Can School Choice Defeat Poverty? Education Symposium Nov. 2

school choice symposium

We’re excited to be speaking at the symposium, “Can School Choice Defeat Poverty?” on Nov. 2!

Organized by the Missouri chapter of Americans for Prosperity, this is Kansas City’s “first-ever symposium geared toward fighting poverty by increasing educational freedom.”

“School choice helps break the link between where students live and where they go to school,” the summit website reads. “It can disrupt the cycle of poverty by giving children access to higher-quality educational options that will boost their chances of life-long success.”

These educational options include private school, charter school, online education, and homeschool.

How school choice saved one girl’s life

Lisa Watson, the event organizer and one of the speakers, reached out to MPE several years ago to launch a school-choice movement around KC.

“My hope is to bring the urban core into the conversation about how we can expand educational opportunities for all children in the Kanas City metro area,” she says.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • David Trabert of the Kansas Policy Institute
  • Congresswoman Renee Erickson
  • Jonathan Westbroke (an officer with the KCK police department)
  • Denisha Merriweather, keynote speaker

You can see a video of the keynote speaker, Denisha, below:

As outlined in the video, Denisha received a tax-credit scholarship in school that she says saved her life. She is now a national advocate and symbol for school choice.

“I believe all these venues and more need to be accessible to kids growing up in poverty, who need more high-quality school options,” she writes in this essay. “But I also believe they need healthy community support, stable home environments and individuals who can serve as mentors.

“Too often, the education system views black children, their community and its challenges through a deficit-based perspective that emphasizes their alleged shortcomings inside and outside the classroom.”

Part of the benefits of school choice, Denisha argues, is its “strengths-based perspective that focuses on the potential of every child and that ensures schools and other community institutions marshal the resources necessary to help them achieve it, while considering the interrelationships between individuals and their environments.”

Maintaining our educational rights

This symposium also highlights the growing need for homeschoolers to engage in their broader community and provide a voice to advocate for educational freedoms.

(This is nothing new for us. After all, research from the National Home Education Research Institute indicates that the typical homeschool graduate is “regularly engaged in social and educational activities … [including] political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work.”)

Your support of MPE helps us provide a positive, professional perspective on homeschooling to KC-area organizations and media outlets like NPR and the Kansas City Star – see one of their articles on homeschooling here.

Over the history of homeschooling, many opponents have argued that the movement needs more “regulation,” especially in the state of Kansas.

One recent example was the attempt to create more homeschool restrictions in an attempt to stop child abuse, after the tragic murder of Adrian Jones.

We wrote extensively on the supposed link between child abuse and homeschooling in this blog post.

As homeschoolers, we need to continue confronting and refuting misconceptions of our educational rights respectfully but firmly.

We also need to explain the benefits that homeschooling and school choice provide, not just to individuals, but the greater society as a whole. State homeschool organizations are strategic leaders in this mission.

Thank you for your support as we prepare to speak at this symposium and other events around our communities!

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