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The Reinvention of Vouchers for a Color-Blind Era: A Racial Orders Account

  • Ursula Hackett (a1) and Desmond King (a2)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

Abstract

Historically, vouchers, which provide a sum of money to parents for private education, were tools of racist oppression; but in recent decades some advocates claim them as “the civil rights issue of our time.” This article brings an analytic-historical perspective rooted in racial orders to understand how education vouchers have been reincarnated and reinvented since the Jim Crow era. Combining original primary research with statistical analysis, we identify multiple concurrent and consecutive transformations in voucher politics in three arenas of racial policy alliance contestation: expansion of color-blind policy designs, growing legal and political support from a conservative alliance, and a smorgasbord of voucher rationales rooted in color-blind framing. This approach demonstrates that education vouchers have never been racially neutral but served key roles with respect to prevailing racial hierarchies and contests.

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References

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1. We use the term “voucher” to refer to all types of programs that offer a sum of public money to parents to spend on their children's education at a private school of their choice, whether they are “tax credit scholarship” vouchers, “tuition grants,” or “educational savings accounts.”

2. King, Desmond and Smith, Rogers M., Still a House Divided. Princeton Studies in American Politics: Historical, Institutional, and Comparative Perspectives (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011); King, Desmond and Smith, Rogers M., “‘Without Regard to Race’: Critical Ideational Development in Modern American Politics,” The Journal of Politics 76, no. 4 (2014): 958–71, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022381614000541.

3. Eric Levitz, “Devos Champions HBCUs as Pioneers of ‘School Choice,’” New York Magazine, February 28, 2017.

4. Chris Ford, Stephenie Johnson, and Lisette Partelow, “The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers,” Center for American Progress, 2017, https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/reports/2017/07/12/435629/racist-origins-private-school-vouchers/.

5. Friedman, Milton, “The Role of Government in Education,” in Economics and the Public Interest, ed. Solo, R.A. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1955), 123–44.

6. Other commentators are beginning to acknowledge the racist origins of school vouchers (Ford et al., “The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers”).

7. Some black children also received tuition grant vouchers, which could be used only in segregated black schools.

8. Forman, James, The Secret History of School Choice: How Progressives Got There First,” Georgetown Law Journal 93 (2004): 1287–320.

9. McCarty, Nolan, Poole, Keith T. and Rosenthal, Howard, Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2016).

10. King and Smith, Still a House Divided; King and Smith, “Without Regard to Race.”

11. Katz, Bruce J. and Turner, Margery Austin, “Who Should Run the Housing Voucher Program? A Reform Proposal,” Housing Policy Debate 12, no. 2 (2001): 239–62, https://doi.org/10.1080/10511482.2001.9521403; Jonas Persson, “Vouchers on the Move: Return to School Segregation?” The Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch, April 28, 2015, http://www.prwatch.org/news/2015/02/12730/segregation-school-vouchers; Reardon, Sean F. and Yun, John T., “Private School Racial Enrollments and Segregation,” in Public School Choice vs. Private School Vouchers, ed. Kahlenberg, R. D. (New York: Century Foundation Press, 2003). https://cepa.stanford.edu/content/private-school-racial-enrollments-and-segregation.

12. Lieberman, Robert C., Shifting the Color Line (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1997); Anderson, Carol, White Rage (New York: Bloomsbury: 2016).

13. Friedman, “The Role of Government.”

14. Of course, the division between these periods of racial orders is a heuristic device, and there is no absolute movement across the dates.

