Ep. 400: Black History Month Edition

February 16, 2024

For this episode of EdChoice Chats we have a special edition celebrating Black History Month where we talk about school choice in communities of color and the ever-growing support for it.

This episode features Dori McCarroll, Emory Edwards, Shaivon Stewart, and Michelle Banner.

Dori: Hi everyone. Thanks for joining us for another episode of EdChoice Chats. I’m Dori McCarroll, the community engagement associate here at EdChoice, and I’m super happy to be joined by some of my co-workers today. Today we have Emory Edwards, Vice President of Outreach.

Emory: What’s going on everyone?

Dori: Shaivon Stewart, parent engagement manager.

Shaivon: Hello you guys.

Dori: Michelle Banner, training and events manager.

Michelle: Hi.

Dori: So thank you guys so much for being here with me today. We are recording this on February 1st, so happy Black History Month everybody, and we’re just super excited to sit down and talk today.

All right, so we’ll just hop right into it. So guys, the school choice movement has typically been labeled as having major support from conservatives, but we know from our own EdChoice polling that it has huge support from communities of color as well. We also know that there’s amazing champions of school choice like Dr. Howard Fuller and Virginia Walden Ford who have been fighting this fight for decades. Emory, I know that you have met Dr. Fuller on a number of occasions. Can you kind of talk about what he’s done for the movement since his involvement beginning in the late eighties?

Emory: I mean, Dr. Fuller is one of those guys who was just a titan in the movement from his early on work just as an organizer, coming out of Carolina. But really a lot of his impact was helping to pass the Wisconsin Voucher program when he was actually a superintendent in Milwaukee to him lunching BAEO. When you look at a lot of the leaders who are in the space now, we count Dr. Fuller as one of our mentors. So I am blessed to be connected to him, to be able to reach out to him whenever I need something because he’s one of those guys. He keeps it real and he truly is unapologetic about, hey, how do we create an educational ecosystem that will pushing and allow black and brown kids to thrive? He’s apologetic about getting to that standpoint.

He’s truly one of those guys that’s truly about any means necessary. So whether it’s launching new charter schools, whether it’s voucher programs, whether it’s ESAs, whatever mechanism we need to have in place to allow parents to truly have options and utilize those options, [inaudible 00:02:45] somebody who’s been in that fight for it and even at the great respectful age that he is now, he’s still fighting. We laugh. I think he said that he’s retiring maybe two or three times, but he’s still out fighting and doing the work. So he’s one of those guys that everybody in the movement looks up to.

Dori: Yeah, that’s awesome. I haven’t gotten a chance to meet him just yet, but when I had a conversation with Virginia Walden Ford, I just feel like she was such a wealth of knowledge and I feel like it really speaks to how dedicated we are to help students who look like us and just all students in general, that people have been deciding to dedicate decades of their life to trying to advance this mission. So I think that’s super cool and I feel like it’s definitely modern black history being made. So that’s super exciting.

Emory: I had to put their two books up where [inaudible 00:03:49].

Dori: A little product placement. Nice.

Shaivon: I saw those, saw those.

Dori: So I wanted to step back just a little bit so we can give the listeners a little bit of each of our backgrounds. Can we all go around and share our educational backgrounds and the types of schools that we went to growing up? Just for a little bit of context. I can go [inaudible 00:04:15].

Emory: I guess being the OG in the room.

Dori: You got it, Emory.

Emory: So I mean, I’m originally from South Georgia and we had very few options when I came up. It was either you went to your traditional public schools or you went to either a Catholic or Christian private school. If you know anything about the South, you know about why a lot of the private schools were started. So for us in the city I grew up in, you had your two predominantly black high schools. You had a few predominantly black middle schools, elementary schools, and those were true community schools, but those schools educated generations of black and brown, black students. So that was my K through 12. I can’t remember… My second grade teacher went to my church. One of my vice principals in elementary school lived around the corner from me. Me and her daughter grew up together. I have stories about her actually saving me a few times that I got in trouble because she had the right to treat me like her own.

