ROCHESTER (N.H.) — Black students from Baltimore and Chicago have “a better chance to get shot than to receive a first class education,” Florida Governor. Ron DeSantis, who is running for president in Florida, said this Thursday.
DeSantis is second in the GOP primaries behind former President Donald Trump. He has built his political persona around fighting what he calls the “woke” ideologies of voters that support diversity initiatives within schools, the government, and corporate America.
DeSantis made a comparison between gun violence and education in his launch of his campaign on Twitter Spaces, last week, but it was not a big deal. The remarks he made on Thursday are the first time that he’s made this claim since he started visiting early primary states.
He did this by criticizing the NAACP. The NAACP warned Americans against visiting Florida last month in response to DeSantis’ push to “erase Black History and to restrict diversity equity and inclusion programs in Florida Schools.”
DeSantis defended his position on Thursday by stating that Florida’s criminality rate was at a “50-year low”, and that Black students in Florida performed well because the government supported private school vouchers. His framing is , a shorthand for the view subsidizing “school choice” would improve educational outcomes for children of color and reduce gun violence.
He said that if you live in Baltimore or Chicago these children have a greater chance of being shot than receiving a first class education.
DeSantis is a Yale and Harvard graduate in law who regularly denounces Ivy League schools as ivory towers of liberalism. He didn’t define what a “first-class” education means. In response to NBC News’ inquiry, his campaign cited a number of data points that supported his claim.
Baltimore’s only statistic was from a fe Deral Education Department Report that showed that only 4% of Black 4th graders had been rated as “proficient” at math by the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress. A further 30% of students were classified as “basic”.
DeSantis’ Chicago campaign cited an study that showed 7.5% of Black Chicagoans had been shot before the age of 40, and report by a pro-vouchers nonprofit group which found that only 6% of Black Chicago student are proficient in mathematics.
Hilary Shelton is the NAACP’s national advisor for governance and policies. She said that mixed statistics do not add up or provide a solution to gun violence.
Shelton stated in an interview with NBC News that “his comparison appears so convoluted”. We should discuss the actual data and statistics. We know that in Florida, African American kids are more likely to be shot and killed. We know that, in Florida, African American kids are more likely than other children to be affected by mistakes made by law enforcement.
According to the most recent census data , the population of New Hampshire is 93% white, and about 2% African American.
Shelton claimed DeSantis was “obscuring” the issue by combining education and gun violence, in cities that he does not govern. He also said DeSantis “isn’t addressing” the problems.
Shelton stated, “He wants talk about Baltimore and Chicago.” There are some issues in these places that need to addressed, but he’s not an expert.
DeSantis has been a leading voice in the country in favor of tax payer subsidies for private schooling. He has signed a bill which makes “school choices” universal in Florida. His decision to extend eligibility to all students – vouchers had previously been available only to low-income and disabled students – was criticized by critics as a move that would harm Florida’s public schools and reduce accountability for school performance.
Bianca Seward contributed.