15. Brandwein, Pamela, Rethinking the Judicial Settlement of Reconstruction (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011); Chen, Anthony S., The Fifth Freedom: Jobs, Politics, and Civil Rights in the United States, 1941–1972 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009); Harris, Fredrick, The Price of the Ticket (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012); Hochschild, Jennifer L., Facing Up to the American Dream (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996); Francis, Megan Ming, Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014); Mazumder, Soumyajit, “The Persistent Effect of U.S. Civil Rights Protests on Political Attitudes,” American Journal of Political Science 62, no. 4 (2018): 922–35; Mickey, Robert, Paths Out of Dixie (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015); Murakawa, Naomi, The First Civil Right (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014); Thurston, Chloe N., “Policy Feedback in the Public–Private Welfare State: Advocacy Groups and Access to Government Homeownership Programs, 1934–1954,” Studies in American Political Development 29, no. 02 (2015): 250–67; Lowndes, Joseph, Novkov, Jule, and Warren, Dorian, eds., Race and American Political Development (New York: Routledge, 2008); Gillion, Daniel Q., Governing with Words: The Political Dialogue on Race, Public Policy and Inequality in America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016).

16. Bobo, Lawrence, “Racism in Trump's America: Reflections on Culture, Sociology, and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election,” The British Journal of Sociology 68, no. S1 (2017): S85–104; Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The First White President,” The Atlantic, October 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/the-first-white-president-ta-nehisi-coates/537909/; Tesler, Michael, Post-Racial or Most-Racial? Race and Politics in the Obama Era (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016).

17. King, Desmond and Smith, Rogers M., “Racial Orders in American Political Development,” American Political Science Review 99, no. 1 (2005): 7592; Johnson, Kimberley S., “Racial Orders, Congress, and the Agricultural Welfare State, 1865–1940,” Studies in American Political Development 25, no. 02 (2011): 143–61, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0898588X11000095; Johnson, Kimberley S., “The Color Line and the State: Race and American Political Development,” in The Oxford Handbook of American Political Development, ed. Valelly, Richard, Mettler, Suzanne, and Lieberman., Robert Oxford Handbooks (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 593–624.

18. King and Smith, Still a House Divided.

19. Hackett, Ursula, “The Exit-Voice Choice: Religious Cleavages, Public Aid, and America's Private Schools,” Politics and Religion 9, no. 2 (2016), https://doi.org/10.1017/S1755048316000201.

20. Forman, James, “The Rise and Fall of School Vouchers: A Story of Religion, Race, and Politics,” UCLA Law Review, Yale Law School Faculty Scholarship Series, 54 (2007): 547.

21. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

22. Ladson-Billings, Gloria, “Landing on the Wrong Note: The Price We Paid for Brown,” Educational Researcher 33, no. 7 (2004): 313; Harter, Jerome C. and Hoffman, Peter M., “Segregation Academies and State Action,” The Yale Law Journal 82, no. 7 (1973): 1436–61.

23. Segregation tuition grants were not the first forms of school choice, but they were the first programs of any scale that offered grants to parents to exercise their “freedom of choice” of private school. Scattered programs enacted after the First and Second World Wars had paid for tuition for the children of returning servicemen. Town tuitioning programs in rural areas of Maine and Vermont, established in the late nineteenth century and still in operation, pay for public or nonreligious private school for students from towns without a public school, but fewer than 5 percent of students in each state are eligible for these programs, and tuition is paid directly to the receiving school rather than to parents.

24. Ford et al., “The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers.”

25. Schickler, Eric and Rubin, Ruth Bloch, “Congress and American Political Development,” in The Oxford Handbook of American Political Development, ed. Valelly, Richard, Mettler, Suzanne, and Lieberman, Robert (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2016), 259–90.

26. Grants were not distributed until 1961.

27. Grants were not distributed until 1962.

28. After being struck down as unconstitutional, the program was repackaged by state legislators in 1959.

29. “State Tuition Aid Urged by Faubus,” New York Times, February 10, 1959; “Faubus Proposes Integration Bar,” New York Times, January 22, 1961.

30. Carl, Jim, Freedom of Choice: Vouchers in American Education: Vouchers in American Education (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011); “Mississippi Faces New School Step,” New York Times, August 10, 1964.

