Inequalities in the education system affect more than just students’ grades. These inequalities impact every aspect of the lives of many black students attending their government-zoned schools. But new efforts around the country to turn school choice into a cultural movement are bringing hope to many families, students, and black entrepreneurs.
On this episode of the Civil Squared podcast, host Jennifer Thompson is joined by Denisha Merriweather, Director of Public Relations and Content Marketing at the American Federation for Children and Founder of Black Minds Matter. Denisha helps bust the myth that school choice is racist as she shares her deeply personal story about how it changed the trajectory of her life.
From living in poverty and going from one failing school to the next, Denisha thought she was destined to follow in the same steps of so many other black children in her community: become a teen parent, dropout from school, walk around aimlessly, and live in poverty. But things dramatically changed when she was given the chance to apply to a school choice program in Florida.
Denisha is now one of the country’s leading advocates for school choice. She discusses her journey and the efforts she is involved in to help bring more attention to this life-changing public policy issue.
During the conversation, she talks about her work with Black Minds Matter, and how it is championing a new generation of black educational entrepreneurs.
She shares her unique perspective on things like inequalities in education, the freedom that comes with school choice, and the how many of her efforts are being thwarted by teachers unions.
Denisha also discusses ways to reduce the academic gap between white and black students and the history of redlining, and she offers practical tips for people to make a difference in their communities.
About our guest:
Denisha Merriweather is the Director of Public Relations and Content Marketing at the American Federation for Children and Founder of Black Minds Matter. Denisha previously served as School Choice and Youth Liaison to the Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education.
Denisha is a Florida tax-credit scholarship graduate. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of South Florida and bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social science. Along the way, Denisha has become a national symbol for school choice, headlining events with Florida governors and other advocates for school choice. Denisha has shared her story across the country and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, PragerU, the Washington Examiner, EducationWeek, and Fox News among other outlets. She has also appeared in public service announcements promoting school choice.