So I was blessed to be able to grow up in an environment to where from elementary school, all the way through high school, I had black educators that truly cared about us. Even for those of us that had struggles, they made us know that, hey, we’re loved. Even if there’s not a lot of hope for you to go on beyond, go on beyond high school, we want you to know that you’re able to thrive and live. So I can look back and question, hey, did I actually, from an academic standpoint, were we in the best environment maybe, but we were made to know that we’re great, we’re capable of doing great things, and I think that’s kind of propelled me to why I’m in this work today and why I really want to push to make sure that more black and brown students are able to have some of those experiences that I had coming up.

Dori: Michelle.

Shaivon: Yes, all right, Michelle.

Michelle: Oh, because I’m the second oldest. [inaudible 00:06:39].

Dori: OGs.

Michelle: He’s the OG. I’m like the mini OG. Okay.

Dori: Mini [inaudible 00:06:47].

Michelle: For me, I was a little bit different than what Emory had growing up. So I originally went to Flanner House, which is a majority black preschool, kind of elementary. So I went there for preschool and kindergarten and then my parents moved and did not want to keep traveling that far to take me to Flanner House. So then I went to a public school here, it’s called Wayne Township, where it went from being around most black people to just having one black teacher in the whole building. So that was a little bit of a struggle because I did run into quite a few teachers that did not understand or could not get over racism, which is unfortunate, but just like Emory, I had that teacher, her name is Ms. Matthews, I’ll never forget her.

She was a third grade teacher. She was able to save me from a lot of situations and sometimes she had to call my mother in as reinforcement to say, hey, get it together. But that was pretty much my experience because I went from that public school to a different one, still in Wayne Township. So we did not have as many people that look like me. It was the west side of Indy and I think that my parents just did not know that there were other options around or didn’t think that they could afford it at the time, so public school was the best option for me and my siblings at that time. I think in middle school I probably had a couple of black teachers that I could go to, and then in high school it increased a little bit more. But I did notice that we definitely… I needed more teachers that look like me in order to feel comfortable, in order to kind of flourish as what you need to in a K through 12.

Emory: Let’s give a huge shout out to Flanner House. They have my youngest right now and they’re doing some amazing work with them.

Shaivon: They are really great.

Michelle: Flanner House is amazing. [inaudible 00:09:01] Shaivon.

Shaivon: Shout out to [inaudible 00:09:01].

Michelle: I mean minus the schools, right? I’m just kidding. They’re good schools.

Shaivon: Well, I actually did go to school on the Northwest side of town as well, and I agree with that since me and Michelle, minus the school a little bit. But K through 10, I had completed in Pike Township and that was nice. I remember one token black teacher who was that teacher for everyone, and he’s actually a sword in his own programming and I think he’s went above and beyond from principal to school board leader. So he was always amazing, but it was just him. I actually first came to choice when I needed to make a personal decision for myself and my mother left me to do it, entering 11th grade and being a 17-year-old, I was also about to become a young mother. So I actually begged my mom to allow me to choose a different school that wasn’t the township school that I had been involved with.

Because I just said, those people don’t know me in this realm and I need to go somewhere where this won’t be as much of a stain. So that’s when I actually chose a charter school by the name of Indianapolis Metropolitan, Indy Met back then. It’s a career academy or high school now. It’s been undergoing some changes, but back then when I first got there, first of all, my mom let me choose and I’m always appreciated her for that because the program was so accelerated, I was able to finish early. I was able to take college courses and gain college credits early. Me having a child, it wasn’t a hindrance at all because of the way that the school was set up and there was actually maybe fifty-fifty if not sixty-forty led by black educators in that school. It was a complete 180 and exactly what I needed at that impressionable age. But I am proud that I was the one to lead myself into realizing I did have that choice.