31. John A. Hannah, Eugene Patterson, Frankie Muse Freeman, Erwin N. Griswold, Theodore M. Hesburgh, and Robert S. Rankin, 1964 Staff Report: Public Education, submitted to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964); Poindexter v. Louisiana Financial Assistance Commission, 275 F. Supp. 833 (E.D. La. 1968); Susanna McBee, “Report Shows South's Fight to Keep Schools Segregated Has Been Costly,” Washington Post, Times Herald, July 14, 1963.

32. Poindexter v. Louisiana Financial Assistance Commission.

33. Ibid.

34. Ibid.

35. Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Board, 197 F. Supp. 649 (1961); Poindexter v. Louisiana Financial Assistance Commission; Lee v. Macon County Board of Education, 231 F. Supp. 743 (M.D. Ala. 1964).

36. Coffey v. State Educational Finance Commission, 296 F. Supp. 1389 (S.D. Miss. 1969).

37. Ibid.

38. Ibid.

39. Elsie Carper, “Tuition Grants Seen Hurting Va. Schools,” Washington Post, Times Herald, November 20, 1960.

40. Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, 377 U.S. 218 (Va. 1964); Pettaway v. County School Board of Surry County, 230 F. Supp. 480 (E.D. Va. 1964).

41. There are slight differences between different sources in reports of the exact number of vouchers issued for the years 1959, 1961, and 1964, but in each case the number is small. We have taken the source that cites an issuance figure alongside a more exact financial outlay (e.g., “$1,034,392” as opposed to “over $1m”) as the more reliable. There are no precise figures for 1968 and 1969. Contemporaneous news sources tell us only that “nearly 14,000” vouchers were issued in Virginia in 1967 and “more than 13,000” in 1968.

42. Associated Press, “Tuition Grant Law Rapped by School Head for Roanoke,” Washington Post, Times Herald, November 13, 1963; “Tuition Grant Cost Rises in Virginia to $1.7 Million,” Washington Post, Times Herald, August 3, 1961; “Virginia Tuition Grants Increase,” Washington Post, Times Herald, May 17, 1961; “Tuition Grant Law Praised by Almond,” Washington Post, Times Herald, December 3, 1960; Robert E. Baker, “1600 in Northern Virginia Area Apply for State Tuition Grants,” Washington Post, Times Herald, December 2, 1962; Erwin Knoll, “Virginia Board Revises Tuition Distribution,” Washington Post, Times Herald, August 3, 1960; Elsie Carper, “Virginia Tuition Grants Go Astray,” Washington Post, Times Herald, January 2, 1960; Muse, Benjamin, Ten Years of Prelude: The Story of Integration since the Supreme Court's 1954 Decision (Beaconsfield, UK: Darwen Finlayson, 1964), 186.

43. Griffin v. County School Board.

44. Associated Press, “NAACP Won't Appeal Tuition-Grant Ruling,” Washington Post, Times Herald, February 22, 1969.

45. “Maddox Is Rebutted on Private Pupils,” New York Times, August 28, 1967.

46. Wearne, Eric, “From ‘Fear-Based’ Choice to ‘Freedom-Based’ Choice: Georgia's Tuition Grants Act, 1960–1997,” Journal of School Choice 7 (2013): 196224.

47. Catsam, Derek Charles, Freedom's Main Line: The Journey of Reconciliation and the Freedom Rides (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2009); Kruse, Kevin M., White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005).

48. Chin, Gabriel J., Hartley, Roger, Bates, Kevin, and Nichols, Rona, “Still on the Books: Jim Crow and Segregation Laws Fifty Years after Brown v. Board of Education,” Michigan State Law Review (2006): 457–76.

49. Bonastia, Christopher, Southern Stalemate: Five Years without Public Education in Prince Edward County, Virginia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 56.

50. Associated Press, “Tuition Grants Voted by Alabama Senate,” Washington Post, Times Herald, August 8, 1965.

51. Bonastia, Southern Stalemate, 73; Muse, Benjamin, Virginia's Massive Resistance (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1961); Catsam, Freedom's Main Line, 136.

