More Black Ministers Slamming NAACP For Fighting School Choice

Pastor Sykes

Source: Ron Matus / RedefinEd Online

Leading black ministers in Florida are ramping up criticism of the NAACP for supporting a lawsuit that seeks to kill the nation’s largest private school choice program.

The Rev. Dr. Manuel Sykes, pastor of Bethel Community Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, became the latest to do so, suggesting during a “radio rally” in Tampa Bay today that the esteemed civil rights organization was stuck in the past.

“While they’re fighting the old fight of integration versus segregation, our children are falling through the cracks. And in this issue, I believe they’re on the wrong side,” said Sykes, former president of the NAACP branch in St. Petersburg. “So at this point, we’re out here to advocate for and inform our African-American community that this (school choice) is something they need to support. Because while everyone is fighting on the top levels, it’s our children that’s at stake.”

At issue is the lawsuit filed last August by the Florida teachers union, Florida School Boards Association, the Florida branch of the NAACP and other groups. It argues the state’s tax credit scholarship program for low-income students is akin to the state’s first K-12 voucher program, which the Florida Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 2006. Both sides are awaiting a ruling from Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds on whether the plaintiffs have standing to continue.


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