Opportunity for All

Anthony Samuels grew up surrounded by crime in the Bronx. Without the support he received from the Children’s Scholarship Fund, launched in 1998 through the efforts of philanthropists Ted Forstmann and John Walton, he never would have been able to attend Abington Friends School in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Instead, he tells Naomi Schaefer Riley in her new book, he surely would have ended up in a gang.

In Opportunity and Hope, Riley demonstrates how school choice can change a child’s life for the better. The stories she tells so vividly, based on extensive interviews with students such as Samuels who have benefited from being able to choose their schools, are more convincing than any political argument. They remind us that American families are divided between those who can afford to pay for private school—or move to neighborhoods where good public schools can be found—and those stuck with their local public schools, which may or may not be good. It’s a tragic fact that, in poor Hispanic and African-American communities, a child’s education and future prospects often depend on pure chance.

Riley’s subjects are among the tens of thousands of low-income children who have benefited from philanthropic scholarships to attend private schools, courtesy of a group of foundations led by CSF. During the application period for its initial set of grants in 1998, CSF received applications from 1.25 million children from 20,000 communities in all 50 states. The numbers confirm what choice advocates have said for years: low-income parents see education as the route to a better life, they understand that the school they choose makes a difference, and they want to invest in their children’s education…

Read the full article at the City Journal site.

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