“The status quo is not inevitable.”

Clint Smith uses these words when he discusses raising black children in America. Millions have tuned in to his Ted Talks to be inspired by his belief in the power of high expectations.

His words are at the core of what we are trying to do as charter school authorizers, which is why we’ve asked him to kick off our Leadership Conference this year.

The status quo works well for some Americans. It works for Americans who can choose where they live. It works for Americans who have the resources to supplement their child’s education with extra-curricular activities. It even works for a handful of Americans who are lucky enough to have gotten their children into selective enrollment schools, magnet schools, or great charter schools.

But let’s think about who the status quo does not work for.

It doesn’t always work for kids who speak a different language than the dominant group in their community.

It doesn’t work for the child who feels unsafe at his assigned neighborhood high school, with its frequent incidents of violence and gang activity.

It doesn’t work for kids attending one of the schools consistently found to be failing in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

Charter schools, when done well, can ensure that the status quo is not inevitable for these kids.

Charter schools offer choice for parents whose children need a smaller environment, or one with a different focus.

Charter schools offer a chance for a great K–12 education for kids in neighborhoods where all of the public options have been failing for decades.

I can’t wait to hear Clint Smith share more with us on October 25.

Who better to address more than 500 authorizing leaders?