Dori: Yeah, I think that’s so cool. I have a little bit different experience than you guys. [inaudible 00:11:16]. I know. I didn’t have any black teachers growing up. I went to predominantly white elementary, like K through eight and then a better mix of a demographic for high school, but still predominantly white. Both schools were religious schools, but I didn’t have my first black teacher until my sophomore year of college. So I feel like my shift, I guess is the opposite of you guys where I wasn’t even really expecting to see teachers that looked like me. So then when the one teacher that I did have, my history teacher started my sophomore year of high school, everybody was like, oh my gosh, this is so cool, finally. So I think that’s kind of interesting that I’m a little bit on the opposite end of that than you guys are, but nonetheless, I feel like I had a great experience in school.

They definitely did foster a lot of curiosity and learning and faith is really big in my family, so that’s why my parents made that decision to have me attend those schools, to help that be part of just my growing up. But I also don’t know if my parents knew that what they were doing was considered school choice. I think they were just like, well, we want Dori to go to this school and we’re going to make it happen. But I don’t think that they really understood until recently that that is actually another form of choice. I should have been going to our districts like township school, but instead they drove me 20 minutes away. So yeah, it was still a good experience for sure, but I do wonder how differently I would have turned out or how differently my experiences would’ve been at younger ages if I did have more black teachers.

Emory: When you bring that up, it’s really a big shift, depending on what part of the country that you grow up in. So being from Georgia, I was looking at some stats last weekend, I want to say I think Georgia is like 30, between 30 and 35% African American. There are those pockets where you have cities that are 60, 70% black, you’re in areas to where yeah, from kindergarten you are with black teachers all the way through, but then you can go to a different state and like you said, not experienced one black teacher or there’s one black teacher in an entire school.

So knowing that impact, knowing how that can actually shift your educational experience, and also knowing the impact that it has on those teachers. So being able to see kids that have a gift, but they just need the right person to pull it out of them, or that kid that’s been labeled bad, but you know this kid is not bad. They just needed to be directed somewhere else. Being able to see that and connect with them, that’s what makes toys so much more important now. As a parent being able to understand that and see what is that environment, what type of culture do I truly want my kid to be in so that I know that they’re in a situation where they can thrive.

Dori: Well, that’s actually a perfect segue because I don’t yet have kids, but I’m always so curious to know what you all wanted for your kids and how your personal experiences when you were growing up and going through school, how did that impact the decisions that you made for each of your students? So could each of you talk about why you decided to send your students to whatever type of schooling they go to and mention if it’s public, private, home school, charter school?

Michelle: Go ahead, Emory.

Emory: It definitely has been a major piece of why we’ve decided the schools that our three are in. My wife actually has a background or some of yours, Dori. So she grew up in private schools. I never attended a private school, but when it came to [inaudible 00:15:43] I was very intentional about, hey, I want to see brown leaders, not just teachers in leadership. I knew the importance of that, having black principals that… One of my principals in high school would see us walking through the hallway and be like, all right, doctor, [inaudible 00:16:02] lawyer. So they were giving us these affirming words to where… Me and my homeboys, we carry little small portfolios as briefcases one year because we had this man that we looked up to that was like, hey, you guys are going to be business owners. You’re going to be doctors and lawyers and stuff.

So we was like, hey, let’s dress the part. Knowing the importance of that. When we started looking at schools, we were interviewing leadership like, all right, so how does your leadership team look? Is this the only black person that you have in leadership. I see a couple people that… I see some teachers, but we were really intentional in that and also we wanted to make sure that we had a school that was going to have somewhat of a family feel. So we were happy and excited to send our kids originally to Urban Act Academy, which was founded by a black woman at that time. Her principal was a black woman. She also had two black men that were part of the leadership team. So they spent their first two years there. We always laugh about this story. You don’t hear a lot about schools actually telling you, hey, we love your kids or why we love them.

We may not be the right place for them right now. They need more rigor than what we can actually give them. That was a situation that we ran into, to where they really came to us and said, hey, here’s some other schools that we think we’re actually going to give the rigor that your two oldest need. While we would love to keep them and be able to count them as part of our stats, we know what they need to continue to grow. So the school that they’re at now, one of the top schools in the states, when you look at how black and brown kids perform, I truly believe in their leadership. It’s not the same makeup as it was before, but there’s a strong belief that all kids can be successful and that means a lot to me. Their vice principal is a lady of color, woman of color.