52. Associated Press, “White School Faces Challenge in Selma,” New York Times, July 28, 1965.

53. Bonastia, Southern Stalemate, 96; Bolton, Charles, The Hardest Deal of All: The Battle Over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870–1980 (Jackson: The University Press of Mississippi, 2005), 175; Muse, Virginia's Massive Resistance, 134.

54. Bonastia, Southern Stalemate, 7–8.

55. Connolly, N. D. B., A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2014); Gilens, Martin, “Race and Poverty in America: Public Misperceptions and the American News Media,” Public Opinion Quarterly 60, no. 4 (1996): 515–41.

56. “State Tuition Aid Urged by Faubus.”

57. Carl, Freedom of Choice, 29.

58. Peltason, Jack Walter, Fifty-Eight Lonely Men: Southern Federal Judges and School Desegregation (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1971), 228–29.

59. Lee v. Macon County Board of Education.

60. Poindexter v. Louisiana Financial Assistance Commission.

61. Ibid., emphasis added.

62. Crespino, Joseph, In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 240.

63. Borden v. Louisiana State Board of Education, 168 La. 1005 (1928).

64. There are a handful of instances of parents utilizing state-funded tuition grants to send their children to integrated schools.

65. Carl, Freedom of Choice, 47.

66. Gooden, Mark A., Jabbar, Huriya, and Torres, Mario S. Jr., “Race and School Vouchers: Legal, Historical, and Political Contexts,” Peabody Journal of Education 91, no. 4 (2016): 522–36, https://doi.org/10.1080/0161956X.2016.1207445.

67. Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Board.

68. Poindexter v. Louisiana Financial Assistance Commission.

69. Bonastia Southern Stalemate, 77.

70. Friedman, “The Role of Government.”

71. MacLean, Nancy, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America (Melbourne: Scribe, 2017), 6970.

72. The relevant cases are Harrison v. Day, 106 S. E. 2d 636 (Va. 1959); Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Board; Pettaway v. County School Board of Surry County; Griffin v. County School Board; Lee v. Macon County Board of Education; Poindexter v. Louisiana Financial Assistance Commission; South Carolina Board of Education v. Brown, 393 U.S. 222 (1968); Coffey v. State Educational Finance Commission.

73. Sarah Carr, “In Southern Towns, ‘Segregation Academies’ Are Still Going Strong,” The Atlantic, December 13, 2012.

74. Francis, Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State; Young, Richard P. and Burstein, Jerome S., “Federalism and the Demise of Prescriptive Racism in the United States,” Studies in American Political Development 9, no. 1 (1995): 154, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0898588X00001164.

75. King, Desmond, “Forceful Federalism against American Racial Inequality,” Government and Opposition 52, no. 2 (2017): 356–82, https://doi.org/10.1017/gov.2016.52; Clotfelter, Charles T., After Brown: The Rise and Retreat of School Desegregation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004).

76. Douglas, Davison M., Jim Crow Moves North: The Battle over Northern School Segregation, 1865–1954, Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

77. Carl, Freedom of Choice.

78. Ibid.; Ravitch, Diane, The Right Thing: Why Liberals Should Be Pro-Choice (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2001), https://www.brookings.edu/articles/the-right-thing-why-liberals-should-be-pro-choice/.

79. Frymer, Paul and Skrentny, John David, “Coalition-Building and the Politics of Electoral Capture during the Nixon Administration: African Americans, Labor, Latinos,” Studies in American Political Development 12, no. 1 (1998): 131–61.

