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Scott Pearson Remarks

Mr. Scott Pearson
Executive Director, DC Public Charter School Board
Remarks at One World Education Ambassador Challenge
National Housing Center
March 20, 2018

I am so impressed with all the presenters I saw. I know everyone has given them one round of applause but please let’s give them another quick round of applause.  As my introduction said, I run the DC Public Charter School Board which oversees all the public charter schools in Washington D.C. So, I have read a lot of newspaper articles and seen a lot of TV news running down our public schools and talking about our public schools not doing well, how we’re faking our data, how we are not preparing our schools well.  I wish every one of those reporters were here today to see these students (applause). These are passionate, committed students who we are going to unleash on the world. They’re going to make such a difference. I’m really proud of you guys. (applause.)

This also fills me with hope because we are at a very unusual time in our national history.  We elected a president who essentially ran on a platform of ignoring facts. And I couldn’t help but think as I watched one student after another give a presentation that was fundamentally grounded in facts that each one of you is making better arguments than the president of our country. (applause)

What gives me hope is that you all are going to live a lot longer than he is.  So, when I think about who is going to be leading our country in the future, and how we are going to be making decisions as a democracy, I am confident that it is going to be you leading that. So, thank you for giving me that hope.

I also was reflecting that when I was growing up, that I didn’t have anything like One World Education. I was growing up in a beach town in California and I had a great teenage life surfing and spending time on the beach but I was never exposed to ideas and to issues of public policy.  I had to go to college, and graduate from Wesleyan and get a job for four years before I finally woke up and said there’s a whole world out there of important issues that matter to people and the only way things are going to change is if I get involved. That didn’t happen to me until I was about 25. It’s just a tribute to One World Education and to all of your teachers that it is happening to you when you are in middle school or high school. So, I feel like you are very lucky, luckier than I was.

The last thing I want to say is that this is potentially much bigger than a group of high school and middle school students doing some research and getting up and talking to us about their public policy ideas.  The fact is that most revolutionary change in most fields comes from young people. It doesn’t come from people my age, it comes from people your age. Do you know how old Martin Luther King was when he led the Montgomery bus boycotts?  He was twenty-five years old. Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook in his dorm room when he was a freshman at Harvard. Bob Dylan wrote the song Blowing in the Wind when he was 25 years old. It’s young people…Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity when he was 25.  So, the change that is going to come is going to come from you and it’s not going to come from you in thirty years. Some of you are four years away from being 21, an age where many people have a profound impact on the world and I’m confident that people in this room are going to create that change.  The reason young people are able to have this profound impact in a way that older people have so much more difficulty bringing about is because you see the world with fresh eyes...

…Wes Moore, the CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, said that we have so many young people who are straddling the line of greatness and don’t even realize that they are.  What I saw tonight was a lot of young people not just straddling that line of greatness but stepping over it, ready to make the world a much better place. So, thank you for inspiring me. (applause)