A Nobel Prize-winning economist and champion of capitalism, the late Milton Friedman advocated choice and competition in a free market system.
That philosophy extended to public education, with Friedman proposing the adoption of a voucher system that would allow parents to "spend" their children's educational dollars at the school of their choice.
Kansas Citians can celebrate what would have been Friedman's 100th birthday as education reformer Virginia Walden-Ford discusses the movement for school choice on Monday, July 30, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
Walden-Ford is uniquely qualified to address the issue. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, she was raised by public school educators (her father was the first black assistant superintendent of the Little Rock School District) and she and her twin sister were among the 130 African American students handpicked in the mid-1960s to further desegregate the city's high schools, an effort that began in 1957 with the confrontation between black students and Gov. Orval Faubus on the school house steps.
She is a founding member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, Inc., and received the group's 2004 Vision Award. She serves on the board of the Booker T. Washington Public Charter School and as executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice.
Walden-Ford is a visiting fellow in domestic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, a think tank with the mission of formulating and promoting conservative public policies. The winner of the Heritage Foundation's 2004 Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship, she is the author of Voices, Choices, and Second Chances: How to Win the Battle to Bring Opportunity Scholarships to Your State.
This event is co-sponsored by The Foundation for Educational Choice, the Kansas Policy Institute, and the Show-Me Institute.
Admission is free. The event will be preceded by a 6 p.m. reception. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407.