Press Release - In Her Support of School Choice, PragerU Contributor, Denisha Merriweather, says that Teachers Unions “Profit Off of Keeping Poor Black Kids in Warehouses [public schools].”

In Her Support of School Choice, PragerU Contributor, Denisha Merriweather, says that Teachers Unions “Profit Off of Keeping Poor Black Kids in Warehouses [public schools].”

“Prosperous parents can choose where to send their kids to school - public, private or charter - wherever they have the best chance to succeed. Why shouldn’t all parents have that choice?” asks Denisha Merriweather for PragerU.

July 10th, 2017

At a moment when America's secretary of education is also numbered among the country’s most vocal advocates for school choice, PragerU releases the latest video in its School Choice Now series, which explores how increased school choice positively affects America’s educational system on the whole.

The newest video in the series takes direct aim at the area of greatest controversy in the school choice debate, namely the impact voucher programs and charter schools have on the most disadvantaged students in the country, who largely rely on public schools for their education.

In the words of Denisha Merriweather, school choice “save my life.”

As a little girl, Denisha, who hails from a lower-income, African American family, was forced to attend a failing public school. As Denisha describes, “Schools in my neighborhood in Jacksonville, FL, functioned less as places of learning and more as warehouses to keep kids off the street.”

Denisha failed the third grade twice and received mostly “Ds” and “Fs” in fourth and fifth grade. Confused and frustrated, Denisha began to lash out, often getting into fights with other classmates. The destructive cycle continued until the summer between her fifth and sixth grade years when Denisha went to live with her godmother. “[My godmother] had one overriding thought, to get me into a better school.”

Even though Denisha’s godmother didn’t have any more money than her family did, through a tax-credit scholarship program, also known as a voucher, Denisha was able to attend Esprit de Corps Center for Learning, a nearby private school.

“Esprit demands excellence from its students,” recalls Denisha. “They took the time to figure out why learning was difficult for me and they tailored their instruction to my learning style.”

Denisha went on to graduate Esprit de Corps with honors and became the first member of her immediate family to receive a high school diploma, and eventually, both a bachelor's and master's degree as well.
“Our latest school choice video highlights the story of Denisha Merriweather and how she was essentially trapped in a failing public school system,” says Marissa Streit, PragerU’s chief executive officer. “Public schools aren’t the answer for every student, and in Denisha’s case, which is unfortunately all too common, we see how a lack of choice can actually harm economically disadvantaged students the most. It was ultimately a voucher program that saved her education, and really the entire trajectory of her life.”  

Many critics of school choice, namely politicians and teachers unions, claim that voucher programs and charter schools siphon off tax dollars from the students who need it most.

However, as the video points out, the Department of Education currently spends more than $20,000 for each and every American child’s education while Esprit de Corps for example, spends considerably less.

“We don’t need any more money. We need more choice. Let’s challenge public schools to compete on quality. Only competition breeds excellence,” concludes Denisha.

This PragerU video is the latest in a series produced in its School Choice Now campaign, for more information, to sign the petition or join the movement, visit:

MEDIA NOTE: PragerU contributor, Denisha Merriweather is available for interviews as is PragerU’s CEO, Marissa Streit.



PragerU, founded by Dennis Prager in 2011, is a not-for-profit organization that helps millions understand the values that shaped America, and provides millions of Americans and people around the world with the intellectual ammunition they need to advocate for limited government, individual responsibility and economic freedom. In 2016 alone, PragerU’s videos received over 250 million views, a figure that will eclipse 350 million in 2017. PragerU is a resource for all who value liberty. It is a threat to all those who do not.