Kenya Green – My School Choice Story
In July, AFC had the honor of hosting several of its Young Alumni Speakers and future alumni and their family in Washington, D.C. Although their time in the district was short, their presence was felt far and wide. Each of them visited Capitol Hill to tell their story of how school choice impacted their lives. The following is a personal summary of this amazing opportunity.
Why is school choice important to you?
As an African-American student coming from the impoverished inner city of Milwaukee, it was hard for me to get a quality education. I was forced into schools that lacked amenities and served students like me a poor education. Because of my zip code, I was repeatedly placed in these schools. Growing up, I was forced to go to multiple schools – I wasn’t getting along with others and my mother had a pretty chaotic lifestyle.
By the time I entered 8th grade, I felt like an outsider at each school I attended. The education I was receiving did not fit my needs and did not fit the expectations of what I wanted in an education. Because of the lack of preparation I received, I failed all entrance tests to the prestigious high schools of Milwaukee. I was sure that I would end up back in one of the schools where the teachers didn’t teach and the children ran wild. That was, until I heard about the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program through a presentation by HOPE Christian High School.
The education they described to me was the education I had in mind for myself. When they told me it was a tuition based institute, I thought for sure my chances of receiving a quality education were over – until they told us about the choice program. From there, I went on to being accepted into the choice program, attending HOPE, and receiving an education beyond what I ever thought was possible. My class broke the African-American ACT average score, we got 100 percent acceptance into college, and around 80 percent of us went on to attend college. I am proud to say I am now a senior at Wisconsin Lutheran College, and that next May I will have my bachelor’s degree. None of this would have been possible without the choice program.
What are three of your personal proof points that school choice works?
- Because of the education I was able to receive through the choice program, I earned a high ACT score, which allowed me to get scholarships to most of the colleges I applied to.
- I graduated top three in my senior class.
- I was accepted into around 38 colleges.
Why was this trip to D.C. so important to you?
Visiting D.C. was important because it gave me a chance to give not only myself but other participants of the choice program a voice to express why school choice is important and all the things we were able to achieve because of the opportunities it provided us.
What was your best memory from your visit? Why?
The best memory was visiting the Capitol where we shared our personal stories about the impact school choice has had on our lives, especially with really important people who can help ensure kids like me get the same opportunity. It was an opportunity not many people get, and I was extremely grateful for the chance.