podcastED: an interview with education choice advocate Virginia Walden Ford

Education choice advocate Virginia Walden Ford served as the inspiration for a new independent movie that chronicles the creation of the Opportunity Scholarship Program in Washington, D.C.

Editor’s note: For more than two decades, education choice advocate Virginia Walden Ford has tirelessly championed families and students living in lower-income neighborhoods to ensure that all children have the academic options they deserve.

After growing up in Little Rock, Ark., during the battle for school integration, Walden Ford led the fight for the Opportunity Scholarship Program in Washington, D.C. Her passion for education equality was ignited as she witnessed, as the single mother of three children, the need for more education choices for all families.

Now, her story has been made into a movie starring Uzo Aduba, Matthew Modine and Vanessa Williams. Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog, is bringing three free screenings of the film to Florida Dec. 8, 9 and 10 in Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa, respectively. Walden Ford will be present at all three shows and will do a talk-back following the Tampa screening.

The Jacksonville and Orlando shows are sold out, but RSVPs are still being accepted for the Tampa screening here.

Step Up For Students advocacy coordinator David Hudson Tuthill recorded an exclusive interview with Walden Ford Tuesday in which she discussed her children’s diverse academic needs, the effect of neighborhood drug and gang activity on their learning, and her growing conviction that someone had to stand up and be the voice for children in the D.C. area and across the country.

We hope you enjoy the podcast.


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BY David Hudson

David Hudson is SUFS’ Safe and Healthy Schools Coordinator and a member of the Policy and Public Affairs (PAPA) team. He is a product of 13 years of education choice in the magnet programs of Pinellas County Schools. He has been with SUFS since May 2017 and lives in St. Petersburg, FL. You can reach him at dhudson@stepupforstudents.org or 727-451-9835.