“Brown v. Board of Ed ultimately was never about black kids getting into a white school. It was always about ultimately a parent being able to decide where their children should attend school,” Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears tells me in today’s Reason Interview podcast. She is one of the driving forces behind a new bill that would create so-called backpack funding for kids in Virginia.
Parents would be allowed to use the state’s portion of per pupil funding—somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000—at any public or private school, for tutoring, books, and other educational expenses. If the bill passes, Virginia would join eight other states with education savings accounts (ESAs) that accomplish similar goals.
Earle-Sears was born in Jamaica in 1964 and grew up in New York City before joining the Marines and eventually settling in Virginia, where she has served in the House of Delegates and on the Virginia Board of Education. She became lieutenant governor in 2021 on the same ticket as Republican Glenn Youngkin in an election in which controversies over critical race theory (CRT), school lockdowns, and other issues related to education played a significant role.
On today’s show, we talk about why school choice is her top priority, the ongoing controversy over her administration’s proposed history standards that were rejected by the Virginia Department of Education, and the black experience in America over the past half-century.
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