State Sen. Robert Ford is putting a new face on the long-running fight over whether to spend public education dollars to pay for private schools.
To the dismay of his African American colleagues, the Charleston Democrat is hawking a bill that would give students a publicly paid scholarship or tuition grant to go to a private school.
So far, the push for school choice has had mostly white faces out front. But Ford, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, is making the case that the students who would benefit most from a voucher-style program in South Carolina are African Americans who attend poorly performing schools.
He dismisses those who say his program would hurt already struggling public schools, framing the argument as a choice between protecting schools or giving children the lifeline they need to succeed.
“You’re damn right I’m hurting public education, because public education is hurting our kids,” Ford said.