80. James Jones, “Serving Up Racism: Examining the Racial Order of Congressional Cafeterias” (in press).

81. Carl, Freedom of Choice.

82. Polls during this period generally showed that African Americans were more supportive of vouchers than other racial groups: 76 percent support in a 1992 National Catholic Education Association poll; 62 percent support in a 1997 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll (compared to 47 percent among white respondents); 57.3 percent support in a 1997 Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies poll (compared to an evenly divided white response) (Millicent Lawton, “Gallup Poll Finds Wide Support for Tuition Vouchers,” Education Week, September 23, 1992, https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/1992/09/23/03-3cho.h12.html?qs=african+american+support+vouchers; Adrienne D. Coles  “Poll Finds Growing Support for School Choice, Education Week, September 3, 1997; David Hill, “Class Action,” Education Week Teacher, April 1, 1998, https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/1998/04/01/07denver.h09.html?qs=african+american+support+vouchers+daterange:1981-07-01..2000-01-01.). However, exit polls in California and Michigan voucher ballot initiatives showed no difference or lower support for vouchers among blacks than among whites, and other nationwide polls displayed greater skepticism of vouchers by African Americans: for example, 41 percent of African Americans strongly opposed vouchers in a 2001 Zogby International poll, compared to 32 percent in the whole sample (Karla Scoon Reid, “Poll Finds Support for Vouchers Wanes If Public Schools Affected,” Education Week, October 3, 2001; Leal, David L., “Latinos and School Vouchers: Testing the “Minority Support” Hypothesis,” Social Science Quarterly 85, no. 5 (2004): 1227–37). Voucher opinions are highly sensitive to question wording.

83. Hackett, Ursula, “Republicans, Catholics and the West: Explaining the Strength of Religious School Aid Prohibitions,” Politics and Religion 7, no. 3 (2014): 499520.

84. Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U.S. 639 (2002).

85. Ibid.

86. Hess, Frederick M., Revolution at the Margins: The Impact of Competition on Urban School Systems (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004).

87. Arianna Prothero, “Q&A with Howard Fuller on ‘The Mother of School Choice,’ Annette Polly Williams,” Education Week—Charters & Choice, November 21, 2014, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/charterschoice/2014/11/qa_with_howard_fuller_on_the_mother_of_school_choice_annette_polly_williams.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-FB.

88. Karla Scoon Reid, “Minority Parents Quietly Embrace School Choice,” Education Week, December 5, 2001, https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2001/12/05/14introminority.h21.html?qs=african+american+support+vouchers.

89. George Voinovich, Letter to Daniel Edward Pilarczyk, “Voinovich to Pilarczyk,” June 14, 1991, box GVV 42, CAP-CH1, Catholic Diocese—Pilarczyk, Dan Archbishop, Voinovich Archives; Daniel Edward Pilarczyk, Letter to George Voinovich, 1991, “Pilarczyk to Voinovich,” July 3, 1991, box GVV 47, ED:AD-ED:GEM, folder Education Choice Committee, Voinovich Archives; Daniel Edward Pilarczyk, Letter to George Voinovich, 1993, “Pilarczyk to Voinovich,” August 27, 1993, box GVV 47, ED:AD-ED:GEM, folder Education Choice Committee, Voinovich Archives.

90. King, Desmond and Smith, Rogers M., “The Last Stand? Shelby County v. Holder, White Political Power, and America's Racial Policy Alliances,” Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race 13, no. 1 (2016): 2544.

91. Hackett, Ursula, “Theorizing the Submerged State: The Politics of Private Schools in the United States,” Policy Studies Journal 45, no. 3 (2017): 464–89, https://doi.org/10.1111/psj.12170.

92. There are no statistically significant effects for a justice's race or sex likely due to the small proportion of justices that are either nonwhite (5 percent of cases) or female (14 percent of cases)

93. Harrison v. Day; Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Board; Lee v. Macon County Board of Education.

94. Feinstein, Brian D. and Schickler, Eric, “Platforms and Partners: The Civil Rights Realignment Reconsidered,” Studies in American Political Development 22, no. 1 (2008): 131, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0898588X08000011; Schickler, Eric, Racial Realignment: The Transformation of American Liberalism, 1932–1965 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016).

