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School choice trailblazer currently at odds with fellow reformers awarded for work in voucher movement

Dr. Howard Fuller, a longtime advocate for school choice options in inner cities who recently came out against aggressive voucher expansion in his home state of Wisconsin, was recognized with an award this week for his work in the movement.

The John T. Walton Champions for School Choice Award was given to the professor by the American Federation For Children, which recently held its second annual National Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. Dr. Fuller was present during the summit, as was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Read The American Independent’s coverage of the event.

John T. Walton, a son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, sat on the Philanthropy Roundtable, a private, free-market, non-profit organization with ties to the Heritage Foundation and the George W. Bush administration. He also co-founded the Children’s Scholarship Fund in 1998, a charitable organization that supports needy students’ tuitions at private schools.

Fuller has rebuked Wisconsin elected officials for supporting legislation that would reform the Milwaukee school voucher program by providing public funds to any student, regardless of family income, to attend private schools. In an op-ed that appeared in the Journal Sentinel in April, he wrote:

It was not easy for me to stand before the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee and threaten to withdraw my support from the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program… But if lawmakers approve Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to lift the income requirement that has maintained the program for children from low-income families, that is exactly what I will do.

The American Independent has reached out to Dr. Fuller but he has yet to offer a comment.

On Wednesday, the state assembly of Wisconsin passed AB 92, which would lift income eligibility requirements in the voucher program of Milwaukee. Leading Republican state senators have yet to put in their support for the legislation despite Gov. Walker’s push for the proposed law. AFC supports the governor and his backers in expanding the city’s voucher program without income eligibility requirements.

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