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Agency vs Equity: An Empowering Alternative to the Victimhood Narrative

902 Hart Senate Office Building

Every child is capable of being an agent of their own uplift provided they are given the resources to inform the decisions that will make them successful adults.

Ian Rowe, Sr. Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute discussed four factors that are crucial for children to overcome the victimhood narrative and discover their pathway to power: family, religion, education, and entrepreneurship.

Ian Rowe is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on education and upward mobility, family formation, and adoption. Mr. Rowe is also the cofounder of Vertex Partnership Academies, a network of character-based International Baccalaureate high schools inaugurated in the Bronx in 2022; the chairman of the board of Spence-Chapin, a nonprofit adoption services organization; and the cofounder of the National Summer School Initiative. He concurrently serves as a senior visiting fellow at the Woodson Center and a writer for the 1776 Unites Campaign.

Mr. Rowe was CEO of Public Prep, a nonprofit network of public charter schools based in the South Bronx and Lower East Side of Manhattan, for a decade. Before joining Public Prep, he was deputy director of postsecondary success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, senior vice president of strategic partnerships and public affairs at MTV, director of strategy and performance measurement at the USA Freedom Corps office in the White House, and cofounder and president of Third Millennium Media. Mr. Rowe also joined Teach for America in its early days.

He has been widely published in the popular press, including in the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Examiner, and is often interviewed on talk radio programs.

Following the publication of his book Agency: The Four Point Plan (F.R.E.E.) for All Children to Overcome the Victimhood Narrative and Discover Their Pathway to Power (Templeton Press, 2022), Mr. Rowe leads AEI’s FREE Initiative. The FREE Initiative cultivates a deeper understanding of how family, religion, education, and entrepreneurship weave together a moral fabric that shapes children. Those insights have been shared with leaders around the country who can reinvigorate the crucial institutions that help develop agency in young people.

Mr. Rowe has an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was the first black editor-in-chief of the Harbus; a BS in computer science engineering from Cornell University; and a diploma in electrical engineering from Brooklyn Technical High School, one of New York City’s elite public schools, which specializes in science, technology, and mathematics.