Democracy Prep scholars Omar Taveres, Jamie McCoy and Michael Cummings Jr ventured to Washington D.C. with Democracy Prep Public Schools Superintendent Seth Andrew to speak in front of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education on July 24th. Panel members gained the opportunity to know more about alternative teacher certification programs, the benefits educators can offer students and schools, and whether current requirements can restrict a school’s ability to hire the best teachers.

Check out what these amazing students had to say:

“Because they’re… passionate in what they’re doing, [they] motivat[e] kids like me to do better in school, because when you see somebody that loves something so much, it makes you want to like it, too.” – Omar Taveres, junior at Democracy Prep Charter High School

“[It’s] not that certified teachers aren’t capable of teaching well, but there are also alternatively certified teachers and uncertified teachers who can also teach well. An example would be our chemistry teacher… she is a rigorous teacher. She brings passion because she is so passionate about chemistry, and she wanted to study chemistry more in depth so she brought that into the classroom and it almost makes you feel like a chemist when she’s teaching you….” – Jamie McCoy, senior at Democracy Prep Charter High School

If principals were able to have the autonomy to choose what type of teachers that they allow to teach in their building and teach their students, then students would be able to benefit from that as well… My Korean teacher… went to school to be a librarian. And instead, she ended up teaching me Korean for the last two years, and so now I know Korean from someone who otherwise, if she was not able to teach, she would have been a librarian and I would not know Korean. So she is given an opportunity, I’m given an opportunity and it’s just beneficial to everyone. – Michael Cummings Jr., senior at Democracy Prep Charter High School