It took almost 250 years, but finally a President of the United States spoke passionately about the power of school choice before a joint session of Congress. Here is what Mr. Trump said:
“In fact, our children will grow up in a Nation of miracles.
But to achieve this future, we must enrich the mind — and the souls — of every American child.
Education is the civil rights issue of our time.
I am calling upon Members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.
Joining us tonight in the gallery is a remarkable woman, Denisha Merriweather. As a young girl, Denisha struggled in school and failed third grade twice. But then she was able to enroll in a private center for learning, with the help of a tax credit scholarship program.
Today, she is the first in her family to graduate, not just from high school, but from college. Later this year she will get her masters degree in social work.
We want all children to be able to break the cycle of poverty just like Denisha.”
Those of us advocating for a marketplace in public education desperately want all children to be able to break the cycle of poverty. This is why since 1998 I have been fighting for private school vouchers in the nation’s capital. It is the reason that my wife Michele and I for the last 11 years have been volunteering on Saturday mornings to tutor low income Hispanic scholars through the Latino Student Fund. And it is how I met Joseph E. Robert, Jr. in my desire to do whatever I could to have his back in his battle to create, maintain, and expand the Opportunity Scholarship Program.
We all believe in public schools and would prefer that everyone could have access to a good one close to where they live. But terribly unfortunately, any monopoly gets diverted from a sole focus on its primary mission which is serving its customers day-in and day-out. That is why school choice is so crucial. It creates a competition for students that drives educational excellence.
Let’s all commit to doing everything we can right here is Washington D.C. to provide all children, especially those living in poverty, a quality seat. We can expand the number of well-regarded charter schools operating in our city. We can shutter schools of all kinds that are simply not working. Finally, we can increase substantially the number of pupils helped by the Opportunity Scholarship Program.