Making the Case for School Choice at the African American Mayors Association Conference

On Wednesday, April 26, African American mayors from across the country convened in the nation’s capital for a two-day conference, hosted by the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), to discuss “Change, Challenge, and Opportunity.”

With hundreds of mayors in attendance and as the only organization that exclusively represents African-American mayors in the United States, it was vital that school choice was included into the conversation and was well represented.

Thankfully, Louisiana Federation for Children President and longtime school choice advocate, Ann Duplessis was there to lead the charge.

Speaking during the event’s Awards Dinner, Ann made clear the importance of school choice in terms the mayors could appreciate: “School Choice is not just a moral issue, it’s directly a workforce development issue.” The bottom line: When it comes to attracting companies to their respective states, cities, and counties, education is one of the key factors in that decision. Without a strong and educated workforce, a significant amount of businesses shy away from investment.

Louisiana Federation for Children president, Ann Duplessis, with Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida at the African American Mayors Association conference.

As research has shown, when parents are given the right and resources to choose the best way to educate their child, students win. One of the best examples of this is the nation’s only federally funded voucher program: the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. Last year alone, the district saw 98% of its scholarship recipients receive their high school diploma (and there’s even more great news), while only 69% of seniors in public high schools graduated.

By attending the conference and partnering with the AAMA, AFC had the opportunity to make the case that when it comes to economic development, school choice does indeed matter.

*Ann Duplessis is the President of the Louisiana Federation for Children. As a former State Senator, Deputy Mayor of New Orleans, member of the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors and as Vice President of Liberty Bank, Ann provides a unique perspective on how school choice relates to local governments and economic development.