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Roland Martin and a group of impassioned educators came together for a special town hall meeting on the campus of Howard University to debate the issue of school choice.

During the first part of this important town hall meeting, Martin and his expert panel of guests discussed the NAACP’s moratorium on charter school expansion, why one prominent teacher’s union leader decided to switch sides to become a school choice advocate, as well as why the lack of oversight within both charter school and traditional public school systems is an issue in America’s current education system.

Watch a recap of part one of the Is School Choice The Black Choice? town hall in the video clip above and then watch excerpts of the second part of this important dialogue below.

Student Asks What Happened To ‘The Village Mentality’ Of Raising A Child

A very astute 12-year-old young man asked the panel, “Whatever happened to the village raising kids like me mentality?”

The middle school student also questioned what happens with students who find themselves in trouble and are systematically inducted into the school-to-prison pipeline.

Elizabeth Davis, President of the Washington Teacher’s Union, explained “community schools represent the village” because these institutions offer “all of the components that bridges the community, empowers the community, engages parents and provides all of the wraparound services that students need.”  

Dr. Ramona Edelin, Executive Director of the Association of Chartered Schools Public Schools and the Co-Founder of the Black Leadership Forum, said, “Not only do schools have a responsibility, many of our charter schools – out of that same funding where 40 percent does go to central administration off of the top – make the decision to have psychiatric social workers and others in their village to support their kids.”

Edelin continued these schools, “have a no excuses model and they take it upon themselves to raise up every child that comes in that door no matter what condition they come from.”

The charter school proponent also laid blame for the creation of the school-to-prison pipeline on government for their “poor response to the needs of its own citizens in poverty.”

Watch the discussion over the missing ‘village’ component of educating our children in the video clip above.

The Battle Over School Vouchers Heats Up

Vouchers are an initiative that allow parents to take money allocated from the government for a student and allow them to use it as they see fit at a private school or even another public school.

A parent questioned why the funds supplied by the state government can be used to pay for the parents’ choice of school.

Martin, adding to the concerned parents question, challenged the town hall panel to explain how a system structured like the Pell Grant system for college students can be used in primary and secondary levels of education. The Host of NewsOne Now asked the town hall panel, “How is it that we support vouchers on the collegiate level, but to the parent’s point oppose it [on the] middle, elementary school [and] high school levels?” 

Dr. Steve Perry, Principal of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut opined, “The objective is to maintain a government system that has failed us so that the employees can keep their jobs.”

Perry continued, “If we went with the will of the people, then the money would follow the child and just as a student selected Howard University or Morehouse, they would choose the school that is best for them.” 

Watch the battle that ensues over school vouchers in the video clip above.

Roland Martin: ‘Our Kids Deserve A Shot At The American Dream’ 

Before the conclusion of the Is School Choice the Black Choice? town hall, Roland Martin, Host and Managing Editor of TV One’s NewsOne Now, explained the notion that school choice started with African-Americans in the South.

Martin said, “We’ve always had to demand better educational options.”

In explaining his position on school choice, Martin said, “I support traditional public schools, charter schools, magnet, voucher, home, [and] online – I do not care how we educate our children.”

“I have one simple standard … does it work?” said Martin. He continued detailing his position on the issues saying the infighting and drama surrounding the battle over school choice is irrelevant to him. All he cares about is “whether or not Black kids are going to have a future.”

Martin cautioned those who would stand in the way of African-American children being properly educated and closed his remarks saying, “Our kids deserve a shot at the American dream.”

Watch Roland Martin’s final remarks from the Is School Choice the Black Choice? town hall in the video clip above.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

SEE ALSO:

Watch NewsOne Now Special: ‘Is School Choice The Black Choice?’

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