So they’re working on that diversity piece and that’s something that they recognize and notice. So we’ve been able to put them in environments to where they’re still able to see black leadership or black people in leadership, but also people that will push them forward. Like I said, with our youngest, he’s at Flanner House, so he’s getting the culture right away because that’s what he needed. We knew that he probably was not ready to be in the environment where he had to sit at a desk all day every day and was made to work in this box. That’s not his spirit right now. So we wanted to put him in a place that understand that and work with that and actually encourage and pull what he needed to get from his environment. So we’re still trying to figure out where his next move is going to be, but we’re really big on making sure that they’re in an environment that’s going to work best for them versus just sending them to the school that’s closest to them because we drive what? 20, 25 minutes every morning to take them to school.

Dori: Awesome. Michelle?

Michelle: I wish I had known all this information before I had kids, but I’m learning. So my kids go to a public school and it’s actually Wayne Township still, but mine was more of a convenience for myself and their father because of our hours that we were working at our jobs and just being able to have the boys be somewhere that was closer to family so that if we weren’t able to pick them up, our family doesn’t have to travel very far. Also did not know, just like my parents, I did not know about choice. I didn’t know that I could go to a private school and have it be affordable. I didn’t know too much about charter schools, Montessori, things like that. I literally just found out about a Montessori, I think maybe three or four years ago. I think it was right around pandemic because Emory, my youngest, does not do very well when it comes to sitting in a classroom and being in that structured classroom.

But thank goodness though he has a great teacher who was my middle son, Lincoln’s, his teacher, his third grade teacher. So she kind of knew the family, she understood our struggles. I was able to lean on her for support and help when it came to teaching my child. So she helped me and stepped up when it came to him, but it’s still the same situation. There are not a lot of teachers that look like them in their classrooms or in their schools. So that is something like I actually just had a conversation with Emory about this the other day, about looking for different schools that they could go to, that will kind of be a little bit more uplifting. It kind of seemed like they’re not kind of just placed on the back burner just because they’re not of a different race. So I am in the process of looking at that and going on school tours and trying to figure out what is going to be best for my kids.

Another thing with the public schools, no offense to them, it is a good school, but it’s just we are running into things like they took away art, they took away technology, and then now, I remember when I was in school, we had home ec, we don’t even have home ec anymore. That’s not even a thing to teach kids about life. So I need to research that a little bit more. But for now, my kids are in public school, but hopefully the next year they will be moved on to a different school that is more accommodating to their needs.

Dori: Awesome, awesome. So Shaivon, you said that your mom gave you the option to kind of decide what schooling option would be the best for you in that phase of your life. Did you do that with your child or how did that kind of conversation go?

Shaivon: Yes. So it’s funny that you mentioned that because I have not yet, but we’re actually moving into that bit of choice over this summer. Originally I thought, like I said, I finished at accelerated program, so I thought I’m going to go ahead and start her somewhere that I feel like is more accelerated and that just didn’t fit to me in public school. So I went ahead and gave her to a charter school, IMSA, which is a math and science academy. I thought this is most important, so you should be doing this right now. But I just wasn’t aware that first and second grade was coloring and trying to get over the lack of nap time. So I just felt like she didn’t get those basics that I needed her to have. Then I sent her to a public school, which was right back to Pike Township where I went.

I’m like, okay, well maybe you’ll go ahead and get the basics here and we’ll work from there. So she did get those basics. She went to public school up until about sixth grade. Honestly, Michelle, I felt the same way that you had just mentioned that it was too basic, as basic as mine was, they weren’t giving the basics like they used to. So I’m like, okay, we’ve got to reroute. We’ve got to rethink. So I went ahead and then took her to Tindley, which is a charter school, and it’s also an accelerated program. It’s also predominantly black with predominantly black teachers. It’s just funny. I really feel like you have to try these different ways so your kid can see, so you can see, because I thought that immersing her in our culture would be best. It is nice, and I do like that her current school, it has direct pipelines to colleges, specifically HBCUs, which is something her and I are on par that she’ll be attending, but she has become a one of a hundred instead of one of one if we’re all the exact same.

