School Choice Victorious in the 2018 Elections

The American Federation for Children (AFC) and our affiliated political organizations once again invested heavily to defend and expand school choice majorities in the states. Our work to elect pro-school choice state policymakers and defeat opponents is crucial to passing high quality legislation and ultimately to enrolling tens of thousands of additional children in private school choice programs.

As the nation’s largest school choice advocacy organization, we are in business to help as many families as possible access the best educational environment for their children. Families cannot expect to meet the power of the entrenched special interests in education or to defeat the teachers’ unions’ hand-picked and well-funded politicians alone – and that’s why families rely upon us.

Our goal for this and every election is simple: defend and expand school choice legislative majorities all across the country, and then push policymakers to enact bold legislation in the upcoming legislative sessions that benefit students, not systems.

This year, AFC efforts once again made a big impact on behalf of families and children:

  • AFC and our affiliates invested nearly $5.3 million through the primary, runoff, and general elections across 377 races in 12 states, with a 77% win rate.
  • And AFC engaged with voters through mail, digital ads, billboards, TV and radio ads, and door-to-door canvassing

To see all of our elections press releases from the states, check this link.

It’s no surprise that we saw many key victories for candidates who support educational choice. Public polling from 2018 showed that voter support is strongly in favor for school choice:

  • Our 2018 National School Choice Poll conducted by Beck Research showed 63% support for school choice – including 72% from Latinos and 66% from African Americans.
  • Education Next, a journal from Harvard and Stanford, showed support for publicly-funded scholarships to private schools, also known as vouchers, increased from 45% last year to 54% this year – including 67% of Hispanics, up from 49% percent of Hispanics last year.
  • GenForward, a survey of Millennials, showed 87% of African Americans, 71% of Asian Americans, and 84% of Latinos support school vouchers for lower-income students.

Our efforts helped parents all across the country make their voices heard about providing all educational options for families. Whether that’s at a public school, a public charter school, a private school, a virtual academy, through homeschooling or in some blend of all, families deserve to have the freedom to choose the best education for their child.

School choice is the civil rights issue of our time. We simply have to fight with that urgency in mind as millions of children remain trapped in a woefully underperforming K-12 education system. Across the country, we spend $650 billion on education at the local, state, and federal levels, and yet no more than 40% of our 4th and 8th grade students can do Reading or Math at grade level.  That is unacceptable.

Today, 3.7 million students are benefitting from educational choice at public charter schools or through publicly funded scholarships for private schools. Good progress, but we still have much more work to do to ensure that every child, especially those from lower income and disadvantaged families, can access a quality education.

John Schilling
American Federation for Children