95. Carl, Freedom of Choice; Forman, “The Rise and Fall of School Vouchers.”

96. Forman, “The Rise and Fall of School Vouchers.”

97. Ibid.

99. Forman, “The Rise and Fall of School Vouchers,” 551.

100. Zelman v. Simmons-Harris.

101. Friedman, “The Role of Government”; Chubb, J. E. and Moe, Terry M., Politics, Markets and America's Schools (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1990); Carl, Freedom of Choice.

102. McKenzie Snow, “School Choice: ‘The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time,’” ExcelinEd, February 4, 2016, https://www.excelined.org/edfly-blog/school-choice-the-civil-rights-issue-of-our-time/.

103. Minow, Martha, In Brown's Wake: Legacies of America's Educational Landmark (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010).

104. Persson, “Vouchers on the Move.”

105. Alveda C.  King, “Fighting for School Choice. It's a Civil Right,” The Wall Street Journal, September 11, 1997.

106. Tom Infield, “Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Candidates Advocate School-Vouchers Bill at Forum,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 15, 2010.

107. Amy Worden and Dan Hardy, “Corbett Appears Set to Push School Vouchers,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 20, 2011.

108. Minow, In Brown's Wake, 122.

109. Forman, “The Rise and Fall of School Vouchers.”

110. King and Smith, “Without Regard to Race”; Frankenberg, Erica and Siegel-Hawley, Genevieve, “Choosing Diversity: School Choice and Racial Integration in the Age of Obama,” Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties 6 (2010): 219–52; Hackett, Ursula, “Offers and Throffers: Education Policy under Obama,” in The Obama Presidency and the Politics of Change, ed. Ashbee, Edward and Dumbrell, John, Studies of the Americas (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 181–97.

111. Tesler, Michael, “The Spillover of Racialization into Health Care: How President Obama Polarized Public Opinion by Racial Attitudes and Race,” American Journal of Political Science 56, no. 3 (2012): 690704.

112. Samson, Frank L., “Perceptions of Racialized Opportunities and Hispanics’ Political Attitudes: Predicting Support for School Vouchers and Government Intervention in Health Care,” American Behavioral Scientist 56, no. 11 (2012): 1525–64, https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764212458278; Tesler, Post-Racial or Most-Racial?

113. Tesler, Post-Racial or Most-Racial?; Valentino, Nicholas A., Hutchings, Vincent L., and White, Ismail K., “Cues That Matter: How Political Ads Prime Racial Attitudes during Campaigns,” American Political Science Review 96, no. 1 (2002): 7590, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055402004240; Gilens, “Race and Poverty in America.”

114. Forman, “The Rise and Fall of School Vouchers.”

115. “School Choice in America Dashboard,” EdChoice, 2018, https://www.edchoice.org/school-choice/school-choice-in-america/. We exclude the “town tuitioning” programs in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont from this count, because these nineteenth-century programs apply only to districts that lack an existing public school.

116. Eric Brunner, Jennifer Imazeki, and Stephen L. Ross, “Universal Vouchers and White Flight” (Department of Economics Working Paper Series, University of Connecticut, 2006), http://digitalcommons.uconn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1038&context=econ_wpapers; Halley Potter, “Do Private School Vouchers Pose a Threat to Integration?” Report: School Integration, The Century Foundation, 2017, https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/production.tcf.org/app/uploads/2017/03/22102646/do-private-school-vouchers-pose-a-threat-to-integration.pdf; Carl, Freedom of Choice, 2.

117. Robert T. Garrett, “Texas House Passes Budget with Provision Banning School-Voucher Funding,” Dallas News, April 7, 2017, https://www.dallasnews.com/news/texas-legislature/2017/04/06/texas-house-fight-funding-ban-vouchers-social-issues-marathon-budget-wrangle.

