Monday, June 5, 2023

Education Advocate Walter Blanks Jr. Tells President Trump, “I’m Coming for the White House!”

Walter Blanks Jr. is a twenty-four year old who credits his life today with the educational opportunities he had as a child. He was zoned to a school where he was miserable—teachers found his high energy distracting and classmates picked on him. He begged his mother not to make him go to school.

Walter’s parents found an escape hatch by way of a voucher program in his home state of Ohio and according to Walter, the new school changed the trajectory of his life. When asked where he’d be without it, his mind immediately goes to two words: “jail” and “dead.”

Walter now works to help kids just like him — through his work at the American Federation for Children, he fights to expand school choice programs in the hope that more parents will experience the self-determination that comes with having options for their children. It is this education advocacy work that led him to a meeting where he was unexpectedly seated right next to President Trump. He shares that story in my interview with him as well as what drives his advocacy and what his hopes are for the future.

To quote brightbeam CEO Chris Stewart, “Walter Blanks Jr. is one of the few people who wants every kid to have same chance he had.”

It was my privilege to speak with this delightful young man.

Erika Sanzi
Erika Sanzi is a former educator and elected school committee member. She is also a senior visiting fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Her blog is Good School Hunting and her Substack is Sanzi Says. She occasionally writes for other outlets including Scary Mommy, The 74, and The Hill. She is the mother of three school aged sons and calls Rhode Island home.


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