Walter Blanks is a 24-year-old from inner-city Columbus who found himself being celebrated for as a school choice success story at a White House on Monday
Blanks, a former Columbus City School student, moved from the failing Colombus district to Tree of Life Christian thanks to the EdChoice program. He graduated with a degree in Journalism from Mount Vernon Nazarene College and worked for School Choice Ohio before joining the American Federation for Children (AFC). Their website details Blanks’ position:
Walter Blanks Jr. is a Communications Associate at AFC and the first private school choice program recipient AFC has hired. Before joining AFC full-time, Walter was chosen for the first cohort of the American Federation for Children Future Leaders Fellowship, a year-long advocacy and professional development program for graduates of private school choice programs. Before moving to Washington, D.C. to join the national team, Walter championed educational freedom and shared his story across the country…”
“School choice actually shaped me to the man I am today,” Blanks told Fox and Friends. “Before receiving a [EdChoice] scholarship, I really struggled in the public school. Once I received the scholarship and attended Tree of Life Christian in Columbus, Ohio, everything changed. The teachers were more focused on seeing me succeed as an individual…I was exposed to so much…they really encouraged me.”
— American Federation for Children (@SchoolChoiceNow) December 10, 2019
On the same day Blanks shared his EdChoice success story with others, public education lobbyists were pushing the Ohio State School Board to pass a resolution which asked the legislature to restrict the EdChoice program. The House and Senate had just expanded its budget in House Bill 166.
The lobbyists requested a total of nine changes. The Board only agreed to two: direct funding of the EdChoice expansion and the restoration of the requirement for high school students to have attended the district prior to receiving an EdChoice scholarship.
Opponents have been vocal claiming the “new rules on criteria for the EdChoice program in the most recent budget have increased the number of school buildings considered ‘failing’ by more than 400 percent.”
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