Washington, D.C. — In 1959, five years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling outlawing segregation in schools, Prince Edward County, Virginia, officials chose to close all of the county’s public schools rather than desegregate them. When they were forced by court mandate to make all schools available to black and white students, county officials turned to “tuition grants”—a private school voucher system—to further avoid integration. The racist origins of private school vouchers should serve as a lesson for today: No matter how well intentioned, voucher programs continue to leave behind the most vulnerable students and the public schools they attend.
At the event, held at the American Federation of Teachers headquarters, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), representing Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District, will give opening remarks. Then panelists will discuss the Center for American Progress’ new issue brief “The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers,” which looks at the segregationist policies and actions that led to the implementation of one of the first voucher systems in the country.
The panelists will also address and discuss current voucher programs as well as various voucher schemes proposed by President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Carmel Martin, executive vice president for policy, Center for American Progress Action Fund
Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and the Workforce
Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, American Association of School Administrators
Richard D. Kahlenberg, senior fellow, The Century Foundation
Catherine E. Lhamon, chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Justin Reid, director, African American programs, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
Stephenie Johnson, associate campaign director for K-12 education policy, Center for American Progress Action Fund
Thursday, July 13, 2017
3:00 p.m. ET – 4:00 p.m. ET
American Federation of Teachers headquarters
555 New Jersey Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
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