Dalton LaFerney | News Editor
Academics, politicians and educators from around the country gathered in the Gateway Center Monday evening for TEDxUNT to talk about how to rethink public policy on child poverty, voter turnout and scientific research.
Former Texas Senator Wendy Davis returned to campus to talk about putting yourself in other people’s shoes, a play on her most famous moment in the Texas Senate when she wore pink tennis shoes while she filibustered a law regarding women’s reproductive health.
“I’ve learned a thing or two about what it means to lace up a pair of shoes to speak for others,” she said.
Her talk was ultimately a call for young people to be more involved in political elections. She said by 2020, Millennials will make up 40 percent of eligible voters.
Joe Grzywacz, Ph.D. from Florida State University, called to question scientific methods of researching family needs. He said researchers often skew what it means to be poor.
Grzywacz cited that no more than 11 percent of cancer treatment studies have been able to be reproduced. His overall assertion was that some research is not indicative of a wider trend, and scientists should personalize the methodology.
“Family diversity takes a lot of different forms,” Grzywacz said.
Robert Sanborn, Ph.D., president and CEO of Children at Risk, said people need to be blunt when they talk about poverty. He argued for a more high-achieving education system as a means of alleviating poverty for the nation’s youth.
He said parenting is not a public policy, insisting the greater population thinks of parenting as a priority in government. The nation’s schools, Sanborn said, should increase academic time on task. The idea is for students, particularly those whose parents earn a low income, to be more engaged in schools with teachers who give more assignments.
Featured Image: Wendy Davis poses with Gonca Soyer, left, and Ping Zhu, right, before she spoke at UNT Monday evening. Meagan Sullivan | Senior Staff Photographer