We’ve just come back from this year’s
Back to School tour across the great Midwest. At every stop I heard from
students, families, teachers, and local leaders about how education freedom
changes lives. We kicked things off in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – the birthplace of
education freedom. There I talked about igniting a new birth of freedom for all
students. Our Education Freedom Scholarships proposal does just that.
Think of the scholarships as keys to unlocking opportunities students want to
pursue. Think about unleashing thousands of not yet imagined ways for students of
all ages to learn. Think about Purdue Polytechnic Institute in Indianapolis.
There I saw what happens when employers and educators are close partners in
doing what’s right for students and when students take charge of their own
learning. We had a fascinating visit to Edwin’s Leadership and Restaurant
Institute in Cleveland – a truly special place where formerly incarcerated men
and women work hard to learn wide-ranging culinary skills as they
prepare to transition home. Then there’s a hidden gem in my home state of
Michigan. The Great Lakes Maritime Academy partners with a local community
college and a culinary Institute to help all types of students prepare for all
types of seagoing jobs. it was fun to see the cutting-edge technology they utilize.
I couldn’t resist stretching my virtual sea legs by using a simulator to drive a
barge up the Detroit River. Well we didn’t actually ride a barge to Detroit,
but we did meet students at Motown’s Detroit Edison Public Charter School.
They’re among the top achieving students in any Detroit public school. And as I
visited with students, teachers, and parents, and community leaders, it was
apparent that for every student who is enrolled in a public charter school
there are many many students who are waiting to get in. In fact there are more
than 1 million on wait lists across the country.
Detroit’s families and all families need more public charter schools, more
options, more freedom. Education freedom works. America just needs more of it.