My name is Anne Barton-Veenkant. Education has been important in my own life. I have been in schools that served me as well as schools that didn’t, and even as a child, I knew it. It is now important to me that all our children have access to a great education.
I’m in my 8th year as an elementary educator. I have worked in a traditional public school district. I and many of my colleagues worked really hard with our elementary students, but by high school only 13% of them were graduating. The system systematically failed our beautiful kids.
I have now worked at KIPP in Austin, TX and St. Louis, MO for 6 years, working with a very similar population. Not only do they graduate from high school but over 90% of them go on to a 4-year college. Our kids defy stereotypes: our young children speak in complete sentences and use “big words” correctly, they are respectful and well-behaved, and most importantly, they know they are working hard to grow their brains and go to college from day one of kindergarten.
I urge you, on behalf of our children, their future children, and the well-being of all of us, to expand charter schools in our state and protect high standards for schools and kids.