Cruz: School choice is new era of 'civil rights'

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) marked Saturday’s 60th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision to end school segregation laws by calling for policies that allow students and their families more choice in schools.

In a statement late Friday, Cruz said school choice, allowing students to attend schools outside of their district, is consistent with the Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

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But the Obama administration has taken steps against it, Cruz said.

“Brown was a landmark victory for justice, a unanimous repudiation of the oppressive doctrine of ‘separate but equal,’” the Texas lawmaker said. “School choice is the civil rights issue of our era.”

Budget proposals from President Obama have sought to eliminate the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program that provides tuition vouchers for students in Washington, D.C., to attend private schools, he added. The Justice Department has also fought Louisiana’s private school voucher program, saying it threatens desegregation efforts in the state.

“School choice gives low-income children the same choices and opportunities that children from wealthy families have always had,” Cruz said. “And school choice improves the public schools, making them stronger and more effective.”

In the Brown decision, the court unanimously ruled that state laws separating schools by race violated the Constitution.

On Friday, Obama hosted NAACP Legal Defense Fund leaders and relatives of the families involved in the landmark case at the White House.