A school choice advocacy group announced a new Super PAC last week, promising to go after state lawmakers who oppose school choice expansion.
The American Federation for Children, a nonprofit organization that advocates for educational freedom has named the political action committee the AFC Victory Fund PAC, and it intends to spend at least $10 million supporting 2024 election candidates who support school choice.
“With AFC Victory Fund, we are taking our work to the next level, intending to invest at least $10 million in state-level races to ensure the interests of parents are represented at ballot boxes in key districts from coast to coast,” American Federation for Children CEO Tommy Schultz said in a press release. “With $6 million already committed, we are shaping up to have our best cash position ever ahead of the primary season.”
The PAC will be involved in several state legislator races in 2024, including the November special election for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives.
“I think [the special election] is going to be a litmus test for what school choice ends up looking like in Texas over the next year,” Ryan Cantrell, the organization’s director of government affairs, told the Washington Examiner. “We’ve seen the House in Texas refuse to get school choice across the finish line, and so I think the special election is going to require every single candidate in that race to be very clear about what school choice means to them.”
Despite strong backing from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the passage of school choice measures have met opposition from some state lawmakers.
In 2015 and 2017, an education saving account bill passed in the Senate but died in the House, according to The Texas Tribune.
The new PAC also seeks to counter the major campaign spending of teachers’ unions that oppose school choice.
The Pennsylvania State Education Association alone donated $775,000 to democratic candidate Josh Shapiro’s campaign during the 2022 election cycle, for example. The campaign finance records also show the union spent more than $1 million on Democratic legislative candidates who opposed school choice.
“Especially when we see news that even teachers’ unions bosses are choosing private schools for their own kids, we are motivated to ensure all families have those options available for their own children, not just for the elected or politically connected,” Schultz said.
The timing of the launch comes as more states are enacting school choice legislation.
This year, Florida, Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, and North Carolina have adopted universal school choice programs, according to the Examiner.
“If you’re a candidate or lawmaker who opposes school choice and freedom in education – you’re a target. If you’re a champion for parents – we’ll be your shield,” Schultz said.