She kind of feels it’s harder to stand out, especially academically, she wants more. So this summer we’ve decided that we would go and look at a couple of different private schools to see if those programs might be better for her. That’s where I’m inducting her to realize that you do have the opportunity to choose yourself, but it’s a responsibility. I’m going to have the same conversation with her that my mom had with me. It’s a responsibility, it’s a choice, and you don’t get to choose every day. So you have to be able to be okay with the choice that you’re about to make. So we’re about to get into those roles right now. I’m definitely wanting to research private schools.

Emory: I think an important thing when you look at all of our stories, that has to be a greater conversation in our community. Gone are those days where you put a kid in a school and a district and they just stay there from kindergarten to 12th grade. Being able to understand the different needs that your kid will have as they go through different grades and being able to adapt and shift to that, that’s truly what makes choice so important because now you have those different options. Everything doesn’t look the same. I can remember when I was growing up, magnet schools were just starting and I was on the wait list for our magnet school for maybe three years. When I got to middle school, they was like, hey, we got a space for you. My mom was like, no, because I know all of the administration at the middle school, so I know exactly what you’re going to get there. You’re getting the same level of enrichment and rigor from them because they know you personally and they’re going to push you hard.

If I would’ve switched to another school, I wouldn’t have gotten that, and there was no other options for me to do anything different. But now with families actually seeing that, hey, there are place models, there’s place space learning, there are different models of different programming and you have STEM, you have schools like Purdue, Polytech that are actually giving more of a college field in high school where their teachers are seen more as counselors, but helping them walk through how they do their work and really be prepared to go to a research institution. So actually understanding as a parent how your kid learns and what motivates them to make sure that you’re able to put them in the best option and you have the resources to do that makes this choice environment an understanding choice, so much more important right now.

Michelle: Yeah, that was such a good point.

Dori: Absolutely. I feel like whenever I do have kids, I am excited for the different options that are being developed now, different options that haven’t even been invented yet that will be helpful to kids in the future. So I’m excited to kind of do… I feel like I’m taking notes from each of you, just writing it down in my little notepad over here, but making sure that I remember the insights that you guys have been saying. So whenever it is time for me to make the decision of where my kids are going to go, that I know how to research, what options are available to me, resources for helping to make it more affordable, involving my student in that conversation, like Shaivon and Emory said, making sure that I know how they learn.

I think you did make a good point, Emory, of no longer are we at the times where people are going to the same school, like you said, from K until 12, and then whatever pipeline is for college, if college is the option. I think it’s just really important to keep all of that in mind for sure. Oh, go ahead.

Michelle: No, I just say, yeah, but I’ll also say, take your time with having kids.

Dori: Oh gosh.

Michelle: All the time. They’re great.

Dori: Yes, yes.

Shaivon: All the time.

Dori: Right now I’m working for all the students that I’m trying to help get educational choice. So those are my kids right now.

Michelle: We thank you for your work.

Dori: My service for sure.

Shaivon: Honestly, I just really wanted to reiterate that that is going to stick with me and I definitely want to have a conversation with the parent ambassadors of parent coordinator about that because I don’t think that I’ve ever looked at that like that. We don’t have to stay from K through 12 any longer. I have realized that from elementary to middle school to we’re going close to high school, my child has needed something different. I will say, when I first was changing her schools, I was worried about her social structures. Well, maybe will she find friends when she gets there? But leading with those kind of fears, it really does mess with the kids’ education because they’re fine. They’re resilient.

Emory: When you think about how social media has come into place and all these different extracurricular programs that kids are in, kids have friends all across the city now without even being at different schools. So the fear that we once had, hey, if I pull my kid from this school to another one, they’re not going to be around their friends anymore. They’re not going to be able to connect with them. They’re already following each other on Instagram or what? TikTok, whatever the next social media craze is going to come out. So that interaction that we’ve always been concerned about is no longer a big concern.

