NY Times’ Nikole Hannah-Jones roasted for making a case for school choice without realizing it

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    New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones was roasted Thursday for inadvertently making a case for school choice while apparently being ignorant of something called “open enrollment,” which is already advocated for and used by families.

    “Why do ‘school choice’ advocates never advocate eliminating school district boundaries/funding schools by local property tax and allowing poor, Black students to attend white, wealthy schools in neighboring municipalities? They don’t really want choice, just privatization,” Hannah-Jones tweeted.

    Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary last year for the controversial 1619 Project that aimed to “reframe the country’s history” by saying the country’s legacy of slavery underpins every facet of American life, was mocked for her stance. 

    “Good grief, you are so ignorant. This is EXACTLY what school choice advocates support,” Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen commented

    “That’s literally the entire point of the school choice movement,” Grabien Media founder Tom Elliott wrote

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    “LOL, this is literally, 100% the argument that school choice advocates make. We want all parents and students to be able to move beyond the arbitrary boundaries that leftists set to keep people segregated by economic status,” journalist J.D. Rucker responded. “Thank you for supporting school choice.”

    Attorney Harmeet K. Dhillon responded, “This is literally what school choice is about.”

    New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones was roasted Thursday for declaring school choice advocates don’t push for open enrollment. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic)

    New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones was roasted Thursday for declaring school choice advocates don’t push for open enrollment. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic)

    “Where have you been? That’s why the school choice movement was started,” journalist Beth Baumann added.

    “The whole point of school choice is so your zip code doesn’t determine your destiny,” columnist Amanda Carpenter wrote. “The whole point is to get beyond these arbitrary boundaries.” 

    “The portability of school choice, and the benefits of that specifically for black kids in poor neighborhoods, has been a major part of arguments in its favor for decades,” National Review senior writer Dan McLaughlin responded

    McLaughlin added, “Now, it certainly is true that the *failure* of Republicans to deliver more school choice plans is partly due to white parents in wealthy neighborhoods who will vote for nominally pro-school-choice politicians, but do nothing about it. But that’s a failure of too little choice.”

    Hannah-Jones quickly fired back. 

    1619 PROJECT’S NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES PAID BY OREGON EDUCATION DEPARTMENT WITH FUNDS DIVERTED FROM NEEDY KIDS

    “Nope. Not talking about portability. I am, as is clear from what I WROTE, asking where you all are advocating for the elimination of municipal school boundaries and the end of funding schools by local property tax,” she wrote. 

    Education freedom advocates have long backed this idea, called “open enrollment,” which is just one mechanism of “school choice.” According to Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week, more than 30 states and the District of Columbia have something called “intradistrict enrollment” where students are allowed to attend other traditional public schools within their government-assigned district. More than 40 states allow students to attend traditional public schools outside their government-assigned district.

    Lauren Chen responded, asking if the New York Times scribe understood vouchers, but Hannah-Jones doubled down. 

    “Um, vouchers do not work like that. One, they only work if the district or school accepts the child, which wealthy, white districts rarely do and many vouchers won’t pay tuition at the best private schools,” Hannah-Jones wrote. “Vouchers allow a handful of kids choice — all at the discretion of the receiver schools — while leaving the fundamental inequality perfectly intact and draining the budgets of the schools that serve the majority of kids.” 

    Hannah-Jones bickered with many of her critics, including a Reason.com editor who said she “inadvertently made the case for school choice.”

    Hannah-Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

    Many others mocked the New York Times Magazine reporter:

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