118. Opposition to vouchers in Texas comes from an alliance of Democrats and Republican lawmakers with rural and suburban constituencies. For example, in the 2017 votes on SB1, a failed voucher bill, 62 percent of Republican lawmakers from less urbanized districts (those with an urbanized population of less than 80 percent according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2010 Census Urban and Rural Classification and Urban Area Criteria, https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/geography/guidance/geo-areas/urban-rural/2010-urban-rural.html) voted against vouchers, while 67 percent of Republican lawmakers from more urbanized districts (greater than 80 percent urbanization) voted in favor. In short, Texan Republicans from less urban districts helped scupper voucher bills, alongside Democrats. This opposition may be related to practical questions about the viability of school choice in less-populated areas and concern about loss of public school jobs as much as fears of government regulation of private religious schools or perceptions of racial threat to white suburban school districts.

119. Zeus Rodriguez, “School Choice Students Are Not Pawns,” The Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, January 27, 2011; Will Bunch, “Pennsylvania: Voucher Ground Zero,” The Philadelphia Daily News, May 23, 2011.

120. We exclude the Colorado Douglas County school board voucher pilot, launched in 2011, as it is the only program created at the local school district level. All other programs were passed by state legislatures.

121. MRP scores estimate the mean ideology of each state legislative district. They are based on the 2008–2014 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES). For more information on the methodology used to estimate district ideology scores, see Tausonovitch and Warshaw, “Measuring Constituent Policy Preferences”; C. Tausanovitch and C. Warshaw, “The American Ideology Project,” 2015, http://americanideologyproject.com/.

122. Tausanovitch, C. and Warshaw, C., “Measuring Constituent Policy Preferences in Congress, State Legislatures, and Cities,” Journal of Politics 75, no. 2 (2013): 330–42.

123. King and Smith, Still a House Divided.

124. Jeffrey Dorfman, “Teachers Unions, Faulty Economics, and School Choice,” Forbes, November 13, 2016, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2016/11/13/teachers-unions-faulty-economics-and-school-choice/#f94e48d7c73f.

125. Barber, Michael and McCarty, Nolan, “Causes and Consequences of Polarization,” in Political Negotiation: A Handbook, ed. Mansbridge, Jane and Jo, Cathie Martin (Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2016), 3789; Tesler, Post-Racial or Most-Racial?

126. Ravitch, Diane, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools (New York: Knopf, 2013).

127. Forman, “The Rise and Fall of School Vouchers.”

128. Bobo, Lawrence, “Race, Interests, and Beliefs about Affirmative Action: Unanswered Questions and New Directions,” American Behavioral Scientist 41, no. 7 (1998): 9851003, https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764298041007009; Bobo, Lawrence, Kluegel, James R., and Smith, Ryan A., “Laissez-Faire Racism: The Crystallization of a Kinder, Gentler Antiblack Ideology,” in Racial Attitudes in the 1990s: Continuity and Change, ed. Tuck, Steven A. and Martin, Jack K. (Greenwood, CT: Praeger: 1997), 1541; Tesler, “The Spillover of Racialization into Health Care.”

129. O'Brien, Molly T., “Private School Tuition Vouchers and the Realities of Racial Politics,” Tennessee Law Review 64 (1996): 359408; Gooden et al., “Race and School Vouchers.”

130. Gooden et al., “Race and School Vouchers,” 523.

131. Newspaper coding procedures: Analyzing Factiva for newspapers with thirteen programs in the twelve states in which voucher scholarships were passed during either 2011 or 2012, we created an original database of 526 broadsheet newspaper articles. Articles were drawn from 65 state newspapers and nine additional online news sources in these thirteen states. Identification and coding involved all named actors and groups that took a stance on vouchers expressed by lobbying, attacking, defending, or ruling for or against the scholarships in court, sponsoring legislation or voting for or against the scholarships in the legislature, vetoing or signing a scholarship bill, articulating an editorial opinion, releasing a press statement, or otherwise making a public declaration in favor of or in opposition to scholarships. A total of 835 separate actors were individually identified and logged in our database. Newspapers in more than half of the case study states had no reporting of explicit racial claims for or against vouchers at all.

