Friday, April 20, 2007

Florida voucher rally, photos and poll numbers

Another warrior for vouchers (and disadvantaged children) is John Kirtley, who is doing in Florida what Peter Denton is doing in NJ (roughly speaking).  In response to today's emails about how nearly every (like 99% -- seriously) Democratic politician in this country opposes school choice , John wrote:

The Democrats take a great risk in this approach. Do you need any more proof than the pictures I sent you? [see] Look at the crowd. Are these Republicans?

Another data point? Last year HCREO did a poll of 400 likely Hispanic voters right before the November elections. The questions and results? [I've posted it at:]

  • Do you favor allowing parents of children with disabilities using state funds to send their children to the school of their choice whether it is a public or private school?

Support- 82 %

Oppose – 14 %

  • Do you favor allowing low-income parents using state funds to send their children to the school of their choice whether it is a public or private school?

Support- 71%

Oppose- 22%

A fascinating crosstab is the following:

  • Favor state funds for kids with disabilities to attend private school: Republicans 80%/14% for, Democrats 83%/13% for
  • Favor state funds for low income kids to attend private school: Republicans 69/21 for, Democrats 76/18 for

Democrats will continue to lose support among African American and Hispanic voters if they take Rotherham’s advice.

In an earlier email, Kirtley sent some photos and articles from Florida with this cover note:

Dear Friends,

Yesterday over 4,000 parents and children came from as far away as Miami (they got on buses at 11pm the night before) to come to Florida's distant capitol and show their support for school choice.

The theme of the day was "Many Faces, One Dream", and the message was that parental choice should be above partisan politics, and that it can help public education. Our speakers reflected that bipartisan spirit, with both Republican Governor Charlie Crist and Democrat Senator Al Lawson giving their remarks.

The rally was co-sponsored by the Florida Alliance For Choices in Education, BAEO and HCREO, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, CONLAMIC (the national association of Latino ministers), the regular state Chamber of Commerce, and the Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools.

Having Rev. Matthews as a guest and speaker was a tremendous honor. He marched at Selma and was jailed 35 times in Pensacola in the struggle for civil rights. Non-stop for two hours after the rally, children asked for his autograph and asked, “did you really march with Dr. King?”  Rev. Matthews was the keynote speaker at the Florida Legislative Black Caucus’ MLK dinner earlier this year.

After the rally parents and children visited their legislators to spread the message of parental choice. One newly elected Representative, Democrat Ronald Brise from Miami, recognized children from Miami Union Academy in the gallery of the House. He had good reason: over 100 people representing the school made the trip. Brise is a graduate of the school, is on its board, and is a supporter of parental choice. Miami Union graduates over 95 percent of it students.

The rally will definitely help us tremendously with the goal of increasing bipartisan support for choice in our state. FACE is vey grateful to BAEO and HCREO for their terrific support in this effort, and also the Alliance For School Choice for their financial assistance.

I am personally grateful to our wonderful staff, which every year somehow pulls of this miracle of organizing and logistics. Watching over 4,000 people come up the street is something you don't soon forget. I have attached one photo that shows about half the crowd coming up the street (the rest is still coming out of the staging area). I have also attached a photo of Governor Crist addressing the crowd in the capitol courtyard.

It was a great day for parental choice.


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