Talk about how education, particularly the ability to exercise school choice, impacted your childhood and your life?
I am a product of the transformative power of a quality education. I was raised by my grandmother, a public school teacher, in Newark’s South Ward and attended public schools for most of my early childhood. But I was able to enroll in a private prep school after receiving a once-in-a-lifetime scholarship from the Boys and Girls Club of Newark to attend Seton Hall Prep, and from there was lucky enough to go on to Duke University and eventually earn a law degree from Columbia University.
The fact is, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t been given the option to choose a high-quality education. That single choice changed the course of my life and opened so many doors that were previously slammed shut.
But I was lucky—and I am no different than any of the other kids from my block who weren’t afforded the same opportunity that I was. That’s what motivates me to keep advocating for our children, particularly those whose educational futures have been shortchanged because of what neighborhood they happen to live in or what zip code they happen to be from. At the end of the day, more options mean more opportunity, and every child deserves that.From Education Post's "Coffee Break."