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The case and chase for choice

Unlike Captain Renault in “Casablanca,” this column’s readers are not shocked by the following statement: Nebraska is one of but three states in the nation with no school choice for our families and children. This comes as no shock because it’s not news to us, even if it remains a tragedy.

It should also come as no revelation that last place it is no good when it comes to ensuring every child in Nebraska gets an education that is best for them. Last place is no place for contentment. Instead, it is a place to kick it into high gear, get off the sidelines in the fight for justice, and speak up for families who are too often voiceless in the political process.

While the fight for justice can get tiresome, we can turn to the late Father Richard John Neuhaus who said it most powerfully about the pro-life movement: “We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life.” This same refrain can be said of the school choice movement here in Nebraska: We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every family—regardless of their ZIP code or income bracket—can choose the best education for their kids.

As we prepare for this year’s legislative session, school choice—in the form of scholarship tax credit legislation—will once again be a hot topic for the state legislature. It will be incumbent upon you and me to ensure that school choice will be an inescapable issue that will require our state senators’ deliberation and decision-making. This means we must be prepared, to take from the words of St. Peter, “to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you[.]” In short, we must be prepared to make the case in our chase for school choice.

Among the many ways and opportunities for bulking up on your knowledge and passion for school choice, I want to invite you to an online event: Parent Power in Education.

The event will take place via everybody’s favorite pandemic platform (Zoom) this Tuesday, Dec.15, from 6 to 7 p.m. To register for the event visit www.Facebook.com/NebraskaParents. There you can find an event link and a Zoom registration. Or you can e-mail Clarice Jackson at Clarice@NebraskaParents.com for more information.

This event will feature a three-panelist powerhouse: Virginia Walden Ford, Senator Justin Wayne, and Kevin Chavous. The moderator is Clarice Jackson.

Ms. Walden Ford is one of America’s leading advocates for parent empowerment. As a student, mother, an advocate, and a grandmother, Virginia has spent her lifetime fighting to create new educational opportunities for children and families. Her life story was recently the basis for the blockbuster Miss Virginia which captures her successful fight for school choice in Washington, D.C. Her work helped establish the successful DC Opportunity Scholarship Program which has served thousands of families in their pursuit of school choice.

Senator Justin Wayne represents District 13 in the Nebraska Legislature, which makes up North Omaha and Northeast Douglas County. He currently serves as Chair of the Urban Affairs Committee. He was elected to his seat in 2016 and recently re-elected. Senator Wayne regularly introduces important legislation to address criminal and juvenile justice reform, housing issues, racism, and economic development.

Mr. Kevin Chavous is the founding board member and executive counsel for the American Federation for Children (a top-notch national school choice organization), a noted author, and national education reform leader. As a former member of the Council of the District of Columbia and Chair of the Council’s Education Committee, Kevin was at the forefront of promoting change within the D.C.’s public school system.

Ms. Clarice Jackson is a Nebraskan, a parent, and an education reform advocate who got involved after finding out her assigned public school did not meet her child’s needs. She is the founder of Voice Advocacy Center (which focuses on dyslexia screening, tutoring, and special education advocacy) and Council Woman on the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Council.

And, finally, if this line-up hasn’t convinced you yet to join: What else is there to do on a Tuesday night during a pandemic? Get your Tuesday night takeout and join the party! And don’t forget to tell your family and friends!

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