On at least three separate occasions during this period, explicit race-conscious arguments made by elites for and against vouchers attracted such criticism that they needed to be re-articulated in color-blind terms: (1) the allegations made by both proponents and opponents of the expansion of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program that the other side is racist (Marley, Patrick, “Past School Voucher Advocate Rips Gov. Walker's Plan,” The Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, May 16, 2013; Marley, Patrick and Stein, Jason, “Walker: Budget Could Expand School Choice to Other Cities,” The Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, May 10, 2011); (2) re-articulation of voucher support in color-blind terms in North Carolina (Lynn Bonner, “Two Views of GOP Agenda,” News Observer, April 29, 2011; Jamica Ashley, “CHCCS Joins Suit against State over Vouchers,” The Herald Sun, January 11, 2014; J. Ravitch, “Vouchers Undermine Public Education System,” Chapel Hill News, March 14, 2014; Gregory Childress,  “Local Groups to Rally against GOP Policies,” The Herald Sun, May 26, 2013); (3) remarks about African American families by the Racine Unified School District superintendent about the Milwaukee voucher program that surfaced during the 2013 debates about vouchers (Trevor Tenbrink, “Superintendent's Shocking Comment Reminds Us That School Choice Is an Uphill Battle,” Education Action Group News, April 9, 2013).

Addressing bias: We addressed the dangers of bias rising from newspaper selection and coding procedures through comprehensive searches and transparent coding methods (Franzosi, Robert, “The Press as a Source of Socio-Historical Data: Issues in the Methodology of Data Collection from Newspapers,” Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History 20, no. 1 (1987): 516). We examined all of the state newspapers in the Factiva database for each of the twelve case study states, searching in each case for the terms “education voucher/tax credit scholarship,” separately and in conjunction with the name of the relevant bill and the bill number. Our analysis included all state newspaper articles mentioning the relevant piece of legislation, however briefly: its formulation, passage, implementation, effects, and, in some cases, litigation. Certain newspapers may have chosen to cover education vouchers more frequently than other sources, and these editorial choices may be related systematically to ideological stance, support for vouchers, or other relevant variables. Indeed, we expected this to be the case. Given that we are concerned with how the media typically frames voucher arguments, any systematic biases of these kinds do not invalidate inference.

132. Mark Walsh, “Louisiana Vouchers, Desegregation Case Prove Volatile Mix,” Education Week, September 18, 2013, https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/09/18/04louisiana-2.h33.html.

133. Marley, “Past School Voucher Advocate Rips Gov. Walker's Plan”; Marley and Stein, “Walker: Budget Could Expand”; Bice, Daniel, “School Voucher Battle Erupts with Charges of Racism and Religious Bigotry,” The Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, May 29, 2013.

134. Mettler, Suzanne, The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Undermine American Democracy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009).

135. Eckes, Suzanne E., Mead, Julie, and Ulm, Jessica. “Dollars to Discriminate: The (Un)Intended Consequences of School Vouchers,” Peabody Journal of Education 91, no. 4 (2016): 537–58, https://doi.org/10.1080/0161956X.2016.1207446.

136. Joy Resmovits, “Betsy DeVos Would Not Agree to Bar Discrimination by Private Schools That Get Federal Money,” Los Angeles Times, May 24, 2017.

137. Andrew Ujifusa, “Ed. Dept. Has No Plans for a ‘Federal Voucher Program,’ Let's Break That Down,” Education Week—Politics K-12, May 31, 2017, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/05/federal_voucher_program_no_plans_education_department.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-FB.

138. Kruse, White Flight, 171.

139. Skowronek, Stephen and Orren, Karen, “Pathways to the Present: Political Development in America,” in The Oxford Handbook of American Political Development, ed. Valelly, Richard, Mettler, Suzanne, and Lieberman, Robert, Oxford Handbooks (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2016), 29, 2747.

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