School Choice Becoming Increasingly Popular With African-American Parents

Black elected officials and the leaders of most black organizations are adamantly opposed to school choice initiatives. They believe that school choice programs will result in a brain drain of the best black students which will severely damage the schools in inner-city neighborhoods.

Despite almost universal opposition among black leadership, black parents are increasingly taking advantage of school choice programs. New data from the Department of Education finds that in 2003, 24 percent of all black children in grades 1-12 in public schools now attend schools that they have chosen to attend. This is up from 19 percent in 1993. The percentage of all black students who attend schools to which they were assigned by the school district dropped from 77 percent in 1993 to 68 percent in 2003.

Blacks are also opting out of the public school system in other ways. From 1992 to 2003, the percentage of all black students enrolled in private schools doubled from 4 percent to 8 percent. The largest increase was for blacks enrolling in church-related private schools.

Blacks are also increasingly home-schooled. In 1999 blacks were 8 percent of all home-schooled students. Just four years later in 2003, blacks made up 10 percent of all home-schooled students.