Equity & Diversity

Vouchers Key for Student Success, Says New ‘Never Trump’ Candidate

By Andrew Ujifusa — August 11, 2016 1 min read
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Crossposted from the Politics K-12 blog

By Andrew Ujifusa

Heard about Evan McMullin, a new independent candidate for president who’s the best hope of the conservative “Never Trump” movement? Did you know he has thoughts about school choice?

McMullin announced his candidacy earlier this week, in the hopes of becoming a conservative alternative to GOP nominee Donald Trump. He’s a former CIA officer who also used to work as a Republican congressional staffer, announced his candidacy earlier this week, He sat down for an interview on Bloomberg Politics’ “With All Due Respect” program with Mark Halperin and Donny Deutch.

At the end of several questions about other policy areas, Halperin asked McMullin if he supported the use of vouchers for children to attend private, parochial, and charter schools. (More on that in a second.) McMullin said he “absolutely” backed the idea and went on:

I see it as a way for children that are growing up in low-income families or in families that are below the poverty line to have a chance. I mean, this is just such a critical thing. Our educational system is a hundred years old. It was made for a time when we were transitioning from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy. We’ve got to have a new, updated educational system in a variety of ways. But I think that’s a very important one.

Technically, Halperin’s question is a little off, since students don’t need any sort of voucher to attend charter schools. Regardless, McMullin is walking a well-worn path here by arguing that choice is a key way to empower parents and their children on the lower ends of the socioeconomic scale.

Ironically enough, whatever McMullin’s differences with Trump in other areas, there’s not really daylight between them here. As you may already know, Trump is a big fan of school choice. He has been for a while. But he hasn’t said much about it on the campaign trail, beyond lines like in his speech at the Republican National Convention last month when he accepted the GOP nomination for president.

Watch the interview of McMullin below; his education-related remarks begin at about the 30-minute mark.

Contact Sarah Tully at stully@epe.org.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.