Thursday, May 29, 2014

05.29.14 Daily News Clips - afternoon edition

Tweet of the afternoon
@ADMotzen: Great news!"@SchoolChoiceNowRecord number of applications submitted for #EdChoice program in Ohio! @SchoolChoiceOH"

Florida School Choice
Tallahassee Democrat: Michael McShane: Don't blame vouchers for poor science instruction

05.29.14 Daily News Clips - morning edition

Tweet of the morning
@PEFNC: Parents want a hand UP RT @CSFNational CSF Mom: "As a single parent, I cannot express how grateful I am for this generous help." #edchoice

Alabama School Choice Montgomery County judge rules Alabama Accountability Act unconstitutional

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

05.28.14 Daily News Clips - afternoon edition

Tweet of the afternoon
@SchoolChoiceLA: Louisiana's Public #EdChoice Bill, SB61, passed through the House today with strong bipartisan support, strengthening options for kids!

American Federation for Children
Louisiana Public School Choice Bill Passes House of Representatives

05.28.14 Daily News Clips - morning edition

Tweet of the morning
@kevinpchavous: I am so proud of my young friend, Denisha Merriweather! 

Louisiana School Choice
Watchdog: Louisiana considers public school choice

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

05.27.14 Daily News Clips - afternoon edition

Tweet of the afternoon
@BobbyJindal: Proud to see students in our school choice scholarship program showing great improvement. School choice works.

School Choice News
Island Packet: Childs launches first TV ad supporting individualized education, school choice

05.27.14 Daily News Clips - morning edition

Tweet of the morning
 @redefinEDonline: Parents are demanding more #edchoice - and we're all better off for it #edreform

Wisconsin School Choice
Post Crescent: Letters: Expanding vouchers levels education playing field

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal & Dr. Sugatra Mitra Speak

The Hope Agenda

Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C., sat down on a plane several years ago next to the CFO of a company that owns more than 700 Burger King restaurants. After they began talking about their respective jobs, Brooks asked the man, "Do you ever feel bad for creating dead-end jobs?"

Brooks immediately felt guilty for asking the question and as he tried to take back his words, the CFO replied thoughtfully: There are no dead end jobs. There is a dead end culture, there’s a dead end government and there are dead end people, but there are no dead-end jobs, he said.

That struck a chord with Brooks, who shared with AFC Policy Summit attendees how our country is leaving the poor behind. For people in the top half of the U.S. economy, there is an expected five percent growth this year. That number is in stark contrast to the zero percent expected growth in the bottom half of the economy, and what makes that number sting even more is that this is the seventh straight year low-income individuals and families will see declining economic growth, Brooks said.

"It's two Americas," Brooks exclaimed, sharing that the number of Americans who require government assistance through food stamps to feed themselves and their families has doubled since 2009.

"What do you need?," Brooks asked. "Hope-- the idea that there’s a promise for a better future, but the problem is for a society that’s leaving the bottom half behind, it feels like it’s rigged. In the bottom half, it doesn’t matter how virtuous you are, your school is going to be lousy and even if you do get into college, there probably won’t be a job for you."

The first step to providing hope to Americans is by providing a quality education to every child, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Every child deserves equal access to the kind of education that helps them learn best. Said Brooks:

"Real social justice means fighting for people who have less power than you do."

AFC Policy Update #6

Destined for greatness

Tears were flowing with abundance from the eyes of Valencia Lynch, remembering the opportunity she had more than a decade ago that changed the trajectory of her life forever.

"I have always felt that I was destined for greatness," Lynch said. "I just didn't know how I would get there."

You see, she came from a poor family, the child of a Mexican mother who sought a better life for her daughter, but money was tight. They could not afford a private school on their own. The moment which changed Valencia's life forever was the moment she enrolled in the school of her parents' choice through the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

The school was a place where Valencia's mother felt confident her daughter could enrich her Catholic faith, find fellowship with other girls, and most importantly, a place where she would be academically challenged.

Because she had access to a high-quality educational opportunity which surrounded her with mentors and where she was encouraged to grow academically, spiritually and socially, Valencia was able to lay a strong educational foundation that propelled her through college with great success.

She is now proud to say she earned a dual bachelor's degree in both anthropology and in Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

These days, Valencia is creating a film about Afrolatinas at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, works as a therapist for children with autism, and volunteers extensively in her community.

She attributes her success to the opportunity to choose the school that worked for her individual needs as a student years ago:

"These values [I learned there] have in many ways have framed my life choices to be a socially responsible member of Milwaukee."

Although Valencia is already giving back to her community, she hopes to increase her role in helping children with backgrounds like hers by one day opening a community center in Milwaukee. Said Valencia:

"It is a beautiful thing to go into my alma mater and see girls running up and yelling 'Valencia' and hugging me even a decade after my graduation."

Day 1 Video Highlights

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"I am proof school choice works."

Faith Manuel-McKenney’s story started with a boy and a girl who fell in love, but it ended so differently than she ever expected it would.

“I was pregnant with a baby boy at 15. I remember when I first laid eyes on my baby boy, I wanted to give him the world, and I still do.”
She knew the road ahead was not easy, but her heart was set on providing a better life for him.

“I knew that his future was based on my past, so I graduated from high school,” Manuel-McKenney said.

Manuel-McKenney married and had two more children, but when things didn’t work out with her husband, she had to deal with the difficult daily challenges and struggles that came with being a single mother. She desperately wanted a private school education for her son, but despite the fact that she was a hard-working woman, she could not afford it. She applied for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship in hopes that her son would be able to focus on learning instead of distractions that get in the way of a quality education.

“When I got the scholarship award letter, I was jumping for joy!” said Manuel-McKenney.

While his first school was not a perfect fit, Davion’s second school was exactly what he needed. His mother describes how he was immediately embraced by the students and teachers there. He took on the role of student chaplain, he was on the basketball team, he excelled academically and in 2012, Davion graduated high school and went to college at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

Davion graduated college on the dean’s list, the president’s list and was just named tutor of the year.
“To say I’m proud is an understatement,” Manuel-McKenney said. “For us, this is about having educational options and finding the school environment that works for each child.”

Davion plans to go back to school to get his master’s degree and after that he will work as a math teacher, mentoring students, giving back and helping the way his teachers helped him.

Said Davion: “I stand here proud because most people wouldn’t have expected me to go this far. I am proof that the system of school choice works.”