South Florida pastor: Public, private schools helped my children achieve

Travis Pillow

South Florida pastors recently held another radio rally speaking out against the lawsuit challenging Florida’s tax credit scholarship program.

Elder Duke

Elder Duke

During the broadcast, hosted by influential Bishop Victor Curry on Miami’s WMBM, Elder Kenneth Duke of  New Jerusalem Primitive Baptist Church recounted his personal experience with school choice. His children, he said, found success thanks to a combination of public and private schools.

Duke, who has served in leadership roles with the National Primitive Baptist Convention, U.S.A., helped found New Jerusalem Christian Academy in 2003.

Here’s an excerpt of his personal testimony, edited lightly for length and clarity:

I personally experienced challenges. I had learning disabilities as I was growing, and some of those passed on to my children. So when my sons entered into the public school system, I experienced challenges and problems, and so I began to look for opportunities.

Initially, I took my children to the R.J. Hendley Christian School in West Palm Beach, and at that time Pastor Hendley recommended that I take them to Mount Bethel [Christian Academy, in Fort Lauderdale]. … Pastor [C.E.] Glover [of Mount Bethel] received me.

Literally, for about three years, I drove from Miami to Fort Lauderdale [every day] to take my sons and my daughter to attend that school. And all of them achieved.

I placed them back into the public system, and they graduated. Both of my sons are graduates of Morehouse College. One has completed his master’s degree at Howard University, and he has just finished his doctoral degree. The other one is working on his master’s degree, and my daughter is doing well in the field of music.

Public-private, public-private. [Both,] for my children, were instrumental.

And so I was blessed through Pastor Glover and through Pastor Hendley, and I decided that we needed the same kind of school and opportunity in Miami, to help additional students who needed the same kind of help.

Since 2003, we’ve been able to help hundreds of students. We’ve been able to remediate quite a few students. I’m thankful for the opportunity.

The broadcast also featured former scholarship student Denisha Merriweather, civil rights advocate Rev. H.K. Mathews, and Fort Lauderdale Bishop C.E. Glover. Listen to the full segment here.

Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog and employs the author of this post, helps administer the tax credit scholarship program.

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