Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Parents, Students and Education Reform Advocates "Go Big" and "Go Bold" at National Policy Summit

The 4th annual National Policy Summit officially concluded this afternoon after two days of impassioned speeches, closing with the marching orders for attendees to go home and work to implement big and bold ideas, policies and strategies to further expand educational choice.
Bringing together hundreds of parents, students and education reform advocates, we spent two days sharing success stories and discussing strategies for making school choice a reality for thousands of students stuck with limited access to quality education options.

Day one kicked off with a breakfast session featuring Washington Archbishop His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl and D.C. Opportunity Scholarship parent advocate Sheila Jackson on the benefits of the scholarship program in our nation’s capitol.  During her speech, Sheila revealed some amazing news to the group: her daughter Shawnee, a D.C. OSP recipient, graduated as her school’s valedictorian and will be attending St. Augustine University in the fall!
At dinner, attendees heard from former Florida Tax Credit Scholarship recipient Denisha Merriweather on how her choice education opened the doors to greater educational opportunities, including college. Also at dinner, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence spoke passionately about the importance of school choice in the Hoosier State. (See Gov. Pence’s full speech here.)
Day two kicked off with Ohio mother Tera Myers’ heart wrenching story of her fight to ensure her special needs son was given the same educational opportunities as other children. Also at breakfast, former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry discussed the role bipartisanship plays in furthering the goals of the school choice movement. (Watch Mike McCurry’s full speech here and our exclusive interview with the Governor here.)
Student advocate Sandeep Thomas kicked off the closing luncheon with an inspiring story about how school choice played a role in helping him overcome the scars of his traumatic childhood and help him grow into the student he is today. Former WNBA star and four-time Olympic Gold Medalist Lisa Leslie joined AFC’s executive counsel Kevin P. Chavous on stage to close out the conference with a conversation on why she got involved in promoting educational choice. Delivering what could be the quote of the conference, Leslie said, “It's about the opportunity to choose your education. What are we fussing about? This is the right thing to do" (Check out Leslie’s full interview here.)
From the entire AFC team, we hope everyone found this year’s Summit to be as informative – and enjoyable – as we did! Feeling completely inspired by all of our great speakers and fellow attendees, we cannot wait to hit the ground running to promote BIG and BOLD education reforms, giving thousands more students across the country a chance to be another school choice success story. To give you even further inspiration, check out AFC’s Kim Martinez’s interviews with attendees and speakers (update 1, update 2 and update 3).

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