Thursday, December 8, 2011

Something to Sing about in the Peach State

Grammy-winning singer Marvin Sapp wowed a
packed, reform-minded church in Georgia yesterday.
What does an award winning and Grammy nominated musician have to do with education reform?  In Georgia—a lot.

Marvin Sapp—the eight-time Grammy nominated gospel singer from Grand Rapids, Mich. spoke last night at "Educating our Future: The Fight for Georgia’s Children," hosted by the Center for an Educated Georgia and the Alliance for School Choice.

The event, an informational forum about education reform and how the community can get involved, drew nearly 1,000 supporters.

Sapp, who sang two songs at the event, spoke about his strong support for education reform, as well as his plans to open the GREAT School, a charter school focused on the arts in his home town of Grand Rapids.

Originally a passion of his late wife, Sapp has continued to pursue opening a charter school following the death of his wife last year.

“The reason I came here is two-fold,” said Sapp, referring to participating on a panel discussion on education reform and, of course, singing a couple of hit songs for the excited crowd.

And Georgia certainly has a lot to sing about. The Peach State is home to two publicly-funded school choice programs: the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program and the Georgia Scholarship Tax Credit Program.

But the community forum wasn’t all about great music and the state’s educational successes. Speakers reminded attendees of the work that still needs to be done to ensure that every child—especially minority and low-income children—is receiving a quality education.

National education reform advocate Dr. Howard Fuller extols
the importance of giving school choice to low-income families.
Dr. Howard Fuller, co-founder the Black Alliance for Educational Options and the 2011 recipient of the John T. Walton Champions for School Choice Award, spoke of the importance of educational options for low-income families.

“I am for public schools,” said Fuller, the longtime education reform advocate and former superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools.  “But I’m against the public school system.  And that’s an important difference.”

Also in attendance was State Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Cobb County), who stressed that a lot of public schools—and their teachers—are providing a high-quality education.  She noted, however, that families need educational options if traditional public schools aren't working for their children.

Students, parents, and community activists were among the
attendees at Educating our Future: The Fight for Georgia's Children.
Sapp and the panel left the crowd with some strong advice: everyone in the community must fight for a quality education for all children.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

No comments:

Post a Comment