of those who are in poverty escape that status within three years. One-fifth of those in the bottom quarter of the income distribution move up within a year."
Yet, despite the fact that escaping poverty is a routine occurrence in America, pockets of black poverty persist generation after generation.
At the heart of the problem is the failure to educate black children. And despite this clear failure, the NAACP fights change because change would challenge government control and would shift responsibility directly into our own communities and families.
Let's again recall Einstein's definition of insanity as repeating the same behavior but expecting different results.
Yes, it is incongruent that the nation's oldest civil rights organization opposes the right of black parents to choose where to send their child to school. And it is incongruent that those who celebrate a civil rights movement that was led by a black pastor insist that black children be trapped in schools where it is prohibited to teach Christian values.
Maybe one day the NAACP will wake up and recall that its mission is supposedly to expand not limit opportunities for black Americans.
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