Carrie Sheffield, Senior Policy Analyst at Independent Women’s Forum, spoke about school choice at a rally in Loudoun County, VA. Below are her prepared marks as well as her speech at the event.
I bring you greetings from my colleagues at Independent Women’s Forum, especially Ginny Gentles, who couldn’t be here today, and launched our Education Freedom Center. I’m glad to share my experience with school choice and why the fight we wage here today is so important for the most vulnerable.
Growing up, I experienced the welfare system when my family spent time using food stamps. We also received charity from our church and relied on free health clinics (except that time my dad used my mom’s needle and thread to sew up the back of my head rather than spend the family’s Christmas money to take me to the ER after I gashed my head open against the corner of a wall). Our family lived in tents—including one tent where my mother gave birth to my older brother while our family lived in Greenbelt Park, a campground in Maryland. We also lived in sheds and motor homes–a favorite overnight spot: Wal-Mart parking lots. Sometimes, we lived in houses. My seven siblings and I had a transient childhood—I attended seventeen public schools plus homeschool in rural, suburban, and urban settings across America. Despite this educational instability, I worked hard and landed a full-tuition scholarship for a master’s degree at Harvard University.
During my middle school years, I attended two very well-funded, inner-city schools in Kansas City, Missouri. But these schools were so horrible that, in 2000, Kansas City Public Schools became the first district in the nation to lose accreditation. I was one of only a few white students in my classrooms, and I saw firsthand the violence, drug abuse, and shoddy education that many black students in America are made to endure.
This harrowing experience taught me how much, from a racial justice standpoint, we must improve in the realms of school choice and educator accountability. They showed me how children in majority-black environments—almost exclusively run by progressives—are neglected by systems created and maintained by liberals. Bullied by liberal teachers unions, these liberals’ hollow lip service for racial justice keep black children trapped in toxic public schools. Sadly, Kansas City is far from alone in its Democrat education stranglehold. Nationwide, liberals fight to stop the flow of taxpayer dollars to more worthy educators at public charter and private schools.
White liberals talk about systemic racism, yet they built culture and policies to destroy black families, embrace drug use (and encourage their illicit flow across our borders), grow violent murders, gangs and teenage pregnancies in impoverished areas. Sadly, these white liberals enlisted millions of black Americans toward self-destruction rather than toward Dr. King, Jr.’s dream of a country judging based on character rather than skin color. Liberals keep black Americans trapped in what Dr. King called “a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”
White liberals have a long history of harming black advancement, including fighting to keep slavery, creating Jim Crow laws, fillibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964, creating the 1994 crime bill resulting in a disproportionate increase in the number of blacks being incarcerated. White liberals of the past rigged our system against blacks, and today’s liberals want to rig it further.
It shows the hypocrisy of rules for me but not for thee. This is the same for rich parents vs poor parents on school choice. Poor parents are stuck.We saw the same hypocrisy here in Loudoun County, where Cheryl Onderchain and other parents took out an advertisement in the local paper showing the hypocrisy of “masks for thee but not for me” by members of the Loudoun County School Board. Good for her for showing this hypocrisy.
Liberals want to destroy merit-based schools and honors program that help uplift poor children, especially children of color. I’m a firm believer that the Truth will set us free, and I believe we should relentlessly pursue it.
To do that, We need to rebuild harmony in homes and schools. Though poverty cuts across all racial lines, black and Latino Amerians are hit hardest by Leftist recklessness. Enough is enough. It’s time for Americans of all races to come together and show a better way to strengthen the vulnerable of all races. It’s time to break generational curses, bring peace and freedom back to our families.
Watch Carrie’s speech below:
For a full video of the Herzog Foundation event, click HERE.