E82. AFC’s Denisha Merriweather on School Choice Advocacy & Black Minds Matter

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Denisha Merriweather, the director of public relations and content marketing at the American Federation for Children and founder of Black Minds Matter. They discuss Denisha’s inspiring personal narrative, from a struggling student to a leading national spokesperson for school choice. She shares her experience of receiving a Step Up for Students education tax credit to attend the Esprit de Corps Center for Learning, a small private school in Florida, and how it differed from her public school experience and changed her life. They delve into the organization she founded in 2020, Black Minds Matter, “a national movement to celebrate Black minds, support excellence, and promote the development of high-quality school options for Black students,” and Denisha explains the group’s long-term goals.

Stories of the Week: Results from a survey of 1,788 teachers in England revealed that 44 percent plan to leave the profession by 2027, citing the stressful workload and lack of public trust. Harvard is receiving criticism for its decision to end its undergraduate teacher education program and instead require candidates to enroll in the Graduate School of Education’s new Teaching and Teacher Leadership master’s program.

Guest

Denisha Merriweather is the Director of Public Relations and Content Marketing at the American Federation for Children and Founder of Black Minds Matter. Denisha previously served as School Choice and Youth Liaison to the Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Denisha is a Florida tax-credit scholarship graduate, and now sits on the Board of Director for Step Up for Students. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of South Florida and bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social science. Along the way, Denisha has become a national symbol for school choice, headlining events with President Trump, Florida governors, and other advocates for school choice. Denisha has shared her story across the country and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, PragerU, the Washington Examiner, EducationWeek, and Fox News among other outlets.

The next episode will air on Weds., April 20th, with Dr. Robert Alter, Professor in the Graduate School and Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, and author of the landmark three-volume book, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary.

Tweet of the Week:

News Links:

The Guardian: 44% of teachers in England plan to quit within five years

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2022/apr/11/teachers-england-plan-to-quit-workloads-stress-trust

Harvard Crimson: Harvard Ends Undergraduate Teacher Education Program, Closing Off a Path to Teaching for College Students

https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2022/4/7/UTEP-shut-down-HGSE/

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