NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Civil Rights Leader Andrew Young Supports Vouchers

October 6, 1999

Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, the featured speaker at Tallahassee's annual NAACP gala, said that public schools will improve academically because of competition from the kind of tuition vouchers that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is suing to stifle in Florida.

"I think the public school system has had a monopoly that's gotten a little stodgy, and it needs to be shaken up," said Young, a top lieutenant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement.

"I've supported vouchers for people in low-income, failing schools, and I think that's what the Florida program does," Young said. "If you're in an unachieving school, an under-achieving school, then you have a right to seek a voucher to go to a school where you can be guaranteed some level of achievement."

"The government has to be responsible for education of all of our citizens," said Young. "Even as I say that, though, to make the government move and get off its butt and do some things different, we will need to have some creative and innovative methods from time to time."

Young, who started his career as a Baptist minister in Beachton, Ga., was a leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the 1950s and 1960s. He represented an Atlanta congressional district from 1972 to 1977, when then-President Jimmy Carter appointed him chief delegate to the United Nations. He later served two terms as Atlanta mayor, 1981-89.

Source: Bill Cotterell, "Andrew Young tells local NAACP that vouchers are good for schools," Tallahassee Democrat, September 10, 1999.


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