STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - As Perkinston Elementary students learned about reading, writing, and math on Friday, 8-year-old Kayden Johnson traveled to Jackson, Miss. as a voice for them all.
His topic: funding education in Mississippi schools.
The fourth grade student testified at the Mississippi Legislative Democratic Caucus joint education hearing that kids like him deserve a better. Invited by Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes, Kayden spoke to a room full of adults for nearly four minutes.
"Education helps kids achieve their goals in life. Without education kids cannot become productive citizens," said Johnson, as he leaned into the microphone. "There are lots of skills kids need to achieve their goals. Mississippi schools are not doing a good job with this."
On Sunday, Kayden stopped by WLOX News Now to share his experience about his passion.
"It [funding] is important because kids need all that education for what they need to learn," said the 8-year-old.
During his speech on Friday, the aspiring mechanical engineer noted that sometimes it feels as if his education isn't valued. Instead of teaching to learn, Kayden says students take tests that do not adequately represent what they know.
"Our government needs to do better with setting aside more money for kids......all we do is take tests that don't tell what we know. There are other ways to test kids skills and knowledge without using tests."
Although Kayden might not be fully aware of just how much he accomplished with his speech, his parents certainly do.
"It made me feel proud because he was given a platform where he could speak out," said Kayden's mother. "He wanted to make sure his voice was heard."
The young advocate has a simple piece of advice for students across the state who want to make a difference: "Speak up."