Shaivon: Their network builds.

Michelle: So I guess I need to let my kids have social media so they can expand.

Dori: No.

Emory: I’m saying it as like, no, my 9-year-old [inaudible 00:30:31] anything, they just were able… I just put Roblox on their tablets two months ago.

Michelle: Yeah, I waited for that too. Yeah.

Dori: Okay. So to kind of round out the conversation, I feel like we started touching on it a little bit, but I just want to go a little bit deeper into it. I mean the conversation of educational choice has been, I feel like almost unrecognizable from when it first started to where we are now. So looking into the future, 20 years in the future when people are on a podcast with our friends, how we are talking about school choice, talking about educational freedom, what do you guys think or hope that that conversation is going to look like?

Shaivon: I hope that it looks like a Starbucks order and it has all of the excitement behind putting together all of these different syrups and extra shots and blondies da da da, hand crafting this drink knowing that each line item adds an extra 20, 30 cent, but I got it. I want it to be that type of natural conversation like just with your girlfriends, with your guy friends. Like, oh yeah, I talked to the kid and he’s told me that he’s into basketball. This school’s basketball team is terrible.

Yeah, we’ve got to look at other schools. But academically as well. It looks like it’s something that’s, it’s a conversation that’s worth having and it’s not like, okay, got to look at a different school. Got to… It’s exciting as ordering your Starbucks drink. I can’t wait to go to that school in the morning and tell them exactly what I want from my kid. I’ve done the research, I know. I’ve talked to the Emorys, I’ve talked to the Michelles and the Doris of the world. I know exactly what to do for or where to go to find the information for my kid. I pull up, there’s a Starbucks on every corner.

Dori: That’s awesome.

Michelle: I think for me, I’m looking forward to more parents that look like me and lack the knowledge that I had, the lack of knowledge that I had of school choice. I’m looking forward to them having more understanding, so that they can be able to make the right choices when it comes to school for their kids and that they know that it’s not like you, Emory and Shavon said that it’s not just a one-stop shop thing. You can go to other schools. I think that for me, and then in a lot of the parents that I am close to, we didn’t. Know when I started this job, I started telling everybody and their mother about the school of choice. I think even for some of my friends that are looking into it, because we were not aware as our counterparts are where they have a little bit more knowledge and they are pushed for it a little bit more. So I’m looking forward to more parents that look like us that have more of an understanding.

Emory: I think I can say I’m hoping and expecting that we have a mix of what you both just said. We have parents that truly are aware, know what they want, know how to create the best environment for their kids. Also, education becomes truly customizable. So where, hey, I may take two classes from this school on Monday and then Tuesday I’m at this campus. Wednesday is my day at home to where I just get to focus on doing work. Thursday, there’s this school that has a great arts program, so I’m doing arts over here, but we’re able to create this environment to where school choice means empowerment, and we’re empowering communities to truly be in control of how education looks in their communities. We have an ecosystem where instead of schools being put against each other, they’re collaborating. You get to where, Dori’s heard me talk about this, but how powerful would it be to be able to go to one building that has four or five different school models?

So it makes it easier for you to say, hey, there’s a STEM focused school in this building, there’s an arts focus, there’s a liberal arts. I can get all of that in one space and it is all tailored to how I need. I’m hoping that we get to that point. Microschools really give me a lot of excitement because I think that’s going to be one of the drivers. Also, as realizing that kids don’t learn the same way and some kids need smaller environments. So being able to have more options and more spaces for all kids where they can get what they need out of it.

Dori: I think a collection of everything that you three just said, and I hope that there’s even more options that haven’t even been discussed or thought of or invented yet. That kind of really is exciting to me to know that we’re going to keep evolving and this train is going to keep moving, the school choice bus as we like to say sometimes, but we’re going to keep moving forward. I just am excited to know, and I feel confident that there will be just very inclusive options, kind of speaking to what Emory said, but also I hope that there’s conversations like this that are recorded, that people can look back on as resources in that we’re not only talking about a few very prominent black and brown advocates for the movement.

