In California, billionaire dot.com entrepreneur Tim Draper fired his blunderbuss – the voucher proposal known as Proposition 38 – hoping to shatter the very foundation of public education. Even some voucher supporters recognized that Draper’s proposal went too far towards establishing a laissez-faire scheme that would have subsidized private schooling for the rich while leaving the vast majority of students behind. In Michigan, a more nuanced voucher initiative launched and financed by Amway multimillionaire Dick DeVos was given a much better chance of being accepted by the voters.
In recent months and especially since Zelman, pro-voucher groups have increasingly tried to hitch their wagon to a star-weaving 'civil rights' themes into their message in the hopes that this will resonate with the public and elected officials. Specifically, voucher backers are comparing the Cleveland ruling to the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.