But it’s like we don’t even have enough time on the podcast to talk about all of the black school leaders and the parent organizations and the grassroots organizations that are advocating and fighting for students that either they have themselves or they’re just the students in the community that they’re fighting for. Because I feel like we are a very familial community. It takes a village, and I hope that we lean more into that as well of really leaning on each other and realizing that if one person succeeds, we’re all succeeding and just kind of remembering that it’s a collaborative teamwork kind of thing. So that’s what I hope is going to happen in the next 20 years.

Emory: Yeah, I think when you look at the movement, we’re getting a lot closer to that. People have been able to segment the movement to where you have the few of us who are in the black education space that support universal choice or your vouchers [inaudible 00:37:59]. You have a strong charter contingent, you have a growing home school, micro school contingent, and then you have those who want to reform publics, how our public schools are looking. People have been able to keep us in silos. But now there are organizations like [inaudible 00:38:19] that’s going to start a collaborative, FCCS, Freedom Coalition for Charter Schools.

Alongside of us and some others who are trying to say, hey. All of us that are in the space that are looking to support work to improve education for black and brown students, let’s get out of these silos and really look and see how we can collaborate. So I think when you look at the near future, you’re going to see more groups working together to break down some of those walls and barriers that have been put up to truly say, hey, here’s how a platform looks that will support improving education overall, regardless of what type of school that kid is going to for black and brown students. So I think we’re getting closer there.

Michelle: Yes.

Dori: Awesome. Yeah, I feel like we are too. So I’m super excited about that. But does anybody have any final closing statements.

Michelle: We’re good.

Shaivon: Thank you to you Dori for organizing us and this, especially at the very top of Black History Month. I think you are so important and these moments are so important, and I’m just happy that you make sure that they happen for sure.

Dori: Thank you for saying that. Well, yeah, I was going to say thank you [inaudible 00:39:41].

Emory: We’ve had several conversations around this, so I’m so happy that you have been at the forefront of making sure that not just for Black History Month, but when you look at Women’s History Month, Latino History month, that we’re putting out content and building content that speaks to different communities. One of the things that we want to do here [inaudible 00:40:02], is build bridges. So we want to make sure that everybody feels that they’re a part of this movement. This isn’t just a conservative movement though. This is a people movement. So being able to tell stories that connect to all of the different people that are in this space is important. You’ve done a great job of making sure that we’re…

Dori: Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, I really, I’m just wanting everybody to feel included in the conversation. Like you said, Emory, this school choice movement, educational freedom movement is not just a conservative movement. It’s not just a movement that you should be in if you are currently a parent, if you are more seasoned in your life or if you’re younger like me, I want everybody to know that they can be an advocate for something that they really care about. Even if people decide that they don’t want to have kids, but they’re still invested in the betterment of children and their educational journey and their lives, we’re all important pieces that should work together so that we can have the most impact. So thank you to each of you in each of your roles in just life and parenthood, but also each of your roles here at EdChoice.

I know that, I’ve seen it. Every one of you has made an impact on people. People say all the time that our trainings are amazing and that they get so much out of it. So shout out to Michelle and her team for the trainings. We just launched our parent core. So Shavon is really doing some awesome things with that and making sure again, that parents, and not just parents, but just family members in general, know that their voice is important and valued and that we want to know how they’re feeling and we want to know what we can do to help support them. So shout out to Shavon for that.

Then of course, Mr. Emory Edwards, just amazing. Always wanting to reach out to new audiences, build bridges, like you said, and know that everybody, people are noticing. It’s really good. We really appreciate you. So thank you to each of my guests. I think that we are all in our own ways currently making black history. So I feel excited about that, and I know that we’re only going to go up from here. So thank you again. Happy Black History Month. To everybody listening, thank you to our audience for sticking with us for the past little while. But definitely be sure to stay up to date on all things EdChoice on our social media channels at EdChoice and then at www.edchoice.org, and we’ll see you next time. Thank you.